A quick primer on the Euromaidan — the protests taking place in Ukraine right now

ukraine map 2

I continue to be surprised with how many people I keep running into who don’t know what’s going on in Ukraine right now. For those of you who haven’t been following the news or who’d like to know more, this article’s for you!

For the most basic introduction, check out the above video by the Washington Post, Ukraine’s crisis explained in 2 minutes. It starts with a question that you might be asking: What is Ukraine? (If you live in the Bloor West Village area of Toronto, you have no excuse for not knowing about Ukraine.)

ukraine map 3

In case your European geography’s a bit fuzzy.

For starters, it’s the largest neighbouring country to Russia’s west, and it’s been the subject of much inappropriate grabbing by the Russians since the time of Catherine the Great (whom many Ukrainians see in the same light as Kuwaitis view Saddam Hussein).

ukrainian waving EU flag

The protests are a reaction to President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to stop his talks and refusal to sign an agreement for closer association and free trade with the European Union. This, along with accepting a bailout from Russia, was a sign that Yanukovych was moving Ukraine closer to Russia rather than closer to the EU, as many Ukrainians wanted. Ukraine’s economy is currently a mess, and many people wanted closer ties to the EU for the economic boost and more job opportunities.


Yanukovych’s change of heart seems to have Vladimir Putin’s sticky fingers all over it, as does the return of suspiciously Soviet-flavoured repression in Ukraine. Yanokovych himself is an old-school Soviet central planner, with all the fol-de-rol that comes with that, including rigging elections, and either poisoning or jailing those people with the temerity to run against him.


Click the picture to see it at full size.

The name given to the protests and demonstrations that have been going since late November is called Euromaidan, pronounced “Yevro-my-dahn”, and translates as “Eurosquare”. The protests have grown in size over the past few months, and in mid-January, the government enacted anti-protest laws, bringing a taste of the old-style Soviet kleptocracy to come if Yanukovych remains in power.

Here’s why the protestors are there, in one of their own words:


Here’s a recent CNN report, showcasing how things have escalated over the past few days:

Here’s what’s going on right now in Ukraine, courtesy of a live YouTube feed from Espreso TV:

And right now, it’s like this:

fighting to save ukraine

Thanks to Marichka for the picture.

To borrow a quote from my friend Marichka Melnyk:

If you cared about Tiananmen and Tahrir Squares, you’d better give a good goddamn about Maidan.

6 replies on “A quick primer on the Euromaidan — the protests taking place in Ukraine right now”

So this is over which blood-sucker will suck Ukraine dry!
People smashing things up for easier access to Italian designer clothing?
Protesters getting killed for the ability to buy a Fiat or a Citroen?

Yes, that’s exactly it. What piercing insight. Although, come to think about it — if you have those choices, why shouldn’t they?

So, the trendy protesters support stepping into EU arms vs their elected leaders’ move into Russia’s? Has there ever been a US bailout that didn’t have strings attached?

Basically EU vs. Russian intrerests. Not some great good vs. evil battle as the online sheep seem to think

Leave a Reply