Saturday, 22 February 2014
What Are The Ukrainians Protesting About?
Reports are of 77 killed so far and the EU have imposed sanctions while the USA are said to be 'actively considering a range of options on how to respond to violence in Ukraine'.
Although it is being painted as a case of the pro-Europeans Ukrainian people fighting to overthrow an anti-EU Government, you would be forgiven for not realising that it is not quite as black and white as is being portrayed.
Like most countries, the Ukraine is in debt and has a £16.5 billion loan from the IMF to pay off and the European Union made an offer of £1bn and closer ties to the European Union although this came with the strings attached of enforcing austerity measures and cutting public spending although the carrot of possible future EU membership was dangled tantalisingly before them.
Russia then made a counter offer of £15bn and closer ties to the Russian market, joint enterprises in heavy industries with lower gas prices thrown in. The Ukrainian Government left the EU offer on the table and agreed to the Russian deal.
Protests began and here is where the Worlds media looked that way, as the situation deteriorated as the Ukrainian police launch a raid on protesters, arresting 35 who had occupied the City Hall.
Anti-protest laws are passed, the unrest turns deadly as Government offices are overrun by protesters and international pressure is applied.
All this brings us to today as the Ukraine's parliament votes to oust President Viktor Yanukovych and Yulia Tymoshenko is expected to pick up the reins which is looking likely to lead to the West besting the East and the Ukraine dusting off the original EU offer and leaving a very irked Vladimir Putin on its Eastern flank.
I hope i am wrong and it all turns out wonderful but i do fear that the protests on the streets of Ukraine will resurface as this may yet turn out to be a case of being careful what you wish for because what the protesters may have got is the hard slog of IMF austerity foisted upon them and you only need to look at the Greeks to see how that can turn out.
With the Standard and Poors' reducing the Ukraine’s rating to CCC- on the strength that the Russian money will not now be forthcoming, it is already looking like the Ukraine's problems may not be over.