The Ukraine Protests and Weekend Links

The Ukraine Protests and Weekend Links

While the American press has been focused on Justin Beiber, did you know the Ukraine capital of Kiev is burning? Protests have spread to other cities in the country as well, with at least five protesters shot dead in the streets, and hundreds of injuries. There are calls for peace, mostly from the country’s religious leaders, amid the escalating hell on the streets. But peace seems elusive.

Here’s a brief summary of what’s going on in the Ukraine and why people are protesting:

Ukrainian protests against the government began back in November when President Viktor Yanukovych refused to sign a long-negotiated trade agreement with the European Union in favor of stronger economic ties with Russia. The landmark trade agreement would have seen Ukraine citizens allowed to travel through the EU without visas; in return Ukraine would adopt hundreds of laws and regulations, and a program of sweeping reforms, moving them into a closer alliance with Europe. It’s said that Putin put a lot of pressure on Yanukovych to walk away from that agreement. And everyone knows that Russian President Vladimir Putin would like to see the former Soviet states realigned once again. Some say he really wants to form that alliance to give the EU a run for its money and without Ukraine of course, that’s impossible.

Those who are now protesting, couldn’t believe that Yanukovych walked away from such a deal that would move the Ukraine toward better prosperity and freedom. To them, the choice between Russia, their former Soviet-era overlord, or Europe and freedom, was clear. With a population of 45 million, Ukraine has long been experiencing tension between an older generation with loyalty to Russia and a younger generation with ties to Western influence, particularly the European Union. Those wanting the reforms, rejecting the “old ways”, simply had enough. What started out as pro-Europe rallies, quickly became anti–government protests.

So this weekend, violent street battles erupted with protesters hurling fire bombs, rocks, bricks, and stones at government forces and buildings. Police fired back with tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets. Cities became filled with dark smoke from burning tires, used as barricades. These protests are fierce, even though last week President Yanukovych pushed through tough and oppressive laws which ban most forms of protest in the country. How Putin-like of him, don’t you think? With these new laws, demonstrators can no longer wear masks or helmets and anyone who blocks access to public buildings will be given a five-year jail term.

Well, that was all it took. Over 200,000 supporters of the opposition took to the streets of Kiev to protest against those new restrictions. Oleksandr Turchynov, one of the opposition leaders, has called on Ukrainians to defend their country.

“Ukraine will not be a dictatorship, it will be an independent, European country. Let us defend Ukraine!”

And they have. You can see the photos here, here, and here. But the photo that has become the face of the Ukraine protests – to me at least – is probably the one below.

ukraine priests
Orthodox priests pray as they stand between protesters and the police in Kiev early Friday. Sergei Grits/Associated Press

It’s a stunning photo, really. At first glance, it looks like a Medieval or even apocalyptic movie scene. Sadly, it isn’t. Some of the very real heroes of the Ukraine protests are the religious leaders of the country who risk their very lives by standing between the protestors and the government forces, praying for peace.

And back in Washington? US Secretary of State John Kerry said the moves by the Yanukovych government were disturbing and wrong and he wants the violence to end. Brilliant, Lurch.

Our “Weekend Links” are below the fold.

Great Weekend Blog Reading Links!

Teach at Pirate’s Cove is blogging about “DHS Chief: Illegal Aliens Have Earned The Right To Be Citizens”.

The Other McCain has many good blog posts up including this one by Stacy on “So I Guess @PaulWaldman1′s Basic Message Is: ‘Vote Democrat, You Sluts!’”

ST at Sister Toldjah has up this post on “No, Wendy Davis isn’t being “attacked for being a single mother””.

Mandy Nagy at Legal Insurrection has up this terrific post today on “Ukraine president offers prime minister post to opposition leader”.

V the K at Gay Patriot has up this blog post called “Feminist Bitterly Resents How Other Women Have Found Happiness”.

Glenn Reynolds or Instapundit has many great posts at his blog hub from all over the blogosphere so go check them out! And you can watch the C-SPAN video of Glenn’s talk in NYC about his new book “The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education From Itself”, here.

Emily at NakedDC has a blog post up called “Clay Aiken really is going to run for office, you guys”. Ugh.

Dana at The First Street Journal has up a great post called “More foreign policy brilliance from John François Kerry”. Snort!

As always, Michelle Obama’s Mirror has up this fun post “The Cheese Stands Alone. (Not because it’s so smelly)”. 🙂

Jammie at Jammie Wearing Fools has up the video to this “Jay Leno: ‘Doctors warn pot smoking impairs young people’s thinking, which of course makes them much more likely to sign up for Obamacare’”. Hahaha!

Jonn at This Ain’t Hell has this post up called “Gustavo Badello; phony SEAL/CPO”. Pics, too.

Evil Blogger Lady has up a fun video of “Slow jamming the news with Mitt Romney and Jimmy Fallon”.

LongTabSigO at Blackfive has up this post called “What Richard Sherman Taught Us About America”.

Alberto at Babalu Blog has up this post “Reports from Cuba: Vulgarity: The Revolution’s Bastard Child”.

Donald Douglas at American Power has up this blog post on “Barack’s Pogrom: The Rising Tide of Hatred Against the ‘Evil’ One Percent”. Go read it.

Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere at Three Sure Things of Life has a great post up on “Reefer Logic, Part Duh! (Or How I Learned to Quit Worrying and Buy Stock In Frito Lay)”.

Neo at Neo-Neocon is writing about “The Huckabee ruckus”.

and finally, Ace at AoSHQ has up this post on “The Washington Post’s Readers Are Already Freaking Out At Having to See the Volokh Conspiracy in Their Little Cocooned Cult”. The title alone is worth the read.

Have a terrific weekend!

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  • ALman says:

    An iconic image of our age and for our age. In the midst of pain and suffering, turmoil and violence, fear and anger, it’s as if the priests are praying, “We lift high the Holy Cross of Christ. His Holy Love we proclaim and pray for His boundless mercy inasmuch as we, His frail and fallible people, seem incapable of being merciful to one another.” Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

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