ANAHEIM - This is a story that is well outside Southern California, but it has been mostly under the radar in most U.S. and local media. However, we feel it is best to bring you a little bit understanding of what is happening in the Ukraine and why it is important.
Now presented here is not a definitive view of the conflict in Kiev by any means, but rather we hope this is a jumping off point for you to further explore and understand the unrest in the Ukraine.
There has been plenty reported about protesters and rioters taking over government buildings and allegedly torturing police officers, but the question is why?
This all began with a protest being called Euromaidan in November 2013 with very large public protests and civil unrest demanding closer European integration, especially with the European Union. The protesters have called for the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych and accused his government of corruption, abuse of power, and violating human rights.
This may be seen as a battle between the pro-Russian government, whom the current president, Yanukovych has long been a Russian sympathizer, and the protesters, who want closer ties to the West and European Union. Many protesters are quite upset as they believe a Russian supported government is standing in the way of having Western style democracy in their country.
Many scholars and observers are debating if what is underway right now is a large scale protest and civil unrest, or if this is a revolution.
Ukraine is very important to the Russians as, aside from it being apart of one of the fifteen constituent republics of the Soviet Union from its inception in 1922 until 1991, Ukraine has a very important natural gas line, and Russia likes having buffer space between them and their perceived enemies.
Much of the Ukraine government is backed and supported by Russia, and over the years Russia has also lent the Ukraine billions of dollars in loans. In a lot of ways Russia views the Ukraine as "their country," and with calls of protesters to join the West and EU it is making Moscow nervous. In a way it is not a stretch of the imagination to say Moscow fears losing an old Soviet country to the West.
Russia's ties to the Ukraine go well beyond current geo-politics as Russia-Ukraine ties go back to the Ninth Century during the Kievan Rus era and Rurik Dynasty. Under this historic context it one may understand why Russia has historically considered the Ukraine to be "their country," and why it has historically been subjugated in one form or another by the Russians.
As of this time it remains to be seen what the end result in the Ukraine will be.