Ukraine desperately needs a bottom-up commitment from the people to reject indifference, cynicism, sloth and other poisonous habits built up over more than half a century of dysfunctional Soviet governance, writes Matthew Rojansky.
The latest news from Kyiv and other regions of Ukraine shows that the situation is developing according to the worst scenario: the country is truly on the edge of a new spiral of violence of national scale.
In our opinion, the main problem of the Ukrainian state and society is that we have become dangerous to ourselves. The danger emanates from our streets, squares, fields, and roads.
Two symbols have emerged from the events in Kyiv over the last few days: a heroic Maidan, and a bloody Yanukovich. Neither President Yanukovich nor the opposition, however, currently possesses the power to end the crisis. Will Pomeranz addresses the political options in the aftermath of the violent assault on the Maidan.
"As if Russia did not already have enough worries, with the security issues associated with the Sochi Olympics and the growing unrest next door in Ukraine, it now faces severe downward pressure on its currency," writes Will Pomeranz.
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"The prestige of hosting the Olympics — and the huge international spotlight that accompanies the spectacle — limits Moscow’s ability to act decisively toward Ukraine as it might have otherwise," writes Will Pomeranz.
Big scale political crises occur in Ukraine approximately once in a decade, with each next crisis more devastating than the previous one. However, if the crises of 1994 and 2004 resulted in a change of power, the crisis of 2013 so far has not been resolved.
How important are the Sochi Olympics to Vladimir Putin and Russia? And with concerns about security dominating pre-games discussions, how concerned should we be about safety?
Ukraine is on the verge of spinning out of control. A pro-European protest that began more than two months ago in Kiev’s central square has flared into broad, angry opposition to the authoritarian policies of President Viktor F. Yanukovych. If the United States and European Union wish to encourage a peaceful resolution, they must use their leverage now. Otherwise the situation could degenerate further, to the point where the West will be no more than a spectator.
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Experts & Staff
- Matthew Rojansky // Director, Kennan Institute
- William E. Pomeranz // Deputy Director, Kennan Institute
- F. Joseph Dresen // Program Associate
- Mary Elizabeth Malinkin // Program Associate
- Mattison Brady // Program Assistant
- Blair A. Ruble // Vice President for Programs; Director, Urban Sustainability Laboratory; and Senior Advisor, Kennan Institute