The bloodiest winter in Ukraine for more than half a century may at last be giving way to an early spring thaw of peace, reconciliation and rebuilding.  True, major challenges remain, but the emerging signs of cooperation between the victorious opposition forces and the vanquished president’s erstwhile allies offer some hope that Ukrainians can begin to recover from the violence that shook the Maidan for weeks.

While many remain shocked by the speed and intensity with which the situation deteriorated, the fact that the standoff turned violent in the first place is no surprise, which should force Ukrainians to pause a moment as they contemplate how to heal the country’s wounds.  One vital lesson from all of this suffering must be that if Ukrainians seek a brighter future, if they want to live decently with or without the EU, then they must recognize, isolate and reject the inclinations to use violence that are now deeply rooted in the country’s political culture.

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