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Ukranians say NO to Lenin: Will their leader give economic peace a chance?

by
Susan L.M. Goldberg

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December 10, 2013 - 9:00 am
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This past Sunday a group of Ukranian activists knocked down a statue of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin and smashed it to pieces in Kiev’s Bessarabska Square. While no one can be sure who started the protest, CNN reports:

Ukraine’s government news agency said a lawmaker with the nationalist Svoboda party claimed responsibility for the incident.

“This is the end of Soviet occupation,” the party’s Twitter account said. “End of (the) regime of shame and humiliation.”

…”Destroying the Lenin monument in Kiev is not just an act of vandalism,” [Communist] party leader Petro Symonenko said, according to a post on the party’s official website. “It is a sign that organizers of the protests are not for the European values, but rather for hate, fear and destruction of the state of Ukraine.”

Ironically, “European values” are exactly what drove the protesters to destroy the statue and encamp in Kiev’s Independence Square. In the face of rising debt and sinking bond prices, Ukranian President Viktor Yanukovych turned down a trade agreement with the E.U. that “would have opened borders to trade and set the stage for modernization and inclusion” in favor of cultivating a deeper relationship with Moscow.

One hundred thousand protesters lined the streets of the nation’s capital over the weekend. Two thousand are there now, huddled around fires in a makeshift tent city in Independence Square, holding firm in their demand that failed Ukranian President Viktor Yanukovych dissolve the government and answer their demand for immediate elections.

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