Editorial: Ukrainian protests reverberate on global scale

Editorial Board

Ukrainian protesters are still actively demonstrating against their government and its figurehead, President Viktor Yanukovych, for embracing Russian aid and for not forming stronger trade bonds with the European Union. The protests continue despite numerous concessions from the Ukrainian Parliament and executive branch.

Those concessions include an amendment of anti-protest laws that would severely restrict the ability of Ukrainians to publicly demonstrate, the resignation of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and the resignations of all cabinet members, and an agreement wherein those arrested for non-serious crimes during protests would be granted amnesty, so long as opposition members ended their occupation of government buildings.

With several dead and many more injured, including five wounded from a clash between protesting factions, the demonstrations are anything but peaceful. Despite this, they have been undeniably effective in forcing change, and signs of weakening within the President’s party continue. It is commendable that the Ukrainian people are trying to take control of a government in which they have lost faith, but violent protests may very well result in a new government plagued by the problems of old. Greater control and unity will certainly be required of Ukrainian opposition leaders if they desire to gain the full support of the international community.

While Ukraine may be a relatively small country halfway around the world, but their political problems have global effects. The showdown between pro-western opposition forces and a pro-Russia regime may well set a new international precedent regarding the two superpowers and the countries whose foreign trade they vie for. With American foreign investment competing constantly in the worldwide marketplace, the alliances of smaller countries like Ukraine are important not only for their political implications but also for how they shape the prospects of our economic rivals around the world.