Situation in Ukraine
'The only thing we can do as individuals is watch, wait, and pray for Donbass.'
Lisa Kindyeyeva | 21 January 2016

The situation in Ukraine is constantly in the media, but different people are telling different stories - where can we find the truth? As I come from the Ukraine, I want to use my insider account to open the eyes of our readers to the situation which is often hidden from the public.

The period from winter 2014 until the present will go down in history textbooks as the Ukrainian Civil War, but not many people know why it really began. At the end of 2013, President Viktor Yanukovich was thinking about starting the application process that would allow Ukraine to join the European Union, but then decided against joining the economic/political union because the EU refused to instantly invest in Ukraine. The public did not agree with this decision because they were all dreaming of the supposed better quality of life they would enjoy if they were in the EU, but the Ukrainian economy was not strong enough to allow them to join yet.

At this point demonstrations started to take place. This event is now known as Euromaidan. Both the USA and Russia were sponsoring the different sides of these demonstrations in order to further their dubious interests. The consequences of Euromaidan led to hundreds of deaths and the deposition of President Yanukovych. The instability and chaos that followed Euromaidan was unfortunate, because Ukraine’s economic stability is ruined and the country is getting deeper and deeper in debt.

The Euromaidan crisis started in November 2013 and officially finished in February 2014. However, Euromaidan created a divide among Ukrainians; the majority of the country favoured European integration, but those in the east prefered to remain in closer union with Russia. This divide lead to the Crimean Crisis in 2014 and ultimately resulted in the emergence of pro-Russian insurgencies in eastern Ukraine. The war in the east and particularly in the Donbass region is still taking place. This part of the country is now separated from the rest of Ukraine by the wall of Russian soldiers on the eastern side and the Ukrainian army on the other.

The Donbass region now calls itself Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), and is an unrecognised state which is trying to prove that it is part of Russia by, for example, introducing Russian currency and a Russian educational system. But instead of bringing the desirable changes that pro-Russian Ukrainians had hoped for, it only brings new difficulties to the lives of the citizens in the region. Students with DPR diplomas are not able to study anywhere else and get a decent job because these diplomas are not recognised by any other city or country. Inflation increased and a lot of products are completely unavailable as military intervention is stopping imports. And still, people are dying every day due to violence in the region.

Today, the political situation is changing, but not in the right way. For example, over the last few weeks mayoral elections have taken place across Ukraine, but due to the pro-Russian insurgency in the east, this democratic process did not occur in Donbass. However, the results of the mayoral elections have been a source of controversy. The capital region of Kiev remained with its previous mayor, Klitschko, who in the past was a professional boxer and was not the best candidate. Klitschko has focused his time in office to further ready the Ukrainian capital for European integration. But why is he spending money on things that are of secondary importance, while Donbass is still under the fire of machine guns? The only thing we can do as individuals is watch, wait, and pray for Donbass.

 

Original image by Lisa Timoshchenko

James Routledge 2016