Vladimir Putin, gay bashing dictator extraordinaire of Russia, has far too much influence on the entire ex-Soviet region of Eastern Europe. Enter in Ukraine, who has said, "enough is enough. We want to make ourselves better." Many Ukrainians have been excited at the prospects of being entered into the European Union and finally becoming partners with the rest of Europe. The idea of democratically elected leaders and an improvement of their economic prospects has brightened the minds of many Ukrainians. Now a former bloc nation could be the poster child of what happens when you shun Kremlin influence in favor of a better future.
Well, that was until the president of Ukraine, President Viktor Yanukovich, bowing to Kremlin pressures, and deflected his country's attempts at integrating into the European Union, and instead opted to appease Russia. This has angered thousands and thousands of Ukrainians, who took to the streets of Kiev this week to make their voices heard. Estimated numbers of this past weekends protests have ranged for 600,000 people upwards towards a million angry Ukrainians. The opposition movement in the Ukrainian government, led by politicians with ties to Moscow, tried, but failed miserably, to crash the government yesterday in hopes of dashing any hope of Ukraine advancing its movement towards European inclusion. But so far, it doesn't look like it's going to happen.
To understand where this is urge at a release from Russia's grips is coming from, it's important to start at the fall of communism in 1989. The Soviet Union had no economic system in place to help cushion the blow of its collapse, and the former soviet bloc has yet to recover. The trouble is that Russia is set on never allowing any nation who wants to improve itself economically to do so, as it refuses to give up its power in the entire region. And this affects not only Ukraine, but other former soviet nations like Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Latvia, Moldova, etc. These are nations are run by corrupt, Stalin-like, despotic leaders and it's only a matter of time until the people, sickened by their governments, follow Ukraine's lead.
What's happening in Ukraine is too important to ignore. President Yanukovich and Vladimir Putin are enemies of democracy. They're holding their nations back from advancing into the future and I can only hope that the rest of Eastern Europe follows suit. Putin may think he's powerful, but he's useless against the voices of millions.