DONETSK, Ukraine — In
March, a series of pro-Russian rallies swept through Donetsk.
also took place in other southern and eastern oblast capitals in Ukraine. All
of them followed similar scripts: people with Russian flags stormed buildings
of regional state administrations, and, in the event of success, raised Russian
flags over them. In Russia and among pro-Russian activists in Ukraine these
events were called the Russian Spring.
to participants, these assaults represented the “activation of Russian-speaking
citizens of Ukraine in their fight for the preservation of their language.”
Although Russian is widely spoken in many places in Ukraine, and ethnic
Russians make up 17 percent of Ukraine’s population, the demonstrators say the
government in Kyiv is threatening their language and culture.