Some say it’s all about Ukraine’s direction – West vs. Russia. Others say people are fed up with endless corruption and Yanukovych’s use of state power to enrich his friends and family. Others say it’s about the future (embodied by young, Internet-savvy, multilingual activists born in the 1980s and 1990s) vs. the past (those born in the 1970s or much earlier who want to hang on to the vestiges of the Soviet system). Still more say it’s all about creating rule of law, human rights and democratic institutions.
Actually, the protest is happening for all these reasons. Those who stand on the sidelines in this great national awakening are wrong when they say that nothing will change and that street actions and social movements don’t accomplish anything.
The movement has accomplished much, such as showing the world the true nature of Yanukovych’s leadership. Still, there are reasons for hope. At this point, Yanukovych may be forced to change or forced to resign. Mercifully, he shows no appetite for the murderous violence that silenced many peaceful demonstrations in other ex-Soviet republics.