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You're reading: Anders Aslund: Euro revolution in Ukraine

On November 29, Yanukovych was supposed to sign the European Association Agreement in Vilnius, but, partly because of pressure from Russia, he failed to sign any document whatsoever in spite of good will from the European Union (EU). The opposition instantly cried treason and is asking for his impeachment and the sacking of the government under Prime Minister Mykola Azarov.

The situation took a turn for the worse at 4:00 a.m. on November 30, when riot police cleaned out 300 demonstrators legally holding the fort at the Independence Square. Thirty-five were injured and 31 detained, although no demonstrator is even accused of having resisted. The official reason for the cleansing of the square was to raise a Christmas tree. Yanukovych lamented the violence, without really blaming the police, while the minister of interior apologized for having used excessive force.

Three developments then occurred simultaneously. First, the opposition called for massive peaceful demonstrations and had hundreds of thousands of people out in the street on Sunday, and they succeeded in retaking Independence Square. The main slogans are now “The boar (Yanukovych) to the (Christmas) tree!” “Down with the gang!” “We do not forgive!” and “Revolution!” Interestingly, the EU ambassador and nine ambassadors from EU countries (notably, Poland, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Sweden, and Finland) joined the demonstration, clearly on orders from their capitals. The United States, the European Union, and various EU countries have condemned the violent action against peaceful and legal demonstrators. Major demonstrators are continuing in 29 big cities in Ukraine. Nobody loves the European Union more than the Ukrainians.

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