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You're reading: Chris Berger: A European story

Exactly one year later, Ukrainians are now fighting at that very same
place, the Independence Square, for the future of their country. Initially
starting as a pro-European movement, the EuroMaidan protests have now become an uprising against the human rights violations of the current
government, restrictive press policies, crippling corruption and the steep
divide between poor and rich.    

The Ukrainian economy is stagnant. Real income remains low, infrastructure investments
are long overdue, health-, social- and pension reforms are urgently needed as
is an entire overhaul of the electoral laws. Moreover has bribery and
corruption become such an integral part of Ukrainian society, that it is as
commonplace as paying one’s utilities bill. Starting with the compulsory bribe
at the border when entering Ukraine, the bribe for simply being seen by a
doctor or the bribe to “expedite” certain administrative processes.

According to the Migration Policy Centre some 5.3 million
Ukrainians have tried their luck abroad and thus emigrated. Around 153,000 of
these live, study and work currently in Germany. Instead of living their life detached from Ukrainian society and current affairs, however, numerous of
protest movements have formed in towns such as Berlin, Hamburg, Munich,
Dresden, Frankfurt, Stuttgart etc. in order to show solidarity with the
protester in Kyiv.  

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