It’s been three years since the three months that shook Ukraine — and got the attention of the rest of the world. The EuroMaidan Revolution succeeded in getting a corrupt president to leave power, but so far has not succeeded in removing corruption from Ukraine. President Viktor Yanukovych fled power on Feb. 22, 2014, and is a fugitive from mass murder and large-scale crimes in Ukraine. He left an empty state treasury. When officials started adding up the losses through theft, they came to $40 billion. A good contingent of his top aides and ministers are also fugitives living abroad.
Despite the myths and Kremlin propaganda, Ukrainians and others who lived through the revolution know that it was a broad-based movement in which most in society were galvanized by the same goal: toppling the kleptocratic administration that people no longer could live under.
The trigger point was Yanukovych’s refusal to sign a political and economic association agreement with the European Union and to turn eastward to Moscow for political and financial support.
The revolution became a turning point in a nation. It is often said that one of the achievements was to put people in charge of politicians rather than the reverse that had been Ukraine’s reality for most of its 25 years of national independence.
But Ukraine paid a heavy price for its break from the Kremlin-backed Yanukovych. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who doesn’t regard Ukraine as an independent nation, launched an invasion of the Crimean peninsula five days after Yanukovych fled. He easily retook the peninsula and annexed the territory a month later. The theft is not recognized by most of the international community, although the chances of return to Ukrainian control are slim at the moment.
Russia then made violent attempts to destabilize southeastern Ukraine, but found solid footing only in the southeast portion of the Donbas oblasts of Donetsk and Luhansk. After fierce fighting, the war has settled into a stalemate of sorts after 10,000 people were killed and more than 1 million people forced to flee. Germany and France have taken the lead in peace negotiations that appear to be going nowhere at the moment.
The EuroMaidan Revolution and Russia’s war has shown the world that Ukraine is ready to fight — against corrupt rules and against foreign invaders to defend its nation..