A Recap of the World Press

Headlines about Ukraine

Envious of Ukraine, Russians are circulating this satirical map of Russia” says The Washington Post. On Monday Jan 27, 2014 it printed a satirical map of Russian protesters’ “seizures of power” –a spin off of Ukrainian maps swathed in red.

Moscow — Since Ukraine’s protests began, with various constituencies struggling for the country’s future, maps offering to explain the crisis have been flashing through the Web. One shows where local citizens have risen up to seize government offices; another depicts where the dominant Party of Regions, affiliated with President Viktor Yanukovych, has been banned; a third points out the division between Russian speakers in the east and Ukrainian speakers in the west. One of many social media user-made maps of Ukrainian protests. Overtaken regions are marked in red. (see maps http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/01/27/envious-of-ukraine-russians-are-circulating-this-satirical-map-of-russia/ )

Now, Russian social media users are circulating a satire of the Ukraine maps with their own “map” explaining Russia. Russian activists have been feeling abashed and envious about the degree to which Ukrainians have been standing up to authorities and demanding their say, first about integrating more with Europe, then refusing to accept laws restricting freedom of speech and assembly. Russians may wish their own protests had been more robust, enduring and successful, but they haven’t lost their sense of humor.

You’ll notice that, unlike the Ukraine maps that are awash in red to indicate protests that have seized local administrative buildings, the Russia map has none at all. In Russia, protests against election fraud and President Vladimir Putin’s authoritarianism began in December 2011 but dissipated by late summer 2012.

A story entitled “Ukraine Protests Spread as Overture Is Spurned” appeared in print on January 27, 2014, on page A8 of the New York Times.

Kyiv, Ukraine — After President Viktor F. Yanukovych failed to defuse Ukraine’s political crisis by offering concessions to opposition leaders, antigovernment protests spread on Sunday into southern and eastern Ukraine, the heart of the embattled president’s political base.

About 1,500 demonstrators gathered outside the regional administration building in Dnipropetrovsk, where there were reports of scuffling with the police, while some 5,000 rallied in Zaporizhzhya, and 2,000 marched and rallied in Odesa, local news media reported.

The growing unrest — in parts of the country that are most supportive of Mr. Yanukovych’s pro-Russia policies and where there had been little sympathy for the protest movement — raised the prospect of widening violence and deepening political chaos while conditions in Kyiv, the capital, continued to deteriorate.

In Dnipropetrovsk, in the southeast, the authorities said that they had arrested 37 protesters for disorderly conduct and that 18 police officers had suffered injuries. There were similar reports of arrests and injuries in Zaporizhzhya, another southeastern city where demonstrators sought to lay siege to the regional administration building and were held off by police officers who used tear gas and stun grenades.

In Kyiv, antigovernment forces late Sunday night occupied a main Justice Ministry building, adding to the portfolio of properties under their control and following through on a pledge to continue — and even step up — protests regardless of Mr. Yanukovych’s proposed concessions.

The seizure of the Justice Ministry reinforced a growing sense that the authorities were losing control of the city, and that the riot police and other Interior Ministry troops were outnumbered and perhaps overwhelmed. Protesters have long occupied Kyiv’s City Hall and several other buildings near the occupied Independence Square. In recent days they also took control of an Agriculture Ministry building and briefly seized the Energy Ministry before voluntarily pulling back. After a fierce battle on Saturday night, they ousted a large number of police from Ukrainian House, a public conference center and exhibition hall.

The Wall Street Journal printed a story titled Ukrainian President Criticizes “Radicals” on pg A10 after stories of violence in Syria on A6 and Egypt on A1. The colour picture featured Orthodox priests praying between antigovernment protesters and police lines in central Kyiv.

KYIV, Ukraine—President Viktor Yanukovych pledged to stop “radicals” who have been protesting against his regime for more than two months, even as he outlined limited potential concessions Friday that appear unlikely to appease antigovernment protesters camped in the main square here.

At a meeting with religious leaders Friday, Mr. Yanukovych said: “We’ll stop radicals. I hope we manage in an amicable way. If not, we’ll use all legal means.”

Antigovernment protesters in Ukraine stormed and occupied the offices of key government buildings Thursday night, including the regional administration office in the city of Ternopil. Photo: Associated Press.

Demonstrations, which have drawn hundreds of thousands, began two months ago after Mr. Yanukovych shelved an integration pact with the European Union. They developed into a broader outcry against official corruption and police violence.

Mr. Yanukovych outlined an offer made to opposition leaders at a meeting the night before, including a potential amnesty for some detained protesters, some changes in the government and adjustments to laws passed last week that sharply restrict dissent.

But protesters whistled to opposition leaders who announced the offer from the stage on the square early Friday morning, cheering when asked if they wanted to withdraw from negotiations with the president.

Protesters then occupied the Agriculture Ministry and threw up fresh barricades, expanding the area they are occupying. Many on the square said they are deeply skeptical that Mr. Yanukovych can be trusted, and believe he is preparing for an even-more-violent crackdown.

Numerous news feeds, twitter, Facebook and internet blog sources reported early Monday January 27, 2014 that the Ukrainian government is considering imposing emergency measures or martial law but the situation was diffused after protesters vacated the occupied Ministry of Justice building. But it looks like the Yanukowych regime is still considering passing individual sections of legislation from the emergency measures /martial law package such as legislation banning certain internet web sites.

State of emergency?

Kyiv, Ukraine - Justice Minister Elena Lukash said she would ask for a state of emergency to be declared if protesters did not leave the ministry building they seized overnight. Protesters left the building in Kyiv in the afternoon but continued to picket outside.

CNN reports that “Canada is ready to host refugees from Ukraine”

Toronto, Canada - 27 January, CNN iReport - Canada will “do the right things” when people who have been prosecuted approach it for protection, said Chris Alexander, Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. “We are prepared to welcome people as refugees under our very generous and now reformed determination system. Ukraine is always in our thoughts when it comes to immigration issues in Canada. And yes, we will do the right things when people who have been prosecuted approach us for protection.”

Ukraine inches back from the brink ahead of parliament session” writes Neil Buckley and Roman Olearchyk in Kyiv in the Financial Times of London.

Ukraine on Monday, January 27, 2014 edged away from a threatened state of emergency after protesters left a seized government building, as parliament prepared for an emergency session on Tuesday that could be a last chance to prevent the country from sliding into chaos. With protests against president Viktor Yanukovych spreading across the 46m-strong country, his justice minister threatened early on Monday to call for a state of emergency unless radical protesters left a justice ministry building they had stormed overnight. Members of the radical group, Spilna Sprava, or Common Cause, withdrew from the building hours later. But the group warned it “reserved the right to seize all government buildings” if the authorities did not halt what it called a campaign of “persecution, intimidation, abductions and murder” of protesters. There were no violent clashes in the capital on Monday. But video footage from eastern cities in Mr Yanukovich’s political heartland showed protesters attempting to seize government buildings being brutally beaten by riot police and unidentified youths.

The spreading violence has left Europe’s second largest country by area on a knife-edge, two months after protests broke out over Mr Yanukovych’s decision to accept a Russian bailout rather than sign an integration agreement with the EU. In a letter to the Financial Times, senior business and political figures urged “west and east” to put aside recriminations over Mr Yanukovich’s decision and “work together to prevent a disaster in Ukraine”.

Compiled by Walter Derzko