California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    Ukraine tensions remain unsettled

    On Feb. 18, violence broke out in Ukraine, leaving 77 people dead and 600 wounded, according to BBC. What started as peaceful protests at the Independence Square in central Kiev turned into what some might call a revolution.

    These riots have been devastating for both the people and  the government in Ukraine.

    What some may not know is that the riots are actually a result of the issues that have been building in Ukraine for years. In November 2012, the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Victor Yanukovych refused to sign an agreement with the European Union, deciding instead to reconcile its ties with Russia.

    Michaela Reaves, a California Lutheran University professor who has a doctorate in history, believes that the situation in Ukraine has been volatile for some time now.

    “I think the somewhat gloating attitude the U.S. displayed when the USSR collapsed probably did not sit well with former KGB members, like Putin,” Reaves said. “In the 90’s, the western powers were more than willing to ally with the newly independent former- Soviet Republics. Expanding NATO looks good from the Western point of view, but not from Russia’s standpoint.”

    Ukraine gained its independence after the downfall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Over the past 20 years, the country has since tried to find its way and repair ties with its neighbor Russia, but has struggled to make a smooth transition to become an independent state.

    After Communist party member Leonid Kravchuk became the first president of Ukraine, there was a sudden economic decline and inflation. Leonid Kuchma, who became the second president of the country, was able to help it thrive economically, but was criticized for having Russian economic interest at heart.

    The events currently taking place in Ukraine are similar to those of other countries in the past. Let’s not forget the protests against the Shah of Iran in 1979 due to the oppression his people felt he was causing or the French Revolution of 1792 where King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette were executed for causing an economic depression.

    There seems to be a common theme in this cycle: the government does not fully serve its people, the people get angry, they protest, a revolution begins and a new system is put in place. Although history has shown that the people do not always end up 100 percent satisfied with the new system, it does not seem to stop them from continuing the cycle over and over again.

    The people of Ukraine have a right to speak up if they are being misrepresented by their government and to try and silence their voices is immoral and unethical.

    “In the last thirty years, the way that maps had been drawn in the 20th century has led to several wars. The break-up of the former Yugoslavia is one example, the attempt by Saddam Hussein to retake Kuwait in 1990 is another and, of course, the ongoing dispute between Israel and Palestine.  For the U.S. and its allies, the issue becomes one of ‘appeasement’ like Munich or reigniting the Cold War,” Reaves said.

    History seems to repeat itself and the events occurring in Ukraine are no exception.

    Junior Louis Moehlman agrees that the situation in Ukraine seems a little too familiar.

    “I honestly feel that it’s a revitalization of the Cold War, that its something that the Cold War didn’t end,” Moehlman said.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, visited Kiev, Ukraine on March 4 to offer $1 billion in American aid.

    According to the New York Times, a Ukrainian woman told Kerry, “We hope Russian troops will leave Crimea, and we also hope for your assistance,” to which Kerry replied “We are trying very hard. We hope Russia will respect the election that you have.”

    Although it might not admit it, the U.S. tends to consistently get involved in the business of other countries. Getting involved in the controversies occurring in Ukraine is probably not the best move to make politically as it can cause a huge amount of problems, one of the main ones being war.

    “Like with the Cold War, I think there have been missed opportunities and an inability on the part of the U.S. to understand the Russian viewpoint.  We were too obsessed with winning the Cold War. Many of the events in the world are very reminiscent of the events a century ago that led to the Thirty Years War with Germany,” Reaves said.

    Junior Maxie Jones will be studying abroad in Prague in the coming fall semester, which is located in the Czech Republic very close to Ukraine, and is afraid that the current issues may have a huge affect on her plans.

    “I plan to study abroad in the fall in Prague [Czech- Republic] and with the current events happening in the Ukraine, I’m concerned that if the situation was to elevate, that the affiliate program will have to implement limitations that would otherwise not have to be put into effect,” Jones said.

    Jones plans to keep up to date with the events happening to assure that she personally feels comfortable with studying abroad in a country that is so close to the controversies.

    One of the biggest questions in play is whether or not these riots will lead to another world war and if more countries continue to meddle in the affairs of others, war may come.

    What exactly is to come with Ukraine is still unknown. Whether these protests turn into another world war, or are resolved, still remains to be seen. What is certain, however, is that the Ukrainian government needs to focus on the well-being of its people above all else.


    Natalie Kalamdaryan
    Staff Writer
    Published March 12, 2014