Ukraine’s Euromaidan Protests Begin – The Revolution of Dignity: An American led Coup d’etat

Independence Square

Article by: Borislaw Bilash II

In November 2013, President Viktor Yanukovych announced that Ukraine was suspending pursuit of the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement for which the country had been preparing for since 2008.  The announcement led to the largest peaceful protests seen at the Maidan in Kyiv since the Orange Revolution of 2004.

On November 30, 2013, at 4:00 a.m., as the protests dwindled, the Berkut Special Police forcefully dispersed a few hundred student-aged protesters who remained at the square, beating some with truncheons. The Ukrainian government provoked the violence by busing in thousands of plain-clothed goons and infiltrated the crowd with agents provocateurs to instigate violence and retaliation against the peaceful protesters. In the following months to come Ukrainians found numerous photos of Russian servicemen and soldiers wearing Ukrainian police and Special Forces uniforms. Rubber bullets were illegally replaced with real bullets by the enforcement police killing hundreds. Hours later, Maidan was filled with hundreds of thousands of people and Kiev’s central square had become the Revolutionary headquarters and a war zone.

The following day, December 1st, over 1 million protesters demonstrated in Kiev, demanding justice for the violent police crackdown on what was a peaceful protest at Independence Square. The assembled were less focused on the EU Agreement and more on anti-corruption. The crowd demanded the resignation of president Yanukovych.

In the early weeks of these protests, the government attempted to forcefully disperse the crowd but to no avail.  The more the government pushed, the more people would show up to push back.  The government paid street hooligans, called “titushkas”, to attack protesters, kidnap activists and journalists and create general chaos throughout Kyiv, while the corrupt police turned a blind eye to these hooligans.

“March of the millions” on Maidan. 1 Dec 2014

As the days went on, more people from all corners of the country arrived in Kyiv. There was no single leader organizing the protest.  In all, upwards of forty grassroots groups spontaneously came together having identified with each other and rallying around a common goal: it was time for Ukraine to rid itself of corruption.

A city of tents was erected in the Maidan and along the streets leading to it (see photos here). People organized themselves into sub-units, mainly based on areas of Ukraine from where they came. A perimeter was established with barricades erected to keep the Berkut Police at bay. A self-defense patrol called Samo-borona was established, its rules and discipline were based upon the Kozak (“Cossack”) traditions of Ukraine.  It was widely believed that at the time, there was no safer place in Ukraine than the Maidan.  A large stage similar to one used at rock concerts was erected in its center.  The stage was active 24 hours a day.  Every day after work hours, people gathered to hear the speeches of community activists as well as politicians who supported the movement. Musical & cultural artists kept the crowd entertained and in good spirits day and night. The largest crowds numbering in the hundreds of thousands gathered every Sunday afternoon.

On December 11, 2013, hundreds of policemen and Special Forces units attack the protesters camp “Euromaidan”, however, thousands of Kyiv citizens rushed to help in the city center, despite the freezing temperatures, -10°C (14°F). People stood shoulder to shoulder, holding back the attackers and protecting the Maidan territory, not allowing the camp to be destroyed. In order to discredit the national protest movement, authorities started organizing actions against Maidan. “Anti-Maidan” was created: people were brought to Kyiv, most of them were either paid or threatened with loss of employment. More “Titushky” were employed to provoke clashes.

By this time multiple instances of kidnappings and attacks on the activists had occurred. Thugs were brought to Kyiv to destabilize the situation on the streets – they were burning cars, mugging and threatening people. To fight the growing criminal chaos, the citizens organized special communities, including “Auto Maidan”. Russian servicemen were known to be secretly taking part in the clashes, dressed in Ukrainian police uniforms. Such actions were against the laws of Ukraine.

The police captured and humiliated the protesters by beating them up, undressing them, and forcing them to be photographed naked in freezing temperatures. Several people died and hundreds were injured in the clashes because of brutal, illegal actions of the police. When the confrontation arose on Hrushevskyi street, the authorities started organizing assassinations and kidnappings of the injured from hospitals. After several days of clashes the police retreated. Euromaidan announced it would stay until all previously specified demands were met.

On January 16th, at Yanukovych’s demand, the corruption-laden parliament rammed through a series of anti-protest laws that came with severe penalties, making the country a de facto dictatorship.  For example, the penalty for blocking the entrance to a government building during a protest was six years in jail. The Deputies made it illegal to express alternative ideas or points of view by implementing censoring of the internet and obligatory registration of websites. SIM-cards were to be sold only on the presentation of an ID card. The  bill was passed thanks to a pro-presidential majority in the parliament, which consisted of Communists and Party of Regions’ members, who passed the bill without even reading it. The laws were nearly identical to those introduced in Russia after the Bolotnyana Protests of 2012.

The citizens refused to give up their constitutional rights and freedoms, and rose in rebellion against the tyranny. Hrushevskyi Street, located next to the buildings of the Government of Ukraine and Verkhovna Rada, became a battleground for protesters and the police. Firearms, stun-and-smoke grenades, and even armored fighting vehicles were used by the police and Special Forces units.

Riots on Hrushevskoho. Protesters burn tires to form a smoke screen. Photo: S.Morhunov

Three politicians emerged as the main interlocutors that negotiated on behalf of the protesters on the Maidan with President Yanukovych to end the standoff.  They were: Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Vitali Klitschko and Oleh Tyahnybok. Their function in the crisis was unique.  The crowd did not consider the trio their leaders.  Instead, the three adopted the role of messengers between the Maidan and President Yanukovych. Each negotiation was considered fruitless, especially due to the fact that the foremost demand of the protesters was for Yanukovych to resign and he would not.  Parallel negotiations between the Yanukovych government and European and US diplomats also took place with similar results.

The anti-protest laws infuriated the population, leading to a group of protesters to march out of the Maidan in the direction of the Parliament on 19 January 2014.  These protesters were met on vul. Hrushevskoho street by the Berkut Police, transforming the peaceful Euromaidan protest into the infamous vul Hrushevskoho Riots. Following the killing of the first protesters by shots fired by the Berkut Police, negotiations continued and some of the anti-protest laws were rolled back.  More negotiations and mass rallies continued through the month of February. But as before, what President Yanukovych offered was all but rejected by the Maidan. Protesters and activists continued to be kidnapped and murdered by government agents and Titushkas.

In the third week in February, protesters began a peaceful march through the streets of Kyiv but were met by Berkut officers throwing stun grenades and firing at them from rooftops. Berkut officers and Titushkas beat protesters with truncheons.  More protesters were killed.  The bloodiest day of the protests occurred on February 20, 2013,  when government snipers perched on rooftops shot and killed 67 protesters who were armed with wooden clubs and shields made from sheet metal or wood.The massacre was filmed by professional and amateur journalists and widely distributed on the Internet.  

In all, more than 100 protesters died at the hands of the government and thousands more were injured.  President Poroshenko claims there is evidence that Putin’s aid, Vladislav Surkov organized and directed a team of foreign snipers that killed the protesters on the Maidan.  The Ukrainian security chief later admits that the sniper attacks which started the Ukrainian coup were carried out in order to frame others. Ukrainian officials admit that the Ukrainian snipers fired on both sides, to create maximum chaos and confessed that they were under orders from Coup leaders to shoot both police AND protesters.

These peaceful protesters against a tyrannical government sought change and were left to fight against paid snipers and yes-men police, who fired upon them even as they were collecting the injured,  with only sticks and stones. And many fall for the propaganda to turn in our privilege of protecting ourselves with guns because we think our government is not corrupt?

By February 22, the shock created by that bloodshed had prompted a mass defection by the president’s allies in Parliament and prodded Yanukovych to join negotiations.The stand-off grew increasingly tense as the world was preoccupied with the Olympics taking place in Sochi, Russia. It was widely believed that Russia had a strong hand in whatever was occurring in Ukraine following its independence in 1991.  For this reason, there was concern that once the Olympics were over, Russia would overtly intervene in the crisis.  

President Yanukovych, European diplomats and the interlocutors of the Maidan scrambled to draft an agreement that would put an end to the crisis.  Instead of resignation, the agreement included a clause that would accelerate the date of the next presidential election.  The agreement was angrily rejected by the crowd gathered at the Maidan mourning the lives of the “Heavenly Hundred,” as those who perished are now known. An ultimatum was declared giving Yanukovych until morning to resign.  Meanwhile, his own security cameras recorded Yanukovych packing up his estate in preparation for fleeing the country.  Once it was discovered that Yanukovych had fled, parliament was called into session and formally removed him from office.

Parliament then meticulously proceeded to reorganize the cabinet, with votes being unanimous or nearly so.  Parliament appointed Oleksandr Turchenov was as acting president while Arseniy Yatsenyuk was appointed prime minister.  Parliament voted to revert to the 2004 constitution, with Ukraine as a parliamentary republic, in which the prime minister and the parliament had more power than the president.  New presidential elections were called for May 25, 2014. The Euromaidan Protests are now known as the Revolution of Dignity as it was always about ridding the nation of corruption.

American Coup

Ukraine’s former security chief, Aleksandr Yakimenko, has reported that the coup-plotters who overthrew the elected government in Ukraine, “basically lived in the (U.S.) Embassy.  They were there every day.”  We also know from a leaked Russian intercept that they were in close contact with Ambassador Pyatt and the senior U.S. official in charge of the coup, former Dick Cheney aide Victoria Nuland, officially the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.  And we can assume that many of their days in the Embassy were spent in strategy and training sessions with their individual CIA case officers.

George Soros told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in May 2014 he is responsible for establishing a foundation in Ukraine that ultimately contributed to the overthrow of the country’s elected leader and the installation of a junta handpicked by the State Department. “First on Ukraine, one of the things that many people recognized about you was that you during the revolutions of 1989 funded a lot of dissident activities, civil society groups in eastern Europe and Poland, the Czech Republic. Are you doing similar things in Ukraine?” Zakaria asked Soros.

“Well, I set up a foundation in Ukraine before Ukraine became independent of Russia. And the foundation has been functioning ever since and played an important part in events now,” Soros responded.

It is well-known, although forbidden for the establishment media to mention, that Soros worked closely with USAID, the National Endowment for Democracy (now doing work formerly assigned to the CIA), the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the Freedom House, and the Albert Einstein Institute to initiate a series of color revolutions in Eastern Europe and Central Asia following the engineered collapse of the Soviet Union.

“Many of the participants in Kiev’s ‘EuroMaidan’ demonstrations were members of Soros-funded NGOs and/or were trained by the same NGOs in the many workshops and conferences sponsored by Soros’ International Renaissance Foundation (IRF), and his various Open Society institutes and foundations. The IRF, founded and funded by Soros, boasts that it has given ‘more than any other donor organization’ to ‘democratic transformation’ of Ukraine,” writes William F. Jasper.

This transformation led to fascist ultra-nationalists controlling Ukraine’s security services. In April it was announced Andriy Parubiy and other coup leaders were working with the FBI and CIA to defeat and murder separatists opposed to the junta government installed by Victoria Nuland and the State Department. Parubiy is the founder of a national socialist party in Ukraine and currently the boss of the country’s National Security and Defense Council.

To place the coup in Ukraine in historical context, this is at least the 80th time the United States has organized a coup or a failed coup in a foreign country since 1953.  That was when President Eisenhower discovered in Iran that the CIA could overthrow elected governments who refused to sacrifice the future of their people to Western commercial and geopolitical interests.  Most U.S. coups have led to severe repression, disappearances, extrajudicial executions, torture, corruption, extreme poverty and inequality, and prolonged setbacks for the democratic aspirations of people in the countries affected.  The plutocratic and ultra-conservative nature of the forces the U.S. has brought to power in Ukraine make it unlikely to be an exception.

Billionaire investor/activist George Soros has, over the past couple of decades, poured tens of millions of dollars into Ukrainian non-governmental organizations (NGOs), ostensibly to assist them in transforming their country into a more “open” and “democratic” society. Many of the participants in Kiev’s “EuroMaidan” demonstrations were members of Soros-funded NGOs and/or were trained by the same NGOs in the many workshops and conferences sponsored by Soros’ International Renaissance Foundation (IRF), and his various Open Society institutes and foundations. The IRF, founded and funded by Soros, boasts that it has given “more than any other donor organization” to “democratic transformation” of Ukraine.

The International Renaissance Foundation’s Annual Report for 2012, the latest available, states that, “IRF provided UAH 63 million in funding to civil society organizations — more than any other donor organization working in this field in Ukraine.” The “UAH” reference used above refers to the Ukraine Hryvnia, Ukraine’s currency, which is worth about 0.11 $US, or 11 cents in U.S. currency. That translates into roughly $6.7 million that IRF provided to Ukrainian groups in 2012; not a huge sum, by comparison to many other political and social campaigns, but more than merely “significant.” In the cash-starved Ukraine, Soros’s dollars go a long way toward seducing and co-opting all legitimate political opposition into the Soros-approved “progressive” camp.

According to the IRF’s own website, this one Soros conduit funneled over $100 million into Ukrainian NGOs over the years:

Over the period from 1990 to 2010 the International Renaissance Foundation provided more than $100 million in support to numerous Ukrainian non-government organizations (NGOs), community groups, academic and cultural institutions, publishing houses, etc.

The IRF website and annual reports make clear that the Soros funds are targeted at promoting Ukrainian “partnership” with, and “integration” into, the EU. Soros has provided many millions more through his other “philanthropic” spigots. However, Soros’ influence in Ukraine extends far beyond the traceable funding he provides to activist Ukrainian NGOs, academics and think tanks. Equally, if not more, important is the influence he exerts on global opinion through his massive propaganda network (including Project Syndicate and other Soros megaphones) and his direct personal contacts with presidents, prime ministers, parliamentarians, central bankers, media executives, and Wall Street titans.

In a February 26 column he penned for Project Syndicate that was carried by hundreds of newspapers and websites, Soros argued that the EU and the IMF must initiate a new Marshall Plan for Ukraine, meaning, of course, transfers of money from EU and U.S. taxpayers to the politicians, organizations, and institutions approved by the globalist/socialist/corporatist operatives running the EU and IMF. Perhaps the key point in Soros’ essay, entitled, “Sustaining Ukraine’s Breakthrough,” is this: “Ukraine will need outside assistance that only the EU can provide: management expertise.”

George Soros is all about management by “experts,” i.e., central planning, the hallmark of every socialist, fascist, or communist regime. In fact, he is one of the planet’s premier advocates of global central planning and control. Hence, he is a longtime fervent supporter of the United Nations, the IMF/World Bank, the WTO, global population control through the WHO and UNFPA, and virtually every other internationalist endeavor to subvert national sovereignty and advance the building of an omnipotent world government.

His fetish with internationalism includes, especially, further enlarging and empowering the EU, which has been the prime subject of concern in books and essays by Soros, as well as many of his speeches and media interviews. Soros is a full-blown proponent of total political and economic “integration” of the EU, meaning a complete annihilation of any residual independence of the EU member states and the transfer of all substantive legislative, executive, and judicial powers to EU politicians and administrators in Brussels.

Over the past several years Soros has been particularly emphatic in pushing for a central EU Treasury, or European Fiscal Authority (EFA), which he says is “the missing ingredient that is needed to make the euro a full-fledged currency with a genuine lender of last resort.” The European Central Bank (ECB), says Soros, has insufficient powers to do what is needed, even though he admits it has illegally usurped powers — which he applauds.

When European Central Bank President Mario Draghi (a former Goldman Sachs vice chairman and managing director) announced on August 1, 2012 that the ECB would “do whatever it takes to preserve the euro as a stable currency,” German Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann objected, pointing out that the ECB’s powers are limited by statute. Nevertheless, Draghi forged ahead, promising that the ECB would make unlimited purchases of government bonds of indebted EU members — provided they put their countries under the control of executors from “the Troika” — the EU Commission, ECB and IMF. This is the same Troika that devastated the citizens of Cyprus last year, raiding their bank accounts to pay off the bonds that socialist politicians and Goldman Sachs had saddled them with. But Soros, whose many “human rights” fronts extol the “rule of law,” “accountability,” and “transparency,” says that the lawless and unaccountable Troika does not have enough power! It must be complemented by an EFA, says he, which should exercise power over all fiscal matters.

The IMF’s Managing Director Christine Lagarde and EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso (a “former” Maoist Communist) have already lined up a multi-billion package for Ukraine. However, many Ukrainians, all across the political spectrum, are leery of coming under the Troika’s control, and rightfully so. They do not want to trade the corruption and oppression of Yanukovych’s pro-Kremlin regime for another dictated by the EU and IMF. As we pointed out recently, even the poll commissioned by the U.S. State Department found that only 37 percent of Ukrainians favored joining the EU.

Economist Michael Roberts describes himself on his blogsite as “a Marxist economist.” Nevertheless, Roberts is on the mark in his February 27 column in stating: “The people of Ukraine are left with Hobson’s choice: either go with KGB-led crony capitalism from Russia or go with equally corrupt pro-European ‘democrats’.” He is also correct in asserting that Ukraine’s foreign debt will soon double, if it takes IMF loans, and that the Ukrainian people will burdened with crushing debt for a generation. He writes:

Ukraine could still stage a financial meltdown and a banking collapse. More likely, the new government will be helped over the next few months with bridging loans until the IMF deal is struck. Then the hardship for the people will really begin in earnest. Ukraine’s foreign debt is about to double as it takes on new debt from the IMF and the cost of existing dollar and euro debt jumps as the hyrvnia is devalued. This burden will be on shoulders of Ukrainians for a generation.

Only it could double several times over, and it could burden Ukrainians for much longer than a generation; it could fasten them with debt bondage in perpetuity. Bosnian writer Andrej Nikolaidis warns Ukrainians that massive debt and grinding poverty under Troika-managed regime are to be expected. “It hardly comes as a surprise to us in former Yugoslavia,” writes Nikolaidis. “At the beginning of its dissolution, the Yugoslav foreign debt was £9.5bn; today, after all the ‘help’ we got from the troika, it’s more than £107bn.” He continues:

Bosnia today is a poor and divided country, even more so than it was back in 1992. Former soldiers, hungry and sick, are gathering and protesting. “While we were bleeding, they were stealing,” says one… Some Bosnians saw their future under the Bosnian and EU flag, others under the Croatian and EU flag, and others still under the flag of The Great Serbia. Lots of flags, but only one poverty for all.

But why must Ukraine formally join either the EU or the Kremlin-sponsored Customs Union? Are those the only options? Is it not possible for Ukraine to adopt a neutral position of independence and peaceful trade with both sides? Would not such a position be best for all concerned? From the available polling, it seems that may be the view of a plurality, if not a majority, of Ukrainians.

Ukraine’s huge network of natural gas pipelines not only supplies much-needed Russian-produced gas to EU countries, but also is the source of vital revenues to Russia from that energy delivery system. The peoples of Russia, Ukraine, and the EU benefit from a stable, peaceful, neutral Ukraine; forcing Ukrainians into choosing one or the other camp benefits no one — except the power-mad rulers of Russia and the EU, and their globalist confreres.

Why then, should Americans take direction from George Soros, Barack Obama, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, the New York TimesWashington Post, CNN, John McCain and other internationalist voices who insist it is Ukraine that must “choose” … but the only choice considered acceptable and legitimate to the globalist choir is for Ukraine to join the EU?  Soros and his huge stable of “public intellectuals” at Project Syndicate have been flooding the global media with propaganda to that purpose. As we’ve reported previously, Project Syndicate is a project of George Soros’ Open Society Foundation that has sprouted into a network of nearly 500 newspapers in more than 150 countries with worldwide circulation of over 70 million copies. According to the syndicate’s web site, it is the largest syndication of independent commentators in the world.

However, his great wealth, foundations, media presence, and network of activist NGOs notwithstanding, George Soros’ power and influence — in Ukraine and elsewhere — stem not so much from these oft-cited trappings of power, but from the fact that he is a player, an Insider, in the top rank of globalists who are pushing and shoving “global governance” upon the entire planet. This was formally recognized in November 2010 when Soros received the “Globalist of the Year Award” from the Canadian International Council (CIC).

Soros’ real heft derives from the fact that he is a member of the globalist power elite. First and foremost, he is a member of (and leader in and major financial supporter of) the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the premier globalist brain trust that has become the de facto governing force within the executive branch of the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve System, as well as Democrat and Republican parties, for most of the past century. His Soros Fund Management is a President’s Circle Corporate Member of the CFR and Soros himself served as a director of the CFR for a decade (1995-2004). In addition, he has been a key participant in many CFR events, including serving as presider at the CFR’s 2000 conference, “Latin America: Sustaining Economic & Political Reform,” a major sendoff promoting the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

Further, he has been an activist participant with, and sometime funder of, important globalist organizations such as the Brookings Institution, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the World Policy Conference, the World Economic Forum, the International Crisis Group, the Clinton Global Initiative, the Bilderberg Group, the U.S. State Department, the Gorbachev Foundation, the United Nations, and The Good Club (an exclusive billionaire club — whose members include Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, David Rockefeller, Ted Turner, Michael Bloomberg, and Oprah Winfrey — with the singular purpose of pushing global population control). Per the UN, Soros has served on a number of boards and advisory groups promoting a global “Tobin Tax” on financial transactions, global controls on CO2 to stop “Climate Change,” dramatically expanding the powers and funding of the International Monetary Fund, and massive global wealth redistribution through the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.

Many of Soros’ critics on both the Left and the Right ignore these facts and treat Soros as if he is a singular earthshaking force all on his own. Focusing solely on his grant distributions, political donations, NGO networks, etc., they greatly exaggerate his importance, which can act as a diversion to distract liberty-minded advocates from focusing on the bigger picture. Taken in isolation, without his tie-ins to the CFR-globalist network of power, Soros’ global impact would be, not insignificant, but marginal. It is precisely because he is one of many super-wealthy globalists (albeit, he is far more visible and vocal than most) acting in concert that his impact is so remarkable.

Especially noteworthy in relation to Ukraine is his key involvement in the American-Ukrainian Advisory Committee (AUAC). The Ukrainian Weekly of December 10, 1995, reported:

The American-Ukrainian Advisory Committee met in New York on November 17-18 [1995] and reiterated its strong conviction that a resilient Ukraine is in the interest of European stability and thus also American security.

Among other things, the AUAC called upon the U.S. Congress, USAID, the IMF, the World Bank, and the EU to shower the Ukrainian government (then run by “former” Communist Leonid Kuchma). It also encouraged the Ukrainian government to hasten “privatization” by selling “blocks of equity to private investors.” Kuchma followed their advice and, as in the former Soviet Union, his false “privatization” scheme transferred enormous state assets into the hands of select Communist Party members, creating instant billionaire oligarchs, who have dominated Ukraine ever since. Sitting on the UAUC with Soros were one-world CFR heavyweights Zbigniew Brzezinski, Henry Kissinger, Frank Carlucci, and Richard Burt. The same one-worlders are pushing the same agenda today, two decades later. (Infowars)

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The world watched horrified as Ukraine descended into political chaos in the winter of 2013-2014, and street fighting broke out in Kyiv between anti-government protesters and legions of riot police.
Over three months, the center of a European capital was transformed into a war zone, and striking images of battles between police and protesters were regularly flashed across television screens.
Remote from the scene, many people outside the country were left wondering just what was going on in this corrupt, unreformed but up-until-then peaceful former Soviet republic.
Adding to the confusion, Kremlin-controlled media in Russia pushed its own, largely false narrative of the causes and possible consequences of Ukraine’s second revolution in a decade.
At the center of the action in Kyiv, journalists from Ukraine’s English-language newspaper, the Kyiv Post, help to cut through some of that confusion with award-winning reporting, documenting the unfolding crisis, and later Russia’s covert, hybrid war on Ukraine, in writing and in photographs.
Now, two years after those dramatic 93 days of mass public protests in the Ukrainian capital, the Kyiv Post has collected together the memories and impressions of those times from some of those who covered them on the ground, in “Ukraine: Witness to Revolution,” the Kyiv Post’s first e-book.
Containing dozens of photographs and links to over 80 minutes of dramatic video, “Ukraine: Witness to Revolution” is the story of Ukraine’s EuroMaidan Revolution, told by those who witnessed it firsthand. Weaving together 15 essays by Kyiv Post journalists, the e-book text gives a concise but detailed history of the events in Kyiv from Nov. 21, 2013 to the opening shots in Russia’s war in eastern Ukraine in mid-April 2014.
And as Ukraine gradually disappears from headline news around the world, “Ukraine: Witness to Revolution” also brings readers up to date with the ongoing tasks and challenges facing Ukraine as it continues to battle for full independence from Moscow, while attempting to transform itself into a western-oriented liberal democracy.

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