The people in Ukraine are mad because, at least in the east where I worked and lived for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer, and contrary to the recent revolutionary slogan “Ukraine is Europe,” the quality and character of life does not reflect that of Europe at all.
The teachers at the school where I worked were often not paid for several months in a row. A friend of mine earns $50 a month for her full-time work in a sewing factory. If you want good health care, you must bribe doctors.
When Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych in November scrapped an economic deal with Europe that would eventually lead to a more European Ukraine, the people revolted against him. Responding with police violence and anti-protest laws, Yanukovych hoped to silence his country. Instead they’ve dug into the capitol city of Kiev, and say that they won’t leave until he resigns.
Watch this conflict closely because it is the epicenter of two very different value systems. The liberal west and the conservative east intersect here in the eye of a gathering storm.