Photo Essay: The Ukrainian Spring

Ukraine1
Government leaders and protesters will have round-table talks following angry and passionate anti-Russia protests. AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev

The people made their voices heard: After weeks of protests in the Ukrainian capital in which hundreds of thousands took to the streets, President Viktor Yanukovych has said he will hold roundtable talks to figure out a way forward. The national crisis – the biggest since the country’s 2004 Orange Revolution – was spurred after Yanukovych decided to strengthen ties with Russia and weaken them with the European Union, backing away from an EU trade deal. Last night, protesters demonstrated their anti-Russia feelings as they pulled a statue of Lenin to the ground. After they broke the statue into pieces, the fragments became “the most sought-after souvenir” in the city, the BBC reported.

On Tuesday, past and present Ukrainian leaders will meet, along with representatives from the opposition, to look for a solution. The former Soviet republic, torn between East and West, is in deep economic trouble. The meeting, which will be broadcast on Ukrainian national television, is intended to be a “platform for understanding.” Protesters are angry not just about the move away from the European Union, but also at perceived government corruption and a low standard of living in the country. Many have called for the government to step down. Meanwhile, the movement continued as protesters constructed barricades and more police moved into place around Independence Square, the focal point of the protests.

 
Ukraine2 Ukrainians break a monument of Vladimir Lenin in center Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013. The third week of protests continue Sunday with an estimated 200,000 Ukrainians occupying central Kiev to denounce President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to turn away from Europe and align this ex-Soviet republic with Russia. AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
 
Ukraine3 Pro-European Union activists gather around a huge poster of jailed former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, bottom, during a rally in the Independence Square in KIev, Ukraine, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013. Over 200,000 angry Ukrainians occupied a central Kiev square on Sunday, to denounce President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to turn away from Europe and align this ex-Soviet republic with Russia, as massive protests continued for a third week. AP Photo/Sergei Grits
 
Ukraine4 Protesters clash with police at the presidential office on December 1, 2013 in Kiev, Ukraine. The demonstrators were demanding that president Viktor Yanukovych step down because of his refusal to sign an association agreement with the European Union. Aleksandr Yalovoy/Kommersant Photo via Getty Images
 
Ukraine5 A man shouts slogans during a mass rally called 'The March of a Million' on Kiev's Independence Square on December 8, 2013. SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images
 
Ukraine6 An elderly protester crosses herself during a mass rally entitled 'The March of a Million' on Kiev's Independence Square on December 8, 2013. SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images
 
Ukraine7 Pro-European Union activists shout slogans during a rally in the Independence Square in KIev, Ukraine, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013. AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko
 
Ukraine8 A general view shows a mass rally called 'The March of a Million' held on Kiev's Independence Square on December 8, 2013. SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images
 
Ukraine9 Anti-government protesters send a message to Russian President Putin during a massive demonstration at Independence Square on December 9, 2013 in Kiev, Ukraine. Etienne De Malglaive/Getty Images
 
Ukraine10 Pro-European Union activists shout slogans during a rally in the Independence Square, KIev, Ukraine, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013. AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev
Join the Discussion