Will protests lead to divided Ukraine?

Violence escalates
An anti-government protester throws a molotov cocktail during demonstrations in Independence Square on February 19, 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine.
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Although Ukraine may be closer to a split than at any time in its post-Soviet history, there are many reasons it won't come to pass, argues Michigan State historian Matthew Pauly in a Toronto Star op-ed.

From his piece:

The protests in Ukraine have little to do with a West versus Russia split. The prospective trade agreement with the EU represented an opportunity, however optimistic, for Ukrainians to force their government to face the endemic problem of corruption that has plagued the country since independence. Yanukovych's decision to unilaterally back away from an agreement his government had been preparing to sign exposed his disregard for democratic accountability and own political callousness.

The protesters on the Maidan ran ahead of the leaders of the opposition in their ambitions. Unlike the Orange Revolution of 2004, this was a protest movement that resisted orchestration by political parties. The corruption of the Yanukovych presidency is now on view for all of Ukraine to see at his sumptuous residency outside Kiev. The trick now for Ukraine's new rulers is to convince all Ukrainian citizens that they have a stake in a change, that further reform will benefit the entire country and proceed transparently according to the rule of law.

Pauly joins The Daily Circuit to discuss his views on Ukraine.

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