Ukraine’s Russian Divide: Kiev protests persist in the cold as Klitschko waits in the wings

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History's Shadow

Western diplomats are voicing concern as anti-government protests on the streets of Kiev continue. Protesters are angered by the decision of Victor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian president, to delay the signing of an association pact which would bring Ukraine closer politically to the EU.

APTOPIX Ukraine Protest

Much publicity has been given to the street agitators who, braving sub-zero temperatures, have attacked government property and symbols of Russian influence (including destroying a statue of Lenin).

However, whilst the majority of Kiev’s residents appear to favour closer relations with Europe, the country as a whole is more divided. A recent poll suggested that although 46% of the population wanted the EU association pact signed, a substantial 36% favoured an opposing agreement with Russia, a country with which Ukraine already has very close relations.

Ever since the 17th century, when Ukraine broke away from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the country’s fortunes have been inextricably bound with those…

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