Historical Mullet: Arab Spring Reaches Ukraine
TLDRUpFront: The Arab Spring reaches Kiev in Ukraine. A three-day escalation of violence marks the radicalization of the protest movement holding Kiev and demanding governmental reform.
“New violence erupted in Ukraine’s capital during the night as a large crowd attacked a government exposition and conference hall where police were stationed inside. Early Sunday, demonstrators were throwing firebombs into the Ukrainian House building and setting off fireworks, and police responded with tear gas. Although the crowd created a corridor at the building’s entrance apparently for police to leave, none were seen coming out.”
A potential flashpoint will come Tuesday when the Parliament is supposed to be seated for the new session. The Parliament is only about 1km, a 6min walk according to Google Maps, from where the riot police are currently holed up. If you surrender the city center before then – you surrender the ability to seat the government to the protestors.[z]
There’s an interesting window where Putin could be constrained as to what pressure he can exert through his client government in Ukraine – given that the Sochi Olympics are coming up on Feb 6, the Monday after next. Putin wants the world’s attention on the Russian Olympics, not on protestors getting run over in Kiev. I say “could be” because Putin is not the kind of leader who responds well to normal constraints on behavior.
Did some searching for a better perspective on the Kiev protests. A photojournalist with the LJ handle of Varlamovru spent three days on the barriers[Y]. Varlamovru provides a great first-person perspective on the action at the epicenter of the protests, including lots of ‘slice of life’ on how logistics are managed, how are protesters staying warm and fed. It is entirely biased in that he’s reporting only from the side of the protestors. But the pictures are amazing – creating a great photo catalog of over 50 pictures for the events of January 22-23rd.