WASHINGTON — Cries of “you’re next” rang out as Ukrainian protesters toppled a statue of Russian communist leader Vladimir Lenin and warned Ukraine’s president, Viktor Yanukovich, of a similar fate.
Reuters reported that the protests continue to gain steam as the news of the protests hit the news cycle. This symbolic toppling of a statue was a direct rebuttal to Russian intervention and pressure in Ukrainian politics.
The protests began when Yanukovich backed out of a potentially historic trade pact with the European Union, due to increasing pressure from Russia. Russia threatened to cut off or decrease its exports of gas and oil to its former Soviet republic, which the West condemned as a political ploy.
Germany’s foreign minister visited the country and snubbed the Ukrainian government, instead spending his time visiting the protesters’ camp.
Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians took to the streets in protest and demanded the removal of Yanukovich from power for betraying the interests of the Ukrainian people. This was the first time major protests have frozen the country since 2005, where the Orange Revolution forced a new election after Yanukovich fraudulently won the presidential race.
Russia condemned the protests and approval by Western leaders, contending that Ukraine had properly exercised its right to sovereignty.