Ukraine’s Revolution

By Isabel Trumbull

Ukraines Revolution

The words “безкоштовно Україна” (translated to Free Ukraine) rang through the crisp Saturday air on the Montrose lakefront.

Saturday, Feb. 22, in 28 degree weather, three lane students arrived among a parade of cars to the lakefront at Montrose to participate in a gathering of stories, songs, and prayers for friends and family in the Ukraine.

Protests have spread to Chicago. A car brigade passed through the Ukrainian Village, Montrose Harbor, and backed up Michigan avenue for 8 blocks. This all lead to a gathering in memorial of the people lost to the violent outbreaks in the Ukraine. Every car in the parade adorned Ukrainian flags. Many had photographs of lost protesters. Others had pictures of Putin and Yanukovych describing their attacks on the Ukrainian people.

When the group decided to begin singing the Ukrainian National Anthem, every person in the group of about 100 people was singing along. Grown men had tears welling in their eyes, while small children were hoisted up by their mothers’ to wave flags and learn the words of the song.

Ukraine supporters gathered outside of Chicago’s Ukrainian Embassy to encourage US aid. Many of these protests have gotten little news coverage.

One Lane student, Vitaliy Kozoriz, Div. 579, stood on the edge of the group. He sang along to every song and translated some of the stories being told. Like many people who were there, Kozoriz

has family in the Ukraine facing riots everyday. “It was a very difficult and scary time when the police was

ordered to get rid of anyone in their way,” Katya Dyakiv, Div 466, said.

The Ukrainian district of Crimea is located in south-west Ukraine. It is on the peninsula of the Black Sea, and in early March seceded from the Ukraine and with in the day was annexed by Russia. This has created relative rest amongst much of the conflict, however, the Ukrainian government’s future is still


Prior to the succession of Crimea, many soldiers were stationed in Crimea that identified themselves as Russian. Putin still denies their affiliation with Russian government.

The protests are fueled by the Western Ukrainian people’s desire to become more independent from Russian influence in government. After Ukraine separated from the Soviet Union, many of their leaders have still been greatly influenced by Russia. Russia also supplies Europe with a quarter of the oil used through pipelines in the Ukraine. This means that much of the money that circulates through Ukraine is because of Russia. Ukraine is also home to the second largest European military.

Over the last four months the Ukraine has been inching closer and closer to a civil war. Both East and West Ukraine are split between their respective heritages and the injustices of government. East Ukraine is home to Russian people living in Ukraine. West Ukraine is populated by Ukrainian citizens by heritage.

Protesters have taken to the streets. Students like Larissa Seibt, Div. 674, have family in the Ukraine and have strong opinions on what’s going on.

Yanukovych turned down the European Union trade deal in favor of one with Russia. Russia was supposed to give the Ukraine a total of fifteen-billion dollars to aid the Ukrainian people. Russian President Putin has put a stop to this aid because the Ukrainian government will not be able to guarantee that his financial agreements will be carried out exactly as he wishes.

The protests started due to corruption and anger with the government for turning down the EU trade deal. This deal was very popular among the public who wants further separation from their former soviet empire, Russia.

Dyakiv knows of many people who have to work in other countries in the EU and even more who have to educate themselves elsewhere. They are looking for separation from Russia.

“People in Ukraine don’t want to live like they are now, like Russia,” Dyakiv said. “They are eager to spread their roots to more of Europe and make Ukraine a better country. They don’t want to be tied down, they want to grow.”

“I believe that the people protesting and taking action to the streets is okay because they are standing up for what they believe in and want to see change,”

Seibt said. “Without them acting soon, time may run out and their chances to make a difference could be too late.” Seibt is Ukrainian and still has family there. She is not the only one with personal ties to this global issue.

“My parents turn it on the TV every night” Kozoriz said.

Dyakiv has grandparents that live outside of Kiev. The government will not be able to get their government aid. Her grandfather served in the Ukrainian Air Force when the Ukraine was a part of the Soviet Union.

Dyakiv remembers the beauty of Ukraine. Most of the protests have been isolated to Crimea where her mother has a college friend who said she and her family stand by Ukraine 100 percent. The friend is Russian, and like many other Russians affected by this situation, do not want to see a full out war.

“It would mean that my country would be useless. We would lose everything that means something to the rest of the world. We would never grow. And there is nothing more that I want than the country to expand and be a place that people want to go to. It’s so beautiful and interesting, but no one knows about the beauty. Hey, people don’t even know where it is or that it’s not part of Russia,” Dyakiv said.

Kozoriz has family in the Ukraine and what happens in the coming months has a major impact on his life and his family. Most of his family lives outside of Kiev, where the protests have been centralized, but as the protests spread throughout the country they have an even greater impact on his family.

“It was all about the corruption,” Kozoriz said, “It would have happened anyway.”

Lane students Seibt an Kozoriz are among many who look forward to and end of corrupt government and violent protests. I-Days and I-Nights had a special tribute to the Ukraine from Ukrainian Club. There is a growing support for Ukraine around Lane.

Dyakiv’s greatest fear is that her family will be put at risk.