The horrors of last week’s shooting of protesters in Kyiv, Ukraine turned to euphoria by Friday, when it became clear that president Viktor Yanukovych had been all but deposed.
At the root of the lengthy protests was the decision to turn down closer relations with the European Union, instead turning to Russia, its neighbour and former master in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
While this decision was endorsed by many Ukrainian residents, particularly those of Russian origin, many others disagreed. They wish to move towards a more European way of life, with a more open society, better mobility and, hopefully, a stronger democracy and economy.
Yanukovych’s departure from Kyiv, and perhaps most importantly, the opening up of his former villa outside Kyiv to the public, showing his opulent way of living and documenting his spending, have likely put an end to any chance he has of being part of Ukraine’s future.
This welcome show of glasnost has likely caused Russia’s Vladimir Putin to think twice as well.
Ukraine is still in a very fragile state.
Now more than ever, it is important for Canada to offer support to the Ukrainian people and help ensure that upcoming elections are free and fair.
Canada can have an important voice in Ukraine — this country has the third-largest population of people of Ukrainian background, behind Ukraine and Russia.
Our tangible and meaningful support at this time is crucial.