"I am Ukrainian, and I can't keep calm." Photo from Instagram, author: @youltsou
  • "I am Ukrainian, and I can't keep calm." Photo from Instagram, author: @youltsou

Yesterday was my birthday. But instead of receiving warm greetings from my Ukrainian colleagues I received a call for the help. A leader of a regional movement to support EU-Ukraine Cooperation was beaten by police. The worst, in the news appeared information that he has been lost on the road to the police department.

Again Ukraine attracts attention of the world mass media like nine years ago. These days the main Kyiv square reminds 2004 Orange revolution. Just this time flags are not orange. They all are blue-and-yellow, but with two designs: Ukrainian and EU. The main reason of this the biggest after Orange revolution protest is that the President Yanukovich refused to sign a landmark agreement with the European Union in defiance of Russia.

For the most of Ukrainians who went last Sunday to the 50,000-100,000 people (by different sources) protest in Kyiv the situation is simple: we want Europe opens its borders for us that’s why we need to take European course and ignore Russia’s blackmailing. But the real story is much more complicated. First, EU doesn’t invite us to join EU, the negotiations is only about to join European Free Trade Association. By the way, EUTA has agreements with such obviously non-European countries as Colombia, Canada or South Africa. It means signing such an agreement will not provide us with visa-free entry to the territory of EU. A free trade agreement with the EU would mean Ukraine adopting different trade rules. Yes, it can be a step toward European Union. But can be not. Still this is a chance.

From the other side, Russia pressures Ukraine to refuse from signing this document and instead of this to join its Custom union. Custom union today is Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan with several more potential members. It is obvious who rules in this company. Today my friends who work on big enterprises cooperating with Russia speak about the worsening of trade relations since the end of August when Yanukovich announced about European course of Ukraine. I cannot find any other word for these actions except of blackmailing.

Honestly, with all my desire to move to Europe (because for the last years we didn’t receive “presents” or “indulgencies” from Russia), I must say that Ukrainian President is in very confusing situation. From one side he must reflect the wishes of the majority, and majority obviously supports EU. From the other side a significant part of Ukraine is tied with trade relations with Russia and now is in a pitiful situation because of Moscow blackmailing.

There is no “correct” answer or choice. But I think finally we need to break this dependence on Russia, and EU should help Ukraine to do this offering its support and protection (I am speaking about more than just “forgive” former Prime Minister undemocratic imprisonment). I want Ukraine be a part of Europe, and also, I don’t support blackmailing in general.

To finish I want to say that my colleague who disappeared was found and he is again in the rows of those who support Ukraine joining EU. He is calling to support him in the court that will take place today. In the police report it is said that the traces of beating on him are because he hit himself with the wall.

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I visited Ukraine in 1997 and taught at the Cherkasy Women's Center...lived with a woman and her mom in Kiev and did research at folklore museums in both cities. My mother is 3rd generation Ukrainian-American. I write to support your work and your reporting. I am thankful to be able to read your first hand accounts.

How old is your daughter? Our daughters are the future and I'm delighted that she has such a powerful model in you for speaking up and taking action for freedom for women and all Ukrainians.

I'd like to connect as friends with you, Iryna. How do I do that?

My momma just died on September 3 and I feel both her absence and the power of her presence in my heart and life.

In sisterhood for change, Louise Paré Center for Women in the Global Community Ashland, OR 97520 USA


Thank you for your so touching words, Louise! So many people in my region (I live in the very South) stay indifferent to the situation. They just tired of fights, protests, they are exhausted of hard life with high prices and low salaries. They want just live in peace. From the other side it is the moment when the future of Ukrainian people must be determined. And I think everyone has his opinion. Situation went out of the control on weekend, and only God knows how everything will be solved.

Louise, you asked me about my daughter. Her name is Lisa. She is seven. She is very smart girl and I support her in her attempts to have an opinion on different issues. I think it is very important.

I want to say again, thanks for your warm words. I want to send you lots of hugs and want to add, I am sure, you already noticed that in your life appeared the strongest guardian angel.

I wish you health and peace, this is the most important, I think! Warmest regards from the Black Sea, Iryna

Hey there,

Are you attending any protests? I would be curious to see photos?

I am glad to hear your friend it back. It is deeply disturbing the bruises from the beating. I wonder if there is some way to document this as well.

Love to you,

Zoe Piliafas

Voices of Our Future Community Manager World Pulse

Hi, Zoe,

The situation is more or less is in this way: I live in the very South of Ukraine, in the Crimea which is together with the East supports union with Russia. Historically people here assosiate themselves with Russia more than with Europe. This comes from the USSR times and who knows until when we will live with these stereotypes. In my city I did not meet yet no one person who would support openly the EU agreement. So here it is impossible to see protests and join them.

From the other side, Ukrainian President said yesterday that our country doesn't have any other alternative than Europen course. Probably he will not sign noone of agreements now because Europe offers too strict conditions and Russia just uses blackmail. Even the President says he supports those people who went to the central square for the protest! The only thing he doesn't support is when it turns into political games in the interest of the next Presidential elections.

About my friend. The court judged him for 5 days of arrest, which can be appealed. About his health, he said all is more or less fine, only something with an ear. And yes, he again at the protest action.

The hottest day, I guess, will be November 29, when the third Eastern Partnership Summit will take place in Vilnius. But the fact that Ukrainian President will participate in it can mean that he doesn't refuse from the European course.

I am going to follow the process and will post in my journal about the changes.

Warmest greetings, Iryna