Public lecture and branch meeting
Citizens versus their Oligarchic Government: The Context of EuroMaidan Protests in Ukraine
Dr. Roman Petryshyn, Director of the Ukrainian Resource and Development Centre (URDC) at Grant MacEwan University
Thursday, January 16, 2014 7:00-9:00 P.M.
Grant MacEwan University City Centre Campus 10700 104 Ave, Edmonton, Alberta Room 7-218 For maps and directions click here.
Lecture and speaker information
At the end of November 2013, the world’s media was expecting that Ukraine’s President Yanuchovych would sign a free trade agreement with the European Union that had been negotiated over a two-year period. They were shocked to see the EU initiative collapse as Yanukhovych instead signed an agreement with President Putin. It is a strategic agreement that provides Ukraine with $15 billion in loans from Russia’s national welfare fund to buy Ukrainian eurobonds, while Gazprom, Russia ’s state-controlled energy company, reduces the price of gas to $268.50 per 1,000 cubic meters, from the current $395 to $410, saving Ukraine about $2 billion a year. The International Monetary Fund said the government of President Viktor Yanukovych had largely abandoned much-needed economic reforms in favour of Ukraine entering the orbit of Russia’s “managed democracy”, closely cooperating with Russia’s state capitalist system and geopolitical plans for a Eurasian Union. In making this choice pro-Russian oligarchs in Ukraine have put their class interests over the interests of the sovereignty of the people of Ukraine.
Spontaneously, students and younger people began organizing public protests in the central square of the capital city, somewhat reminiscent of the Orange Revolution. Whereas that event in 2004 was about the corrupted system of presidential election, this new demonstration focused on the civilizational choice of Ukraine aligning itself with the Russian Federation and Putin’s geo-political vision. The protestors asserted their desire to be Europeans and be part of western culture that they feel is based on Human Rights, the rule of law, individualism and liberal democracy. When the demonstrators were attacked and beaten by special forces, the demonstrations on the EuroMaidan grew to over a half million people (at the high point) and were joined by local Euromaidans in a number of other cities in Ukraine. The protests are continuing to this day with smaller numbers and are now morphing into an anti-government coalition that is focusing on removing Yanuchovych and his Party of Regions during the upcoming presidential election in March 2015.
Dr. Petryshyn is the Director of the Ukrainian Resource and Development Centre (URDC) at Grant MacEwan University where he holds the Drs. Peter and Doris Kule Chair in Ukrainian Community and International Development. He has worked as a Research Associate in the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta, and with the Governments of Ontario (Citizenship Branch) and Alberta (Cultural Heritage) where he was engaged in multicultural programming. Since 1991, Dr. Petryshyn has been actively engaged in structuring and delivering technical assistance projects in Ukraine and Russia through Grant MacEwan University’s representative office, in education fields such as: agriculture, nursing, business and disability studies.