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Russians Eye Ukrainian Turmoil with Hope, Fear
Written by Gina Lentine On 20 February 2014 @ 5:28 am | No Comments
In Breaking News, Citizen Media, Eastern & Central Europe, English, Ethnicity & Race, Human Rights, International Relations, Politics, Protest, RuNet Echo, Russia, Russian, Ukraine, War & Conflict
The latest development in a long running stand-off between the Ukrainian government and opposition, deadly clashes between protesters and riot police erupted  near Kiev's Independence Square on Tuesday, February 18. As events unfolded, authorities halted the city subways, barricaded roads, and blocked a major opposition TV channel, Channel 5 Ukraine  [Ukr]. According to recent numbers as many as twenty-five  protesters and police have died in the violence, over 200 people have been hospitalized, and over 1,000 have been otherwise injured. The numbers also include journalists and bystanders.
Russian bloggers have been carefully observing these events, so much so that many Russian Internet users have lost interest  [Global Voices report] in the Sochi Winter Games in favor of protests on the Maidan. Positive commentary ranges from expressing sympathy for the protesters to demanding that Russia not meddle in Ukrainian internal affairs. At the same time pro-Kremlin bloggers and state-sponsored Russian media outlets have lambasted the protesters as extremists .
As usual, members of the Russian opposition gave some vicarious analysis of the situation. Journalist Sergei Smirnov, formerly a member of the radical and banned National Bolshevik party, tweeted:
реально 13 раненых ментов с огнестрелами это уличные бои. Ну то есть значит у оппозиции раненых в несколько раз больше
— Смирнов (@sssmirnov) February 18, 2014 
Seriously, 13 wounded armed cops equals urban warfare. That is, this means the opposition has several times more wounded.
Opposition politician Boris Nemtsov made the same comparison, lamenting the violence  [ru]:
В Киеве продолжаются уличные бои. 9 убитых. 7- гражданских и два милиционера. И все потому что Янукович цепляется за власть и не хочет объявить досрочные выборы.
Urban warfare is continuing in Kiev. 9 killed. 7 civilians and 2 policemen. And all because [President] Yanukovich is hanging on to power and doesn't want to announce snap elections.
Vladimir Milov's second in command at DemVybor party, Kirill Shulika wrote  [ru]:
Виноват, естественно, Янукович со своим маниакальным желанием удержать у власти группировку донецких бандитов. Да, можно говорить о вине оппозиции, но есть президент, который просто обязан не допускать этого. А если он уже не в состоянии контролировать ситуацию, ему надо уходить.
Of course Yanukovich is to blame, with his maniacal desire to maintain power for a group of Donetsk bandits. Yes, one can also fault the opposition, but there is a president who simply cannot not allow this [violence]. And if he can no longer control the situation, he should leave.
Some Ukrainians also tweeted in Russian. Singer Oleksandra Koltsova tweeted about the much-discussed split between Ukraine's Russian speaking East and EU-oriented West:
Люди на Востоке не “за Януковича”.Их тоже обокрали.Они тоже готовы променять его на лучшего кандидата,но им нужна конкретика и другие лица.
— kasha saltsova (@kashasaltsova) February 19, 2014 
People in the east aren't “for Yanukovich.” They've also been robbed. They are also ready to trade him in for a better candidate, but they need concrete proposals and different faces [in the opposition leadership.]
In the end, though, RuNet discussions of the Ukrainian “problem” should remain online discussions, thinks Russian writer Maxim Kantor  [ru]:
Началась украинская гражданская война. […] Россия не должна участвовать в этой войне. Сегодняшнее украинское правительство дискредитировано, и его призыв о помощи (если будет) нельзя рассматривать как призыв народа. А народ ни о чем не просил.
The Ukrainian civil war has begun. […] Russia should not participate in this war. The current Ukrainian government has lost credibility, and its call for help (if it happens) should not be seen as the voice of the people. And the people themselves haven't asked for anything.
Vladimir Putin, who reportedly ignored a recent phone-call from President Yanukovich, seems to be on same page.
Article printed from Global Voices: https://globalvoices.org
URL to article: https://globalvoices.org/2014/02/20/russians-eye-ukrainian-turmoil-with-hope-fear/
URLs in this post:
 erupted: http://www.rferl.org/content/yanukovych-ukraine-violence/25268937.html
 Channel 5 Ukraine: http://5.ua/
 twenty-five: http://www.rferl.org/contentlive/clashes-in-ukraine-live-blog-kyiv/25267783.html
 lost interest: https://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/02/18/to-hell-with-the-games-russians-turn-from-sochi-to-ukraine/
 extremists: http://en.itar-tass.com/russia/719862
 February 18, 2014: https://twitter.com/sssmirnov/statuses/435820399507423232
 lamenting the violence: https://www.facebook.com/boris.nemtsov/posts/590555084347429
 wrote: https://www.facebook.com/kirill.shulika/posts/615913501822218
 February 19, 2014: https://twitter.com/kashasaltsova/statuses/436113814891671552
 Maxim Kantor: https://www.facebook.com/maxim.kantor.3/posts/10202290031829586?stream_ref=1
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