For much of its recent history, [Ukraine] has been viewed as divided between two regions— one oriented toward Eurasia/USSR in the east and one toward Central Europe in the west (Sellar and Pickles, 2002). The geographic location of the Ukraine — nestled in between Russia and Europe — and the subsequent mix of cultures, languages and histories of the citizens of modern day Ukraine have been the source of political and social unrest nation-wide for many years. The European Union/Russian Federation fault line that has always split the Ukrainian population was in large part the reason the most recent protests began in November. On November 21, 2013 President Viktor Yanukovych's government announced it was abandoning an agreement to
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With each day that passed, the situation in Kiev worsened, and protests eventually began to spread to other areas of the country. The resulting state of the Ukrainian country is a chaotic one, and the political and cultural division among the Ukrainian people is now worse than ever. To analyze the contestation of the Ukrainian identity, the diverse cultural, political and material landscape of Ukraine should be considered at a micro and a macro level. For the purpose of this paper the micro level analysis of the geopolitical situation in Ukraine will consider the place where it all began; Independence Square, Kiev. The macro level analysis will consider the country at a larger scale; the spread of protests throughout the country, the seizure of the Crimean peninsula by Russia, and the long existing political and lingual divide.
Independence square has long been a site of political and social activism, and the role it played in the most recent Ukrainian uprising was unparalleled. There were reports from multiple protesters claiming they had been living in the square for longer than a month — refusing to leave until Yanukovych had resigned and all imprisoned protesters were freed. To understand the gravity of this, one must only recall the cold winter months in which the protest took place — from November to March. The Ukrainian people used the historically significant Maidan as a place to gather together in an effort to bring forth