How Will Ukrainian Protests Affect Russia’s Loan?

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Ukraine Protest

The Ukrainian Prime Minister, Mykola Azarov, resigned earlier this week in an attempt to quiet the continuing protests of citizens in Kiev, which began in response to the January 16 anti-democratic legislation pushed through the Rada that placed limitations on important freedoms — including freedom of speech, freedom to protest, and freedom of the press.

Following Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s acceptance of Azarov’s resignation, which will lead to the eventual removal of his Cabinet of Ministers when time allows, Azarov introduced the new acting Prime Minister, Serhiy Arbuzov. Until Wednesday, Arbuzov was the First Vice Prime Minister. Azarov spoke in government press release to express his confidence that with Arbuzov in place, “the Cabinet of Ministers will cope with the duties laid on him by the President at this important period.” With Arbuzov stepping in, Azarov said farewell to his part in the governance. “I’d like to thank you for these four years you have worked hard and kept very arduous work of the Government aimed at the modernization of our country. I wish you health, success, and all the best,” he said.

The protests, which have already resulted in the death of three people and injury of many, have many concerned over allegations of torture and missing persons. While many protestors were pleased with Azarov’s departure from office, others are calling for further changes to governance before they will be satisfied. One opposition group leader, Vitali Klitschko — head of UDAR, the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform — insisted Wednesday that President Yanukovych to step down for protestors goals to be reached, saying that, “Authorities’ demands in the amnesty bill are unacceptable.”

A logical step in current situation would be resignation of Yanukovych,” said Klitschko in a UDAR press release. “Maidan will disperse only [when] authorities fulfill society demands, which is a complete change of state power.” This marks one of UDAR’s biggest demands in negotiations over amnesty for protestors, while the government in turn is asking that government buildings be relinquished in order for amnesty to be granted. “We do not agree to this!” said Klitschko, saying that, “a major step will be a complete change of government and presidential elections.”

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