The sign on the left reads: “Putin, if you love me, let me go!” Photos published on Instagram
Will they or won’t they?
Ukrainian leaders have gone back and forth
on whether or not they will sign a historic free trade deal with the European Union at a summit on Thursday. On one side, Russia is strongly pressuring them not to; on the other, thousands of Ukrainians have demonstrated
in favour of the agreement. The protest is also raging online, where many depict this as a choice between two paths – one day (hopefully) joining the European Union, or staying in the shadow of Russia.
Here is a selection of what’s being shared by Ukrainians on social networks.
The image below reads: “The soul-less European Union – the soulful Russia”. Critics of joining the European Union have often described it as soul-less, but the photos make it clear that the author’s opinion of Russia is that it has a bit too much “soul” and that Ukraine would be better off aligning with the EU...
This one reads: “Europe or Zh”. The “Zh” stands for “zhopa”, which means, to put it politely, a person’s behind. In this case, it is a way to say “failure”.
Some have taken their anger out on Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, who last week said he would not sign the pact, before his prime minister backtracked Tuesday by announcing that the negotiation process was continuing.
“Yanukovych, go to hell; Ukraine, go to Europe”
This one, featuring a photo of the president, quotes a Radiohead song:
Others addressed Russia directly. “Putin, if you love me, let me go!” (left).
Meanwhile, some Ukrainians who took to social media to denounce the deal argued that getting closer to Europe meant they would be forced to become more tolerant of homosexuality, which in their view would be negative. In Ukraine
, like in Russia
, homophobia is widespread. Cartoons relayed on Twitter were too graphic to repost here.
Just last week, hundreds of people staged an anti-European Union and anti-homosexuality protest in Kiev. Photographs of the protest, like this one below, have been circulating on social media. The sign reads: “Euro = homo”.
Others accuse those of protesting in favour of the EU deal of having been paid by the opposition. This image reads: “What’s the difference between Maidan 2004 [when protesters went to Kiev’s Maidan Square as part of the Orange Revolution
] and Maidan 2013 [the pro-EU protests]? One day on the square in 2004 = 200 griven [about 18 euros]; one hour in the square in 2013 = 150 griven [13 euros].”
Meanwhile, many Russians on Twitter – perhaps a little hurt by all this anti-Russia talk – argued that Ukrainians may be getting ahead of themselves.
reads: “Someone forgot to tell Ukrainians that signing this agreement and becoming part of the European Union are two very different things – there’s no promise that they’ll be allowed to join the EU!”