Ukraine's 'Europe vs Russia' debate gets heated online

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”
 
Photo published on Instagram.
 
 
This one, featuring a photo of the president, quotes a Radiohead song:
 
Photo published on Instagram.
 
 
Others addressed Russia directly. “Putin, if you love me, let me go!” (left). 
 
Photos published on Instagram
 
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”.
 
Photo published on Livejournal
 
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].”
 
Image published on Twitter.
 
 
Meanwhile, many Russians on Twitter – perhaps a little hurt by all this anti-Russia talk – argued that Ukrainians may be getting ahead of themselves.
 
This status 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!”
 
 
 
Post written with freelance journalist Polina Myakinchenko.
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Comments

Southern Ukraine - Crimea

On my first ever tour of Odessa, Yalta, Sevastapol, Kerch, etc. I met dozens of guides, local people, etc. I did not meet one that wanted "separation" from Russia. I found a large proportion said "I am Russian", all expressed how much they rely on Russian tourists, and remember that originally Crimea was part of Russia. Moreover the remembrance of the war, their Hero cities and constant homages even today to the Great Wars - including almost all schoolchildren in Kerch - mean that a great many do not want to be part of an EU state dominated by Germany that cost millions of lives.
I came away with the distinct view that it is now the unelected EU bureaucrats that will create the next Soviet superstate and I wished that the UK politicians had the same level of nationalism and national pride.

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Euro Maidan

L'Ukraine est l'Europe

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