Angry protesters in the Ukraine who are seeking a new trade agreement toppled a monument to former Communist leader Vladimir Lenin on Sunday morning in Kiev, reported the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, Dec. 8. As a part of the former U.S.S.R., the Ukraine has close trade ties to Russia, but the protesters are seeking to loosen those ties. There were no police officers visible in the area.
"Where were the police, where were the communists who were always protecting him?" queried a witness. This classic protest action took place during a huge rally – the largest march and rally through Kiev since President Viktor Yanukovich made clear his opposition to any loosening of the agreements in place with Russia by turning down a trade deal with the European Union.
The angry workers put barricades in place in front of government offices and offered Yanukovich 48 hours to disband his government. Otherwise, the protesters announced a plan to march on his country residence near Kiev. A government spokesman said Yanukovich's administration was "ready for negotiations."
Turning down the trade deal with the European Union was a “line in the sand” symbolic action designed to keep Russia as the Ukraine’s key trading partner, in spite of opposition. But the opposition, which is now approaching half the population, would prefer stronger connections to the rest of Western Europe.
Times are changing. Statues of Lenin and other early Soviet leaders were once common around the Ukraine. Now, they are mostly in museums. And this week, another one bit the dust. "It is amazing how the authorities allowed Lenin to go down!" said another witness.