Quote Originally Posted by Simpleχity View Post
The only reason Yanukovych won the 2010 presidential election is because Ukrainians felt the alternative, Yulia Tymoshenko, was worse. Yanukovych was himself a petty criminal who served time in prison. He made a number of huge blunders while in office. His first blunder in March of 2010 was appointing Party of Regions hardliners to all power/cabinet positions in government. No reconciliation appointments for the opposition. He also sacked all regional governors and replaced them with his PoR loyalists. His next major blunder came in April of 2010 when he signed a very long lease agreement with Russia concerning the Black Sea Fleet base at Sevastopol in return for ephemeral gas price concessions. This crappy deal essentially gave Russia de-facto control over Crimea. His next major blunder came a bit later when he had his PoR loyalists in parliament change the constitution to give the president enormous powers. A "super-president" if you will. All during this time Yanukovych, his son, and a dozen of his closest cronies formed what Ukrainians called "The Family". They embezzled billions.

The final straw for Ukrainians was the EU Association Agreement. For about a year and a half Yanukovych and his ministers were stating that this was a done deal, that they were committed to European integration. He even went to the signing ceremony in Vilnius, Lithuania. But when the moment came to sign the document, he refused and flew back to Ukraine. This was shattering to Ukrainians who saw in EU membership a means to become as economically prosperous as their neighbors in Poland, and an avenue to transition Ukraine to the European rule of law and end the endemic corruption that constantly plagued their nation. This was the proverbial breaking point... Ukrainians had had enough of Yanukovych and his thieving/deceitful cabal. Massive protests soon began in Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) in Kyiv. They vowed not to leave until Yanukovych was gone.
Interesting. I'm still seeing this as more of a problem for the EU to deal with than the US. Seems like they are floundering around with it, and not being effective in their response, although, seemingly related, the Russian economy is on the down slide. Not sure if it's due to EU economic sanctions or not.