“Every election in Ukraine is a crucial one”, so goes the joke among Ukraine experts, east and west. Just like with any joke, there’s some truth behind it. In the post-Soviet landscape, the country has always stood out as relatively pluralistic: its politics, though never completely democratic, are highly competitive, and its civil society is habitually described as “vibrant”.
Alexander Lukashenko that hosted the summit in Minsk could barely hide his happiness. He did not take a direct part in the 16-hours long negotiations, but got a precious opportunity to transform his status from the one of “the last European Dictator” into the one of the main European peace-maker with the European leaders paying a visit to him.
The deal struck last Friday by the leaders of the so-called Independent Square protest and the President Viktor Yanukovich may prove a major progress in the Ukrainian crisis. The agreement has put an end to the violent clashes with the police that in the previous days had reportedly caused more than a hundred dead in Kiev and across the country, pushing back the prospect of a potentially devastating civil war.
Recent events in Ukraine have been depicted in many ways depending on who is narrating the story of the Euromaidan and what is his perception of the symbolic meaning of the actions under scrutiny: as a revolution against a corrupt political system, as a civil war, as a genuine proof of the Euro-dream for change of Ukrainian people who are ready to die defending their ideals, as a coup d’état and so on.