Do you need perspective to see something clearly?
After multiple friends recommended I watch “Winter on Fire,” the Netflix documentary about the Ukrainian protest turned revolution in 2014 that ultimately ousted their Russia-aligned president, I might answer, yes.
The protest started with students, who were upset that President Yanukovych made a last minute and unilateral decision to NOT sign an agreement to join the EU, a move already approved by the parliament. Instead, he decided to align the country more with Russia, to their great consternation.
The protest was quite large, large enough that the government sent special police forces to quell the peaceful protest, and they ended up beating and bloodying many students — men and women alike. Seeing young students beaten for protesting a move the country was largely behind outraged many citizens and the following day, many more Ukrainians, of all ages, joined the protest.
This is when the protest hardened into not just being about looking westward and joining the EU, but the Ukrainian people demanding that the country become more of a democracy, to root out corruption in government, and for the will of the people to be heard.
I encourage you to watch the documentary, which follows the ebbs and flows, the relative peace but then the violent conflict with the brutal police forces that culminated after 90+ days. These people knew the direction they wanted to go with their country and were willing to face the worst an authoritarian leader might unleash on them.
The incredible heart of the Ukrainian people shone through. I was inspired. I also found myself thinking, “Wow, Putin is really messing with the wrong people.”
Then saw this about the current conflict:
For me, this is why the fight in Ukraine holds so much significance and relevance to me. This is the fight we are seeing across the globe — authoritarianism vs. democracy — and right here in our country.
Ukraine must win. As we must win over the anti-democracy, pro-authoritarian forces here in the U.S.
Thanks for reading this.