Destinations Magazine

Soaring Hopes, Dark Fears

By Stizzard
Soaring hopes, dark fears

EUROPE means different things to different Ukrainians. One vision is on display at Mezhyhirya, the gaudy palace complex erected by Viktor Yanukovych, the ex-president, on the outskirts of Kiev. Just as he plundered the country he ruled for four years, here Mr Yanukovych ransacked the history of European design, housing himself in an oversized Finnish-style chalet surrounded by faux-Roman statues and stuffed with fake French antiques.

A rather different idea of Europe was expressed by the men and women who occupied Kiev’s Independence Square, known as the Maidan. Waving European Union flags, they gathered on the streets in November 2013 after Mr Yanukovych, under pressure from Russia, spurned an association agreement with the EU. Yet “Euromaidan” appeared to be losing steam until Mr Yanukovych set his goons loose. One year ago, after security forces killed dozens of protesters, he was forced from office and fled.

For its authors in the European Commission, the agreement that Mr Yanukovych rejected (and that his successor, Petro Poroshenko, signed last June) was a technocratic exercise little different from deals made with other nearby…

The Economist: Europe

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