In a striking example of Cold War redux, the Ukraine has emerged as the latest geopolitical flashpoint between Russia and the United States, with Western Europe playing a secondary role. Ukrainians are caught in a tug of war, with Ukrainians in the eastern portion of Ukraine more aligned with Russia, and Ukrainians in the western portion of the country wanting to move closer to the democratic model of Western Europe and the United States. Protesters against the repressive government of Ukraine’s President Viktor F. Yanukovych are fighting for more freedoms within the structure of a pluralistic democracy, including checks on presidential powers. With the likely tacit blessing of autocratic Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is no stranger to using force to put down dissent, Yanukovych’s government has pushed back with increasingly repressive measures.
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