Lance & Megan's Blog

What Ukraine wants

March2

Things in Ukraine have been changing hourly for the past week or so.  It has been a real emotional roller coaster here.  So to begin, I will take a look at the bigger picture and then get into specifics.  At least from my point of view.

It is hard, sometimes, to listen to commentary about the Ukrainian situation from outside Ukraine.  Most big news organizations portray this unrest in terms of people mad about not being aligned with EU.  Sure that is what started this whole movement, however it was never really about being with EU in the first place. It was more about getting away from Russia.  Being a part of the EU trade circle will not all be pie and diamonds.  It has the potential to be really rough for the country.  However, most Ukrainians see it as better than Russia.

That all said. The current movement does not have much to do with the EU at all.  It is a movement towards freedom from oppression.  A friend of mine did an interview with a US news station and summed that all up quite well.

To really understand why this unrest got to the place it did, you have to look at the demographics of Ukraine as well as the history of the people in power.  The country is mostly split into two major demographics. The ethnic Ukrainian Ukrainian and ethnic Russian Ukrainian. The ethnic Russian population of course has stronger ties to Russia.  This is where the currently former President comes from.  Not only that, he was in prison twice and basically a mobster.  When the Soviet Union fell, a lot of mobsters and corrupt officials became leaders of the country since they had the money.  The region where he came from is strongly influenced by fear, manipulation and corruption.  So you can now see, his presidency has been very much that of fear, manipulation and corruption.  In his side of the country, this has worked well for years but not in Western and Central Ukraine where it is predominantly ethnic Ukrainian.

Ukrainians are fighters.  In the past few hundred years they have had about 80 years of freedom  and only a little over 20 of that being since the Soviet Union fell.  This entire time, they have fought against the oppressor. So a new oppression in the form of a president who was acting more like a dictator/mobster did not do him any favors.  (Just google “Yanukovych palace” and judge for yourself if this president was on his way to joining the dictators club.) He was bold enough to use his tried and true tactics on the nation of Ukraine (such as imprisoning the opposition, putting friends and family in important positions, stealing money from Ukrainians etc.) and it totally backfired. Character has a funny way of coming out no matter who you are and this was the case with the president.  He eventually saw violence as the answer… big mistake.  So now you see a nation taking charge of it’s future and fighting for freedom.  Side note, this is the first time in recent times, people have actually died for freedom.

So, the former president seems to be running things, the protesters want to make sure change happens before they back down and true leadership for the country is uncertain.  The nation really needs prayer during this time. Not every Ukrainian is happy with what is happening.  A lot of the Ethnic Russian population sees this as a loss. Whatever happens, Ukraine is and will be different.  Most Ukrainians want change in a big way, just ask Lenin. His statues are coming down all over the place.  It is the Ukrainian symbolic gesture that screams “we are done with the old and rooted corruption, we want something better for our nation!”  They proved this with their lives.

A birthday to remember

March1

My birthday is shared with George Washington’s birthday, February 22nd. I always thought it was pretty cool, basically my birthday is marked on everyone’s calendar… via our first president.

George_Washington

This year though, my birthday was marked by something else, something exciting. No it was not just that I was turning 30 (that is pretty cool though!) It was a new day in Ukraine, a day without corrupt leaders. Ukraine’s president, Viktor Yanukovych, was ousted and new leaders took control! It was a new independence day!

Photo credit: KyivPost

There has been so much happening in Ukraine politically. People became tired of the corrupt leaders and wanted an end to the lies. Now, former president Yanukovych, has fled leaving ruins. He stole millions from the country, he put his friends and family in power who followed his lead and also stole from the country.

Photo credit: Anastasia Taylor-Lind

Though February, 22 was a happy day in Ukraine, it was also a day to remember those who gave their lives to help rebuild a new Ukraine. It will be a long a bumpy road to rebuild a strong and thriving Ukraine, but the people are not afraid of hard work. Ukrainians are tough people and will not shy away from getting their hands dirty.

I’m so happy I got to celebrate my birthday with a whole country!

posted under Megan, Ukraine | No Comments »

Ternopil gets into the action

March1

Most of the action for independence is in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine which is an 9 hour train ride away. Ternopil is usually a quiet city, not too much happens here. Ternopil is the capital of the Ternopil oblast, what Americans would call states. The Ternopil oblast is the poorest in the country, we do not have many exports, we are primarily a university region.

Despite the economy here, Ternopilites have gone in droves to Kiev to help in the fighting. Ternopil is quite nationalistic and will contribute to any cause that will help Ukraine as a country. Not only have people here gone, they have given tires, food, medical supplies, and money to help in the revolution.

On February 19th, the people became more active. Earlier one government building was taken over by protesters but on Wednesday night they set fire to the police office, the prosecutors office and police vehicles. They tore up the cobble in the streets and threw them at other government building windows. People wanted to make sure to put an end to all corruption in all areas of the government.

Here are a few photos of what happened.

Ternopil riot 1 overturned truck

Ternopil riot 4 (good)

Ternopil riot 3

posted under cultural, Ukraine | 1 Comment »

Road Trippin

March1

I know this is old, pictures to follow soon.

Lance and I (just) traveled 1,989 miles… in a car. Does anyone else want to vomit at that thought besides me? Ick! Way too much time spent in a car, but it is a love hate relationship. We love getting to where we want to be, just not the time it takes to get there.

This last road trip went from Auburn, WA to Culver, Or to Baker City, Or to Nampa, ID to Lakeside, MT to Yakima, WA and finally back to Auburn, WA.

Culver, OR

We had a late Christmas and New Year’s with Lance’s family. It was a great week of just spending time with family.

Baker City, OR

We got to spend some extended time with Lance’s relatives. We wanted to have more than a “hi” and “bye” like we did at the wedding.

Nampa, ID

Lance had some relatives that were not able to make it to our wedding so we wanted to be sure and find time to talk with them.

Lakeside, MT

We have close connections and friends with the YWAM base in Lakeside. Besides catching up with our friends there, we wanted to have some time to debrief and reflect. This was a great opportunity since we are lately married and coming into a new season of our lives.

Yakima, WA

My great aunt and uncle live in Yakima and since they just recently had to move into separate assisted living homes (due to physical reasons), we thought it was important that we make a stop to visit.

 

 

 

posted under Lance, Megan, travel | No Comments »