Ukraine gained its independence from Russia in 1991, and over a decade later, in the people’s “Revolution of Dignity” of 2014, saw an end to the corrupt regime of President Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych. He would flee Kiev in the early morning hours of February 22nd, 2014—given asylum by Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

How did the Revolution of Dignity happen?

A brief history of revolution

The people of Ukraine grew increasingly tired of paper independence and the increasing corruption of the Yanukovych regime, as well as his close ties to Russia. The final straw was a broken promise made by the president to improve relations with the EU and a stalled trade agreement. Frustration would boil over into full-blown revolution when peaceful protests in Maidan (Independence Square) were met with brutal retaliation against the unarmed protesters, many of them students.

The result backfired against Yanukovych, and thousands more would gather in Maidan in protest from all parts of Ukraine. The protests would last months, turning extremely violent at times. However, the people wold prevail, and mounting pressure resulted in the president’s unofficial resignation in February of 2014. President Viktor Yanukovych was finally out of power, and paper independence gave way to something more substantial.