To the people of the Netherlands
This week on February 18-20, the Ukrainians are commemorating the events which took place in Kyiv exactly two years ago: the pinnacle of the Revolution of Dignity (also known as Euromaidan), bloodshed and deaths of more than a hundred of peaceful protesters.
People in Ukraine first came out onto the streets when it became public that then-President Viktor Yanukovych failed to sign the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. A week later, after a violent crackdown on protesters, the uprising spread nationwide. Real Revolution of Dignity started when fundamental rights to assembly and freedom of expression were violated by the regime of former President.
If you ask an average Ukrainian what Euromaidan was about, they would say it was about human rights, fighting corruption, and accountability of the government. It was not about the membership in the European Union. It was about Ukraine's European dream, if by «European» you mean democracy and rule of law.
Revolution of Dignity might seem to be a thing of the past, yet the struggle continues not on the streets but in governmental institutions. Ukrainians desperately need the Association agreement that will provide a crucial roadmap for implementation of high standards of public policy. This is what so many Ukrainians sacrificed their lives for. Ukraine is able to fight corruption, defend human rights and modernize economy without the Association Agreement, but with it the transformation of Ukrainian economy and society will go faster and much more effectively.
Association Agreement was signed not because it was imposed by Brussels and European Union. It was signed because Ukrainian people had the courage to go onto the streets and defend their demands for three long months of winter.
On April 6, 2016 the Netherlands will hold the referendum on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. For the Association Agreement to come in force, there is just one step left – voting «Yes» at the referendum in the Netherlands.
Allow us our future.
Oleksiy Matsuka, Director, Donetsk Institute of Information
Alyona Getmanchuk, Director, Institute of World Policy