Why did so many turn out? Thier hopes for a better tomorrow resulting from closer ties with wealthy and decent western neighbours were crushed by Thursday's cabinet of ministers' announcement that they were putting a freeze the Association Agreement deal with the EU planned to be signed in Vilnius later this week.
I watched Friday's ShusterLive during which an old and tired PM Azarov gave a weak and unconvincing explanation for the decision. There was a sense of resignation hanging in the air. A good politician would have offered some crumbs of comfort...some positive spin...at least one plus point for the decision. But there was none of this. It was all defeatist, the tone negative..He looked a loser....Someone sent out to take the flak for his boss Yanukovych.. [Who seems to have locked himself into his bathroom in Mezhyhirya last Thursday with his backside glued onto his gold toilet.]
In contrast, most of those present at today's events were young, under 30, students, young families etc.
If the pro-EU demos continue, Azarov has already hinted they will be scattered.
But you cannot fight off the inevitable – A Ukrainian-Russian divorce. And the young always win out in the end.
Those supporting today's actions in Kyiv and other cities have been revitalised and emboldened.
Re-elections are to take place on 15 December 2013 in seven constituencies were results in last autumn's parliamentary elections were suspect, so the political temperature in the country will remain hot.
Most significantly, the Ukrainian pull-out of the AA signing has created a huge expanse of clear blue water in the policies of the government parties and the opposition. It is generally accepted that a majority of Ukrainians are for closer ties with the EU...Yanukovych has therefore two options, 'Lukashenkisation', or lose the 2015 presidential elections..
The EU and the USA will be looking at lists containing the names of prominent Ukrainian pro-government supporters, their property and bank accounts in the west in case things get ugly, which they may well do...
A sense of dashed hopes, and a dread of a return to a new USSR will most likely fuel more protests.
p.s. Azarov hinted in an interview on Russian tv that today's demonstrations may have been 'financed'..what cheek! Thousands of youths of sporting appearance [so-called Titushky'] were seen congregating near the president's administration and in a central park today. When challenged, they turned away and refused to answer journalists' questions..Who is financing these meatheads?
He has also suggested that if western leaders care so much for Tymoshenko, they should pay her fine and make good the loses she allegedly caused the country by her bad decisions. What cheek! There is widespread belief that she was wrongfully imprisoned and her trial was a farce. They slap absurd politically motivated charges against her, then propose western countries pay the massive fine. Crude extortion or what? Only a dumb Donetsk gangster could make such a suggestion...
p.p.s. At time of writing it seems the silovyky have started swinging their sticks...could get ugly...so many brave, bright-eyed young people still on 'Evropeyska ploshcha'.