The Maidan and Beyond: The Media’s Role

Issue Date July 2014
Volume 25
Issue 3
Page Numbers 52-57
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Media, both new and traditional and both Russian and Ukrainian, played a major role in the EuroMaidan story from the very outset. On 16 January 2014, parliament passed the infamous “dictatorship package,” a set of eleven laws meant to curb freedoms of association and expression. The “package” was in effect an attempt to seize control of the Internet by means of Russian-style measures such as blocking critical websites and requiring online publications to register. But President Viktor Yanukovych was trying to put in place overnight the kind of autocracy that Vladimir Putin in Russia, like Alyaksandr Lukashenka in Belarus, had spent years building. His hasty effort backfired, as protests against his dictatorial legislation exploded, with fierce clashes breaking out in central Kyiv that cost some demonstrators their lives and Yanukovych his hold on power. The new government must now turn its attention to institution-building and the safeguarding of Ukraine’s democratic advances.