Four years ago this weekend, Ukraine’s democratically-elected, albeit deeply corrupt, government was overthrown in a Western-backed coup which set off a chain reaction of events, tearing one of Europe’s largest countries asunder. The “EuroMaidan” movement pledged to wipe out corruption, improve living standards and integrate Ukraine into the west. On all counts, it has failed miserably.
The human toll of Maidan has also been extraordinary. Given the post-coup/revolution regime was dominated by western Ukrainians, an insurgency kicked off in the east and south, with ethnic-Russian locals fearful their culture would fall victim to nationalists. Thus, backed by varying degrees of Moscow support, Crimea, and parts of Lugansk and the Donbas separated from Ukraine. And while the former (where thousands of Russian troops were already legally stationed) enjoyed a smooth divorce, the latter pair have endured a horrible war, with over 10,000 deaths so far. No end appears to be in sight, as Kiev refuses to fulfil its obligations under the Minsk peace agreements, and Moscow shows few signs of softening its stance on how the deal must be implemented in full.