Lies about Ukraine’s Euromaidan revolution that just won’t go away

Euromaidan protesters burned tires to create a smokescreen between themselves and the Berkut police. Photo: Ukrayinska Pravda

Euromaidan protesters burned tires to create a smokescreen between themselves and the Berkut police. Photo: Ukrayinska Pravda 

Op-ed

Article by: Sean Eriksen

Before me stands an educated man—softly spoken, thoughtful and articulate. He is a well-traveled and multilingual native English speaker who has spent some months living in Ukraine.

In fact, he is an experienced journalist conducting freelance work for one of the world’s most widely distributed newspapers. Each sentence is sharp and emphatic and has all the hallmarks of an original thought.

“You should not be so gullible,” he says, “what is going on in Ukraine is in service to the NATO project. The 2014 revolution was a coup organized by America, sponsored by America, and is now being defended by American money.”

On the Maidan square in 2018. In the background, covered by the placard “Freedom is our religion,” stands the house of Trade Unions, which served as a headquarters for the protesters, but was demolished in a fire

A little research on this man shows that he has otherwise been claiming, in ordinarily respectable places, that rape accounts in Syria are fabricated to justify Western intervention.

One might say that these kinds of grubby statements are ordinarily the prerogative of Russian propaganda, but actually, even Kremlin disinformation is often much more subtle and nuanced than this. For instance, RT’s timeline of the Ukrainian “coup” of 2014 mainly leaves the impression that Euromaidan was the product of violent right-wing nationalists rather than conniving American bureaucrats. While equally untrue, here at least Ukrainians are left with the dignity of independent thought.

Actually, many of the boldest lies written in English about Euromaidan have come not from Kremlin propaganda factories, but ostensibly respectable and well-regarded western writers, just like the man before me. For example, according to Seamus Milne, as prestigious a journalist as one can find, and now the British Opposition Director of Communications, Euromaidan “was triggered… via an explicit anti-Moscow EU association agreement. Its rejection led to the Maidan protests and the installation of an anti-Russian administration-rejected by half the country [Ukraine].”

Noam Chomsky, the world’s most cited intellectual, tiredly recycles the kind of thing he has been saying for decades: “So yeah you can give arguments against Russian interference in eastern Ukraine after the coup that took place there, but it’s a complicated story and the west is not without its significant initiatives there.” My italics.

For many people living in rich liberal democracies, even educated and decent people, these kinds of statements are considered reasonable or sometimes axiomatic. Trusting ostensibly reputable sources, people fall innocently into the way of thinking that they could just as easily have reached reading nothing but Russian propaganda.

As the freelancer before me shows, four years after Euromaidan it is still necessary to dispel a few lies and replace them with truths.

Undoubtedly America has strategic interests in Ukraine (ones it has done, if anything, very little to advance) but merely because one has chosen to make themselves the ideological enemies of the American government does not mean they should also make themselves the enemies of the Ukrainian people.

The Ukrainian people wanted Euromaidan. The Ukrainian people are responsible for Euromaidan.

There was no coup

The idea that Ukraine suffered a coup in 2014 has lodged itself so firmly into international discourse that the word is routinely used without hesitation, and usually without challenge. A coup has negative stigma, for it differs from a revolution in that it involves seizure of power by political elites rather than ordinary people. Calling Euromaidan a coup achieves three things: it portrays the Yanukovych government as legitimate, the revolutionaries as illegitimate, and ties Euromaidan to American-backed coups in South America and elsewhere.

An article recently published on Polygraph directly addressed this exact issue, refuting Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claims that Euromaidan was a coup supported by the West. Of course, if anyone was interfering with Ukrainian sovereignty during Yanukovych’s presidency it was Russia, whose army medals officially dated its operation to annex Crimea from February, 20, 2014, while Yanukovych’s police were still killing protesters in Kyiv.  

Indeed, a short history of Euromaidan leaves little capacity for even a propagandist to construct a coup narrative.

The initial catalyst for the revolution was the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, which had been discussed in some form since at least as early as 2007. This work continued upon the election of President Yanukovych in 2010, and promised visa free travel and free trade between Ukraine and the EU.

Like all such agreements with the EU, it depended on minimum democratic standards which Yanukovych routinely undermined, most notably through the 2012 imprisonment of his chief rival, former Prime Minister Tymoshenko. This led to the Council of the European Union reiterating that “electoral, judiciary, and constitutional reforms in line with international standards are integral parts of [the Association Agreement].”

Nevertheless, the negotiations continued and a signing ceremony was organised for November 28, 2013. Yanukovych announced that he would not sign the agreement, and though he attended the ceremony he kept this promise. Simultaneously he concluded several deals with Russia.

Activists, political parties, ordinary citizens converged on Independence Square in Kyiv. Attempts to suppress protests only strengthened their resolve, and by November 31st hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians had joined the protests.

By mid-February 2014 many protesters were already dead. But then, in just three days, from February 18th to February 21st, sixty-eight protesters were killed by Yanukovych’s snipers. Note that in this time the army was mobilising only against protestors, leading to the resignation of the Armed Forces Deputy Chief of Staff.

As would be expected, the international community, including the United States and the EU, responded with diplomatic pressure against Yanukovych to stop the killing. But the people who organised the protests were not Americans, and the people standing and dying in the streets were not Americans.

On the 21st of February, the Ukrainian parliament unanimously voted to restore the 2004 constitution, which had been dismantled by Yanukovych. More importantly, they voted to demobilise all soldiers and police. Protestors were now safe in the square.

President Yanukovych signed the deal with the protestors. Then, on his own volition, he fled to Russia, and it was only after this willing departure that his impeachment secured by the Ukrainian legislature. More importantly, a fairly contested election was held, which resulted in a peaceful exchange of power from the interim president, Turchynov, to the current president, Petro Poroshenko. Such democratic elections surely do not fit into any definition of the word “coup.”

Indeed, to call Euromaidan a coup is a deliberate political statement, and a symptom of either a person’s vulnerability to lies, or a willingness to themselves tell lies.

Pining westward

An important, missing piece from the above story is why Ukrainians so passionately demanded a closer association with Europe.

It is this emotional aspect that is the hardest for those living in liberal democracies to identify with: people in the United States or the European Union or wherever can see the problems that plague their own countries and wonder why someone would risk their life to obtain the same thing.

But of course, we all know that these countries have more money, a higher standard of living, and stronger democratic institutions. It is almost condescension to mention this point.

Nevertheless, it is worth stressing that life in the European Union really is easier than life in Ukraine, or almost anywhere else in the world. It is worth stressing that Ukrainians are educated and politically conscious; that Ukrainians know about democracy and free speech and the rule of law.

It is worth stressing that Ukrainians know that just a few hundred kilometers away there are hundreds of millions of people just like them living in relative luxury and comfort, most of whose governments usually respect their human rights, whose politicians usually do not outright steal billions of dollars from the national coffers. Ukrainians know about the success of Poland and Romania and other neighbors who have thrived since accession to the EU.

And Ukrainians knew about all of this in 2014.

sean

Sean Eriksen is an Australian/American writer living in Ukraine. He studied law and history/international relations and runs a blog designed to inform outsiders about Ukrainian politics.

 

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  • Buddy Rugger

    It is not innocent ignorance, that the myth of a coup sponsored by the U.S. and E.U. is propulgated.
    That myth is very useful for political reasons in the U.S., and I can imagine even moreso in the E.U. and Europe.
    According to the current narrative among the American right wing, the coup was a failed blunder which falls upon the head of Obama and Merkel. Of course, this same group has had elements within claiming that Obama was a Kenyan Muslim, and was at war with Israel, so take from that what you will.
    For the right wing in America to accept the truth, they will have to forfeit an oft-used dagger against the ideological left, because everything regarding Ukraine is seen as a leftist, globalist plot. If Ukraine burns, American “leftist interventionism” burns with it. Obama and Merkel burn.
    Some leftists also have their myths regarding Ukraine, but they were few and disparate, and I frankly can’t recall if they differed from the russian version. For them, a lack of troops and other commitments seemed the main goal, and that was only expressed early into the post-Maidan months.
    I think that perhaps Ukraine should utilize a small number of it’s available journalism assets to counter these lies which American interests promote, and to fight the lies with eyes open. If you are countering American propaganda, it behooves you to be aware that the lies are no accident, and to call them out as such when necessary.

  • Scradje

    Seamus Milne is an utterly evil Stalinist who hasn’t yet noticed that putlerstan is now a fascist country. Not that it would matter to him; the far left/far right are one and the same. After all, the chekist rodent managed to convert seamlessly from being a hard line Marxist-Leninist to a fascist.

    • focusser

      He’s as far left as it can get, but he is also the worst kind of leftist. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but all that expensive education seems to have been wasted on him.

      • Scradje

        Pure poison.

    • Ihor Dawydiak

      I fully support your observation. Extremism is highly volatile and perverse and it makes no difference if it is orientated towards communism or fascism. Both are equally dangerous in any society.

    • Bers Bersemann

      Yeah right. Just because someone wants dialogue with Russia does not mean that he’s crazy. Even Trump admitted that only very stupid people would isolate Russia. So what do you earn by hating Russia?

      • Scradje

        Maybe putlerstan hasn’t murdered enough Ukrainian children yet to satisfy your bloodlust? Go suck on a rat shashlyk, kremtroll maggot. Then post your drivel on RT, sputnik, or any of the other naцi sites that revere the tiny poisoner in the kremlin.

      • MichaelA

        why does disliking putin equate to hating russia?
        many think that putin himself is one of the worst enemies russia has
        he seems to be leading it down a disastrous path

  • MichaelA

    i dont know seamus milne but he doesnt sound like a respected and prestigious journalist
    i do know of noam chomsky and i wouldnt put him in that category either – in the 1970s he didnt want to know about khmer rouge genocide in cambodia
    he made every excuse he could think of for the noble leftist pol pot for a couple of years
    till the evidence could not be ignored

    the author sean eriksen shouldnt pull his punches so much
    have the confidence to call people like milne and chomsky what they are – deluded hacks

  • Микола Данчук

    Maybe – I don’t understand how people who really don’t know ‘what and why’ preceded the Maidan can overtly insinuate opinions which have no relevance within this issue?
    Where were they when Ukrainians had to deal with ‘bandyty’ and ‘raiders’?
    Or when ‘laws’ and ‘enforcement’ where predicated on who and why it was so?

    The people of Ukraine have been simmering for a long time (as the “Orang” revolution would suggest) and they finally did what needed to be done to discard the overlying frustration within their country.
    And, unfortunately, it is not over. The fight goes on so that the people of Ukraine will be the voice of the country and never again be dictated upon!

    I wonder how many of these ‘intellectuals’ can comprehend that desire?

  • Tim

    I didn’t know that Ukraine had a November 31st……….
    Maidan was by the Ukrainian people, but they were egged-on by the Americans. Unfortunately this forced Russia to seize Crimea. Putin would go down in history as a failure if he had allowed Russia to lose its Black Sea naval base. Now Ukraine has lost territory, and this may be acceptable for them if it gets them true independence from Moscow, but they cannot lose any more territory (with maybe exception of the Hungarian counties in Transcarpathia). Losing any more major cities, especially Kharkiv, Dripropetrovsk and Odesa, even Mauriupol, cannot be tolerated.
    To become successful, Ukraine needs to make peace, become a true neutral country, do business with both EU and Russia (the world, really), maintain a respectable military and re-develop nuclear weapons. They have every right to do this since the Budapest Memorandum turned out to be a worthless piece of paper. They learned, too late, that one can never trust a Clinton. Look where this has led them.

    • MichaelA

      but russia didnt need to lose its black sea base that was the whole point
      it had a lease of sevastopol
      by choosing to invade putin has ensured that russia will never get a lease again
      he can only hold on to crimea until russia goes bankrupt

      to become successful ukraine needs to do exactly what it is doing now
      – refuse to give russia any concessions until russia apologises and withdraws all its troops from crimea and donbass
      – keep cutting its economic and cultural ties with russia
      – keep building its trade ties with all other nations including the eu the usa the middle east china africa and central asia

      • Tim

        Michael, you are correct, Russia had a lease (don’t remember when it was to expire, but I think these were 10 or 20 year leases), but I believe Putin calculated (maybe mis-calculated, hard to say) that this Maidan would bring a government very pro-NATO and very hostile to Russia, and that hoping for the status-quo with the Sevastopol lease and the future renewal of the lease may be a gamble he wasn’t willing to take. I think he decided that it was better to retain the base (at least for as long as possible) rather than risk losing it (he probably thought the risk was greater than 50%).
        In hind-sight, if he had done nothing, perhaps Poroshenko and the current government, or maybe it would be a future government, depending on when the lease was set to expire, would have had no issue renewing the lease. I don’t know the what their stance would be on this, or the will of the people, had there been no conflict. Maybe the lease would continue.
        On a side note, if I remember correctly, I read that Russia had planned (perhaps started construction?) a new Black Sea base on the Russian coast, but not sure what ever happened to that.

        • Rascalndear

          Most of your comments are largely hot air: “don’t remember… but I think…is the best signal to readers that theyt should ignore you because whatever you write further is probably ignorant and biased.

          • Tim

            Really? Just because I don’t remember exactly what year the lease was to expire and the exact term of the lease my comments are ignorant and biased and should be ignored? Doesn’t change the fact that the lease of the base was one of the big points to this ordeal.
            Do you remember the exact details of the lease?
            I was trying to have a real discussion but it looks like most on this board don’t want one.
            Have fun with your Sean Eriksen journalist who thinks there are 31 days in November. Now there is a signal for readers to ignore the rest of the article because the author is definitely ignorant.

          • Rascalndear

            I have no problem with a typo that may not even have been the author’s. I have problems with people who expound self-righteously on matters they’re too lazy to actually verify…. because this really isn’t a subject they need to talk about. Yes, I do know exactly the years of all the leases and I know that as of 1996 they were completely unconstitutional. Unlike you, I work with facts and not conjectures. You have no idea what Putin may or may not have been calculating. The entire kit-bag is a lot more complicated than most people even imagine, including professional observers for whom Ukraine is not a high priority.

    • Scradje

      ‘Unfortunately this forced Russia to seize Crimea.‘
      No it didn’t. You are simply attempting to justify the actions of a criminal fascist imperialist regime. Putin is an opportunist; he took advantage of the weakness of the interim government to expedite a plan that had been in preparation for at least 10 years. You then go on to say that Ukraine needs to be neutral to be successful, which again is drivel. It needs to be freed from the RuSSian squatters on its land; then it will indeed be successful. Its neutrality or otherwise is entirely a matter for its own people, who have suffered three centuries of theft, rape and genocide from its loathsome neighbour. Why on earth would they want to make concessions to a filthy regime that yet again has inflicted death and misery upon their people?

      • Tim

        You are correct. Perhaps “forced” was not the proper word to use. Putin “chose” to seize Crimea. I am not trying to justify what Putin did, and I am not pro-Russian. It was an illegal maneuver according to international law. But was it the right thing to do for Russia? Perhaps “Yes” in the short-term. I don’t know about the long-term, because I don’t think anyone is sure what will come of this.
        I disagree with you however about the alignment of Ukraine. I think being an officially neutral country, like Switzerland and Sweden, could be very beneficial for Ukraine, if they could pull it off. If seems to have worked well for Switzerland and Sweden. Ukraine should trade with whomever they please and make the deals that best benefit Ukraine. But of course it is up to Ukraine. It is just what I think would be an advantageous position.
        You of course are correct that Russia has taken advantage of Ukraine and much worse over history. Poland and Lithuania have as well.
        As far as “wanting” to make concessions, I never implied that they would want to. Reality is, since Ukraine, like almost all other countries, is not as militarily strong as Russia, therefore they may be forces to make concessions under military threat because their pro-Russian past governments had turned their once mighty military into a ghost of what it was, and because Ukraine foolishly trusted Bill Clinton and sold out their nuclear arsenal (similar to how they sold out their conventional military over the past 25 years).
        The final and obvious point to be successful, however, is for a total overhaul of the government. So far this does not seem to be possible. Ukraine is somehow even more corrupt than Russia, with levels on par with African states. This has to change and the parasites have to be driven out.

        • MichaelA

          how do you work out that ukraine is more corrupt than russia?

          • Tim

            I had seen in the past that Ukraine tended to be a little more corrupt than even Russia according to Transparency International Corruption Index. I just checked again for the first time in quite awhile and it says that Ukraine was slightly more corrupt than Russia from 2012-2015, then they were tied in 2016 and then last year Ukraine was one point Less corrupt than Russia. Hopefully this is a sign that they are making some progress!
            But it is really a crime how that country has been run, or rather, pillaged year after year.
            I saw on the news some years ago that a munitions depot had caught fire and was a complete loss. A friend explained to me that very likely someone had sold 80% of the munitions and then lit the place on fire to cover up the loss of state property. “Business” such as this example is so common place in Ukraine that everyone knows about it but that is just how things are done there. This is how the 1990’s gangsters-turned 2000’s politicians run the show and make millions while the old grannies get about $35 a month pension. It is really sad.

          • MichaelA

            i agree with you in general but for different reasons
            for example the munitions factory was probably direct russian sabotage
            the russians made several attempts on it because ammunition was a vital problem for ukraine in 2015-2016
            lithuania gave ukraine several tons of ammunition after that
            but that doesnt change the fact that there is a lot of corruption in ukraine and a lot of income inequality
            you are bang on about the old grannies getting very little
            as for transparency international it admits that its index only measures certain things
            russia is far more corrupt than ukraine because the corruption is an essential part of their system
            which is why an old granny is better off in ukraine than russia these days

          • Brent

            What I’m more curious about someone like yourself who claims to have “followed the news” about Ukraine for years, and what your “friend” told you about a munitions depot fire, and your comments about the lease Russia had with Ukraine about the Sevastopol naval base…..how is it that someone with claims of “years” of following the situation in Ukraine has only made 11 comments in so many years of his “observations”???

            It seems more like you are either a newly assigned Russian troll….or likely an old one using the same old tired Kremlin lies and propaganda under his new “fake Western identity”.

            How about you do some simple research instead of regurgitating the same old Kremlin propaganda being fed to you? You’ll be more credible and have the ‘real discussion’ you claim to crave if you’re more credible and do some better background research instead of listening to your “friends” lies about Ukraine….

            I also noted “Fake Che” is one of your “upvoter” friends…..yeah, you’re a Russian troll !!! You a$$clown$ always seem to hang out together and upvote each other…..

          • MichaelA

            steady on brent – i used to get upvoted by tuphtuph even when i told him he was a geriatric putin troll
            but i always felt he had a mental problem ;o)
            good to see you posting again btw

          • Tim

            I’ll satisfy your curiosity by telling you exactly who I am. I’m a mid-western American who has always had an interest in history and geography, especially European. I befriended the small ex-soviet community in my area around the year 2000 and have considered several of them my friends ever since. They are Ukrainians and Russians for the most part, from Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan. My wife and I hosted my Lithuanian friend and his Russian wife and their children last night for a little Easter celebration and had a wonderful time.
            I was a child of the cold war, and being a curious person, the opportunity for me to learn from my eastern friends their life experiences growing up was amazing. I value any chance to learn to the eyes of others, as I know we all live in our own small worlds the majority of the time.
            I don’t do Facebook, “likes”, “dislikes”, up-votes, down-votes, whatever. I don’t know Fake Che. If he sent me a friend request I must have accepted it. I would always prefer to give a stranger a chance at friendship rather than enmity.
            I am brand-new to this commenting. I have never taken the time to do it in the past.

            I am for an independent and healthy Ukraine and for peace.
            The situation in the east disturbs me greatly. The pieces I read about the kids trying to go to school and the old folks who are too old to get out are really disheartening. A 13 y.o. girl getting killed by dogs walking home from school. My god.
            I finally decided to comment to share my view of a peaceful, healthy and neutral Ukraine. I didn’t know what I was jumping into here and was really surprised how poorly it was taken. I don’t want conflict in Ukraine and I don’t want Ukrainians thinking that the West will help them. We didn’t help Hungary in 1956, nor Poland in 1968, nor Georgia in 2008 and nor will we help Ukraine in a hot war. I don’t want the phrase I hear “Russia and America will fight to the last Ukrainian” in a proxy war to become true.
            Please stop calling me a Kremlin troll. I am not. I am a very concerned American citizen who want peace, prosperity and better governance for Ukraine.

        • Scradje

          You say you are not pro-RuSSian and then proceed to outline the usual worn out kremlin talking points that were invalid then and just insulting now. The only difference that I can tell between you and a kremtroll is that you are polite. Comparing Ukraine’s situation with that of Switzerland is beyond ludicrous. Switzerland does
          not face an existential threat from a fascist neighbour and in any case you do not make concessions to a fascist power. On the corruption index Ukraine actually scores higher than RuSSia. You point out that trust in Clinton was misplaced, as if it was that imbecile who invaded them and not RuSSia.

          • Tim

            To clarify, I am not trying to do Kremlin talking points. What I have attempted to do is to consider oneself in Putin’s shoes and to consider his options and his actions. To get into the mind of Putin. Considering all of these things, I can understand that he thought that this was the right action for Russia’s interests. From this I can understand these things: 1) He views NATO and the West as an enemy and he has some fear of them. 2) He has fear that Ukraine will join NATO. 3) He truly feared (in the near future) losing Sevastopol base. So, because of this thinking he invaded Crimea and what did he find? No resistance (except for one ship captain if I remember correctly. This captain should be a hero). So, as you should agree, when the fascist invader makes a push, and finds only mush, they will continue to push until they find resistance instead of mush.
            Did Putin make the correct move with Ukraine? In the short-term, maybe yes. He keeps his base, gets an easy victory and a little bit increase of approval rating. But what about the long-term? Harder to say, but many think that his action may be a loser in the long term. This could be an absolutely ridiculously expensive move over the long term. Building a new Black Sea base on the Russian coast may in the end have been much, much cheaper than what his aggression will cost Russia.
            The Switzerland comparison is a stretch from a geographic, defensibility standpoint, but do forget your history. Fascist Germany made a probe into Switzerland during WWII and got POUNDED. Putin probed into Ukraine and got mush. Then he probed into Donetsk and Luhansk and got mostly mush. Then he probed into Kharkiv and Odesa and people died. Then volunteer battalions gave resistance, and then, finally, forgotten, hollowed-out and pillaged Ukrainian military woke up and got to working. And even with some generals loyal to Kremlin. What a situation!
            Yes, I checked corruption index and last year Ukraine moved ahead of Russia (in the good direction). But it looks like they have pretty much been in the same scores more or less.
            Finally, of course I am not saying it is Bill Clinton’s fault that Russia invaded. Of course Putin did the invading. But I cannot pass up any opportunity to remind everyone what a lying piece of scum and wretchedness that are the Clinton’s.

          • Scradje

            Re your first sentence: yes you are. Pack it in. Or go to RT/sputnik; you will find the resident trolls on those sites to be highly receptive to your tired old 2014 invasion justification talking points.

    • Rascalndear

      This is no place for US politicking. You have no idea.

  • zorbatheturk

    RuSSians believe all Kremlin lies. Critical thinking is not their strong point. Ukraine has had enough of Muscovian hegemony. Putin, fuggovsky!

  • BlackRoseML

    There was a coup. There were highly trained criminals on the Maidan who were attacking the Berkut with Molotov cocktails. Heck, even the leaders of the activists of the Maidan threatened to remove Yanukovych from power, and the opposition (influenced by Western powers) did not say much to condemn the violence of the “peaceful protesters”.

    We should not forget that the West practically encouraged unrest in Ukraine, by saying nothing that condemned the violent provocateurs on the Maidan. The Western media and politicians only blamed the Yanukovych government. Moreover, Western diplomats had immense interest in Ukraine, showing support for the opposition, and even discussing who should lead after Yanukovych was ousted.

    • MichaelA

      there was no coup
      a coup means an armed violent takeover
      nothing of the sort happened
      the violence was by yanukovych who ordered his goons to arrest torture and shoot peaceful protesters
      and thus provoked many ukrainians to turn out onto the streets
      that is because ukrainians are not docile sheep like russians who will put up with anything
      and no its not just western media – all media except russias paid propaganda outlets blame yanukovych
      that is because he and his puppet master putin are to blame

  • Rascalndear

    Seumas Milne was discredited long ago and the Guardian, his main original outlet, stopped using him soon after the Euromaidan… hardly what I would call “prestigious.” I can’t even remember the last time I saw his byline anywhere. Chomsky is a great linguist with a very idiosyncratic leftist view of the world that most people disregard. Maybe the far left listens to him, but no one else other than linguists does.
    As to historical points, Yanukovych’s deal was not just with the protestors. It was signed by the EU as a mediator and by opposition politiians as well. And Yanukovych, rather than returning the next day and sitting out his term until December 2014 as the deal offered, ran off first to Kharkiv, then to Crimea and only then to Russia. As far as I know, he was not formally impeached. He was treated as “missing in action” and the head of the Verkhovna Rada became the acting president, as per the Constitution.

    • Tim

      Be careful admitting you can’t remember an exact date. This is an indication that people should immediately stop reading your comment and consider it ignorant and/or biased.
      The Rada voted to declare Yanukovych had abandoned his duties, and therefore had forfeited his leadership position.

      • Rascalndear

        There is no discussion of specific dates at all in my comment. If the hat fits you, wear it. Don’t try to put it on someone else’s head.