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Ukraine

Maidan, A Year Of Living Dangerously

Last December, amidst dramatic protests in Kiev, few imagined that the Maidan protests would lead to land grabs and open warfare. The symbols and substance of Ukraine's iconic square.

Fish-eye photo of Kiev's Maidan Square
Fish-eye photo of Kiev's Maidan Square
Valeri Kalnyish

KIEV"Whenever it's not clear what's going on, gather at Maidan..."

That was a joke that started circulating last year, after protesters first began meeting up in Kiev's Maidan Square in the wake of the Ukrainian government's refusal to sign an important agreement with the European Union. A year later, willingness among Ukrainians to gather at the square to protect their interests through protests hasn't disappeared.

The Kiev International Sociology Institute reacted quickly when last year's Maidan protests began, surveying the protesters about their attitudes and motivation. The institute found that 70% of them were protesting the actions of the Ukrainian special police, who had forced the earliest protesters from the square on the night of Nov. 29.

The operation, meant to clear the square, only encouraged more demonstrations, and on Dec. 1, 2013, the largest protest since the 2004 Orange Revolution gathered in Maidan Square to express discontent with the government.

In the survey, the second most common reason given by respondents for protesting — cited by 53.5% of them — was then-President Viktor Yanukovych's refusal to sign the EU association agreement. In addition, 50% of respondents expressed a desire to improve life in Ukraine, while 39% said they would like to change the government and only 5% said they wanted to put the opposition (now in control of Ukraine's government) into power.

There is other interesting data to consider. According to Harvard public opinion research, only around 47% of Ukrainians supported the protesters, while in the United States and Britain 55% the population was behind the Maidan movement. In Russia, the overwhelming majority of respondents — 69% — were neutral about the protests, while the rest were divided evenly between those who supported the protesters and those who didn't.

"I trust the students," recalls singer Ruslana, who didn't leave Maidan for the first four months herself. "They were the first to go out to Maidan. They were the first to see the point of protesting on Maidan. They will always be the ones who protect Ukraine. A year ago, there were so many people protesting, and the people left, but the students stayed."

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Economy

The Bogus Concept Of "Carbon-Neutral" Oil

The Colombian president recently said that the country had exported one million barrels of carbon-neutral or offset oil. But in an unregulated carbon market, such a claim is pure greenwashing.

People walk in the streets of Bogotá

María Mónica Monsalve Sánchez

-OpEd-

BOGOTÁ - In March this year, various national and corporate leaders met in Houston, Texas, for CERAWeek, an annual conference to discuss the world's energy challenges. Colombia's President Iván Duque took the opportunity to remind participants that his country produced just 0.6% of the world's carbon emissions even as it had raised crude production to one million barrels a day.

He said oil should not be seen as an enemy, since the fight was really against greenhouse gas emissions. He also revealed at the event that the country's national oil firm, Ecopetrol, had sold the Asian market its first million barrels of carbon-neutral or offset crude, consisting of the entire extraction, production and exportation chain.

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