60 Minutes: The Heart of the Revolution
CBS News correspondent Clarissa Ward contributed a 60 Minutes report about a hot topic that has been making international news in 2014: Ukraine. She said that almost 100 protesters were killed in a revolution that toppled the president. The clash surrounds the country’s dependence on Russia and whether it should begin to embrace the West. Russia seized control of the Crimea region to the south and reminding many of the Cold War.
But who are the people of the Ukraine behind the revolution? They are from different walks of life, but they came together in Central Square in the city of Kiev. Independence Square bears European flags, and that is where tens of thousands have been camping out for months, despite freezing temperatures and sniper fire.
The revolution continues, with protesters building up barricades, fighting back against Russian interference, and not ceding the ground they have violently gained. Sviatoslav Yurash is just 18, but he is in charge of the organizers’ media operation. He once lived and worked in a building that he never thought would be fired on by his own government.
60 Minutes: Ukraine Maidan Revolution
A major intersection is now guarded by a catapult, and soup is served from wood-fired broilers. One woman who has been dishing it out said she will stay as long as it takes to support revolution in the Ukraine. Jobs include cleanup, patrol, and even chopping wood.
Tents provide a little shelter from the cold temperatures, where countless people have relocated in support of the Maidan, the name for this revolution, which seems to be well-organized and well-supplied.
60 Minutes: Petro Poroshenko Ukraine
Some of the country’s most powerful forces, such as Petro Poroshenko, a powerful and wealthy businessman in the country. Though he is technically an oligarch, he rejects that categorization, because he made his fortune through chocolate, not privatization. He is the country’s ninth richest man.
Poroshenko said that corruption was bad for his business, and that is why he supports the values of the Maidan, which pursues justice, fairness, and fighting corruption. He sees it as modernization, and he said that he is just one of a number of financial supporters.
He told 60 Minutes that the movement was not organized by politicians or oligarchs, but one that rose out of the demands of ordinary citizens. They want to bring the country into the modern age, and Poroshenko said he has spent much of his time over the past several months in the square among the revolutionaries. He is considered a prime candidate for prime minister.
60 Minutes: Vitali Klitschko Ukraine
Vitali Klitschko, a retired heavyweight champion, is leading a parliamentary block that met with secretary of state John Kerry. A winner of 15 heavyweight titles, he is now pursuing the title of president in a May 2014 election.
Klitschko invoked the “clear rules” of sports that cannot be broken, unlike in the government of the Ukraine. Fistfights and violence were common in parliament in the past. He was once a voice for moderation, but “the government’s bloody crackdown” changed his perspective.
“We never expected the police will use guns…and shooting we own people and using snipers,” he said of the violence that has killed so many citizens. “It’s unreal. I have a feeling I’m in a movie.”
60 Minutes: Yanukovych Corruption
President Yanukovich fled to Russia in the wake of the violence, and protesters learned that $37 billion of the government’s money had gone missing. Some of that money can be seen in a tour of Yanukovych’s private home, which 60 Minutes toured with Yurash.
The opulence and “complete lack of taste” were evident in the mansion, and Yurash pointed out that the former president did not earn any of these spoils. His home, now open to the public, has become a tourist attraction, where entrepreneurs are selling maps.
Chandeliers and a private elevator are among the home’s indulgences; some activists hope the home is turned into a museum of state corruption. There is even a private zoo! Surprisingly, there was very little looting when protesters took over the house.
60 Minutes: What Happens Next in Ukraine?
Yurash said that the public was shocked and outraged by what has been uncovered. Though they knew the president was corrupt, they had no idea about the extent. “The quantity of it is mind-boggling in every way,” Yurash said.
Though the former president is out, Russia remains engaged and has invaded Crimea, in the southern region of the country. Can the protesters stand up to Vladimir Putin? Klitschko said that it’s a difficult fight, because Russia may want to rebuild a new version of the Soviet Union, which Ukraine does not want.
“No fight, no win,” he said. “I fight for my country. I fight for the future. I fight for democracy,” he said. “And I am not alone.” Petro Poroshenko traveled to Crimea to negotiate, but he was run off by an angry mob that supports Russia. Can the revolution stand up to this latest challenge? Poroshenko thinks that the US should take stronger action against Russia, including the use of force. For now, the battle rages on, and “the victory of this revolution has come at a horrifyingly high price,” 60 Minutes said.