Large protests continued in Kiev, Ukraine throughout the weekend in opposition to President Viktor Yanukovich and his government following the abandonment of a pact with the European Union. In the most visually impressive show of disdain for their leader, protesters tied electrical cable around a statue of Vladimir Lenin and toppled the statue, then broke it up into pieces with a sledgehammer (which had been blessed by an orthodox priest).
The statue, first erected in 1946, was replaced on its plinth by a flag of the EU as well as a sign that read "Yanukovich, you are next!" According to Reuters, the Ukrainian leader and Russian president Vladimir Putin "are widely believed to have struck a bargain whereby Ukraine will get cheaper Russian gas and possibly credits" if Ukraine spiked the EU deal.
Meanwhile, state-run media has largely been trying to shift blame for the protests away from the government. According to BuzzFeed, the channel Rossiya "has outstripped its competitors in showing bizarre, paranoiac, and misleading reports."
One host said Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was an ex-CIA agent who organized the protests to get back at Russia for the battle of Poltava in 1709; another claimed Ukrainians were only angry because of sharp seasonal changes in the weather.
During one report, a protester interrupted a live broadcast to sarcastically present the reporter with a Academy Award spreading "lies and nonsense."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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