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    4 Major Reasons Why People Are Protesting In Ukraine

    Confused about what's happening? Let's clear things up.

    This is Ukraine.

    Ukraine's politics have a tug-of-war between pro-Europe and pro-Russia ideologies

    Meet Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine's President

    He wants to remain close with Putin and Russia

    Meanwhile, Ukraine's government is at risk of financial default

    And many people see integration with the EU as a way to improve Ukraine's economy

    But Russia doesn't want that to happen.

    Russia fears that a Ukraine-EU agreement would lead to a flood of EU products

    An EU agreement would also require reforms in Ukraine

    Which both Russia and the Yanukovych government say would damage joint Ukrainian-Russian business ventures.

    Many advocates of closer EU-Ukraine ties want reform that will make Ukraine more open and transparent

    One reform required by the EU: freeing leading political prisoners like opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko

    In November, Ukraine's government opted not to free Yulia Tymoshenko...

    ... which killed the proposed trade agreements with the EU

    Russia then offered a major economic package, including a bailout Ukraine's government

    After the EU deal collapsed in November, protesters came out in force

    The protest is called "Euromaidan"

    So, while there are many reasons why people are protesting, there are a few major causes sustaining the massive protests:

    1. Anger about rejecting Europe and the European Union

    2. Anger about the crackdown on protesters

    This includes anger about the anti-protest laws passed on January 16th

    ... which, among other penalties, created a two-year jail term for defamation spread through social media

    ... and banned protesters from wearing helmets

    3. Dislike of Yanukovych and Ukraine's anti-democractic strains

    ... including Yanukovych's close ties to Putin

    4. Protesters are thought to have momentum on their side