News, Politics

Ukraine President Removed

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Viktor Yanukovych at the Annual Meeting 2013 of the World Economic Forum in  Switzerland, January 24, 2013. Image: World Economic Forum
Viktor Yanukovych at the Annual Meeting 2013 of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, January 24, 2013. Image: World Economic Forum

President Viktor Yanukovych was thrown out of Ukraine’s government last week.

The former president called it a coup d’état, which in this case means that political power was taken from him by force.

Ukraine parliament say they impeached Yanukovych (made the decision to remove him).

Several weeks ago, peaceful protestors took to the streets when the president suddenly went back on his word to join the European Union (EU); instead, he wanted to be closer to Russia.

The people of Ukraine felt they could have a stronger economy with the EU and also a more democratic government. But Yanukovych turned his back on the negotiations with the EU and made a deal with Russia instead. Russia and Ukraine had been part of the Soviet Union before it collapsed in 1991.

When Yanukovych put in laws and penalties that made it illegal for the protestors to make their ideas public, the protests turned to violent riots. When a cease-fire was called to discuss a solution to the riots, the president refused to support it and instead became violent towards the protesters.

Just before his impeachment, Yanukovych fled Ukraine’s capital city, Kyiv, to travel to another Ukrainian city with close ties to Russia. It was reported Sunday that when he tried to fly to Russia, his airplane was held back.

The parliament also released Ukraine’s former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, who has been in a prison hospital for two years, put there by Yanukovych on false charges. She has arrived in Kyiv and has praised the protesters.

An ally of Tymoshenko has been appointed interim president.

It is still being decided if Yanukovych will face charges for the violence.

This article was updated at 11:05 a.m.; thank you to Marsha Skrypuch for her generous assistance.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
As the article explained, the president of Ukraine, Yanukovych, has been impeached and does not hold his political power. Before another president can be chosen, an interim president fills that role. An interim president is someone who takes on the role during the transition.

The interim president is walking into a very difficult situation.  What do you think he should focus on in order to settle the upheaval in Ukraine?

Reading Prompt: Demonstrating Understanding
The situation in Ukraine is very complicated. As a result, this article includes many details and explanations about the current political situation in Ukraine. Using your own words, try to summarize the situation in 3 sentences. Include important information and supporting details.

Junior
Demonstrate understanding of increasingly complex texts by summarizing and explaining important ideas and citing relevant supporting details (OME, Reading: 1.4).

Intermediate
Demonstrate understanding of increasingly complex texts by summarizing important ideas and citing a variety of details that support the main idea (OME, Reading: 1.4).

Grammar Feature: Phrases from other languages 
One of the sentences in the article explains: “The former president called it a coup d’état, which in this case means that political power was taken from him by force.”

Even when speaking English, we use the French phase coup d’état to describe a situation when political power is taken from a leader.

Can you think of other examples when English-speakers use words and phrases from other languages to express an idea?