News, Politics

Ukrainian Prime Minister Resigns

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Mykola Azarov. Image: premier.gov.ru
Mykola Azarov. Image: premier.gov.ru

The Prime Minister of Ukraine, Mykola Azarov, resigned (left his job) on Tuesday.

Experts say this should help to ease some of the tensions that have been building in that country.

The tensions began in November when Ukraine’s president, Viktor Yanukovych, made a surprise move to bring Ukraine closer to Russia rather than the European Union (EU).

He asked Russia to lend Ukraine some money, rather than asking the EU for it. Ukraine needed the money to help its economy.

Many Ukrainians had looked forward to a closer association with the European Union because they felt it would bring democracy to their country.

Ukraine had been part of the Soviet Union with Russia until 1991, when Ukraine became independent.

Many Ukrainians felt that if they had a closer association with the EU, their politicians would have to become more honest.

About two months ago, many Ukrainians took to the streets of its capital city, Kyiv, in peaceful protest against President Yanukovych’s move away from the European Union and forming closer ties with Russia.

The protests began over the move towards Russia, but they have since broadened to be about better human rights, less corruption and more democracy, according to CBC News.

About 10 days ago, the protests became less peaceful. Protesters and the police fought.

The country’s president made 16 new laws that said people could not protest or criticize the government. The new laws also said that people who “create disorder” would be put in jail for a longer time.

This provoked (upset) the protesters and the violence in the country increased. The protests spread to other regions of the country.

The government has since taken some of the laws away (“repealed” the laws). However, most protesters no longer trust the government.

Many protesters have been put in jail. The government said it may grant them amnesty, which means forgive them and let them out of jail.

However, the government says they will only grant the protesters amnesty if they promise to stop protesting.

Experts say the protesters are unlikely to agree to that until the president steps down and new elections are held.

Thank you to Marsha Skrypuch for her assistance with this article.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
The protests that began peacefully in Ukraine have become violent and many people have become injured. What is the responsibilty and or duty of other nations when violence like this begins?

Reading Prompt: Metacognition
Today’s article was a challenging article if you do not have familiarity with politics and if you are not familiar with Ukraine. What strategies did you use to monitor your understanding (comprehension) before, during, and after reading?

Junior & Intermediate
Identify the strategies they found most helpful before, during, and after reading and explain, in conversation with the teacher and/or peers or in a reader’s notebook, how they can use these and other strategies to improve as readers (OME, Reading: 4.1).

Grammar Feature: Comma
Commas are punctuation marks that can be used in many different ways. One way they can be used is to show the reader that they are readining additional information. For example, the commas in the sentences create a space between the main idea of the sentence and the extra information. 

He asked Russia to lend Ukraine some money, rather than asking the EU for it. Ukraine needed the money to help its economy.

Ukraine had been part of the Soviet Union with Russia until 1991, when Ukraine became independent.

Place a comma in the following examples to separate the main idea from the additional information.

1. After dinner the dog ran away.
2. The best dancer in the ballet is only 18 only five years older than me.
3. The teacher in my class often falls asleep especially during quiet reading.