Mar 9, 2014
Ukrainian Protests Persist Despite ‘Orwellian’ Surveillance, Violence
Posted on Jan 24, 2014
Yanukovych said he would revise newly enacted laws designed to crack down on the opposition, change up his administration and pardon some jailed protesters. But as the BBC reported that day, those concessions weren’t enough for him to keep a firm grip on his position:
On Tuesday, reports emerged that some protesters, as well as others who happened to be in the vicinity, were receiving text messages like this: “Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”
Through the use of telephone technology and the new anti-protest laws (now up for review, Yanukovych claims), government forces are able to pinpoint, profile and message anyone near protest locations. In an effort to further extirpate protests, which have in total included more than a million people, the administration also issued restrictions on public assembly and blocked a march past the Parliament building.
Earlier in the week, The New York Times picked up on accusations that the government was attempting to cause schisms within the opposition in order to “divide and conquer,” hiring outside factions to cause problems and further discredit any opposition movement.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post attributed the wave of recent protests to Yanukovych’s bids to impose “strict limits on the press, on peaceful assemblies, on Internet use and even on speech itself.” Yanukovych’s move away from an association agreement with the European Union in November, and Russia’s subsequent offer to Ukraine in December of a $15 billion stimulus package, brought public anger to a crisis point late last year.
—Posted by Donald Kaufman
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