It was about a year ago that tens of thousands of Ukrainians caught the attention of the World as they amassed at the Maidan to demonstrate for a Western-style future and not to be cast back into a soviet-era style bloc of bread lines and authoritarian domination.
Invigorated by the propensity of its youths' will for prosperity, freedom, the rule of law and opportunities like that of other Western democracies, Ukraine became a symbol of an evolving model of the modernization and liberation of a former soviet-state from the rustic hold of Vladimir Putin and his flawed attempt to recapture a dead era.
At the Maidan, the hardened faces of Ukraine's youths shone with hope against the oil-drum fires set to warm protesters from the frigid elements of the Ukraine winter. Sadly, many of those faces died at the hands of forces loyal to former President Viktor Yanukovych. Some were kidnapped, some tortured, many jailed and some disappeared as Yanukovych attempted to keep Ukraine in servitude to Russia. By Spring, Yanukovych fled Ukraine and it appeared that the aspirations of Ukraine to Westernization would sail freely.
But Putin would not permit such a big prize as Ukraine located right in his backyard to be lost to hope and Westernization. He meddled, annexed Crimea and agitated pro-Russian sympathizers in Ukraine's east. Today, though Kiev, Lviv, Lvov and other progressive cities have elected a pro Western President and government, Donetsk and Luhansk regions continue to be marred in conflict and death as Russia stands and supports separatism in Ukraine prohibiting the demonstrated destiny of most Ukrainians.