Ukrainian student Alina Zhuravel spent last semester in Brno, where she studied at Masaryk University. She observes the demonstrations that took over her home country in previous weeks with a great concern. Although she equates president Yanukovych’s regime with a Russian rule, she is not afraid of going home and she strongly supports the protesters. 

Where in Ukraine are you from and what do you study?

I come from a south region of Ukraine and I am a student of Odessa National Polytechnic University where I study international business management. Here I have been studying at Masaryk University, participated in Erasmus Mundus mobility exchange.

Have you returned home since the demonstrations had begun?

I have not been at home since September. But every day I watch the news.

Are you afraid of going back?

The situation is quieter in my region so I am not afraid to come back home.

What do you think about president’s and government's actions?

Maybe you know that Ukraine is non-officially divided into two parts : the first one supports the European direction of development and the second one the Russian policy and the government of Ukraine. I think that it happened historically and it was made on purpose by rulers who wanted to conquer Ukraine. It is easier to conquer a smaller territory and people who support different ideas (before Ukrainian people had strong patriotic Cossack spirit).

So in different periods of time, Hungary, Poland, Russia or Germany conducted policy of assimilation of Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian language. But as for me the policy of Russification and the Soviet Union had the strongest impact on our country.

About president's and government's actions I think that they have an aggressive and repressive character and remind me that of Russian dictatorship. I also think they should have thought better before deciding to sign the agreement with the European Union and then changing their opinion at once which showed Ukrainian policy not from the best side on the international arena.

Do you agree with the terms of the protestors?

I do agree with the protestors and I am proud of them as they are representing interests of the whole country and are so brave and determined in this terrible situation.

What is a general view on this among students in Ukraine?

Concerning students, again it depends on the part of Ukraine they are from. However, students are mostly supporting Europe.

Did you attend the demonstrations?

I attended a demonstration once, here in Brno.

How could the Czech Republic or the European Union help resolving this problem?

I think the best of the Czech Republic and (or) European Union is not to keep calm and support the Ukrainian protestants by showing that they are not alone in this struggle. However, material support would also be good, as people of Maidan (the main square where the protests are held) need medicines, food and warm clothes. I can't predict how it will end, but I hope it will have a positive result for our country. 

How will it end? Do you think it is possible that those demonstrations could develop into a country-wide conflict?

Well, I think that there's already a country-wide conflict, as the massive demonstrations take place nearly in all the regions and there even are victims.

Bottom line: What is your opinion on the current situation in Ukraine? How could we help?