Guests: Corey Flintoff and Mark Lawrence Schrad
Hundreds of thousands of anti-government protestors have taken to the streets of the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, in recent days. Tensions were triggered back in November when the country’s President, Viktor Yanukovych, canceled a free-trade deal with the European Union. Ukraine sits geographically, politically and historically on the dividing line between Russia and Europe and increasingly Ukrainians have wanted to move away from Putin’s Russia and towards Europe and democracy. Their President’s actions, which have been perceived as pro-Putin, have left protestors angry and threatening to bring down the government. We’ll start off the hour with an update on the situation in Kiev with NPR’s Moscow’s Correspondent, COREY FLINTOFF. To understand the roots of the protest and what it all means for Ukrainians – their future, their economy, and their government — we turn to Villanova professor MARK LAWRENCE SCHRAD, author of a new book Vodka Politics: Alcohol, Autocracy and the Secret History of the Russian State.