A glossary of the Ukraine crisis



Protesters clash in Ukraine.

Reede Goldberg, Y2

Over past few months, the world has watched the Ukraine transition from a free country that hoped to align itself with Europe, into a warzone. Here’s a primer to what’s going on 6,138 miles from where we are right now, at Newsroom by the Bay at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.


The Ukranians’ troubles began with their former president, Viktor Yanukovych, who refused to sign a popular cooperation treaty with the European Union and fled to Russia after outcry by voters. As Yanukovych fled, he dropped 25,000 sheets of paper worth of documents into the lake on his sprawling property. Soon after, the papers would be recovered, dried, and displayed on the Internet for the world to see.


Ukrainian journalists from different broadcast companies came together to recover the papers. The team of journalists, who now call themselves YanukovychLeaks, lived in Yanukovych’s mansion. In fact, they even used his sauna to dry the soiled papers. Among these journalists were Denys Bigus and Olesya Ivanova, who both spoke at the International Reporters & Editors conference on June 27 in San Francisco.

Bigus, Ivanova, and the YanukovychLeaks team worked in Yanukovych’s house for days on end. Without bringing any food or a large amount of materials, YanukovychLeaks used Facebook to reach out to the Ukrainian community for food, scanners, hair dryers, and more. Ivanova recalled that “(b)etween Gucci and fancy yachts, we dried the papers with hair dryers,” adding that she “would pay a lot of money to see his (Yanukovych’s) face when he saw us using his sauna.”

As YanukovychLeaks dried out the soiled papers, new scandals and stories were uncovered. One of the many incidents uncovered was Yanukovych’s blacklists of his adversaries, detailing plots to sabotage them.

Green Men

During the recovery of the documents, the so-called “Green Men” — shadowy Russian mercenaries — began to take over Crimea. According to Ivanova, the goal of the Russians was to make sure that nobody outside of Crimea was aware of the news and that the Crimeans were uninformed about other happenings. “If you wanted to tell the truth,” Ivanova explained, “they would do anything to shut you off.”

Soon, journalists who attempted to expose the truth about the occupation were jailed or beaten. The tortures against the journalists included being shot in the leg and using an electric chair, Ivanova said. The Russians also wanted to discourage journalists from other countries who might want to come to investigate the crisis in the Ukraine.

Historical parallels

The violent tensions in Crimea are reminiscent of those between Palestine and Israel. Much like Ukraine, there are certain areas of Palestine and Israel that must be avoided in order to ensure personal safety. Due to threats similar to the invasion and occupation by Russian troops located in Crimea, the Israeli Defense

The future trial of Yanukovych is similar to that of the Nuremberg Trials during the 1940s, which tried the key players of the Nazi organization and takeover.

The trials lasted roughly four years, including 13 individual cases. Although the phrase “History repeats itself,” is trite, it can be very appropriate. In the case of the Ukraine, no phrase could be more appropriate.

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