MTSU Professor Reacts To Violence In Ukraine
by Emily Luxen
Murfreesboro, Tenn. - As violence continues to erupt in Ukraine, many in Middle Tennessee with ties to the country have been keeping a close watch on the developing situation.
In the political science department at Middle Tennessee State University, discussions on the topic are common. For Dr. Andrei Korobkov, a Russian politics professor, the issue is personal.
"I am checking websites, watching TV and skyping with friends and colleagues in Ukraine," said Dr. Korobkov.
Dr. Korobkov said there are multiple Ukrainian students at the school and professors with connections to the area. He is a native of Moscow, but has made frequent trips to Ukraine, and said the country is deeply divided.
"Ukraine right now to some extent represents the United States before the Civil War," said Dr. Korobkov. "There are two nations, two societies with different views forced together."
Protests began in late November when the Ukrainian President turned away from a trade deal with the European Union and accepted a bailout from Russia. Tensions reached a boiling point Tuesday when riot police drove through the streets with water cannons and stun grenades, and protestors fought back. More than 25 people have been killed and hundreds injured.
"The position right now on both sides is totally unacceptable," said Dr. Korobkov. "They have already decided to go violent, and under the conditions it is impossible to find a compromise."
However, Wednesday evening, Ukraine's president announced he and opposition leaders had agreed on a truce to end the violence. Dr. Korobkov said the situation is still unresolved.
"It can turn into a civil war, or it can come to a compromise," said Dr. Korobkov. "It's hard to predict right now."
The foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland are set to travel to Kiev Thursday to survey the situation. They, along with their U.S. allies, could impose sanctions against the government if violence continues.