Ukrainian protests cause concern for students

The violent protests happening in Ukraine have headlined across newspapers, television and radio for a few weeks now.

Although the country is situated in Eastern Europe, far away from Siloam Springs, Ark. the events and news has effected part of the John Brown University community.

For freshman Arty Pavlov, who is from Kiev, the violence over the past few weeks effects his family directly.

“My grandparents and my parents are still there in Kiev right now. Far from the main streets where all these events are happening,” Pavlov said. “But it is dangerous to be outside of your home right now. Especially at night. There are people there who will rob you.”

The protests in Ukraine began in November 2013, after the Ukrainian President Yanukovych did not sign a trade agreement with the European Union Association.

The protests have grown from a fight against Yanukovych’s choices and the Ukrainian government, to a fight for basic human rights and privileges.

The protests have left Pavlov wondering if he will be able to return home this coming summer.

“My parent’s don’t really know if I’ll be able to go home this summer because a lot of international airports have closed,” Pavlov said. “And if the situation in Kiev becomes worse, then I’ll probably stay here in the United States.”

Pavlov is not the only University student whose summer plans may be affected by the situation in Kiev.

Neal Holland, associate professor of visual arts, who is helping to lead a trip of students to Ukraine this summer, has been keeping an eye on the events happening as well.

“Students will be studying graphic design and photography in Ukraine and will be working with the Kiev office of Youth with a Mission, to produce materials that support the work they do in ministry there,” Holland said.

Holland also noted that the trip will not be cancelled, although if the situation in Ukraine worsens, then the destination of the trip may have to be reconsidered. Currently, the destination has not been changed.

According to Holland, there is a strong relationship build with the people of Youth With A Mission currently living in Kiev, Ukraine.

“We speak to them often and are aware of the situation there more directly than any speculation about news events,” Holland said. “However, we know that events currently make this a potentially dangerous location and will not knowingly take students into any harmful situation anywhere in the world.”

Although the situation deals with the Ukrainian government, Pavlov believes that it is important for American students to understand what is happening.

“It shows how people can fights for their rights and confront the government to stop all of the things the government has made against the people,” Pavlov said. “People should always be aware of their government because the government is not always for the people.”

Pavlov agrees that people should be able to vouch for what they believe is right.

“This shows that you should be ready for any situation,” Pavlov said. “Be ready to fight for what is right.”