Following the fall of President Yanukovych, Ukraine faces huge challenges. The country is all but bankrupt, and its society is deeply divided. The mistrust of corrupt elites runs deep. Fundamental reforms are urgently needed. Will Russia allow the process of emancipation to proceed? How much support will come from the European Union?
The immediate trigger for the protests on Independence Square in the center of Kiev was the refusal of President Viktor Yanukovych to sign an association agreement between the EU and Ukraine. That agreement is now set to be renegotiated. Beyond that, the EU, the International Monetary Fund and the United States have promised financial help, as long as Ukraine implements reforms. The IMF stopped assistance last year, following Kiev's failure to implement a previous round of reforms. It is questionable whether Russia will continue to support its neighbor with loans and cheap gas supplies, now that the political course in Ukraine has changed. The euphoria among many of the protesters on the Maidan may fade if dependence on Moscow is replaced with a new pressure for reform from the Europeans.
Ukraine's internal divisions will doubtless be more difficult to overcome. One the one hand there is the east of the country, where a majority of the pro-Russian population live, and on the other hand the regions which are culturally and economically more oriented towards Europe. Moreover, Ukrainian society now faces the task of creating legitimate democratic structures.
Will the demonstrators in Kiev and elsewhere succeed in ushering in a change in Ukraine's political culture? How far will the EU go in its support for the new Ukraine? And will Russia's President Vladimir Putin retaliate or accept his loss of influence in the country?
Tell us what you think: Ukraine – Can the Country Come together?
Iryna Solonenko - is a Ukrainian political scientist based at the European University Viadrina at Frankfurt/Oder. Before that, she worked for ten years with the Open Society Foundations and the EastWest Institute in Ukraine. Her research focuses on the Europeanisation and democratisation of post-Soviet countries with a focus on Ukraine. She also deals with civil society development and the political role of the Ukrainian oligarchs. Living now in Berlin, she was an activist in a Euromaidan supporters group in the German capital.
Alexander Rahr - After completing studies in history and political science at Munich's Ludwig Maximilian University, Rahr became a researcher at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's research institute in Munich and later a project manager at the former German Federal Institute for Eastern European and International Studies in Cologne. He is a member of the steering committee of the Petersburg Dialogue, a program to promote understanding between German and Russian civil society. Rahr has been the head of the Berthold-Beitz Center (a think-tank on Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Central Asia) and has written several books about Russia, Including "Russland gibt Gas" (Russia Hits the Gas) in 2008, "Putin nach Putin" (Putin after Putin) in 2009 and "Der kalte Freund. Warum wir Russland brauchen” (The Cold Friend. Why we need Russia) in 2011.
Moritz Gathmann - has been reporting on the former Soviet Union for over ten years. Between 2008 and 2013 he lived in Moscow and Kaluga, working a number of major German publications. He has a special interest in Russia's relationships with former Soviet republics like Belarus, Armenia and Ukraine. He traveled with presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych during the 2009 Ukranian elections and has spent has just come back from Ukraine reporting on the Maidan protests.