On Monday, February 17, Vladimir Putin gave the Ukrainian government $2 billion and some advice. The government took both, and that next day they invaded the Maidan with tanks and machine guns. Three days of violence followed, resulting in the deaths of 100 protesters and 16 police officers. But that wound up being the last gasp of the old regime: By the end of the week, Yanukovych was fleeing for his life. Several days later, he attempted and failed to break a pen while delivering an ultimatum on international television:
C'mon, guy. Pencils.
This prompted Russia to move into Crimea (a region of Ukraine with a Russian majority population) and turned the whole thing into the international crisis that continues as of the writing of this article.
But whatever happens, it's important to keep the above picture in mind. Think of it when you hear the latest outrage from people like Bashar al-Assad, Vladimir Putin, and Kim Jong Un: At the heart of every dictator is a frustrated little man who can't even master his Bic.
You can donate to help those who were wounded and killed in the protests here.
Robert Evans would like to thank Yuliya Skatova for translating several hours worth of interviews, Alexey Karpovich for being an incredible photographer, and Alexander Marinich for helping him organize this. Please contact Robert here if you have a story to tell.
Robert Evans wrote a book, A Brief History of Vice, in which he drank his own pee to test an ancient tobacco recipe. The least you can do is pre-order it.
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