Thursday, 5 December 2013

Farming through a revolution

"What do you want to do today kids, swimming, play park or do you want to go to the revolution?"

Not the normal Saturday morning family breakfast time negotiation but it is what I found myself saying last weekend.

Ukraine hit the headlines this week as a demonstration turned in to civil unrest and then an attempt to replace the government.

The spark was an abrupt about face by the Ukrainian government signing an EU Association Agreement that would have paved the way to closer EU integration and arguably social and economic improvements. 

Instead Ukraine chose to sign a free trade agreement with Russia much to the obvious delight of Vladimir Putin who basked in the afterglow of sticking one up the EU.

It didn’t last long.  Demonstrators quickly took to the streets in Kiev and other towns to show their frustration at seemingly another lost opportunity for Ukraine.

In Kiev crowds gathered around the location of the previous revolution and early on Saturday morning when you had the feeling the whole thing would peter out in the cold winter, special forces stormed the site and started beating people bloody with batons, boots and fists.

This had the effect you might imagine, people went nuts, by Saturday evening massive crowds had gathered, there were running street battles, at one point they tried to topple Lenin’s statue, social media was buzzing with evidence of state sanctioned violence, the worlds leaders condemned the actions, barricades were erected and it all started to get a bit serious.

On Monday the government avoided a vote of no confidence then seemed to grow in confidence and started demanding the demonstrators disbanded and vacate city hall they had taken over as an impromptu headquarters.

As I write the situation appears calm but you do have the feeling that it could gain traction and go one of several ways.

In the meantime I have been acting like an unofficial journo as media groups contacted me (me!) looking for eyewitness reports from the front lines, which I duly obliged.

Is this affecting farming?  Not at the moment, all winter crops are currently entering dormancy as the temperatures drop, this morning saw the first bit of proper snow of the season and harvest is officially all but done and breaking records.  Exports might slow up if events turn in to wider actions such as national strikes but at this moment I don’t see anything that suggests beyond the main cities it’s anything other than keep calm and carry on.

I’m proud to say we unanimously chose to attend the revolution and the kids loved it.