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Ukraine Conflict: The Generational Divide

The generational divide in the Ukraine conflict

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - The protests seen in Ukraine and in other parts of the world in recent years have often been led by the younger generation, the more social savvy groups who want western freedoms.

Russia and Ukraine are very similar, in culture and in language. Ukraine was also one of the former Soviet Union republics. Now as an independent nation, there is a division among the young and old, those who prefer western democracy and those who miss the stability of the former Soviet Union.

The images the world has been watching for the past few months, but for college freshman Oleg Mironchenko the conflict is a personal one.
"I've got an uncle in Kiev and a grandmother in Russia," said Mironchenko.

He was born in Russia and served a mission in Ukraine.

"The Ukrainian people are some of the nicest people I've ever met. Talking to the people and walking down the streets you could tell that something as going to happen, because of the tension and thew ay they would talk about their government and the corruption," said Mironchenko.

For many former Soviet republics, corruption in every day life, even today is nothing new.

"It's very normal, for example the police, if they pull you over, you can just give them a bribe and they will let you off," said Mironchenko.

He said the younger generation is tired of the corruption, and the pro-Russian side is the older generation, still yearning for Soviet-era protection.

The Ukraine conflict is a much different one than the Arab Spring or the uprising in Syria, since it does not involve terrorist groups.

"In a way what we have essentially is a revival of a classical, even Cold War kind of conflict," said former senior White House official Steve Yates.

Yates was the deputy assistant to former vice president Dick Cheney for national security affairs.

"I think at a minimum our government is getting involved in the economic war is over in Ukraine," said Yates.

As tensions continue to escalate in Ukraine Mironchenko watches from half a world away witnessing the fiercely divided nation he fell in love with and the generational hold of his home country.

Yates added it's unlikely the United States will get involved militarily in Ukraine.

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