Varenyky are Ukrainian dumplings stuffed with fruit or potatoes and topped with sour cream. Today, they became a symbol of political protest. While tens of thousands of Crimeans went to the polls on Sunday to vote — the result is almost certain to separate their peninsula from Ukraine and join Russia — others expressed their dissent by staying home to cook this most Ukrainian of foods and posting photos and videos of their dumplings to Youtube and Facebook.
Partial election results released late Sunday showed Crimean voters overwhelmingly supporting a referendum measure that would see their region break away from Ukraine and join Russia. With half the ballots counted, Mikhail Malyshev, head of the Crimea Election Commission, said in televised remarks that more than 95% of voters approved the option of annexation with Russia over a second option offered, which called for seeking more autonomy within Ukraine.
Events in Crimea and Ukraine are entering a new phase this weekend. As residents of Crimea voted in a referendum about its future disposition, Ukrainian troops stuck in Crimea are now facing an uncertain fate, and tensions between pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian citizens are flaring in cities throughout eastern Ukraine.
Vladimir Putin appears well on his way to reclaiming the Crimea for Russia, restoring the peninsula to a status forfeited by Nikita Khrushchev’s Soviet Union in 1954. But this territorial achievement may provide only temporary distraction for Russia’s 140 million people who have seen their quality of life deteriorate dramatically since Putin took power in 1999.
Topless demonstrators in Ukraine are part of the self-defined “sextremist” Femen group – radical women protesting the Russian invasion of Crimea. Femen is a stark example of frontline femmes who use their bodies and their voices to fight status quo corruption, war and a political oligarchy.
For journalists in Ukraine, safety has become a leading concern. Radio Svoboda, the Ukrainian branch of Radio Free Europe, had been covering the protests (in Ukrainian) since they started in November.
As tensions spiral between Russia and the West over the crisis in Ukraine, the Obama administration is denouncing Moscow's imposition of new restrictions on independent Russian media. The State Department on Friday said it was "deeply troubled" by dramatic new curbs on press freedom that it said make it easier for the government to spread "patently false" information.
Roughly seven in 10 Americans view Russia as a threat to the United States, a new poll released Friday shows, the highest percentage since the break-up of the Soviet Union. Sixty-nine percent say Russia presents a "very" or "moderately" serious threat to America -- up 25 percentage points since April 2012, according to the CNN/ORC International poll.