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Violent Protests Grip Ukraine, Venezuela

Upheaval in Ukraine. Upheaval in Venezuela. We’ll look at both, and their futures.

Ukrainian protesters throw out and burn papers from prosecutor's headquarters in Lviv, western Ukraine, early Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. The violence on Tuesday was the worst in nearly three months of anti-government protests that have paralyzed Ukraine's capital, Kiev, in a struggle over the identity of a nation divided in loyalties between Russia and the West, and the worst in the country's post-Soviet history. (AP)

Ukrainian protesters throw out and burn papers from prosecutor’s headquarters in Lviv, western Ukraine, early Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. The violence on Tuesday was the worst in nearly three months of anti-government protests that have paralyzed Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, in a struggle over the identity of a nation divided in loyalties between Russia and the West, and the worst in the country’s post-Soviet history. (AP)

More blood and fire in the center of Ukraine’s capital Kiev today. Scores now dead, just in the last three days.  Moscow, lined up fiercely behind a corrupt, authoritarian regime.  Ukranian protestors, begging, fighting for something better.  Looking to the EU.  And Europe and the United States, on the spot now.  Just across the Black Sea from Sochi and the horse-whipping of Pussy Riot, it looks suddenly, vividly, like old Cold War days.  This hour On Point:  we go to Ukraine for the latest and look ahead.  And we will turn in this hour to Venezuela and a hot week of turmoil in Caracas.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Sabra Ayres, Ukraine, Russia and Afghanistan correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor. (@babraham)

Steven Pifer, director of the Brookings Center’s Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Institute. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine. (@Steven_Pifer)

Timothy Snyder, professor of history at Yale University. Author of “Nationalism, Marxism and Modern Central Europe,”  “The Reconstruction of Nations,” “Sketches From A Secret War,” The Red Prince” and “Bloodlands.”

Irene Caselli, BBC correspondent in Venezuela.  (@irenecaselli)

From Tom’s Reading List

Wall Street Journal: Ukraine Clashes Raise Stakes in Renewed East-West Contest — “Ukraine, the largest and most strategically important of the former Soviet states after Russia, appears on the verge of the kind of bloody uprising rarely seen in the region since the collapse of the Soviet Union nearly 25 years ago. But unlike that time, when Moscow had neither the appetite nor the wherewithal to challenge Western policy, the struggle now has become the most dramatic conflict yet between the U.S. and Europe, on one side, and Mr. Putin’s Kremlin, on the other.”

The Christian Science Monitor: Why Ukraine’s future may hinge on its oligarchs — “Behind the scenes is a handful of the country’s wealthiest businessmen, who control an enormous amount of Ukraine’s economic output through their holdings in metallurgy, chemical production, and mining, and other industries. This clan of oligarchs, with their economic interests and close ties to embattled President Viktor Yanukovych, could be critical to ending the political turmoil.”

BBC: Venezuelans gather for Leopoldo Lopez court hearing — “After briefly disappearing from the public eye, on Sunday Mr Lopez posted a video message calling on his supporters to join him in a mass rally on Tuesday, during which he would hand himself in to the security forces. After giving an impassioned speech standing in front of a statue of Cuban independence hero Jose Marti, Mr Lopez, clutching a white flower, walked up to a line of National Guardsmen and turned himself in.”

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