North Country Professor Worries About Former Students in Ukraine


The fighting between Ukraine President Victor Yanukovych's government and opposition protesters in Ukraine was endless for months. The most lethal day, on Thursday, when more than 70 people died. SUNY Potsdam International Business professor Greg Gardner is concerned.

"I occasionally look at those crowds and feel like were things different, those could be my children out there," said Gardner.

Gardner has taught in the Ukraine many times. In 2012, he lectured at Kiev National Economics University. Gardner still keeps in touch with his students. He received an email from one of his students a little more than a week ago.

"It mentioned that they were getting a lot of support from people who were not themselves in the protest lines, but were bringing in medical supplies, were helping people who were wounded get out of the area".

Gardner wouldn't identify the student, because he was concerned for his safety. The email went on to say that the protesters were determined to be successful, now that persistence is starting to pay off.

The demonstrations began late last November when the Ukranian president turned away from pact with the European Union and accepted a bailout from Russia. The protestors want Yanukovich gone and closer ties with the West. On Saturday, President Yanokovich fled the capitol, protestors took over the palace and parliament called for elections in May. Professor Gardner is not surprised.

"That country has been conquered for the last 2000 years and yet those people are still fighting to be free," said Gardner.

Gardner says even when a new Government is in place, there's still a lot of work to be done. But optimism still rings in Gardner's voice.

Friday, December 9, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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