People attend an anti-government rally at Independence Square in central Kiev, Ukraine, February 21, 2016.
Gleb Garanich / Reuters

The second anniversary of Ukraine’s Euromaidan is a time for reflection about whether ordinary Ukrainians improved their lot by throwing out President Viktor Yanukovych. For observers at the time, the answer was a resounding yes. Yanukovych, the thinking went, was as corrupt as they come. Sympathizers hoped that by removing him from power and electing Petro Poroshenko instead, Ukrainians would open the way for a transparent and honest democratic government ready to improve ordinary people’s lives. 

Amanda Paul, senior policy analyst at the European Policy Center, proclaimed in a 2014 op-ed that “Ukraine has changed forever.” Western governments were

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