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Yanukovych's Fall: The Power of Ukraine's Billionaires

•, By Christian Neef
 Nobody told Ukrainian parliamentarian Yuri Blagodir that you had to be physically fit to be a representative. But last Thursday, the ability to run fast suddenly became a key skill. Just before 10 a.m., the parliament in Kiev was finally assembling in an effort to find a way out of the spiraling chaos that had gripped the country. Then came the order to clear the building.
Gunfire rang out, explosions shook the government quarter and special police and secret service units rushed to the scene. The opposition, it was said, intended to storm the parliament and the seat of government.

Blagodir, 40, ran up the street along with the other parliamentarians, away from the city center and away from the parliament building. They felt like they were running for their lives -- a pack of representatives being hunted by the people they represented.

It was afternoon before they returned to their workplace and the greatly anticipated special session only began at 5 p.m. For Yuri Blagodir, the session was of particular importance. Just a day earlier, he had still been a member of the Party of Regions, the governing party led by President Viktor Yanukovych.

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