The State Statistics Service of Ukraine reported in November 2013 that in comparison with the same months of 2012, industrial production in Ukraine in October 2013 had fallen by 4.9 percent, in September 2013 by 5.6 percent, and in August 2013 by 5.4 percent (and that the industrial production in Ukraine in 2012 total had fallen by 1.8 percent).
Clockwise from top left: A large EU flag is waved across Maidan on 27 November 2013, opposition activist and popular singer Ruslana addresses the crowds on Maidan on 29 November 2013, Pro EU rally on Maidan, Euromaidan on European Square on 1 December, tree decorated with flags and posters, crowds direct hose at militsiya, plinth of the toppled Lenin statue Viktor Yanukovych Mykola Azarov Serhiy Arbuzov Vitaliy Zakharchenko Oleksandr Yefremov Andriy Klyuyev Hennadiy Kernes Mikhail Dobkin Viktor Pshonka Olena Lukash Yuriy Boyko Leonid Kozhara Dmytro Tabachnyk) was a wave of demonstrations and civil unrest in Ukraine, which began on the night of 21 November 2013 with public protests in Maidan Nezalezhnosti ("Independence Square") in Kiev, demanding closer European integration.
The scope of the protests expanded, with many calls for the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych and his government. Police and protesters fired live and rubber ammunition across multiple locations in Kiev.
The pro-European Union protests are Ukraine's largest since the Orange Revolution of 2004, which saw Yanukovych forced to resign as prime minister over allegations of voting irregularities.
Although comparing the 2013 events in the same East-West vector as 2004, with Ukraine remaining "a key geopolitical prize in eastern Europe" for Russia and the EU, The Moscow Times noted that Yanukovych's government was in a significantly stronger position following his election in 2010.
The demonstrations began on the night of 21 November 2013, when protests erupted in the capital, Kiev, after the Ukrainian government suspended preparations for signing the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement with the European Union, to seek closer economic relations with Russia. Protesters also used tear gas and some fire crackers (according to the police, protesters were the first to use them). Escalating violence from government forces in the early morning of 30 November caused the level of protests to rise, with 400,000–800,000 protesters, according to Russia's opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, demonstrating in Kiev on the weekends of 1 December In the Russophone cities of Zaporizhzhya, Sumy, and Dnipropetrovsk, protesters also tried to take over their local government building, and were met with considerable force from both police and government supporters.
On 24 November 2013, clashes between protesters and police began. Euro Maidan [had] grown into something far bigger than just an angry response to the fallen-through EU deal.However, in a December poll by the same company, only 30% claimed that terms of the Association agreement would be beneficial for the Ukrainian economy, while 39% said they were unfavourable for Ukraine.In the same poll, only 30% said the opposition would be able to stabilise the society and govern the country well, if coming to power, while 37% disagreed.The signing was witnessed by the Foreign Ministers of Germany and Poland, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Radosław Sikorski, respectively, and the Director of the Continental Europe Department of the French Foreign Ministry, Eric Fournier.Vladimir Lukin, representing Russia, refused to sign the agreement.The parliament assigned early elections for May 2014.