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What Do Google Searches Reveal About the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution?

Google searches from the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution unveil a global digital footprint of curiosity and concern. They reflect real-time public interest, misinformation battles, and the power of online platforms in shaping historical narratives. As we sift through this digital archive, what might we uncover about the world's engagement with Ukraine's fight for sovereignty? Join us as we explore this further.

The year 2014 was a bloody and tumultuous time in the Ukraine. In February of that year, violence in the capital, Kiev, reached a crescendo, as riot police and anti-government protestors clashed daily in the city, ultimately resulting in the deaths of 130 people.

Underscoring the year's violent events, when Google compiled its annual list of most-searched-for recipes, "Molotov cocktail" (the homemade incendiary device) was more popular in the Ukraine than typical favorites such as pizza and cake.

Protests against  Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych turned violent in the 2014 Euromaidan revolution, with some protestors bringing Molotov cocktails to use against the police.
Protests against Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych turned violent in the 2014 Euromaidan revolution, with some protestors bringing Molotov cocktails to use against the police.

The so-called Revolution of Dignity, also known as the Euromaidan revolution, was sparked when President Viktor Yanukovych abandoned a deal with the European Union in favor of stronger ties with Russia. Yanukovych was removed from office and fled to Russia on February 22, 2014. That wasn't the end of the violence, though, as the country was also shaken by subsequent crises in Crimea and Donbass.

More on the Molotov cocktail:

  • The Finns first came up with the explosive term back in 1939. It was named after Vyacheslav Molotov, a Soviet minister who had devised a plan to invade Finland just before the outbreak of World War II.

  • A Molotov cocktail starts with a breakable glass bottle containing a flammable liquid -- typically gasoline, diesel, methanol or turpentine -- with a rag stuffed in the top. Detonation is simple: Light the rag and toss.

  • Ukrainians who searched for the homemade bomb were led to a Wikipedia page offering a complete history of the device, or to rogue sites offering protestors instructions on how to put one together properly.

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    • Protests against  Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych turned violent in the 2014 Euromaidan revolution, with some protestors bringing Molotov cocktails to use against the police.
      Protests against Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych turned violent in the 2014 Euromaidan revolution, with some protestors bringing Molotov cocktails to use against the police.