NewsHour Extra Feature Stories
NewsHour Extra features stories can help students identify and interpret key issues
in current events. This activity anticipates one class period, but the follow-up
essay might be assigned as homework, or in another period.
Up: Use initiating questions to introduce the topic and find out how much
your students know.
Activity: Have students read NewsHour Extra's feature story and answer the
questions on the reading comprehension handout.
Use discussion questions to encourage students to think about how the issues outlined
in the story affect their lives and express and debate different opinions.
Students can write an 500-word editorial on the topic expressing their views
and send it to NewsHour Extra [email@example.com]
for possible publication.
Students are graded on their answers to reading comprehension questions and/or
Thousands of Ukrainians Refuse to Accept Election Results, 11/24/04
What was the Soviet Union?
2. The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 -- what issues
might countries that were ruled by Russia face today?
3. What would happen
if our government took over and ran all industry and institutions -- farming,
manufacturing, the media etc.?
Reading Comprehension Questions: (click
here for printout)
What is happening in Ukraine right now?
of people in the former Soviet republic of Ukraine are protesting Sunday's election
after exit polls pointed to a victory for the opposition leader, but official
results handed the presidency to the authoritarian prime minister.
Why is the election important?
outcome of the political stalemate will decide the direction of this Slavic nation,
rich in natural resources and comparable in size to Texas, which lies at the midpoint
between Russia and Europe.
Who did the Russian president back in the election?
current prime minister, Viktor Yanukovich, has sided with Russian President Vladimir
Putin and favors a more centralized government, while the opposition candidate,
Viktor Yushchenko, has promised to reform the government and join trade and military
alliances with western Europe and the United States.
What were some of the problems election observers had with the election?
international election observation mission released a preliminary report Monday
declaring that the election did not meet democratic standards. The findings included
pressure on students to vote for the state's choice; widespread abuse of absentee
voters, including some who were bused from region to region; the blocking of poll
workers; suspiciously, even fantastically, high turnouts in regions that supported
the prime minister; inaccurate voter lists and overt bias of state-financed news
What has Yushchenko accused his political enemies of?
alleges that twice his political enemies tried to kill him and that he was poisoned
in September. Indeed, his once photogenic face is now scarred by a mysterious
illness. His detractors said he must have eaten some bad sushi.
Was Ukraine ever independent of Soviet rule before 1991?
overthrew Polish rule during the mid-17th century and managed to remain autonomous
for well over 100 years. However, the Russian Empire absorbed most Ukrainian territory
in the late 18th century. Following the Russian Revolution in 1917, Ukraine enjoyed
a short-lived period of independence (1917-1920), but was reconquered and forced
to endure a brutal Soviet rule that engineered two artificial, or man-made, famines
(1921-22 and 1932-33) in which over 8 million died, according to the CIA Factbook.
Have protestors backed down since the election?
have increased every day since the election. Viktor Yushchenko told the crowd
the people's will cannot be broken; the people's vote cannot be stolen. "You
are the heroes. You are the heroes of Ukraine," he said, "You are carrying
on your shoulders what will become -- maybe tomorrow, maybe next week, maybe next
year or in many years to come -- the future of Ukraine."
the protestors have dug in for the long haul, setting up tents and passing out
blankets, foam mattresses, hats and winter coats. Posters were taped to the tents
and to some of the protesters' jackets. They were messages to the police: "Don't
Discussion Activity (more research might be needed):
Given the number of Ukrainians protesting the outcome of the presidential election,
what should the government do? Should it recount votes or go along with election
officials who have claimed victory for Yanukovich? What obstacles would countries
like Ukraine face in recounting votes and how would they go about it? Also, if
Yushchenko was declared the winner in a recount, what obstacles might he face
as the country's leader?
Research Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich's political history. Why in your opinion
is the Kremlin backing him? What might a Ukraine under his leadership look like
for the next five years?
a 500-800 word essay on any of these topics providing clear examples. Send your
completed editorial to NewsHour Extra [firstname.lastname@example.org].
Exceptional essays might be published on our Web site.