Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday, December 15, 2013

#euromaidan - the ukrainian winter

the square

“The revolution in Independence Square doesn't feel like a sprint, like in 2004, but rather like a marathon. It's a war of stamina”. This is how one Ukranian independent journalist describes the events happening these days in the so called Euromaidan, downtown Kiev. Tens of thousands of people gather each day to demand the resignation of President Viktor Ianukovych, the ousting of the government and early elections. On Sundays, demonstrations reach more than 200.000 participants.

The opposition is hoping that Mr. Ianukovych will make concessions under public pressure after he refused to sign an association agreement with the European Union although he negotiated the deal or the better part of it for the last three years.

Holding out in the tough Ukrainian winter would not be possible without the crucial life lines that supply protesters with food, blankets, warm clothing and hot beverages.

the strongholds

Andrei Andulkov is in his fifties. He came to Kiev from Cernauti a couple of days ago to take part in the Euromaidan Revolution and spends his nights in the International Center for Culture and Arts. The palace dedicated to the October Revolution, also known as Red October, has been taken over by protesters in Kiev and turned into one of the fuel cells of the Euromaidan protests. More than 2000 people are registered here and numbers keep growing. They sleep, eat, get blankets, warm clothing and medical care in this superb neoclassical building.

The International Center for Culture and Arts is one of three buildings protesters took over in Kiev and turned into the crucial supply system that keeps this “war of stamina” alive. The central command is located in the Trade Unions building, where opposition leaders proclaimed the headquarters of the National Resistance. Besides a make shift press center, this building houses a giant kitchen where thousands of food packages go out to the protesters in the square and the central distribution of all supplies donated or bought through cash donations.
Kiev City Hall is by far the occupied building with the greatest symbolic significance. Protesters have barricaded entrances and turned it into a vital coordination and supply center. The Revolution HQ is controlled by a newly appointed city council of 1000 protesters and is a symbol of the right to self-determination of the Ukrainian people.

the guards
Andrei is a member of the so called “guards”. His mission and that of all the protesters camping in the International Center for Culture and Arts is to block government buildings in Kiev and prevent the normal activity of the President, the Government and the Parliament. The standoff between protesters and security forces goes on 24 hours a day at the Presidential Palace. The other two public buildings are blocked for 12 hours a day. He is a veteran of the Orange Revolution from 2004 and determined to stay here “until the end”. The end is the resignation of President Viktor Ianukovych, the dismissal of the Government and the organization of early elections in Ukraine. 

the police 

and the statue of Lenin... down

Some of my photos from the protests in Kiev have also been featured on Al Jazeera.