News / Europe

Two Tent Camps in Kyiv Reflect Ukraine’s East-West Divide

Kyiv's Two Tent Camps Reflect Ukraine East-West Dividei
X
December 16, 2013 7:21 PM
One kilometer separates Kyiv's rival tent cities, the sprawling improvised camp of pro-Europe demonstrators on Independence Square, and the compact army-style camp of supporters of President Viktor Yanukovych on Constitution Square. VOA's Jim Brooke reports.
James Brooke
One kilometer separates Kyiv’s rival tent cities: the sprawling, improvised camp of pro-European demonstrators on Independence Square, and the compact, army-style camp of supporters of President Viktor Yanukovych on Constitution Square.
 
At the pro-Yanukovych camp, the police are there to protect.
 
At the opposition camp, the barricades are there to protect. The one facing the government neighborhood is three meters of snow and ice, of wood and steel. An opposition banner warns Ukraine’s riot police: “Welcome to Hell.”
 
Political loyalties are clear. Inside the opposition camp, a sketch shows Ukraine’s president as political heir to Stalin, Hitler and Pinochet.
 
In the government camp, it is the reverse. In an army tent, a husky man points to a color portrait of  Ukraine’s president and says: “Viktor Fedorovych forever - he is our president.”
 
Cannibalistic act

In the government camp, people fear a break with Moscow.
 
Grisha, a 30-year-old construction worker, denounces last week’s toppling of Kiev’s last Lenin statue as “a cannibalistic act.”
 
He is from Nikolaev, a Russian-speaking city that depends on three large Soviet-era factories. He warns: “If Russia refuses to buy, the factories simply stop.”
 
Ruslan is a well-dressed businessman from Kremenchuk, an eastern city. “I would like that there be work in our country," he said. "If we join the EU, there will be no work. All the factories will stop. Production will collapse. The EU does not need our products.”
 
Down the hill, at the opposition camp, or Maidan, people say government supporters are prisoners of fear.
 
Oleg is a warehouse worker from Lviv, the western Ukrainian city near Poland. “Look how Poland lived, and how Poland lives now," he said. "You have to go and look at the world and you can’t hide in the attic and be afraid.”
 
He says Ukraine can be Europe’s next Poland: “The country will be more open, and investment will come, and factories will work again.”

Ruled by fear
 
Nearby Olena Danko, a documentary film editor, agreed.
 
“It is very sad,” she said. “We have a lot of people, who are still ruled by fear - fear of losing work, fear of having no money, fear of being punished.”
 
Olena said that every evening for the last two weeks she has met her friends at the Maidan to listen to music and to witness Ukraine’s changing society. She is amazed at the high level of volunteerism, often facilitated by FaceBook sites.
 
Despite the barricades, the opposition camp is an often happy, spontaneous place.
 
Near a tent chapel, Greek Catholic priests say it is because people are in the Maidan for ideals, not for money.  Asked why no priests were seen at the pro-government camp, Father Yuri responds: “People are here for ideals. Up there, it’s money.  There are no priests up there, because no priests can be bought for government money.”
 
Running on donations, the opposition has better food. And - with a parade of Ukrainian pop stars giving free concerts - better music.

You May Like

Forest Stands Between Nigeria, Victory Over Boko Haram

Military takes back nearly all towns, villages in northeast, except for massive expanse of forest that spreads thousands of square kilometers over several states More

IS Recruiting Stokes Fears for Parents in Georgia

Chechens are notable part of Islamic State's gains in Syria and Iraq, and analysts fear what might happen if those fighters return to Caucasus More

Yarmouk Camp Becomes Distant Memory for Palestinian Diaspora

Once thriving capital of Palestinian diaspora, after siege by Syrian government forces and Islamic State group, camp becomes 'deepest circle of hell' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'i
X
Sharon Behn
April 21, 2015 9:18 PM
A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten. Sharon Behn reports on the politics of the word genocide on the 100th anniversary of the events.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video German Program Helps Migrants Overcome Traumatic Experience at Sea

Migrants fleeing poverty and violence in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia risk life and limb to reach safety in Europe. Those who have made it to European shores are traumatized by the experience. A program in Germany helps survivors overcome the trauma by giving a new perspective to their catastrophic experience. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs