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

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs