News / Europe

Ukraine Revolutionaries Vow to Stay in Kyiv's Maidan

Ukraine Revolutionaries Vow to Stay in Kyiv's Maidani
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Gabe Joselow
June 01, 2014 9:01 PM
Ukrainian activists who fought for change in their capital's Independence Square are refusing to leave the public space that became the focal point of protests in February. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports on what the future might hold for Kyiv's Maidan, and those who occupy it, as a new government takes charge.
Gabe Joselow
— Ukrainian activists who fought for change in their capital's Independence Square are refusing to leave the public space that became the focal point of anti-government protests which in February toppled a pro-Moscow government and paved the way for a new one to take charge.
 
For members of a self-defense group from the Ukrainian city of Odessa, the revolution is not over.
 
Defying orders to tear down one of the many barricades still blocking the roads in downtown Kyiv, they say they will stay until they are sure the political reforms they fought for have taken hold.
 
One fighter, Kostya, says he gave up everything for the struggle and is not ready to go back.
 
"I lost my job.  I have separated from my family.  I left Odessa and I did not leave for nothing.  I left to fight for my motherland so that Ukraine will be united," says Kostya.

They came from across Ukraine in bands called "hundreds," setting up tents and barriers in Kyiv's Maidan, or Independence Square, to call for change.
 
Stacks of bricks and tires remain from the February protests that forced the ousting of Russian-backed leader Viktor Yanukovych.
 
A new president, Petro Poroshenko, is set to take office this week.
 
Meantime, the country's attention has turned toward the smoldering battle with pro-Russian separatists in the east and the government has asked citizens to join the fight.
 
Some activists in Maidan say they supported the cause, but are not going anywhere.
 
Konstantin Klymashenko heads a civilian group that cooked meals throughout the protests.
 
"There will be certain rotation.  People from the east will come here to rest and people from here will go there to fight.  And we will just keep feeding them," says Konstantin.
 
The Maidan serves another role - as a living memorial.  The streets are lined with a growing number of dedications to some 100 protesters killed in battles with police - a group known as the "heavenly hundred."
 
In their memory, some activists want to establish the square as a center for continued political discussion.
 
Ivan Kukurudziak says those who gave their lives fought for more than just a change of leadership.
 
"When Yanukovych left it was just a process, it was not a win.  And when Poroshenko becomes president it's not a win, it's just a process.  So Maidan should be a place of activism, of innovation and propositions until the dreams of the people who died will come true," says Kukurudziak.
 
Kukurudziak wants to see a permanent place here for the organizations that supported the cause.
 
But not everyone agrees that Maidan should stay.  Anita, a medical student, helped injured protesters during the demonstrations.  She says the square has already served its purpose.
 
"I think that right now Maidan is not needed and if people will need it, they will come out again.  Now I do not think Maidan is playing any role," says Anita.

The city is ready to move on and the new mayor has called for Maidan to be cleared.  But it may be harder to convince those who believe - or who want to believe - that there is still a battle here to be fought.

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Vovan from: Central Ukraine
June 02, 2014 8:22 AM
All misfortunes are in Ukraine - exceptionally on the conscience of Putin and his marionette Yanukovych. Putin was sure that will be able to control Ukraine through Yanukovych. When Yanukovych "bared" the About-Russian essence through impossibility to sign an association with European Union Ukrainian people overturned Yanukovych.

Yanukovych eloped to the owner (to Putin, Russia) as a dog. Farther to operate beginnings of Putin. Russia in the person of Putin simply went mad! Putin untied Goebbels propaganda against Ukraine.The really massed lie against Ukraine was begun with May, 2013 - when all Ukrainian patriotic moods got fascist interpretation suddenly. Russia conducts frankly aggressive war against Ukraine.

Here it is what reaction of Moscow on the real choice of the Ukrainian people independently to choose the fate and reject dominion of Russia above itself, which lasted more than 300 years.


by: Serge from: SPb
June 02, 2014 7:46 AM
Why do you call Yanukovych and former government
"pro-Moscow" and "Russian-backed leader"?
People in Russia and Ukraine don't think so. It's only your off-base opinion and you want to thrust your false opinion on others.

In Response

by: Vovan from: Central Ukrai
June 02, 2014 9:27 AM
You tell! Yanukovych today is in Russia. Yanukovych does statement under dictation of Putin. Yanukovych took out to Russia 6 trucks by by a meatball filled dollars. A president Yanukovych in 2010-2013 assigned the agents of Moscow for power positions in the Ukrainian government. The sons of Yanukovych also eloped to Russia. The ministers of government of Yanukovych eloped to Russia. Yanukovych did not condemn annexation of Crimea Russia. Yanukovych supports terrorism in Ukraine, which is exported from Russia.


by: Igor from: Russia
June 02, 2014 12:07 AM
It is high time to leave the square because your victory will creat another corrupted government. The difference is the new one is pro-western and the head of it is a billionaire who will care only for his money, not the plight of the poors.

In Response

by: Vovan from: Central Ukraine
June 02, 2014 9:39 AM
But as on me: we, Ukrainians, will decide without you, Russians, how we must live in the own country. Russians, venenate by propaganda of Dmitry Kiselev - student of Gebbels - try to teach other nation how they must live.

Ukrainians were European nation, Ukrainians - tolerant and peaceful people, Ukrainians always dreamed to be delivered from Russia


by: Jacklyn Denise from: USA
June 01, 2014 8:37 PM
Of course no one admits to burning to death 5 IT workers when Maidan took over the government buildings. No one admits shooting police in the back. No one admits burning soldiers to death with molotov cocktails. You can't even get VOA to report it.

In Response

by: Vovan from: Central Ukraine
June 02, 2014 9:45 AM
Who will not admit? Putin? Is Putin a tsar above Ukraine? Delivered from an itch to look at Ukraine sitting on the Kremlin watch tower.
Facts which you mention about are a fruit of Kremlin propaganda, and you are a parrot!

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