Protests in Kiev, Ukraine - 23d of January, 2014

This material describes events which took place in Kyiv on January 23, 2014. Comments and photos by Ilya Varlamov – Russian businessman who come to Kyiv to see and understand the events in Ukraine.

Temporary cease fire on Maidan.

I would like to dispel the most common myths about Maidan.

1.”They destroyed the whole city”

Not true. All of the action you see in the pictures are happening on a small square near the entrance to a Dinamo stadium. This is a government sector, there is no intereference in peaceful life outside of this area. If you make an analogy with Moscow, imagine that the barricades are someone in the area of Ilinka or Varvarka, near the president’s administration. Sure, it’s the center, but regular Moscovites wouldn’t notice. There is dark smoke and fire on all pictures: those are mostly burning tires. There is not tangible damage to the buildings. Unfortunately one store burned down last night near the barricades, resulted from a poorly thrown molotov cocktail. Even the statue of Lobanovsky, located in the epicenter of fighting has been covered with cloth to prevent damage. Overall, the protesters are very careful regarding property. They’ve take apart fences and benches, but no windows are broken, noone is vandalizing, and all looters are caught and beaten. So the picture is pretty apocalyptic, but things are not so bad.

2. “This is not a revolution, nothing horrible is happeneing”

Also not true. This is a real revolution. Decide for yourselves: it’s been two months since the center of Kiev has been in the hands of the opposition. Several government buildings are seized. The work of many government offices is paralyzed. The opposition has created barricades, which the authorities have not be able to take. Despite the freezing temps, tens of thousands of people are on the streets for the last two months. The system of defense and supply chain are established. There is perfect order at the protestor HQ, people are fed, dressed, people are pooling money to gather supplies. The most important thing: the people in power are unable to restore order. The police has failed several times at try to storm the barricades. I’ll make a separate post about this, but trust me, the only way to dismantle this is with heavy artillery, or drop in commandos. Every day the opposition is securing more territories. What is this if not a revolution?

3. “The entire Kiev is paralyzed, there is no peaceful life for the regular people.”

Kiev is living its own life. All stores and cafes are working, people are going to work, study in universities, get married, divorce and even die their own death. Most of the Kiev populace are not inconvenienced. Imagine if Navalny took over the Red Square and set up his camp there. What would change for you, Moscovites? Nothing. So the only people who are inconvenienced are toruists. A few stores and cafes had to close down in the very center. Also, those living in the center have troubles with logistics. But the entire Kiev is not paralyzed.

Now, when you know all the truth, let’s see how this day was.

31. From the morning everything remains in fire.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

32. The protestors use metal shields to defend themselves from water the police are pouring them with.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

33. Road signs can serve as good shields.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

34. The Maidan’s missile forces. Lots of pyrotechnics are being brought up to the camp, all these rockets fly towards Berkut’s positions.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

35. Hearths always require more tires to be thrown into. Because of ash and ice, ground level already rose by one meter.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

36.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

37. Where necessary, the police gets stoned.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

38. Everything is tightened with a smokescreen. Burning tires turned out to be a very efficient tactics. Police troops can’t see what is happening and are unable to attack, though there are disadvantages as neither the protesters can see the police’s positions.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

39. This night was burned children’s clothing store.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

40. A catapult is always working on the front line.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

41. Not many people show up on the Maidan in the morning – the majority arrives at night, after work.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

42.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

43. At midday Klichko came to the barricades and announced the temporary truce. Second round of negotiations with Yanukovich was due to take place today, and Klichko asked to cease fire and extinguish tire blazes until 8 PM. The police promised not to open fire on protesters, to stop throwing grenades and pouring water. Everyone agreed – Klichko happened to be the only opposition leader whom the crowd listens to. Well done! Just yesterday nobody was listening to him. After the truce came into effect, firemen started extinguishing the burning barricade.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

44. A wonderful view opened once the fire went out.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

45. People immediately started advancing to the forefront which was previously engulfed by fire.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

46. Berkut’s positions.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

47. Berkut troops were standing angry and soaked in smoke. Throughout the truce I spotted no provocations from either side.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

48. Protestors are making photos in front of Berkut, Berkut in front of the protestors – war is war, but everyone needs to updates pics in social networks.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

49.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

50. Scores of soldiers and Berkut are standing in small groups up to the horizon.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

51.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

52. Monument to Lobanovsky next to the stadium is neatly covered with cloth.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

53. People get warm next to campfire. Is revolution possible without a bicycle? I say no!

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

54. People on the hill are prepared for an assault. Stones, incendiary bottles and tires tightened with barbwire will be thrown to the attackers in case of necessity.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

55. “Katyusha rocket launchers” used for shooting fireworks to the police.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

56. Preparation of Molotov’s cocktails.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

57. Bottles and stones.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

58. Cocktails are being prepared by women.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

59. You’ve probably heard about people banging metal with sticks. Many asked why – this is sort of a signal. When nothing happens, nobody is taping. When casual stone- and grenade-throwing takes place, the knock is monotonous, in order to set rhythm and keep the morale. When Berkut attacks, drumming becomes louder and everyone hears that – for some it is a signal to run away, for some, on the opposite – defend the barricades.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

60. Man glues his store’s showcase, even though not a single his window was broken in four days. This store sells expensive furniture, and the ad urges not to rob it. As I said, there are no marauders in Kyiv – everything is perfectly organized, contrary to Bishkek, where, as I remember, the city was plundered in half a day. Nothing like that takes place here.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

61. People hammer the snow, then load it to sacks and bring to the barricades. Snow serves as the main building material here. Sacks are being poured by water and snow turns into ice – monolithic barricades which come out are very difficult to destroy.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

62. The Maidan’s quarries. People break the sett into easy to throw stones, load into sacks and bring to the frontline.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

63. That’s how it looks.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

64. They carry.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

65. A stove.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

66. Modern art.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

68. One of the protesters. Russian press usually describes the participants of Maidan as “extremists, radical thugs, ultras, members of nationalistic groups, motley nationalist, sometimes openly Nazist public, extremist militants, rioters, pogromists, rebels” etc…

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

69. A journalist.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

70. According to NTV (russian pro-government tv-channel), this is an “amuck radical”.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

71. Look at the people. I said it already, but will repeat: all social classes are present on the squares – from students to pensioners.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

72. Grannies for Timoshenko.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

73. Another “extremist”.

Protests in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 2014

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Comments (2)

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  2. Dear foreign journalists! Please make a pressure upon your governments and state authorities. Unfortunately we can see that interest in Europe to the events in Ukraine is decreasing. In case of sanctions against at least one of Ukrainian oligarchs or ministers our way to freedom and democracy will become irreversible. A lot of powerful persons in Ukraine just wait for external signal. Ask (or demand) your governments to provide sanctions!

    Please, we really need your help!

    Free Ukrainian citizen.

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