As I am writing this, the special police units are cleaning up Maidan. This is what I see now at ukrstream.tv:
We hear that women and the elderly are asked to move back from the front rows, because police is unpredictable. Meanwhile the huge groups of Berkut police are pushing through to break the lines of protesters who guard their barricades and tents, where they keep food and hot tea. A ‘non-violent’ clean-up… with only ‘occasional’ victims. It’s -11 C now, at about 3 am in Kyiv. The 20th day of protest.
There was a long, strange, and extremely uncomfortable silence in media after the first police attack on the early morning of Saturday, November 23rd, at 4 am, when the peaceful protesters were woken up by the strikes of police’s clubs. When heavily beaten, they could not stand up, they were dragged away and thrown “in piles,” as a witness and a victim of that night recalls. I saw the first video of what happened posted online at about 11 pm EST; it was terrifying. As I started checking Twitter and Facebook accounts of my friends, I noticed there were no updates from anyone for about 4 hours. It felt like Ukraine was shut down. And it was. Surreal… and so scary.
On Sunday, December 1 there were over 1, 000 000 people on the streets in Kyiv. Appalled by the violence, they demanded the government to step down. Instead, they encountered even more violence. Below there are several videos; everyone who cares – at least slightly – about such things as human rights (accidentally, it’s December 10 today, Human Rights Day…), should see them.
See the video above by following this link.
See the video above by following this link
See the video above by following this link
The speakers on the Independence Square are begging police to stop violence… it is happening right now… I recognize the voices of people I know personally…
Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the European Union, is in Ukraine right now. She attended Maidan 5 hours ago. President of the (ALDE) Group in the European Parliament is now asking her to wake up and come out on the Square to protect Ukrainian people.
Besides the silence in media after those several violent nights, there has been a lot of hostility spilled via networks – some due to people’s complete confusion about the situation in Ukraine, some just because hostility is a human thing…
Some thought they wished well… I want to think.
…While I keep watching the live transmission from Maidan, I’ve put together a short list of – in my view – good publications that appeared in different non-Ukrainian media after the awkwardly long silence. I think they are worth reading.
International New York Times, December 2, 2013, 8:35 am
From Moscow, it was like watching that guy you’ve seen around the high-school cafeteria suddenly stand up to the bully you have so often wished you could confront. You cannot believe his courage at first. Then you fear for him because you think you know exactly how it’s going to end — badly. And then you are simply in awe, in white envy, and the world seems transformed.
Gawker, 12/02/13 4:06pm
Yanukovich has been here before, kinda sorta. A former Soviet central planner, he faced a reformer, Viktor Yushchenko, in Ukraine’s 2004 election for president. Yanukovich was certified as the winner, but that result didn’t sit well with protesters, who (correctly) alleged large-scale voting fraud, took to the streets, and ultimately succeeded in getting a new election. (Yushchenko, the spry opposition candidate, also was allegedly poisoned with dioxin during the bitter campaign; here’s an insane before-and-after pic.)
After the popular outpouring of disgust with the election results, a second ballot was held, which Yushchenko and his “Orange coalition” won handily.
But Yanukovich wasn’t finished. He ran again for president in 2010, this time against a reformist woman, Yulia Tymoshenko, who had served as Yushchenko’s prime minister after the Orange Revolution. Yanukovich won, but Tymoshenko refused to recognize the results, arguing that the old Soviet was up to his old vote-fixing ways.
The New York Review of Books, December 5, 2013, 9 a.m.
The EU (and of course the United States) should support a dialogue that might consider resolutions of that sort. Western leaders must also condemn violence and consider personal sanctions upon those who were (or will be) responsible for the beatings of peaceful protestors. The EU should also invest where it has strength and will eventually win: in youth. Visa-free travel and university education are less dramatic than secret meetings and televised beatings, but they could be decisive in determining the future course of the country.
For now, all interested parties should do what they can to keep the discussion squarely on the basic issues of free trade, free speech, and freedom of assembly. The Ukrainian fantasy of geopolitics has played itself out, the Russian fantasy of Ukraine as part of its slavic sphere of influence perhaps has not. Putin is no doubt too canny to really believe in some fairy tale of fraternal assistance. But it would be wise to make very sure.
Al Jazeera, 9 Dec 2013 17:31
Europeans fear the tide of immigration – not simply of North Africans on their boats, but those who move along the passage of EU expansion. I wonder if the cries of ‘Yevropa! Yevropa!’ in the frosty air of Kiev are being heard in Paris or Berlin.
The Russian media has sold the story well to those who believe European values are an illusion. They say that the EU is a miserable place to be. Look at what it’s done to Greece or countries on the threshold of membership like Serbia.
Business Insider, DEC. 9, 2013, 11:52 AM
Ukraine is key to Putin’s Eurasian Union ambitions — not only is it a big state with an important geopolitical location next to Europe, it also plays a key role in his grand historical vision of Russia as a great power. The Ukrainians protesting in Kyiv loathe this idea, however. They don’t want to be “the borderland” anymore. They want to be Ukraine.
snob.ru, the week of December 8-14, 2013 [update]
Майдан — это Сечь. Та самая Запорожская Сечь, о которой мы все читали у Гоголя.
Тот самый полупоходный-полувоенный-полугражданский образ жизни, который и связывается у каждого с казаками.
Майдан — это территория воли. Не свободы и не вольницы, а именно воли — это украинское слово лучше всего характеризует происходящее здесь.
И баррикады, которыми «протестувальники» оградили свою площадь, защищают не этот конкретный клочок земли, а именно саму их «волю», их право жить так, как они хотят сами, а не так, как им навязывает власть. Да и власти здесь как таковой нет.
Майдан — это сообщество свободных людей, не признающих над собой никакой власти, кроме той, которую они готовы признать над собой сами. «Нет власти аще от Майдана».
Bloomberg.com, Dec 16, 2013 2:50 PM ET [update]
Their civic sensibility is in many ways more mature than that of the political establishment. Demonstrators occupying the city center have created what is possibly the largest self-organizing, self-sustaining revolutionary commune the world has seen since the 1968 riots in Paris. The Euromaidan — as the protesters’ camp in Maidan Nezalezhnosti, or Independence Square, is known — is increasingly looking like a nation within a nation.
And two more other things: