I was recently back in Kiev, in order to visit Chernobyl. Back in April, I had been surprised to find Maidan Square still very much occupied, by some of the same protesters who had caused the fall of the Yanukovitch Government back in February. I wondered why they were still there, given that broadly speaking, they had obtained what they wanted. The few locals I asked seemed just as puzzled as I was.
From what I saw and understood, it was mostly a bunch of hooligans playing “Occupy Wall Street”. Many of the former protesters had now joined the Army and Police volunteer battalions, so the ones left on the square may not have been the sharpest knives in the drawer.
The kind who post stickers like this all over town. Anyway, the Government decided they had enough and city workers started dismantling the little street utopia, which cause a major riot. You can watch a little clip here. (Euronews clip, not mine, as I was in Russia that day)
I have no comment, analysis or insight to share, nor do I have any desire to research it any further. But I thought some of you might like to see the difference 4 months can make. So here are some “before and after” photos.
The Square then.
Streets with tents.
Streets with cars. Given the heavy traffic, I imagine the months of occupation must have cause traffic mayhem in the periphery.
The burnt out Trade Unions Building.
Still burnt out, but now covered with some pretty advertisement or propaganda message. I don’t know.
The pavement stones had been used to build the barricades.
Now professional workers are rebuilding some of the sidewalks.
And unskilled labourers are simply putting stones back on side paths. Probably temporary.
There are still a few monuments to the activists who died in the February clashes.
And a single barricaded street. I don’t know why.
And in other news, the Kiev subway is still ridiculously deep.