Kiev, Ukraine January 2014
January 26, 2014 12:41 PM   Subscribe

Pictures from a revolution Some say it's “fascists who came out to lynch the Moscali (Ukranian derogatory for Moscovites and Russians in general).”, some say “they're bums and slackers, who've got nothing better to do” and “instigators on the government payroll.” In reality, there is no answer. Those who came out are completely different. Remember, how a couple of years in Moscow there was a MSM buzzword “angry townspeople.” Here you see football fans, retirees, office plankton. And everyone is standing together. A sweet, ol' grandmother is pouring Molotv cocktail in a nationalists' bottles; and a manager of a large company is carrying ammunition to the student.
posted by bitmage (66 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure what's really going on in Ukraine but it's very weird not to see a single thing about it in I mean, is it less important than the "Mork and Mindy" reunion or that Justin Bieber is in Panama?
posted by bottlebrushtree at 12:59 PM on January 26, 2014

it's very weird not to see a single thing about it in

Not all that "weird" once you stop framing CNN as a news and information source but instead as a way to sell advertising.

Who advertises on CNN wants to be tied to a manager of a large company is carrying ammunition to the student?
posted by rough ashlar at 1:20 PM on January 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

To CNN and its target audience? Hell yes, it's less important. (Hint: see if your cable company has CNNInternational)
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:20 PM on January 26, 2014

Some of these images are crazy. Thanks for posting this.
posted by codacorolla at 1:21 PM on January 26, 2014

I've always found revolutions and revolutionaries to be one of the most interesting, and often, most amazing aspects of history. Some of those photos are quite profound. Thanks for the post.
posted by IvoShandor at 1:27 PM on January 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Amazing photos. I hope some good comes from this protest.

I'm not sure why CNN is relevant. Never watch it could not give a damn about what they report on or who their advertisers are.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:30 PM on January 26, 2014

Are you kidding me? It's on CNN. Look it up before complaining.
posted by oceanjesse at 1:32 PM on January 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

"Office plankton"? I had not heard this term before, here's an article from the NY Times with more info.

A quote:
They were workaholics in their 20s — “office plankton,” as they are sometimes called here — punchy from an apocalypse-themed office party, some headed for winter vacations in Egypt and Turkey. But Mr. Terekhov had another order of business. Watch yourself, he told them, if you choose to attend Saturday’s antigovernment protest.
posted by cell divide at 1:33 PM on January 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

Indeed, CNN is shit, but once we establish that, this Ukraine story is big, and sort of intractable, as for the way Russia views Ukraine, Russia's bottom lines on the near abroad in Ukraine and Georgia, Russia's pushback against the limits of EU/NATO expansion, and the pulls both West and East within Ukraine.
posted by C.A.S. at 1:35 PM on January 26, 2014

Worth checking out not just for the amazing pictures, author includes lots of updates on situation on the ground.
posted by hat_eater at 1:35 PM on January 26, 2014

oceanjesse: Sure, the story is available on CNN, but it's nowhere on the front page. I check two (Canadian) news sites daily, but I first heard about the protests in Kiev from Reddit.
posted by Rora at 1:37 PM on January 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

> "Mork and Mindy" reunion

Holy shit, that's awesome.
posted by codswallop at 1:37 PM on January 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

Some of these images are crazy.

While no revolution will be televised as television has filters, the large mass of cheap "good enough" imaging systems means a large amount of input to be filtered by larger media sources and things to be censored will be missed in the main channels or seen in the non-main channels of communication.

The filter of what makes it to the Human Rights Council Complaint Procedure will be "interesting".

May all sides in Ukraine stay physically unharmed.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:41 PM on January 26, 2014

The Revolution Will Not Be Upvoted. You'll be shocked to learn why!
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:44 PM on January 26, 2014 [8 favorites]

of course, then there are the nazis...
posted by at 2:01 PM on January 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

of course, then there are the nazis...

Via the link: Svoboda is Ukraine’s fourth biggest party

See what happens when you don't have a 2 party system?
posted by rough ashlar at 2:08 PM on January 26, 2014

It would be cool if we could knock it off with the CNN derail.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 2:10 PM on January 26, 2014 [6 favorites]

This IS real investigative journalism. Amazing photographs. thanks for posting.
posted by Drew Glass at 2:14 PM on January 26, 2014

When US Senator John McCain dined with Ukraine's opposition leaders in December, he shared a table and later a stage with the leader of the extreme far-right Svoboda party Oleh Tyahnybok.

This is Oleh Tyahnybok, he has claimed a "Moscow-Jewish mafia" rule Ukraine and that "Germans, Kikes and other scum" want to "take away our Ukrainian state." This is the party's logo, it can be seen on flag throughout the crowds in Kiev every day. Svoboda is Ukraine’s fourth biggest party holding 36 seats out of 450 in parliament.
perhaps the reason why you aren't hearing about it on CNN is if the revolution succeeds the government in the Ukraine will end up looking a lot more like the neighboring government in Hungary... which would be inconvenient.

same way that Assad dropped off the media headlines when they realized that if he fell, he would be replaced by a Jihadi government linked to Al-Qaeda.

I know it makes me sound like a paranoid old hippy, but international media coverage in the US almost always follows the government's (i.e. CIA) lead.
posted by at 2:29 PM on January 26, 2014 [7 favorites]

Some really amazing pics there.

What stands out to me especially is how much the police tolerate what's going on. I've been in protests in NYC where the police rushed in swinging and backed up by horses and pepper spray because someone put a bandana over their face. The difference is unreal. Obviously there is fighting back and forth, but a US police force would have the tactical vehicles out and the National Guard on line one.

This is my favorite picture that I've seen so far, Orthodox priests standing between police and protesters during what looks to be a temporary ceasefire.
posted by nevercalm at 2:35 PM on January 26, 2014 [4 favorites]

The protesters only occupy some public areas in the center of town. There aren't any general strikes or indications of popular support suddenly crystallizing around any particular opposition politician. I think Yanukovich's government has decided that the protest movement isn't going to get any bigger or more organized in their goals, so he can afford to wait them out.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:42 PM on January 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Those photos are amazing. Thank you bitmage.
posted by emjaybee at 2:43 PM on January 26, 2014

Hi-res revolution porn. Striking, but needs a whole lot more context than the post gives. (Possibly more than it can give, to be fair.)
posted by IndigoJones at 2:56 PM on January 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

So yeah, CNN looks pretty useless... A little bit of digging around let me to this link, which provides more context than I've been able to find in the 'MSM'... But please (anyone), enlighten us with better links to understand the context of whats going on.
posted by el io at 3:02 PM on January 26, 2014

The really brief (and probably inaccurate) version is this: in the 21st century there have been two "movements" fighting for the soul of Ukraine. One is the establishment, pro-Russian movement led by Victor Yanukovych, and other is a multivariate opposition that mostly favors closer relations with the European Union. The opposition had its moment in the sun when The Orange Revolution overturned the results of the 2004 presidential election and a revote elected Viktor Yushchenko. But unfortunately, Yushchenko and other well known politicians associated with reform like Yulia Tymoshenko couldn't get the economy going, and were soon associated with corruption themselves. So in 2010, Yanukovych was elected President again.

Yanukovich is an authoritarian who favors the government-as-crime-cartel style of civics that Putin perfected. It's pretty clear that his goal is to align Ukraine more closely with Russia and Belarus in a future that resembles the past. The opposition hates him, but that's the only thing they can agree on. With the failure of Yushchenko, there's no single politician on their side with the credibility to unite everyone. So they go out at night and light fires, throw Molotov cocktails, and want Yanukovich gone. But they don't agree on what should happen next.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:37 PM on January 26, 2014 [14 favorites]

The pics, the background. I came in here to make a crack about those kids finally killing general Aupick, but I'm really blown away. Stilled.
posted by vrakatar at 3:45 PM on January 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Here is a picture of the Ukrainian police executing a terrible attempt at a Roman testudo formation. Any self respecting centurion would order a decimation for that embarrassment.
posted by Justinian at 3:56 PM on January 26, 2014 [7 favorites]

Between this and Thailand, where much the same thing is happening for different reasons, it's really quite a depressing time of democracy. It seems as if every few years the other party gets in, the battle lines get drawn, and everyone starts chucking rocks at each other.
posted by Mezentian at 5:01 PM on January 26, 2014

I like the "Good luck with your revolution!" response although I feel he missed an easy "Have fun storming the castle!" reference.
posted by Justinian at 5:16 PM on January 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

From homunculus' post:
Although radical nationalists such as the Svoboda (Freedom) party and the less well-known organization called Rightwing Sector do not by any means constitute the majority of protesters, they are indeed rather prominent due to their vocal and visually striking behaviour.
It's like the "Black Bloc" during the G20 protests here. You can have 1000 relatively peaceful protesters and 25 guys who want to burn shit up, and somehow the 25 come to represent the actions of everyone else.
posted by Kevin Street at 5:55 PM on January 26, 2014

Or actually, after reading jeffburdges' link it sounds like the actions of the radical minority have set the stage and defined the conflict for everyone else. The "battle line" they're lighting on fire now is where the police stopped a group of protesters that were going to occupy the parliament building.
posted by Kevin Street at 6:10 PM on January 26, 2014

This looks like something out of the last mission in Half Life 2.
posted by Aizkolari at 6:15 PM on January 26, 2014

See what happens when you don't have a 2 party system?

Yeah, the facsists congregate in their own party so you can identify them, instead of hiding inside a major party that gets to, you know, run the fucking country.
posted by Jimbob at 6:16 PM on January 26, 2014 [13 favorites]

I'm not sure what's really going on in Ukraine but it's very weird not to see a single thing about it in I mean, is it less important than the "Mork and Mindy" reunion or that Justin Bieber is in Panama?

NPR has been talking about it every morning for the past week during my 20 minute commute to work.
posted by Sara C. at 6:27 PM on January 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

How did you extract "radical minority" from the al Jazeera, Kevin Street?

Svitlana Shcherban, 45, is a florist who took time off work from her home in eastern Ukraine to join the Kyiv protests.

“I just cannot live up with what is happening in my country. They beat people, they kill people, no matter who it is – a woman, a child or an old man. I just can no longer watch this violence.”

Nina Kyryliuk, a 63-year-old pensioner from Kyiv, said she is going to fight to the end to remove those in power.

“I am not afraid of anything,” she said. “Unless they make me an invalid, I don’t care. Death would be fine. If need to die for Ukraine, I will. Most of all I don’t want young people to die. I, at least, have lived a little. I picked my side, I understand that there are children on the other side of the barricades, but they seem to have become animals already.”

Her regret is that Yanukovich cannot be removed without bloodshed.

“There is no way back actually, after Nov. 30, when our children were beaten (by police). Now we cannot even think about way back. I even carry a little shovel with me everywhere now, so I can always help gathering snow for the barricades,” she laughs, pulling the instrument from her handbag.

Mykola Podrisan is 60 and disabled, getting around in a wheelchair.

“I am not afraid,” Podrisan said. “Scary is the fact that those beasts in uniforms are among us. I am a Kievan and how, just think, how is it possible that there are barricades in my home city and not from an enemy, from people who are supposed to protect us. I just pray there would be no more blood.”

posted by jeffburdges at 6:57 PM on January 26, 2014 [5 favorites]

This video is quite touching as well especially if you like bells and hymns.
posted by 3mendo at 7:08 PM on January 26, 2014

No, the minority are the ones who tried to occupy the parliament and established the current battle line with burning tires, not the protesters in general. The protest movement is a large and diverse group drawn from many different segments of Ukrainian society, but their common desire to throw Yanukovych out of office is getting drowned out by the narrative of protesters fighting the police. It becomes less and less about changing society and more about avenging the last atrocity.
posted by Kevin Street at 7:38 PM on January 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

I posted a lot of links at the bottom of the previous metafilter thread on the Ukraine unrest, including ones about the amorphous right-wing group that escalated the protests.

Also, if you really want to understand the situation, check out Stephen Cohen's recent interview on KPFA on the subject (starts at like 7:15).
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 8:57 PM on January 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

There's another post on this same livejournal where the author tries to show things on the other side of the barricades. Between his own skepticism and the reluctance his subjects have about talking, he understandably comes up with mixed results, but it's still worth a look.

Thank you for posting this.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:47 PM on January 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

Man, this looks like it sucks all around: "I do not understand, why do they throw all this at us? We are simple soldiers. There are a lot of guys of the 2013 draft. They are 18-year olds, only six months ago, they went to the same movie theaters and cafes with those students who now want to kill them. And why? Is it because of the politicians? Here they tell us, ‘switch to the people’s side’. But where is that side? I have relatives in the Crimea and they fear that Russia will introduce visas if Maidan wins. I have a friend, he’s a taxi driver, and he hates all these demonstrators: there are traffic jams everywhere. Where is the side of the people? Who to choose? We gave oath to protect public buildings from being captured, and we’re keeping it. We are not politicians."

It reminds me a lot of some of the things I've read from WWI soldiers in the trenches.
posted by Canageek at 12:16 AM on January 27, 2014

The ProjectMaidan tumblr is also worth following for updates, rumours and photos from those on the ground.
posted by Pallas Athena at 7:32 AM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Slideshare: What Is Really Happening In Ukraine
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:15 AM on January 27, 2014

Ukraine scenarios and Central Europe - "European policymakers are eating the ashes of their failed policy in Ukraine. Anyone who six months ago said that the Yanokovych regime would use live ammunition against protestors would have been denounced as a scaremonger. Now it is happening on the streets of a European capital."
Think About Us! - "In an open letter directed to "friends and especially foreign journalists and editors", renowned Ukrainian writer Yuri Andrukhovych states that it is those in Ukraine's highest leadership that deserve to be labelled extremists, not the protestors on the streets. Yanukovych has brought the country to its limits and to stop protest now would be to live in a permanent prison."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:33 AM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

This link, from the Slideshare link the man of twists and turns posted, is a good 101-level WTF Even Is Ukraine rundown.
posted by Sara C. at 11:56 AM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Pro-regime militias are engaging in random beatings on the street now.

Not that I enjoy sharing my side of a barricade with neonazis, (I am an Israeli Jew...), but it's not good at all when an entire nation is left to feel stuck between these thugs on one side and nazis on the other.
posted by ocschwar at 3:04 PM on January 27, 2014 [4 favorites]

That is a really disturbing video.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:00 PM on January 27, 2014

Map of Kyiv, showing areas controlled by the government (blue) and the protesters (red).
• The large square with the most red dots and encampments is the Maidan Nezalezhnosti, where the original peaceful protest began last year (it's the Maidan in EuroMaidan).
• Further to the right you can see where the blue and red sides butt up against each other, near Dynamo Stadium. This is the location of the burning-tire barricades that you see all over the news right now.
• Up top is Ukrainian House, which the protesters attacked and occupied on Sunday.
• Not shown in red is the Ministry of Justice building on Horodetskoho Str. that was occupied yesterday(?). The've since ended the occupation, but are reportedly still blockading the building.

Anyone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on any of the details above.
posted by Kabanos at 8:25 AM on January 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

Okay, I have to post one of the many maps of Ukraine circulating that show what areas support/are controlled by the various factions...

…just so I can follow up with this.
posted by Kabanos at 3:10 PM on January 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Standoff in Kiev
What has been lost amid the competing explanations for the chaos in Ukraine is the story that precedes these developments: for more than a decade, Yanukovych has gradually become toxic to huge numbers of his own people. For Ukrainians, the current unrest isn’t about whether the country will once again submit to its traditional hegemon, Russia, nor is it about closer alignment with the E.U., or about putting Ukraine’s underwhelming political opposition into power.

The central issue, for the protestors and their supporters, as well as for many other Ukrainians, is that, since the Soviet Union fell apart and the country became independent, it has been run by a succession of marauding criminals, Yanukovych chief among them. For the country to have any chance at reform, they believe, these “bandits” have to go. This view does not allow for much equivocation or compromise. The energy of the protests comes from those who believe that life in Ukraine has grown intolerable, which may make a negotiated settlement that leaves the current regime in place nearly impossible.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:38 AM on February 12, 2014

I've been unable to look away from the live stream all day. It's raw and heartbreaking and horrible.
posted by jokeefe at 6:37 PM on February 18, 2014

The link to Ukraine's Espreso TV is from the Atlantic: Ukraine's Revolution is Being Broadcast Live.
posted by jokeefe at 6:40 PM on February 18, 2014

I think the people on the livestream are singing?
posted by Justinian at 8:28 PM on February 18, 2014

The current protests in Kiev, with their military style holding of territory, will be suppressed. Yanukovich's government has always had the ability to do that, now it seems Putin has bribed him enough to produce the necessary will. The bigger question is what will happen next, both in Kiev and throughout the west and center of the country. Will the protests there continue, or will they peter out when the original impetus of Euromaidan is gone?
posted by Kevin Street at 11:52 AM on February 19, 2014

Dear Europeans - a bitter open letter (mostly to EU politicians) published on Euromaidan website.
posted by hat_eater at 2:01 AM on February 21, 2014

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