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The remains of revolution: Stalinist edifices and barricades as high as sand dunes in Maidan

Kiev was always the city of very cheap prostitutes. But it was never the city of nightmares. Kiev was always the city of dreary bars. Never the city of war.

Like everyone else in Kiev my friend has been having nightmares. This one happened more than once. My friend wakes up. Rubs his crusty eyes: and there they are. They are in the corridors. They are on the sofas. They are in the rackety lift shaft.

My friend trembles, panics. Russians are here. Russians in balaclavas. The Russians have taken over the apartment block. My friend tries to run, to get out, to get to the underground. But Russians can run faster.

The revolution was over. But the war had not yet begun. When I arrived, the airport was ticking over normally. The waitresses were taking orders normally. The roads were clogged normally with second-hand German cars. Until Independence Square — Maidan Nezalezhnosti.

I blinked at Maidan. This was where it happened: the remains of the revolution that overthrew Viktor Yanukoych three weeks earlier. Between the baroque Stalinist edifices were the barricades: rubble, earth and singed tires, planks and smashed glass, netting of copper wire — as high as sand dunes.

Pale sun shone. It was not quite spring. Maidan was peaceful. Maidan was a family day out. Mothers held the hands of little boys. Father stopped for photos with happy daughters. Militia, unshaven, held court in tarpaulin tents with their "exhibits" hammered to wooden planks: bullets, shrapnel, shields and helmets of the riot police who had tried to kill them.

The revolution was over. But the militia were still there. Military tents and makeshift tarpaulins squatted the avenue and covered the square. Maidan, a pretty Facebook activist told me, had changed. Maidan kept changing, beginning with the internet-savvy and ending with the unemployed who still camped waiting for the war.

These were the "self-defence" forces of the revolution: construction workers and teenagers unable to leave Maidan. Aimlessly they warmed chapped hands with crackling oil-drum fires. Afternoon after afternoon, they wandered through the tarpaulin encampment — stuck.

The Facebook activists were exuberant: online government, radical transparency, post-party politics, civil society and social connectivity. They were also in denial. The EU flags were no longer Maidan's majority. The red-black flag was: the flag of Western Ukraine's forest partisans who,  led by Nazi collaborators, fought the USSR into the 1950s.

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May 24th, 2017
9:05 PM
> baroque Stalinist edifices Stalin loved classic architecture and building what were building during his reign started from constructivism, then switched to classic-inspired architecture: classical architecture itself (theaters, mainly), empire-style, art deco. Baroque? No of course.

hegel`s advocate
May 7th, 2014
5:05 PM
According to Femen Putin is an evil dwarf . Alex from Russia is probably one also. Putin looks and sounds stupid on world tv. He`s dead on the world stage already.

Alex From Russia
May 6th, 2014
12:05 PM
Whether Ukrainians read this article? I think to the author you shouldn't come to Kiev more. But, I admit, reading article, even I felt pride of Russia - Europe is afraid Russia... And council to the author: consult to the psychiatrist - can it is worth replacing drugs?

hegel`s advocate
April 11th, 2014
3:04 PM
Danvolodar asks a good question: Who the hell are/were these people? Who are the comments here from too ? Dadaist anti-poets? The people of Uruguay have voted into existence a modestly successful civilised society and green economy. In Russia and the Middle East the public is a failure. It`s leaders total liars peddling total false consciousness and stupidity. London is now `Londonistan`,`Moscow-on-Thames` and `Dubai-on-Thames`. Capital cities should be more like democratic Montevideo. It`s what consciousness and evolution is for. Practical utopia not dystopia.

April 10th, 2014
5:04 AM
Hahaha.... Author, what did you smoke? I guess it should be good shit.

April 9th, 2014
1:04 PM
Do you know that Tyahnybok said: "Every person, which use russian in communication should be put into prison"?

April 9th, 2014
10:04 AM
It's a complete lie. It is not so. Cheap political propaganda.

April 9th, 2014
7:04 AM
author ill

April 9th, 2014
6:04 AM
Very one-sided biased view. It is the view of Kievan intelligentsia. Where is the view of Crimeans? Where is the view of militiamen who were beaten and burnt by militants and had to protect themselves with bare hands? Where is the view of inhabitants of soth-east parts of Ukraine? Kievan intelligentsia names them "cattle", "creatures" and calls for massive ethnic cleanses. Have the Easteners got the right to protect themselves and call for help from Russia? Bandera followers atrociously murdered hundreds of thousands of Ukranians, Russians, Byelorussians in the last century. And now Bandera is the cult figure of Kievans. Who is the fascist here? Don't believe lies. Tyahnybok has a pub landlord's face? It's the face of a butcher. And Europe as always encourages a new fuhrer. And it isn't Putin.

April 9th, 2014
6:04 AM
Nazis, pacifists, democrats, communists... it's just a policy, Russia could not permit to Crimea was the base of NATO, would you like to have near was base of the Russian army? Russia does not want a poor Ukraine. What for? And don't worry, Ukraine will continue to be the country of cheap prostitutes... for you

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