Update from Kyiv – Early Morning January 20, 2014

Jan 20th, 2014 | By | Category: Civil Society, Events, Human Rights, News, Protests, Ukraine

This will be my last status update from Kyiv tonight (unless the current stand-off situation changes drastically). The skirmishes on Hrushevskoho St. continue between radical right protesters (throwing rocks) and riot police (primarily using water cannon in -9 C temps).

The battle is likely to continue til sun-up (i.e. for another 5 hours) with no real movement on either side. Interior Ministry troops on the other side of the firing line show no signs of preparing to storm the rioters. On the other hand, rioters do not seem ready to break through or around the lines – either through the park, or through side streets: the battle is being waged only in the spot where there is lots of lighting from projectors and street lamps (and lots of cameras). The show must go on!

Meanwhile, reports continue to come in from western Ukraine, of interior ministry and/or regular army troop convoys being blocked in their quarters. Apparently, they have received orders to travel to Kyiv, and have had their transports blocked by protesters. Whether troops are also being moved from the east and south into the capital is still unknown (only one report of movements from Donetsk, but none from other cities).

For anyone who believes that this revolution is going to resolve itself tonight, I hate to disillusion you: Ukraine’s long battle for regime/system change continues. When “this” (whatever you wish to call what is going on in Kyiv) started, it was about integration with the EU. Then, after the Nov 30 and Dec 1 beatings, the demonstrations became about dignity – prompted by outrage that government forces could resort to mass violence against defenseless citizens. Now things have radicalized: the fight is for a new kind of country – and that is something that is not achievable with a single demonstration (even one that is violent). Things have gotten even more complicated because it is unclear who leads the demonstrations.

Pray for us, and gather strength. We’ll need both in the coming days…

Mychailo Wynnyckyj PhD
Kyiv-Mohyla Academy

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