Pieniążek from Kyiv: Occupy Kyiv!


[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he largest protest, since the Orange Revolution, started on December 1st under Taras Shevchenko statue and reached Independence Square. Despite the large numbers gathered it wasn’t the march itself that was the most important but the events that took place in the vicinity.

Before the first demonstrators reached the Independence Square, militia managed to move out from it. So without a fight people were able to reclaim the symbolic site from where only a day earlier demonstrators were brutally dispersed. Another symbolic point was “capturing” the Christmas tree being built there as that was the official reason Berkut special police units broke up the peaceful Euromaidan. Demonstrators scaled the peak and flew their flags.

With each day the tree springs further banners gaining a completely new form.

After reclaiming the Independence Square protesters moved for further prizes. The first was the City Hall where Revolutionary Tribunal was set up. Kitchen appeared, lots of sleeping space, assembly chamber, press centre and legal counsel. It is similar to Trade Unions Building where additionally press conference area was arranged. On December 2nd demonstrators entered the October Palace next to the Independence Square, where medical aid point was created.

Maidan itself is quite different from Euromaidan dispersed on Saturday morning. It became a tent town where – similarly to occupied buildings – a new social order is being created. There is a place to sleep, meals to eat and even clothes to wear – there are at least two places where one can take some clothes. There is also a stage in front of which, regardless of the time of day, there is a gathering of people varying in size.

Furthermore conclusions were drawn from previous Euromaidan break up and the area, where the protesters live, was secured. All the streets leading to the Independence Square were barricaded and have constant watches over them. There is also the security. Everything in the event of a next militia action.

Therefore failure of the no-confidence vote against the government of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov doesn’t mean that the case is closed, as no one knows if control can be restored over Kyiv and other regions of Ukraine without yielding to demonstrator’s key demand – resignation of the present authorities.


Originally published in Political Critique’s Opinion Daily (Dziennik Opinii Krytyki Politycznej) on December 4th.

Translated by Konrad Zwoliński. Photo by mac_ivan, cc,


Paweł Pieniążek
Pawel Pieniazek is a Polish journalist. He is a contributor to major Polish media, including Tygodnik Powszechny, Gazeta Wyborcza, Krytyka Polityczna, and New Eastern Europe, and is a freelance contributor to Polish radio. In 2015 he was named as a Poynter Fellow in Journalism at Yale University.