March 10, 2014
In an era where everything is instantly outdated and “SOOOO 5 minutes ago!” it’s worthwhile to go back to the end of the end of the month of January, to the streets of Kiev,Ukraine.
This film, made by VICE, a Montreal-based, naughty-boy publisher that makes great, irreverent clips.
This one was made just before the epochal changes which have transpired in the last
couple of weeks and show the best footage of the clashes between protestors and police
there, that I have yet seen.
What is particularly of interest is how well-protected from rubber bullets and nightsticks many of the protestors (and the reporter!) seem to be – although there is one jarring image of a middle aged woman, hitting a body-armored riot policeman with a flimsy, wooden Christian cross, wearing nothing but a kerchief.
Kiev’s Euromaidan protesters began 2014 the same way they ended 2013: by rioting in the streets in an attempt to bring down their government. Key victories had already been won, with Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and his cabinet resigning. The demonstrators also forced the annulment of a new anti-protest law that was, ironically, the cause of muchof their protesting!
The protesters weren’t contented enough by this this and were still out in the streets, demanding the head of President Viktor Yanukovych and the staging of fresh elections.
As the social unrest spread across the country, its first post-Soviet President, Leonid Kravchuk, has gone as far as to warn that Ukraine is on the brink of civil war.
Dozens of people had already lost their lives in just the last two days of violence, at the end of January, when VICE flew their crew to Kiev, as rioters hurled Molotov cocktails at police and the city turned into a battlefield.
Remember – so much disinformation has been swirling around this whole story – which has made the story virtually impossible to tell.
The VICE crew, true to their full-immersion reporting style, attempted to make sense of what they were seeing at the time.