Yesterday, after it was announced that the Russian military was entering Crimea, I flew to Kyiv. I did not meet any radicals or people wearing masks in the half-empty airport. As for Maidan itself, there were a lot of different people there: city dwellers with their children, older people, women, men who were not hiding their tears, veterans, and young people… I could not find any radicals here, let alone fascists.
It’s announced from the Maidan’s stage that the government of Russia is Ukraine’s enemy. They emphasize that it is the government, not the people of Russia. All stores, restaurants, cafés are open. Nobody is stealing anything, nobody is breaking the shop windows, nobody is raping anybody. There’s a lost and found office here. There are magnets, ribbons, and scarves for sale. They serve tea and sandwiches. There is a palpable atmosphere of war, unity, common purpose, struggle… Barricades and buildings scorched in the confrontation with Berkut complete the picture. Within the first five minutes, you realize that the Russian propaganda is like Mordor meets Wonderland.
A huge number of candles and flowers; people are mourning those killed in the fighting with Berkut. Many cannot hold back tears. It is difficult to convey in words how sincere these people are, from the first candle lit to the last priest making his speech. Living in Russia, I dreamed of seeing a renaissance of Russia’s national consciousness, and I saw it yesterday in Ukraine. I am proud of these people. Their pain for the dead, over situation in Crimea, flowed through me. I went there as a journalist and left with a tear, chanting in unison with the others “Glory to the heroes!”
By Vlad Kopylkov, Source
Translated by Mariya Shtangrat, edited by Philip Kaare Løventoft and Robin Rohrback