Hymn to the Maidan Dead, the Heavenly Hundred.

This traditional folk song, performed here by the group Pikkardyjska Tertsiya, has become the hymn sung at funerals and memorials to those anti-government protesters killed on the Maidan in Kiev. It thus also features regularly on news coverage. At the funeral of Roman Huryk (see: https://uauk.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/roman-huryks-funeral-and-his-intriguing-burial-place/) it was sung by the tens of thousands gathered to pay their respects to him.

The song looks at the pain felt by a mother at the loss of her warrior son who senses his death will come, quite possibly in a foreign land.

This video also continues a theme of this blog on the Music of Maidan, albeit now in a more tragic vein.
(See: https://uauk.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/%D0%B3%D1%96%D1%82%D0%B0%D1%80%D0%BD%D0%B8%D0%B9-%D0%BF%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%B5%D0%B1%D0%BE%D1%80-by-michael-shchur-%D0%BC%D0%B0%D0%B9%D0%BA%D0%BB-%D1%89%D1%83%D1%80/
https://uauk.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/the-sounds-of-civil-disobedience/
https://uauk.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/dont-want-to-have-to-listen-to-this-any-more-then-finish-the-revolution-ivano-frankivsk/
https://uauk.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/music-and-revolution/)

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Roman Huryk’s Funeral and his intriguing burial place.

ImageRoman Huryk (Роман Гурик) was a student in the second year of his philosophy studies in Ivano-Frankivsk who was killed on 20 February 2014 in Kyiv. He travelled to the capital with his father initially in December then returned in February when he was shot dead by a sniper as he shielded a female medic on Hrushevskoho Street. His final words entered on a social media website were: ‘It’s now or never. Everyone to Hrushevskoho Street. To death.’ Two memorial gatherings were held at the Prosvita Centre, the HQ of student resistance in the city, this weekend, gathering thousands of mourners. His funeral was held today in Ivano-Frankivsk, attended by tens of thousands on the city’s streets. His body was laid to rest in the city’s Memorial Square, close to the Franko Theatre in the city centre.

A video of his funeral procession and burial is available from 5 Kanal, while further links to reports and photographs from local media can be accessed here: videos, photos, more photos, including the one borrowed above, and more from the local newspaper Reporter.

The funeral procession began at Prosvita with Huryk’s body taken to the front of the regional administration building a short distance away. The procession continued after a service lasting around an hour issued from the balcony of the administration building to the cathedral, where a shorter service was held. The coffin, with its lid still of, as is traditional here, was then taken past Huryk’s home on Mazepy Street, then to the university nearby. From there the procession headed towards the Memorial Square, although – quite wisely – it did not take the most direct route, past the partly-burnt out offices of the police and security service. The procession at Prosvita started at 10 am. It was around 1:45 by the time it reached the Memorial Square. However, the procession was so long that some in the procession were still on the corner of Sakharova Street, near the security service building, by the time the burial was over.

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This bus provided sound to the masses gathered with speakers tethered to the roof, with recent rallies having been plagued by poor audio equipment and volume levels.

It was announced today that a new road in Ivano-Frankivsk, an extension of Pivdennyj Bulvar currently called vul. Projektna (Project Street) will be named in honour of Huryk, while the square in front of the Regional Administration building (ODA, aka The White House), will be renamed Heroes of the Maydan Square. The collective term for all the anti-government victims killed in Kyiv is the ‘Heavenly Company’ or ‘Heavenly Hundred’ (Небесна Сотня). A sotnia is a term first used in Cossack military for a unit of 100 fighters, with the term subsequently applied throughout the history of Ukrainian military formations.

Huryk’s burial place is symbolic, since it is the city’s pantheon of national heroes and fighters for the freedom of Ukraine. As the university’s website announced, Huryk will be buried ‘alongside heroes of the Ukrainian Sich Riflemen and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) as a hero of Ukraine.’ The Sich Riflemen were a unit formed of Ukrainian paramilitaries who were incorporated into the Austrian forces in the First World War before forming the core of the Ukrainian military in Western Ukraine which was an independent republic in 1918/19. UPA is a more controversial organisation, active in 1942-1949, fighting occupation of Ukrainian lands, meaning it was involved in ethnic cleansing of the lands during Nazi occupation before becoming an anti-Nazi force and then fighting against Soviet occupation. It seems, however, the university made a mistake in aligning Huryk with UPA, since the Memorial Square represents more the broader Ukrainian Organisation of Nationalists (OUN), formed in 1929 in western Ukraine before splitting into moderate and radical factions in 1941.

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You will build a Ukrainian state or will die fighting for one. To the eternal memory of those who died in the name of a free Ukraine. The fighters of UPA, the First Ukrainian Division Galicia* and member of OUN.

* NB this was a division of the Waffen SS.

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For Ukraine. For Freedom. For the Nation. – the emblem of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists.

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This contains earth from symbolic graves of Ukrainian Sich Riflemen.

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This is one of two sets of crosses dedicated to the Sich Riflemen. Huryk was buried at the end of this one.

It is clear to see how the tragic deaths in Kiev fit easily into a paradigm of western Ukrainian memory built around the idea of heroes who fought for Ukraine at various points in the twentieth century under various, contested nationalist banners.

However, what is intriguing about Huryk’s burial place, the Memorial Square, is the broader symbolism that it holds. However, these other ghosts of the past are currently inevitably overlooked. The Memorial Square has been built on the site of a former Catholic, largely Polish, cemetery which was adjacent to a church knocked down in the communist period and replaced by the Franko Theatre. The current Memorial Square largely lacks any trace of the previous graves, although a few have survived and remain in place. The largest structure within the Square is a chapel which was consecrated in 2002 ‘in honour of the memory of participants of national liberation struggles for the freedom of Ukraine’, according to the inscription.

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There remains in the Memorial Square, however, this particularly interesting gravestone, whose inscription to some extent reflects the narratives of heroism albeit in Polish.

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The grave is for Zygmunt Mroczkowski, a doctor of medicine, who died on 13 May 1888; his adopted daughter Helena Csiszarik and his wife, Ksawera Mroczkowska (née Wartersiewicz).

At the top of the headstone there is a plea to God for him to return Poles their fatherland, his grandchildren their family homelands and bless the Polish lands.

Below there is a plea taken from Polish Romantic poet Juliusz Słowacki’s Testament: May the living not lose hope and bear before the nation the torch of education; and if necessary they head to their deaths one by one like the rocks thrown by God at the ramparts.

These words from Słowacki bear an uncanny resemblance to those placed on social media by Huryk before his death who is buried a few metres away.

Further Polish traces at the Memorial Square include this monument to Poles who died fighting in the First and Second World Wars, as well as to those whose remains rest in this space. It was donated by ‘Rodacy’, or fellow Poles, while Huryk’s grave is visible behind it. This is a memorial to those whose traces remain barely visible in what was once a major Polish and Catholic cemetery, yet at the same time it reawakens those traces and raises the ghosts of the past, showing that these were for centuries shared Polish and Ukrainian spaces, where relations passed not without trouble. Indeed, those commemorated in this monument may well have died fighting against Ukrainians, as well as potentially alongside them against Russian incursion after World War One.

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These spaces were also inhabited extensively by Jews, but few traces remain evident in the city of their lives here. The Kosmos cinema a few dozen metres from the Memorial Square and Franko Theatre was built on a Jewish cemetery, although no traces of that fact remain evident.

Still, the fact that Huryk now rests in a space that may be currently overtly overwritten by a narrative of Ukrainian heroism associated with nationalist movements, yet still contains traces of the multinational past of the city, brings hope that such a vision of a “European” city and memory can prosper. However, the Memorial Square also reveals the drama currently manifesting itself in terms of Ukraine’s future, its relations to its neighbours and the idea of Europe, as nationalist tropes become distinctly everyday features, intensified in the course of Euromaidan, here in western Ukraine.

Ivano-Frankivsk: A City in Mourning. Ivano-Frankivsk: Everyday life and the Revolution goes on.

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A 19 year-old student of the Precarpathian University philosophy department Roman Guryk, was killed yesterday in Kyiv during the fatal violence. Today, there were no classes at the university. A memorial service was held at the university in the morning followed by a memorial service outside the Regional Administration building. His funeral will be held on Monday, while the Student Resistance will be holding two memorials at the weekend in the Prosvita Centre.

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Yesterday evening outside the Regional Administration building a memorial service was held for all those killed. The city marked what was already, before yesterday’s mass killings, already an official day of mourning following deaths on Tuesday, by becoming unusually quiet. Not only was it a case of people generally avoiding socialising in cafes, but shops were largely free of music while the massive advertising screens around the city were silenced.

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Usually these screens on the Market Square, by the theatre or, this one, on Vichevyj Maydan, or Rally Square, by the post office, the site of the original Euromaidan protests in the city, blare out unbearably loud adverts for local businesses. The concept of noise pollution is not yet widespread in Ukraine.

The city is clearly in mourning and shock, with the mass deaths in Kyiv and the death of a local student adding to the feeling which disrupts the usual atmosphere of this Central European city characterised by cafe culture, by going for a stroll around the city, by sitting on benches and having a chat or playing board games. Those aspects of the city’s life are clearly muted.

But still, everyday life goes on, or struggle on, while the revolution and resistance also continues in its various innovative and potentially violent ways.

In terms of everyday life, the potential collapse of the currency or economy is taking its toll, as are feelings of panic induced by fears of martial law or a state of emergency. People have begun making massive withdrawals from cash machines and banks, with queues forming at odd times outside the State Savings Bank or branches of PrivatBank not having any cash. The cash, where possible, might be exchanged into solid foreign currencies, or it has been spent on stockpiling goods. By Thursday night, the supermarkets that remained open were clearly short of cooking oil, grain and buckwheat, milk and bread, while other reports suggest salt was in short supply. Not everyone, though, as cash to withdraw or exchange, since many state employees, including university lecturers, had not received their pay this month. Only this morning was some money paid into accounts, although this was merely one third of the amount due. Either the state is deliberately trying to control the amount of money available to stem panic buying – or the state treasury is actually running out of cash.

At the moment, there is no evidence that lecturers are willing to self-organise like the students or those who are occupying central Kyiv.

Most private businesses are running as usual, although the three stores of supermarket chain Silpo were blockaded on Tuesday and Wednesday. Likewise, the central market was shut down with stallholders stating that they were “forced to volunteer” to go on strike. The market is owned by a local Party of Regions figure, thus it was forced by local activists to shut down. I have not been able to establish the connection between Silpo and the Party of Regions. However, by today the supermarkets and the market were open again and well-stocked and doing a roaring trade. Prices, despite the weakening of the Ukrainian hryvnia, seem fairly stable – for now.

Another store that was blockaded was Epicentre, the Ukrainian B&Q. The managers of the city branch were asked to supply goods useful to protesters in Kyiv, which they duly did, even putting online an invoice which became their donation to the cause. That store will remain closed until the conclusion of the revolution, according to activists. Yesterday evening, when we entered the Student Resistance HQ, we could see young men and some women working on turning these goods into shields and basic weaponry, while they also possessed some ready-made versions. They’ve now sent a convoy of weapons, shields and fighters to Kyiv.

Yesterday, there were reports that busloads of “titushky”, or government-sponsored street fighters, were being transported to the city. This meant that all roads into the city, beginning with the bridge over the river, were blockaded and patrolled by baseball-bat wielding youths. No titushky entered the city, although the rumours that they were already in the city spread like wildfire especially among the older population less likely to have been online with up-to-date information. However, the fear of potential violence did close a language school in the city for the day, while some students were summoned home by their parents.

The situation in the city is currently fairly peaceful compared to Tuesday and Wednesday when the Security Office was being stormed, likewise the Prosecutor’s Office and the Tax Office. Despite this relative calm, it is somewhat disconcerting to see order being kept by teenagers and men in their twenties masked and with baseball bats. Representatives of Right Sector/ Pravyj Sektor and Maidan Self-Defence are cooperating with police as of tonight in patrolling the city. Lviv police today went to Kyiv for the first time and joined the protesters, offering their protection while also siding with the more moderate Maidan Self-Defence in order to support the negotiated end to the current regime. Ivano-Frankivsk police are likely to follow suit. Although in Kyiv they might encounter Right Sector activists who, at the moment, seem determined to push through a violent end to the Yanukovych regime, promising to use arms in storming government buildings tomorrow morning.

Storming the Security Service and Police HQ

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Tuesday 18 February 2014: this was the day that the protests and government responses brought large-scale fatalities in Kyiv. The news of the mass protests and fatalities in Kyiv brought a radicalisation to the atmosphere in Ivano-Frankivsk. While also inspiring peaceful mass student protests today and a blockade of the city’s branch of Epicentre (Ukraine’s B&Q), which is owned by Party of Regions MPs, last night saw a storming of the city and regional office of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU/СБУ) and police. The SBU is effectively a successor to the KGB, while the SBU and police are both part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVS/МВС) and thus occupy the same Habsburg-era building on Sakharova Street, near the university and maternity hospital.

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Right Sector (Правий Сектор) stickers adorn the sign on the White House and buses prepare to take, potentially armed, activists to Kyiv.

After a day of increasing tension and numbers of people milling about on the street waiting for something to happen, last night saw protesters retake the White House (city and regional administration) without resistance, but the storming of the SBU building ultimately resorted in molotov cocktails, part-destruction of the building and general smashing of windows and anything else accessible by probably some 200 people of a crowd of a couple of thousand.

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By the time we arrived around 11 pm, a large crowd had already gathered and one entrance to the building was being stormed. It was the entrance to the police section of the building, so the organisation less hated than the SBU. As we approached from the university side, we could hear windows being smashed, as well as a mixture of cheers followed by jeers. The latter were a result of police leaving the building, as well as some Birkut (special forces) members. They left without resisting and ultimately brought joy to the crowd who then sang the national anthem. That part of the building was secured by protesters as part of an occupation.

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The building did suffer some pointless damage as a number of people waiting for something to happen started smashing windows after the police had left, while some of those trying to smash windows showed great persistence even as they continued to throw for several minutes the same oversized bricks at metal bars which were positioned too narrowly to allow that brick through. Others were more effective, though, while some decided that it was necessary to smash police crockery through a basement window. Still, overnight, no more damage was done to this part of the building despite being easily accessible through unusually poorly secured windows, which had no bars on them and offered easy access into the building.

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The building was also graffitied, although by this afternoon that had been painted over. It is not clear who painted over the graffiti, although it is unlikely to have been the police who were nowhere to be seen in the area or, indeed, in the city.

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Here the graffiti read: “Yanyk shitbag” and “Tear off your badges of rank”. Both are written with the ‘o’ sound replaced by ‘a’, suggesting either very poor Ukrainian ability or a satire on the current government’s perceived Russification of Ukrainian. By today, this grafitti had gone, as had any trace of the signs showing which institution is housed here.

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What was evident last night (in the early hours of this morning) was the lack of any leadership over events, as the storming of the building took on a largely spontaneous form and those present and most active, seemed to be reduced to a primitive masculinity taking pleasure in loud bangs, smashing things with bricks or sticks, or setting fire to things. The only time any leadership seemed clear was when a man in an orange helmet decided that a group should storm the local prosecutor’s office, which they duly did.  An older man talking to the orange helmeted younger man did ask, though, “where’s the left sector?”, referring to the prevalence of nationalist Right Sector activists. “It used to be the left sector active around here. Now nothing.” Then he suggested storming a few buildings, including the prosecutor’s office. Today, piles of documents were still smouldering there in what some in the city suspect was not necessarily an act of revolution but potentially an attempt to benefit by destroying documentation relevant to particular cases. This suspicion seemed potentially justified, since today there was no evidence of revolutionaries guarding this building, while people inside were trying to get things back in order.

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However, clearly not at work today was the SBU/Police building, although there are reports that its functionaries are on the streets of the city today, wearing balaclavas and joining the ranks of protesters. As some protesters last night headed off to storm the prosecutor’s office, another mass movement of the crowd took it about 20 metres to the left to the SBU entrance. This door was protected by some functionaries inside the building and unable to get inside by storming this part of the building (a ladder would have done the trick as first-floor windows without bars were open but in the heat of the moment, few think practically) molotov cocktails started flying, while tyres soaked with petrol were put by the doors. These weapons were clearly prepared by a small group of men in their teens and twenties. The smells last night/early this morning were quite unusual, with something resembling frying doughnuts giving way later to the smell of petrol before the burning started. The scent of fuel made it ominous that fires would be started.

And indeed they did start. This newspaper report shows the inside of the building today, which has become the city’s number one attraction as members of the public visit it. These are my before/during/after shots.

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 Beyond expressing frustrations in a visceral manner, there was no real reason to set fire to this building. The symbolism of showing how emasculated the state’s security services are in the city could have been achieved by simply taking the building, as happened with the police side of it. However, the young men preparing molotov cocktails who we spoke to declared two reasons for setting fire to this building. Firstly, “force is the only argument they understand” and secondly “they won’t give up the arms and shields inside without this”. The point was to force whoever may have been inside to relinquish control of stocks of police arms and shields and anything else of use. This region has been accused of transporting arms to Kyiv – with nine police killed there, it seems they must be being used – and it seems the radical protesters knew where to get them. In neighbouring Lviv, the military arms depot went up in flames, which may have been an inside job, to – quite wisely -sabotage any radical attempts to get hold of arms.

We also suggested to these young men that this building could be given over to the city’s use – as a school or university – but they failed to accept that and decided that this “stolen” property must be returned to the “nation”. The fact that any renovation will be funded from the “nation’s” pockets didn’t occur to many people. Seeing the building go up in flames, rather than out of any sympathy for the SBU or police, we called the fire brigade. They eventually arrived, although long after 1am, after we had left. Initially on the phone they refused to come unless we could provide a building number for the SBU office – which was not visible at all, even though it is obvious to anyone in the city which building is the former KGB HQ opposite the maternity hospital. Once they did arrive, news reports say that protesters initially resisted allowing the fire brigade to tackle the blaze, before two engines were eventually allowed close enough to the building. According to the phone operator, we were the first to call. Although most of those present were passive, there was little in the atmosphere to suggest that anyone else would have called. Except maybe the owner of this bike, attached to a tree outside the burning building.

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 I’m touched by the idea of turning up to a protest/riot/storming of the security service on a bicycle then also taking the care to lock it to a tree.

This guy also survived unscathed, standing opposite the protests in a Ministry of Internal Affairs-sponsored chapel.

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Above him, this image, which is used by the Ministry to symbolise its work. It seems, though, that the people have assumed now the role of St George and the dragon, at least here, has been slain. Although it could prove still to be a hydra.

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Mass Student Marches Again: This time with baseball bats

Franko Times Baseball Bat Student Protests

Collective attitudes and levels of enthusiasm or indignation change quickly here. Whilst Monday was shrouded in a sense of general apathy and disillusion at what seemed to be endless negotiations in Kyiv, this atmosphere has now lifted owing to the events in Kyiv and the large number of deaths. Although Monday also saw the formation of a Student Resistance HQ, with a group of activists – seemingly associated with or at least protected by right-wing organisations – setting out fairly reasonable, largely everyday demands to rectors and national ministries for improving student living conditions (but not touching upon the educational process itself very much), it seems that this event did little to engage the students’ mass enthusiasm.

These demands did, however, lead to a large-scale meeting of students, student representatives and university authorities. Lecturers, as usual, were left out of the process. The university now calls such gatherings ‘traditional’, although the reports from the meeting suggest little was done to actively address the demands raised by the Student Resistance.

Today, however, following the fatal violence in Kyiv and the increasingly radical atmosphere in Ivano-Frankivsk, a mass student march and strike took place, beginning around 9:30 am and eventually making its way to the city centre where at least 10,000 students gathered and formed a rally. Apparently this strike is now permanent, although there is a decent chance that the same negotiated conditions will emerge as in December, where the strike hours were reduced to 12:00-14:00 and lecturers were expected to, though in reality rarely did, conduct classes after 2 p.m., while the timetable was reduced – ironically – to a European-style curriculum of core courses. Equally, it could prove to be the case that students themselves will request that lecturers hold classes despite the strike, as happened in late 2013.

What is certainly different, however, in today’s protests – as these images show – is that some students are attending them in masks, military gear or armed with baseball bats, indicating the rising radicalisation of the protests around the country and their increasingly violent nature. It also shows that there is no fear of any intervention by police, special forces or indeed university authorities.

The university rector was encouraged by activist protestors to lead the university’s march into the city. Perhaps fearful of the fate of a predecessor who, despite having been elected to the post of rector shortly before the Orange Revolution of 2004, was forced out of his post by student protests after that revolution’s conclusion, the current rector is taking a more active stance and siding with the student protester despite his attitude in 2013 being one of clear reticence.

Student protests in Ivano-Frankivsk: Reorganisation

Although the mass of students in the city remain fairly passive or disenchanted, an active core – as is usual for any insurgent movements – have set organised and set out demands for a revolution in student life. Activists representing students from all three state universities in Ivano-Frankivsk – the Stefanyk Precarpathian University (PNU), the National Medical University (IFNMU) and the National Oil and Gas University (NUNG) – yesterday marched through the city and occupied the Prosvita cultural centre, close to the local and regional administration building (“White House”). This will be the Headquarters of the Student Resistance (Штаб студентського спротиву).

The students’ eight demands, issued to the universities’ rectors, the city council, and the Ministers of Education, Health, Internal Affairs and to the Prosecutor General, are – as the document below shows:

1) freeing all students arrested and charged during the revolution

2) increasing the student grant to the level of the minimum monthly salary

3) annulment of charges for academic services in universities, including charges for retakes at the Medical University

4) 24-hour access to student halls

5) securing satisfactory conditions in student halls by including students in supervisory councils

6) securing the foundation of commissions against corruption and bribery in universities

7) running public transport until midnight

8) free internet access for students in student halls, libraries and university campuses.

 

These demands cover most aspects of what affects students on an everyday level, bar perhaps the most obvious thing, which is the organisation of their studies. Despite constant declarations, especially at PNU, of the “European” nature of the university, there is widespread failure to initiate any of the provision of the Bologna Process beyond issuing ECTS credits, which enable students to translate their grades into a European scale should they seek work or further study abroad. Students often have to pay for their ECTS certificate, which should be provided for free. Students are worked beyond the limits for the number of hours stipulated in the Bologna Process provisions. And they have absolutely no choice in the courses they take.

While these eight demands address many fundamental issues affecting student life, I am not certain that these student revolution will gather widespread support without finding a way to overcome a general apathy among the mass of students who remain convinced that the existing system of corruption and a lack of investment in student facilities is insurmountable.

 

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More details on the student protests and photos of yesterday’s march can be found here and here.

The Thaw

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The thaw came unseasonably early and unexpectedly quickly. Now the city is a mixture of slush and cleared pavements. The closer to administrative buildings, the more likely is the latter. The square outside the city and regional administration offices (aka The White House) is now clear of barricades, besides a small enclave fortified by tyres and fencing. Before the thaw, the barricades formed a labyrinth of passages, surrounding the regional administration from all sides. This video shows a walk through part of the old barricades.

The remaining enclave is protected by the Maidan Self-Defence organisation, which is largely associated with The Right Sector (Pravij Sektor). Right Sector’s newspaper was the only publication evident at this small camp, which signals that organisation’s position as the most radical element in the protests now largely disappointed by the compromise that has been reached around the country.

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An advantage to the barricades was the people didn’t park like complete idiots, at least in this part of the city. That is now over with the thaw.

All occupied administration buildings have been evacuated by protesters in exchange for the government releasing and dropping all charges against Euromaidan protesters. Around the country squares remain, however, occupied, as an indication of the ongoing protests and the need for demonstrators to hold the government to its promises. The OSCE is supervising the process, which is to include free access for citizens to administration building.

While the negotiations between the opposition and the government have been ongoing and a tendency towards compromise was always evident, it is highly likely that the thaw influenced the decision to abandon buildings and barricades. In this blog, I also believed that the snow, ice and tyre barricades would last at least until mid-March, but this year seems to be highly unusual in terms of temperatures approaching double figures in mid-February.

In Ivano-Frankivsk around 1000 residents attended the daily rally this evening, while around 10,000 came yesterday to the White House square, perhaps partly encouraged by the good weather and the pro-Europe/pro-Maidan oligarch Petro Poroshenko. Right Sector, however, refuses to engage with Poroshenko and has declared the he will be top of their “lustration” list.

At university today, my class was briefly interrupted by a young woman who turned out to be the head of the university’s “Profkom” or student council. She announced that at 9 a.m. there would be a gathering outside the university by Studentska Svoboda before a larger rally at 2 p.m. She left after the announcement, which included the information that the Dean of the department gives his permission to attend but asked that any students leaving classes avoid making any noise as they made their way down to my gathering. This indicates the divisions remain among the higher ranks of the university in terms of the degree of engagements with the protests. However, none of my students left for the Student Liberty meeting. None of twelve knew whether this organisation was connected to the right-wing party Svoboda, while only a couple whispered even a contemplation of whether to attend. They had no idea why it should take five hours from the initial gathering to the second, while if they did leave they said they were most likely to have gone to library, as they did during Thursday’s warning strike. It seems that student enthusiasm is largely on the wane when it comes to further protests, as these seem more distant and centred on traditional modes of political power rather than popular insurgency.

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The square outside the Regional Administration building today. Previously a site of large-scale, ice and snow barricades.

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The Maidan Self-Defence and Right Sector tent and enclave.

Warning Strike: Not a resounding success

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At the university today, there was no evidence of the strike. Between 12:00 and 13:00 most lectures proceeded as normal, while no students or staff protested on university grounds. However, local press estimate that between several hundred and a couple of thousand people did gather outside the barricaded municipal and regional administration building (aka the White House). Around Ukraine there were various other gatherings in municipal places or by workplaces. However, it is hard to argue that the warning strike, chiefly promoted by Vitaliy Klitschko’s UDAR party and the trades unions, was a resounding success or, indeed, that it generated much social resonance at all.

Ivano-Frankivsk Barricades Brigades: 5 Kanal News Report

This news report from 5 Kanal shows the work of the Self-Defence Brigades which patrol the Ivano-Frankivsk barricades around the municipal and regional administration building. They stand guard as volunteers from 8pm each day and there are around 400 volunteers, all men, involved. The celebrity aspect to this is that a Ukrainian record-holding strongman is involved.
The report says that in two weeks, around 20 people have been held by the brigades, including drunks, ‘marauders’ and one armed man.
They will remain in place until presidential elections are called.