Ukraine: Maidan's Second Anniversary

Maidan Nezalezhnosti, Kyiv, Ukraine: two years since the beginning of the Orange Revolution – by Veronica Khokhlova

Nov. 22 marks the second anniversary of the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, but little orange has been visible on the streets of Kyiv today. A crowd gathered at Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti), but it was nowhere near as numerous as last year.

Victor Yushchenko, who became Ukraine's president largely thanks to the peaceful protests of 2004, celebrated this day away from Maidan. He invited Ukraine's current prime minister Victor Yanukovych to the reception at Mariyinsky Palace; Yanukovych, who might have stolen the 2004 election if it hadn't been for the mass protests, didn't show up.

Below is what one Ukrainian blogger – LJ user didaio of Dnipropetrovsk – has been thinking (UKR) today:

Freedom Day

I opened the closet today and hesitated for a very long time as to whether to put on an orange ribbon or not. I ended up wearing it.

Spent the whole day in doubts over whether I should send greetings via SMS.

And only in the evening, as I turned on the music of THOSE days […] and turned off the lights in the room, did I realize how important this day was for me. I began sending instant messages to friends, and each name in my address book brought about memories from THOSE days. Many of my today's friends appeared only thanks to THOSE days. And nearly half of these contacts oppose those events.

Sending instant messages helped me understand one important thing – Ukraine is indeed one. People with different worldviews live in it, with different views on their own future and the future of their country, but this shouldn't disunite them to the point when they become enemies.

[…] Supporters of Yanukovych, among my dear ones and my friends, were not supporting falsifications, they were for another path for Ukraine. Same as we were at Maidan not because of Yushchenko, but because we wanted changes for Ukraine.

I don't know how long this confrontation between Ukrainians is going to last. I wish each of us gave others the right to have their own opinion. I'd like Ukrainian politicians not to ruin my country. But all this, unfortunately, is more like fantasy, dreams, not something that's possible, reality.

One thing I know for sure – this day is the dearest of all the rest for me. And no politician will manage to ruin my memories of the Orange revolution! I hold these days dear because they united millions of people. Nothing like this had ever happened in Ukraine's history.

P.S. Yesterday, in his TV interview, Yushchenko said that Maidan's main achievement, Freedom, cannot be stopped. Unfortunately, it can be stopped. Ukraine still can go back, and slowly is moving back, to the pre-Maidan times. Today, it's not just the old faces that have come to power – they have brought the old politics with them.

Today, head of President Yushchenko's press service has refused to accredit [Ukrainska Pravda], explaining that an Internet publication is [not considered legitimate]. Yushchenko invited Victor Yanukovych to the celebration of Freedom Day – and [Yanukovych] didn't come.

All this is taking us back to yesterday. And we keep silent and once again get disappointed in our leaders. ENOUGH!


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