Member and neighbour States

Echoes from Maidan Square

Demonstrations on Maidan Square #Euromaidan (Source: Flickr, Jose Luis Orihuela)

Demonstrations on Maidan Square #Euromaidan (Source: Flickr, Jose Luis Orihuela)

Events are going unexpectedly fast in Ukraine. Last weekend, Viktor Yanukovych was dismissed and ran away to Kharkiv, a pro-Russian locality in the East of the country. Oleksandr Tourtchynov, so far Speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, became interim president until the organisation of new legislative elections scheduled for the next 25th of May. At the same time, Yulia Timoschenko was freed after spending two years in jail.

There is a very strange atmosphere in Kyiv and, in fact, nobody really knows what is going to happen. Ukraine is a deeply divided country and the attitude of some foreign powers – Russia and the US, of course, but also the European Union which must enjoy the occasion to help Ukraine to succeed in its transition – will be determinant.

While waiting for the stabilisation of the country, you will read below a testimony about the situation by Irynka, a friend of mine, who studied with me at the College of Europe four years ago. She gives a realistic, striking and touching point of view about the situation and her country she deeply loves but above all, she gives a clear and interesting point of view about the political situation which is not as simple as one may think. After posting it on her Facebook page, she agreed to be published on this blog. Her testimony was done just before the 21st of February, the day the opposition and the ruling power made a deal to end the crisis, but I considered it was still relevant.

And I enjoy embracing my dear Irynka and all my Ukrainian friends struggling for the unity of their country and their will of Europe.

Gilles Johnson


« So many emotions on Maidan. Grief for the fallen heroes. Proud for the nation. And also an anger – people want yanukovych to resign immediately.

When opposition tried to talk to Maidan on the agreement, people did not want to listen to them and booed. Some of the activists from self-defence said that Yanukovych should resign by tomorrow morning, otherwise they would start the attack. Praviy sector said that they would not give up their armaments and would not leave the buildings until Yanukovych resigns. Also other activists were blaming opposition for betraying Maidan and not agreeing with people the conditions before signing them (They did some consultations with the Council of Maidan, but not with people on Maidan).

They were repeating that Yanukovych should resign immediately and citing other options to get rid of him. All this was saluted by Maidan, because it was something Maidan wanted to hear. Klychko came back and I trully belive that he was saying from his heart that he did the best he could in this negotiations, and he was doing it only to prevent the further blood. You should have seen his face when he was talking to Maidan who was booeing him. He appologised if he offended anyone in what he did. I think it was also brave in some way to do it.

Priests were trying to calm this anger to find compassion and patience in the hearts of people. But how patient could be the people who witnessed on their eyes the death of more then 70 people only yesterday?! I personally and all the others, do not want any more lives to be taken away, any more blood. But I perfectly understand and share the emotions of Maidan: how can we continue to live under the president who first totally ignored us, then beated and murdered, then started repressions, then killed few of us, then killed so many of us during the “ceasefire” and then during the mourning for previous victims. Can you imagine all of that! And how can he be trusted this time?! And who can be sure that for these many months before the elections activists will not be dissapearing, not be murdered or anything else?

I do not know what should be done next, I do not know what Maidan will do next and most importantly I do not know what the regime will do next. I know this president is not legitimate anymore. I also do not want any more tragedy for my people and my country. I think all that was done today is a small achievement. But there should be much more done towards the early elections be appointed as soon as possible. And then, the long and hard process of transformation should continue.

I wanted to brief you on Maidan’s reaction, but ended up with some personal emotions and thoughts. I know all the West is very happy about the agreement. What I am trying to say, that it is, as usually, not black and white. Please just try to understand. »

Testimony made by Irynka on the 21st of February, on her Facebook page

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