The revolutionary events in Kiev have been one of the most popular topics covered by the media world-wide for the last month and a half. However, some of them try to present the wish for the reality. And the reality is quite different.
I passed my New Year's vacation in Kiev. Frankly speaking, I had no plans to take part in any protests or mass demonstrations. I did not even plan to watch the opposition rallies. I just wanted to celebrate the New Year in one of my favorite cities and bought air tickets and booked an apartment in Kiev in advance long before any reactionary meetings started there.
Then, I hoped the events would be finished in a short time and the Ukrainian capital would celebrate an ordinary New Year. At last it was too late to return tickets and cancel the apartment booking. So I decided to fly to Kiev and to drive to some Ukrainian provincial cities if being in the capital was dangerous or boring.
I arrived in Kiev on the last day of 2013. I saw nothing special or extraordinary on the way from the airport or in the city center at about 300-400 meters from the revolutionary camp in Maidan Square. The streets were quite calm and pretty, decorated with Christmas trees, garlands and illuminations. The authorities organized several Christmas bazaars selling delicacies, national souvenirs and presents. The Kievans were rushing through the streets wishing Happy New Year to their friends and relatives over the phone and buying food and drinks for the holiday party. It seemed the city was going to celebrate an ordinary New Year.
My fear to be involved in any clashes was dispelled completely when I come to Maidan Square. The square was barricaded and full of tents, flags and billboards stuck with revolutionary slogans insulting the current government and president and accusing them of embezzlement and calling on them to resign. Meanwhile, the access to the square was open to anyone and the ongoing activities here looked more like a New Year festival than a revolutionary protest.
During the holidays, which are celebrated in Ukraine from the New Year until the Christmas on Jan. 7, the Maidan visitors enjoyed great non-stop concerts and shows. The Kievans came to the square with little children and dogs, danced, sang and greeted local and foreign singers and entertainers with much more enthusiasm than any politician's revolutionary speeches.
From smaller scenes located near the square people told funny stories and made declarations of love. Some groups of people played guitars or accordions. The Maidan Square and Khreshchatyk Street, where the revolutionary camp continued, were full of street vendors selling drinks, snacks, souvenirs, flags and ribbons with revolutionary symbols. People masqueraded, inviting children and tourists to make photos with them. Street musicians, actors and dancers performed.
In fact, everyone was making his own business here. All the shops, business centers, restaurants and banks were also working in normal mode. In spite of the absence of police the situation was safe and calm. The city and its people were living their ordinary lives.
The only place of interest which I was not able to reach was the House with Chimaeras. The house is located opposite the Presidential office and all the area around was cordoned off by police. All other places of interest were full of people and the revolutionary camp itself converted into an additional tourist attraction.
While a majority of Ukrainians frankly say they want some changes in the country, many of them are tired of revolutionary meetings and want them to finish. The revolutionaries seem to be tired too. The meetings are now less numerous than were in late November, according to Kievans. And the crowd in Maidan was in more of a festive than revolutionary mood.
"I am for changes but against chaos. And the events happening here are real chaos," a saleswoman in a stall in the underpass under Maidan Square said.