kiev maidan black and white

We’ll wait until the May 25th elections, then decide what to do next: is what I heard over and over from behind grizzled faces in Kiev’s Maidan. These aren’t the thousands of people leaving flowers or strolling through Kiev’s downtown city center, but rather the hardline minority camped out in green tents that form the new spine of Independence Square.

For them, Ukraine’s presidential elections were a pivotal decision point a few weeks ago when we spoke under dim light filtering through heavy plastic. At the time a certain instability loomed but there remained a lining of optimism – a rarity for eastern European pragmatism.

Although Kiev remains safe it seems as one of the worst scenarios is shaping up elsewhere in the east. Newly elected mayor Vitali Klitschko plans to dismantle the barricades in Maidan Nezalezhnosti since the “main mission has been accomplished.” Many of the protestors living here, drinking cups of soup served freely to everyone in Maidan, have nowhere else to go. Even if they left, none of them would be returning to anything resembling the Ukraine they helped transform. Maidan’s permanent protestors don’t want to go back but aren’t sure where to go forward, which is why they’ll continue to stay in between.

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