Local Activists Protest in Kiev
Published: January 29, 2014 (Issue # 1795)
St. Petersburg’s liberal and left-wing activists have offered their support to the protests currently taking place in Ukraine with one-man rallies and pickets, a vigil and visits to Kiev. Pickets have been held near the Consulate General of Ukraine and on Nevsky Prospekt since mid-week while on Jan. 23 a group of St. Petersburg residents held an event at the monument to Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko on Ploshchad Shevchenko on the Petrograd Side to honor those who have died during the unrest.
Andrei Pivovarov, the chair of the St Petersburg branch of the Russian Republican Party — the People’s Freedom Party, RPR-Parnas — returned late Sunday from Kiev, where he had visited the protesters’ encampment on Maidan Nezalezhnosti with two other activists to see the protests and convey messages of solidarity from St. Petersburg activists.
“It was very impressive. I’ve never seen barricades in the center of the city or a complete city-within-a-city that lives by its own rules and is very well organized,” Pivovarov told The St. Petersburg Times this week.
“Many people who probably did not known each other before have built a workable, functioning organization — a system within a system. Some people are in charge of collecting funds, some are responsible for arranging overnight lodgings. There are security guards and then there are the more radical elements who confront the police. There are people who cook food and medics; it replicates the system of a state.
According to Pivovarov he felt no danger within the protesters’ camp. “It’s really safe,” he said.
“Sure, there are people walking around with sticks and covered faces, but it does not cause any fear. Even when we witnessed the Ukrainian House [a congress center used by Ukrainian police and special forces as their base of operations until its seizure by protesters at about 4 a.m. Sunday] being stormed, people were polite and respectful. If somebody pushed another by accident, they apologized. There was a joke going round that if a man in camouflage carrying a stick enters a cafe in Kiev, he is most likely to have two degrees and a good command of English.”
Pivovarov said he was also impressed by how strongly motivated and politically conscious the people were.
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