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Residents Divided Over Protests

Published: April 23, 2014 (Issue # 1807)



  • A masked pro-Russian activist looking down from a balcony of an occupied Donetsk administration building.
    Photo: Max Vetrov / AP

YENAKIIEVE, Ukraine — In the wake of pro-Russian protests in the Ukrainian town of Yenakiieve — the hometown of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych — residents are divided over the protests and over their former leader.

The atmosphere in the town over the weekend was calm, with little remaining evidence of Ukrainian media reports that pro-Russian protesters had seized City Hall, the police headquarters and security service building there earlier this month.

Four unarmed pro-Russian demonstrators stood near City Hall as police officers patrolled nearby, and no barricades were to be seen in the area. Both the protesters and police denied that any seizure of the building had taken place, saying that demonstrators had peacefully entered the building, and that the city administration was still functioning as usual.

Near the police headquarters, neither protesters nor barricades could be seen. Yevgeny, a 34-year-old taxi driver, said that pro-Russian activists had entered the police headquarters and security service building last week in an effort to find weapons but had left them shortly afterwards.

Most locals declined to give their last names, citing fears for their safety.

By Sunday, the protesters had also left City Hall, and a flag of the People’s Republic of Donetsk — an entity proclaimed by pro-Russian activists — on the building had been replaced by a Ukrainian one, 30 Days, a Yenakiieve-based news site, reported. By Monday the demonstrators had again entered the building and hoisted a flag of the republic, according to the site.

Protests in the Donetsk region where Yenakiieve is located have intensified in recent weeks, with demonstrators — including men armed with firearms — seizing administrative buildings in cities across the region. Ukrainian authorities have accused Russian special forces of being involved in the unrest, a claim that the Kremlin denies.

Yenakiieve represented a sharp contrast over the weekend with the more tense situation in the Donetsk region city of Slovyansk, where armed pro-Russian gunmen seized major administrative buildings earlier this month and now effectively control the area.

Some locals in Yenakiieve expressed support over the weekend for the pro-Russian protesters’ demands.

Denis, a 29-year-old assistant engine driver, said he was in favor of joining Russia because of higher pensions and wages and lower taxes there.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, July 24


Liliana Modiliani, a well-known Russian stylist, will talk about choosing clothes that fit during her lecture at 7 p.m. at the Pryamoy Efir art club, 13 Viborgskoe Shosse.



Friday, July 25


Discuss Russia’s economic and political prospects for 2014 during a Business Breakfast organized by SPIBA at 9.30 a.m. in the Bank Saint-Petersburg office at 64


Malookhtinsky Prospekt.


Start your weekend with adorable miniature pigs at the Squealing Pig festival at 7 p.m. this evening in the Karl & Friedrich restaurant, 15 Iozhnaya doroga, on Krestovsky Island.



Saturday, July 26


Hundreds of brand-new and retro cars, drag and drift shows, test drives and karting are planned for the Avtobum-2014 festival, which will take place in front of the RIO shopping center at 2 Fuchika Ulitsa.


Participants in today’s SaniDay Summer competition will impress visitors with their hand-made, unusual and hilarious boats, which will race at the Igora Resort near the 54th kilometer on Priozerskoe Shosse.


Metro Family Day will include both serious lectures for adults and master-classes for children, making the event interesting for the whole family. To participate, come to Kirov Park on Yelagin Island.


Photography will be the focus of today’s Photosubbota, which features lectures by famous photographers, meetings with photo schools and studio representatives, and participation in a photography competition. The event starts at noon at Petrokongress, 5 Lodeynopolskaya Ulitsa.


If you like cycling, make sure to visit the Za Velogorod Festival with its retro bike exhibition, market and live music. The second round of the Leningrad Criterium race will also take place during the event at Petrovsky Arsenal in Sestroretsk.



Sunday, July 27


Navy Day will be celebrated with a weapon and military transportation exhibition, self-defense master classes and concerts. The event starts at 1 p.m. in the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburg.



Monday, July 28


Don’t miss a chance to see the latest achievements in robotics during the RoboDom interactive show, exhibiting more than 150 robots. The show will be at BUM center, 22/2 Gzhatskaya Ulitsa, until Aug. 3. The entrance ticket costs 350 rubles ($10).



Tuesday, July 29


A video of a Queen concert from 1986 will be shown today at 8 p.m. in Yaschik, 50/13 Ligovsky Prospekt.



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