“Revolution” Widens In Kiev

The biggest protests since the 2004 Orange Revolution aren’t about just about Russia any more. “You’re never going to be ‘I’m besieging Yanukovych with flares on a tractor’ cool.”

KIEV, Ukraine — Hundreds of thousands of people swarmed through the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on Sunday as a pro-European Union protest movement warped into an all-out battle to unseat President Viktor Yanukovych.

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Pro-European Ukrainians are furious with Yanukovych for backing out of a deal with the EU in favor of closer economic ties with Russia.

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The protests, which began last week, appeared to be dying down until riot police violently cleared a tent city on Kiev’s Independence Square, known as the Maidan. This caption reads “Die, scumbag!”

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Kiev had not seen crowds this large since 2004’s Orange Revolution, when weeks of demonstrations on the Maidan cost Yanukovych the presidency.

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Protesters defied a court order banning protests on the Maidan and thronged the square to hear speeches from opposition politicians.

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Police simply ran away.

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Some protesters scaled an artificial Christmas tree on the square and planted flags.

Vasily Fedosenko / Reuters

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Others violently clashed with police outside the presidential administration building.

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These guys came with their own bulldozer.

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Many tried to storm past riot police.

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Police and protesters used tear gas against one other.

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Opposition leaders distanced themselves from the violence and said it had been carried out to discredit them.

Vasily Fedosenko / Reuters

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In the evening, several dozen tents went up on the Maidan. Ads on the Jumbotron were replaced by an EU flag. Protesters heard speeches and danced through the evening.

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Several hundred more protesters occupied City Hall down the street and camped out there overnight.

Stoyan Nenov / Reuters

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Inside City Hall. Protesters sleeping, handing out food, wandering around. Anarchy in its purest form #Євромайдан

— max seddon (@maxseddon)

max seddon


Inside City Hall. Protesters sleeping, handing out food, wandering around. Anarchy in its purest form #Євромайдан

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This graffiti outside renames it “Revolution HQ.”

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The dream: a westward turn and entry into the European Union, something Kiev’s young protesters can get excited about.

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Large crowds took to the streets in other cities, such as Lviv:

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And Ivano-Frankivsk:

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The wild scenes, unthinkable since the Orange Revolution, provoked their fair share of memes.

This caption reads, “Gotham / Kiev.” Via Twitter: @mudakoff

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“Vitya,” Russian President Vladimir Putin says, “two things.” “What?” replies Yanukovych. “1. Great job breaking up #EuroMaidan,” the hashtag for the protest, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says. “2. Ukraine’s not Russia, you’re fucked.”

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“You might be cool,” this caption reads, “but you’re never going to be ‘I’m besieging Yanukovich with flares on a tractor’ cool.”

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Opposition leaders are calling for a general strike and insist they want protests to be peaceful.

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But the word on everyone’s lips here is “revolution.”

Graffiti on a skip in #euromaidan Kiev

— max seddon (@maxseddon)

max seddon


Graffiti on a skip in #euromaidan Kiev

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Max Seddon is a correspondent for BuzzFeed World based in Berlin. He has reported from Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and across the ex-Soviet Union and Europe. His secure PGP fingerprint is 6642 80FB 4059 E3F7 BEBE 94A5 242A E424 92E0 7B71
Contact Max Seddon at

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