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Clear-cut Programs In Euromaidan Videos - Insights

As the standoff in Ukraine continues over Russia's occupation of the Crimean Peninsula, artist Tomas Rafa provides an intimate portrait of the recent battles that unfolded in the ?Euromaidan? protests in Kiev. These photographs and video offer a rare on-the-ground look at the fiery front lines.

Since I returned last week from Kiev, where I documented the protests included in my artistic focus on patriotism and nationalism, the specific situation in Ukraine has taken a sharp turn for the worse and Euromaidan videos shifted this is of the fraught terms. It is obviously hard to accurately describe the power of patriotism and nationalism?and the boundary between these related sentiments?in words, which is why I personally use my camera to reveal their symbolic functions in popular uprisings. Given that Russian forces have seized control of Ukraine's southern Crimea region, Ukraine is divided and nationalist celebrations of President Viktor Yanukovych's departure came to an untimely end. Putin's moves have put much of the entire world in a diplomatic frenzy directed at staving off what could be the start of a brand new Cold War or, more terrifyingly, a global conflict. Meanwhile, for a few Ukrainians in Crimea, patriotism may mean voting to keep connected to Kiev in an upcoming referendum; for others, it may involve deeper ties to the land of the native tongue.

We cannot say what'll happen next, however it remains vital that you think on what unfolded during the months of protests. The name of the movement, Euromaidan, arose from protesters'demands for greater ties to the European Union and their rallying point in Kiev's central square, Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square), also known as simply ?Maidan.? Whilst the protesters in Maidan were mostly local residents, many originated in cities in the west of Ukraine, like Lviv. The square was also filled up with a mix of Ukrainians, Russians, Poles and international journalists. People sang the Ukrainian anthem constantly; I heard it about 50 times a day. They also chanted, ?Berkut out,? referring to the police, and ?Ukraine: honor and liberty,? in Russian. I met a number of Russians who have been inspired by that which was happening in Maidan and wanted to bring this type of revolution for their country, where it happens to be very difficult to change the political environment. They had come to Maidan to discover ways to ignite and direct a revolutionary situation.

On February 20, the deadliest day of the revolution, the Alpha Group?a unique counterterrorism unit developed by the Soviet KGB in the 1970s?was killing many people on the streets. More than 80 were killed, and hundreds were injured. I had flown to Kiev from Warsaw because the roads were now blocked at the city limits. I shot video while the streets below became a killing zone. Individuals were being rescued from the streets and brought into the foyer of Kiev's Hotel Ukraine. Many journalists were in the hotel, and the management eventually decided to close the doors to help keep them safe. The snipers were still shooting at the journalists through the windows, however, using heavy ammunition that can not be stopped by bulletproof vests. Not that it mattered, because these snipers aimed for the head or neck.

Protesters certainly have mixed feelings now that they're no more united by the normal goal of taking down Yanukovych. Right-wing nationalists fought alongside with anarchists provided that Yanukovych was in power, but no longer. Serious tensions among the protesters arose as soon as former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko stumbled on Maidan. Today, pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian inhabitants of Crimea are clashing daily. The current struggle in Crimea is never as deadly because the bloodiest days of the uprising, but the near future for the peninsula?and for Ukraine as a whole?may be much more dangerous than anything we've so far witnessed.

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