The first part of a collection of interviews with the Ukrainians of tomorrow
It’s been two months since the barricades were dismantled on Euromaidan; the tires removed, the shards of broken Molotov cocktails swept away. Yet the flames keep on burning.
Since the ousting of former Ukrainian President Yanukovych, the situation has escalated so fast that the protesters have been left unable to stop and mourn the Heavenly Hundred – those that died fighting at Euromaidan. The Russian occupation of Crimea swept over the country like wildfire: no-one saw it coming and worst of all, no-one was able to prevent it. Now, in the eastern cities of Donetsk and Luhansk, pro-Russian demonstrators have taken to the streets in their thousands. This time the struggle is not Western facing, but Eastern – and it doesn’t look as if the momentum will falter anytime soon.
I interviewed Oleg the day after Yanukovych fled the country, on the 22nd of February. He’d been difficult to get hold of during the week: it was the week that over a hundred demonstrators were shot dead on the streets of their own city by their very own police forces. Now, he was sat opposite me, an easy smile on his face.
“What are you thinking?”
“I’m hoping for a better future now”
I sat back, trying to imagine what it would be like to watch your own country’s future being forged from so far away. If anything, it seemed like a good place to start…