Euro Maidan Revolution in Kyiv, Ukraine: an Irishman’s story! | Vodka Vodcast 022

Something that really struck me while I
was in the east of Ukraine in December 2013 was like how much local people from
all different socio-economic strata just didn’t like the president didn’t
like Yanukovich most people just refer to him as a thief or a bad guy
everything from my cleaning lady to university educated people to you know
people I met while I was out socializing just absolutely no one had anything good
to say about him Всем привет and welcome
back to another vodka vodcast & me Conor Clyne this is the Tsar Experience and
today’s episode is kind of a poignant one and a very special one it is from
here which is Maidan which is the Independence Square in Kiev the capital
of Ukraine and it’s just a little bit over five years since the Euro Maidan
revolution and I was actually here for part of the revolution actually here on
the square in Maidan and also in the east of Ukraine in a city probably a lot
of you are familiar with from the media which is Donetsk as it’s under control
of pro-Russian separatists for the last few years but I was there actually
during the beginning of the protests I came here twice basically at December
2013 and Jan… and February actually I wasn’t there it was February
2014 just towards the end of the protests I was there basically here at the
beginning of the protests and at the very end so in today’s vodcast I want to
give you a little bit of an understanding and overview what it was
like to be a Western European and come here during a time of revolution because
a lot of you will of course read and have seen a lot of images on the TV and
the more kind of traditional mainstream media or in kind of independent media
which a lot of it is propaganda so this is going to give you my understanding
this is not gonna be an overview of all the events that happened during the
protests you can of course go and look at other documentaries TV reports just
do your research and try to get a good reliable you know overview of the
information different sources and the of course look at Wikipedia and at
least get a overview of the facts of what happened what I want to communicate with
you here is because basically a lot of you asked me about my experiences in
Ukraine over the years and that this was actually a pretty pretty important one
when I came here to see the protests in you know for myself so I just want to
communicate that which was one person me my experience and my kind of
understanding of what was going on now a few things to start with I do a
background in international relations actually studied the former Soviet Union I was
very familiar with the political context when I … during the
revolution I had actually seen the revolution … the previous revolution
in 2004 the orange revolution from the US because I was studying international
relations there at the time and it been something that I thought would be really
cool to have come and actually seen for myself my own eyes at the time and then
of course that wasn’t possible but later as it transpired in at the end of 2013
2014 the opportunity did present itself and I came here during the protests so
that’s one thing the second thing is I did work also for the European
Commission as an antitrust law competition lawyer so again I was
familiar with a lot of the foreign policy from the EU side and also from
the US side and of course Russia’s side as well and how that all in you know
interplayed here and of course the president of design progression
President Viktor Yanukovych and the different things that he had been trying
to negotiate with the European Union so I had all that kind of political
understanding so I wasn’t here as a tourist who didn’t understand what was
going on the country or the political context so that did give me a different
kind of view to maybe a lot of you are gonna maybe have if you have been here
at the time unless you were coming for that particular a background so to give
you a kind of really really quick synopsis of what happened there had
been a revolution in 2004 that was called the orange revolution and
basically a pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych he thought
he’d won the elections basically there were protests over what was alleged to
be voter fraud and he was forced into having a third round of voting which was
a runoff against a pro-European candidate who was Yushchenko who
actually wanted you might remember him because there was an attempt to poison
him and he had all these pot marks on his face as a result so he actually won
the third round became the president at that time and not Viktor Yanukovych now
later on fast forward he did actually win an election actually become president
in a democratic election that was considered free and fair and he had done
several things while he had been in power for a short time one of which was to
imprison his main political opponent Yulia Timoshenko on alleged corruption charges and also he’s son alleged to start to
try to become kind of like an oligarch in the country as well and started to
kind of encroach on the traditional power structure within the oligarchs
here in Ukraine so oligarchs are big businessmen who basically have an
oligarchy so they they have kind of like almost monopoly or huge amount of market
power in different industries and they’re able to then wield a lot of
political influence so I’m a former competition lawyer antitrust that’s
actually designed to break up oligopolies ironically so I have a good
understanding of that as well so I arrived in Ukraine nothing to do with
the protests at all they had started there had been here on Maidan you could
just read behind me the main statue on on the square and basically Viktor
Yanukovych had been elected on a platform to sign an association
agreement with the European Union for Ukraine now this is kind of a first step
towards greater integration it’s not actually a roadmap to join the
EU but it is normally a first step towards greater integration and possibly
one day joining but there were two competing alternatives at the time one
was to join a union with Russia Belarus and Kazakhstan and the alternative was
basically to join kind of European system European Union system
economically and that’s because of the way that Russia had designed its own
Union as you couldn’t basically join and join both because the way the free trade
rules would work once that so he had a been elected on a manifesto to actually
join the European economic system or become more integrated with it but he
refused to actually sign the association agreement in spite of this in late 2013
and as a result a lot of mainly students young people came here to protest on the
square now at one stage the berkut who were you know Yanukovich’s loyal riot
police they actually beat up a lot of protesters to move them from here and
that created a huge backlash amongst the population just like tens of thousands
of people came out to protest not just here in Kiev but also in regional cities
this was the beginning of what became Euro Maidan now
I arrived at that stage I actually flew to Donetsk
from Dortmund if I if I remember correctly on a Wizz Air flight they did
fly to that airport that airport is now completely destroyed if you go and
look it up you’ll see that in the fighting since the the post Maidan
post the revolution there it’s become under separatist control and there was a
lot of fighting there and the airport was completely completely obliterated in
the fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro will call pro-Russian
separatists along with well probably Russian Russian regular forces as well
if you look at a lot of other documentaries that you can take a look
at online and make your own judgment on that so I’ve flew into that airport and
one thing that struck me actually the border guards and they were very
surprised that I came to Donetsk at that particular point they asked me what are
you gonna in Donetsk yet again I was like well I already had my flights booked
here and I’m actually just gonna go I want to see the city I haven’t been back
for a couple of years I’m actually gonna go to the Dnipro with the time was called
Dnipropetrovsk which is not so far from Donetsk and then travel to some other
parts of Ukraine and yeah that was a that was actually the most reasonable
flight to take but something that really struck me while I was in the east of
Ukraine in December 2013 was like how much local people from all different
socio-economic strata just didn’t like the president didn’t like Yanokovich
doesn’t necessarily mean they supported the opposition wholeheartedly against
him but they definitely did not like him wanted to see him you know deposed or
replaced in some form most people just refered to him as a thief
or a bad guy everything from my cleaning lady to educate university educated
people to you know people I met while I was out socializing just absolutely no
one had anything good to say about him that was the first thing that struck me
is that definitely there seems to be a groundswell of support against the
current president now when I came to Maidan to give you maybe that kind of
tidbits were interesting in the first part is that it wasn’t as well organized
in terms of the occupation of the the square as it was later on and it was
actually a lot more intimidating as a result because it was a lot more chaotic
now you did have a big stage that was just behind me here
where people will give speeches and there were continuously people coming on
maybe singing or giving political speeches from there basically the police
had retreated out of this area so they would be on the far side of Khreshchatyk, the main thoroughfare in Kiev around the far side down there or they
were like over on this side now you did have barricades eventually like that
were that should probably see if you’ve seen any of the footage and they were
with packed ice and these things were enormous these were huge and they were
like three defensive positions but I came a little bit later if I remember
correctly the first time I wasn’t as well organized and one in one particular … I mean I was during the day it wasn’t so
stressful to be around but at night it got a little bit eerie here and this is
something I think you can learn from if you ever are in a country where there is
turmoil or political political upheaval there had been reports of young people
in particular who were leaving the protests being abducted by what were known as titushki which was basically playing clothes thugs
normally the who were pro-government so not the regular riot police or the
regular police but just plain folk for hire thugs and some of them were found
murdered in the woods around Kiev and others were beaten very badly and then
thrown out of vans or cars just dumped somewhere and I remember when I was
leaving the square here just as it had gotten dark and just walked down Khreshchatyk
and I came onto the street that’s now known as Velika Vasylkivska that’s a cube
escape it’s been renamed in the meantime I think it was Krasnoarmeyskaya before that a guy approached me speaking in Ukrainian asking me if I just
come from the protest which is pretty unusual in general because most people
if they approached on the street in Kiev probably if they don’t know you address
you in Russian as opposed to Ukrainian that has been changing the last five
years Ukrainian is a little bit more as a language prominent here but at the time
it was a little bit odd and beside beside him was a van with an open door
and three very thuggish looking guys sitting there I just didn’t answer I
walk past this was kind of the profile of people
who basically abducted people would have looked more younger and more Western
dressed who’ve been coming from the protests so that was a very eerie moment
because I reflected on it afterwards as I was watching the TV and hearing about
these reports that maybe this would have been attempt to see if I would say
it was coming from the protests and then just grab me and throw me in a van and
maybe beat me up or something I mean being a foreigner Western European here
I don’t think that would have happened I wouldn’t be beaten up or definitely
murdered because the political consequences of that of course would
have been enormous for the government at the time and the people who would have done
it so I don’t think that was risk we’ve been protected by my my nationality but
if I have been Ukrainian and I had replied then you know there other
precedents about what happened tragically so that was something that I always kept
with me after it’s just like how you know things can change very quickly
and I think that’s the lesson for you you really need to understand you know
the political landscape and you know have an exit strategy for somewhere if
there is political turmoil where you are traveling and not get caught up in it it
is very interesting and something that you can learn a lot from of course being
here and observing it but at the same time you need to take care of your
safety so just being aware of you know what the potential dangers might be and
just avoiding them at this stage of the protests people are not being shot you
know on the square anything like that so I didn’t feel like it was dangerous to
come down but this one incident did leave me a little bit startled especially when
I was watching the TV in the days afterwards so I left and I hadn’t you
know I I mean obviously I followed the protests really closely and I hadn’t
intended to come back but then in February like mid-February 2014 I was actually in
Thessaloniki in Greece and a good friend of mine Ian who was here at the time in
Kiev he basically wrote me say man you got to come like the protests are at a
really high point just get on a plane and come back so I was like ok I am bored
in Thessaloniki I wasn’t really enjoying it that much I just come in for a day or
two and I basically looked at my phone booked a flight with Turkish Airlines
almost missed the flight in fact because I got to the airport took me a long time to
get to the airport taxi was late but I did make it and I
got on a plane via Istanbul I came here and actually on the plane there was a
very interesting guy who I started talking to who’s a photographer a war
photographer and he had just been embedded with Isis at the time no one
really heard about Isis it wasn’t the kind of notoriously gruesome group I
mean they were gruesome but they weren’t as big and they hadn’t taken over large
parts of Iraq or Syria at the time so for me it was really you know
interesting where he come from he had like even embedded with them and there
was just like horrific photos of scores of dead bodies and stuff like that and
he was flying to you know take photos at the protests he did send me some of them
afterwards as well Guillaume thanks for that merci
so I did get to see them afterwards they took some amazing photos of actually the
protests here so I fly back in and the first thing to realize unlike today
because we’re just I think it’s the 3rd of March today when I’m shooting the weather is quite nice it was actually sunny the sun just went away and it’s
not that cold I can have you know not wearing gloves right now we’ll go cold
now that the Sun is about to go down but back in February 2014 it was
freezing here it was so so so cold it was like minus 20 even colder not 20
minus 20 Celsius and that had a big impact on how you felt when you came
down to these protests because I mean first of all the barricades were like
bags of packed ice they’ve been you know put together and then we’re really high
like they were defensive positions as I said before so that the protesters could
fall back if the berkut advanced who were the riot police and not only they
occupy the square here but they also occupied up a little bit of the street
maybe half the street leading up to the Parliament over there and that was where
the last defensive position was so I actually went up onto the barricade
there and actually was able to look across at the riot police on the other
side and what they were doing the days that I was here in you know towards the
end of the protests was actually just fire water cannon back but it was you
know colder than minus 20 so if you get hit by like water you basically have to leave now there are several characteristics of the
atmosphere that were definitely very noteworthy and one was the fact the metro worked nearly the entire time during the
protests so actually you could take the metro the metro station is just behind me
that’s actually there should be just the entrance right there during the whole
the protests the entire time there’s kind of a revolution in the country but you
can take the metro right into you know revolution central which was very
strange to me but when you came out of the metro you were greeted by guys who
were basically wearing helmets had shields like and maybe a baseball bat or
some other sort of weapon non lethal weapon unless use excessively
and or wearing some sort of body armor homemade very very low-tech so and
normally they were they actually had a badge saying which political faction they
were from because the square was not occupied by one particular faction there
was like different ones people from different parts of the country
representing different political ideologies who were united in trying to
get rid of Yanukovych so things had become a lot more organized now another
thing that happened was I mean they had the barricades
you know stacked with this with this ice was also the fact that they were
bringing tires all the time in unimpeded it seemed by the police who
were standing like a few meters away and the resupplying they were burning these
tires non-stop so the smoke here on this square was awful like it was
basically very hard to stay here for a long time for me and I remember for
several hours after I left the square just feeling in my lungs this awful
awful sensation from the burning tires that I had been exposed to earlier in
the day now people stayed here for several months a lot of the protesters I have no
idea what that did to their life expectancy I mean they were obviously
committed to their political cause and trying to change the country one way or
the other and also they … a lot of them were scared once they have been identifiable
here that they would actually be able to leave safely if the protests failed
fearing vengeance from a retaliation from Yanukovych’s government that was
another really strong characteristic like it was pretty rough another thing
is there was a constant din of banging because primarily they had these babuski
give these old grandmas who were banging non-stop on these metal
bins with planks of wood and these these women were here like I mean I watched
something for like half an hour that’s all they did non-stop in groups just
bang creating this non-stop din so you can imagine the din the smoke just the
air it’s freezing it’s like minus 20 as I said even colder that that Celsius and so
it’s pretty oppressive kind of conditions to be you know
protesting in and so that was the kind of overall environment
now I didn’t feel during the day that it was particularly dangerous to be there
and we were not here on the day where people got shot thankfully so I also didn’t feel like I was personally in danger it was of course
very hard to know who anyone was on the square you didn’t know if people from
you know Russian intelligence service you know US or maybe the British or some
other European intelligence service the local intelligence service
for the government people were constantly filming I mean everyone has cell
phones these days but even small cameras you know trying to film you all
the time so we no idea when it was this was a little bit intimidating at the
same time there were like families with their kids like grandmas parents
walking around because they could take the metro in here all the time and while
there were you know most local people avoided the center still had like kind
of like normal life going around in the middle of the protests like I said the
metro was working so you could take a metro in so another little side point
and something that’s definitely of interest for you if you ever you know
are in a country where there’s political upheaval like this or you’re interested
in going to you know see it for yourself is that like the price of renting an
apartment here in the center of Kiev plummeted during the protest I remember
I was it was taking like two bedroom apartments with jacuzzis and it was
literally costing like you know less than 25 euros a night for two bedroom
with a Jacuzzi like a prime real estate in the center so basically people were
just trying to get some money for their apartments well you know there by night
what they were renting out apartments before for I mean the the currency and
another point thing to mention is the currency hadn’t dropped like it is today
so the exchange was very different was closer to one euro would be worth ten hrynia
today it’s worth around 30 hrynianow so at the time like an apartment in the
centre of Kiev was probably you know those apartments were probably going for
a little bit under a hundred US dollars maybe you know 90 euros eighty euros
that kind of price range and suddenly they’re down to you know less than
twenty five so that’s like a complete like plummeting of prices so
it’s like maybe thirty percent of what you normally pay so that was like one obviously plus point if you’re traveling is that expenses like that definitely
became you know a lot cheaper not saying that’s a reason to go to a you know
potential war zone or as somewhere that’s going to be dangerous for you but
definitely that’s a plus point and prices did not recover for a long time
Ukraine still remains extremely cheap you know relative the rest of Europe
prices have come up you can’t get that apartment for twenty five euros today it
will cost definitely more than you know cost more than sixty seven they probably so a little bit cheaper than it was before basically but not that much
so that kind of gives you a little bit of a sensation about what it was like in
terms of the atmosphere here at the protests you know I stayed for a few days
it was definitely something where I learned a lot because it’s very easy to
rely on you know what does the mainstream media as I said independent
media which often times is propagandistic because it also
represents normally some sort of interest it’s very hard to get real
independent media a lot of independent journalists especially using YouTube or
other medium who are not independent or maybe they’re not you know in the pay of
someone but there’s so biased to one side that’s very hard to get you know you
can’t really rely on what they’re saying you need a at least fact check that
against something else that you can trust and then make your own judgment I
always encourage you to do that so one thing that I read that I observed that
was very different about how the protests were being reported saying
Western media was about the use of language now there was a lot of talk
that you know the Russian part of the country the Russian part the
Russian-speaking part of Ukraine wanted to secede or wanted to keep Yanokovich
in power and the western part of it would secede if we stayed in power
just one it was a lot more pro-European but one thing that I noticed on the
square that was very very interesting is that Ukrainian nationalist groups like
pravyy sektor they actually used Russian to speak to each other in spite of the
you know generalization or the what was being reported that they were you know
people wouldn’t be allowed to speak Russian here but actually the Ukrainian
nationals were speaking Russian to each other because language was not a major
issue on you know there were lots of people who were from Russian-speaking
backgrounds are bilingual backgrounds as well as Ukrainian speaking backgrounds
who were here and that just shows you that far right nationalist groups that are
labeled as far-right that they were actually using Russian themselves so
that was definitely for that one particular group definitely not an issue and
another observation that I had is like and what I found really remarkable is
that there was very little looting here in Kiev now of course I read afterwards
said some things were stolen and some one or two buildings were looted but
considering the general lack of rule of law I was amazed both during the protests
and then in the aftermath of protests because we came back in April 2014 and
like these buildings were being occupied normally by paramilitary groups but I
think I saw some glass broken in a one building near the– towards the
Parliament but besides that very little now which is really incredible when you
think about it there were shops and I got a lot of goods a lot of things that
could have been valuables that could have been stolen but during the protests
it was pretty well disciplined here on the square and that’s because these
groups were organized and I guess looting wouldn’t have helped their cause
in the short run another thing to pay attention to which I forgot to mention
a little bit earlier was actually where I’m standing like pave stones were all
used as missiles so basically the protesters they smashed them all up so
the whole thing was just like the black kind of tarred underbelly of what is
normally the roads a lot the roads but like the paving here like the footpaths
they had actually been broken a little bit and then they were used as projectiles
to fire at the police the berkut who would have been on the far side as I
said over near the over there near the Parliament in
general and the reaction a big catapults to throw the you know fire stuff at them
and also to throw them at them so I was another thing that was very
characteristic about about the protests so as I said it was very well organized
you had soup kitchens and you had people who came down as volunteers to
cook for the protesters throughout throughout the period so you see people
line up people again in general had badges and they would get their food so it was kind of a weird mixture that things were on one stage kind of chaotic as you
obviously they’re trying to overthrow the government at the same time it was quite well
organized in terms of having facilities you know like soup kitchens and these
kind of manmade weapons in a sense because people were wearing body armor
and having these kind of I guess clubs or something and shield and then
using what was available which were the paving and footpaths and the paving
stones using them as projectiles tires were brought in old lady’s banging on
drums but I … but more than that in terms of them being armed in terms of
firearms or something like maybe knives that I did not see at all when I was
here there was also the famous pianist who play in front of the berkut he was
there playing at I remember just over there a lot of the time so that was kind
of the general the general sense of what it was like to be here fortunately I was not
here the day that a lot of people were killed about a hundred people were shot just under a hundred people were shot dead in clashes between the police
and the protesters and their body armor was not you know able to withstand live
ammunition so tragic that a lot of people were killed here so you do have memorials
here as well if you come here today so my other
impression I want to communicate was here was one that I did not think at the
time for the protesters would win I thought that eventually the government
would just basically crush the protests and then yeah I’m not sure what they
would have done to the people afterwards you know 100 people did die through
the died during the protests so I would yeah it’s terrible to think what could
have happened if Yanukovych have been successful and managed him to crush them
he did at one stage want the army to intervene that did not happen
the berkut did try to take the square this all you can you can look up the
actual time length timeline to the protests they almost took the square they
were unsuccessful and then very quickly he lost support not just here in Kyiv
but also of like political support in terms the oligarchs who some of them had
still been supporting him and basically he fled the country and that brings to
do what you know the aftermath of the process what I mean if you come here I
did meet these two German guys actually here in the square yesterday
and they were really fascinated by the the the recent history and as part of the reason
they come to Kiev you can go today and see Yanukovych’s former residence which
is now if I remember correctly in a museum – you know about corruption and
it’s like this kind of like royal palatial property in the north of
Kiev if you take a taxi or uber it probably takes you about 25 minutes or
get there we can take the metro and then a marshutka a little bus up afterwards
and there you see the grounds in which he lived on he’s very modest state
salary which I was able implemented by a lot of other things and he has a you
know a big house there along with although the house is not actually that
big you know relative to what it could be was actually a property that’s just
absolutely mind-blowing massive and it has a party boat and all this kind of
stuff in other little houses and a private church and you’ll just see just
how big it is and especially in the summer with this weather it’s not going to be as nice
but during the summer it’s a very nice part of Kiev to go and have a picnic or
something have a walk around it’s definitely and for your kind of
understanding of what happened here it’s definitely something that I encourage
you to do if you get the chance and here of course you have also a lot of
memorials in the centre of Kiev about the protests you can read the history
and you know what’s been going on it is just after five years so you know a lot
of things have changed in Ukraine one thing about the language say the
Ukrainian language is a little bit more present present in Kiev in everyday life
and it was back then obviously after its there is a
pro-European integration president in Poroshenko there are elections coming up
it’s not sure that he will be reelected and I have seen certain changes one
thing is the police police during Yanukovych’s time and actually even when
Yushchenko who had been pro-European in the interim had been president there was a
lot of issues with the police here in Ukraine in terms of corruption you know
before the revolution they were more corrupt definitely than they are today
and they definitely affected you as a visitor coming to Ukraine they had a
tendency to shake people down try to get their money if you were a foreigner like
if you walked around Kiev or a big city like Odessa in the south of Ukraine
without your passport on you and were stopped by the police they would try to get you to
basically pay them money so or under duress because otherwise they would take
you to the police station and probably try to steal your money there this
happened a lot at the time thankfully that was up today they did reform the
police force they have different uniforms they actually even have a
different name ‘police’ as opposed to ‘militia’
that’s definitely huge positive development and especially in the last year or 2
there’s been a lot of investment and economic growth and new places here in
Kiev at the time of course there was also an economic crisis in Ukraine and
I’ve been provoked by Yanukovych’s rule which is also why he he had an extra
incentive to join Russia’s Union as opposed to integrating more into the
European Union for himself which was the fact that Russia offered him a bailout
basically offered him money a loan which they dispersed part of which would have
helped out the economy because the economy was really in crisis as I
already alluded to the currency the Hrynia here did drop considerably
afterwards the old exchange rate was about one to ten to the Euro it’s not
that much different for the dollar probably ay the time is more or less the
same for the dollar 1 to 10 and now it’s like 1 for 30 to the euro and generally
goes between 1 to 31 to 32 live now and for the dollar it probably went to 28 around that kind
of exchange rate so that did drop a lot made it very interesting to come here in
the aftermath and not be immediately 1 or 2 months but maybe six months later
when the currency really started to drop because everything was
so cheap here and property prices have come up since then
but that was something that you know maybe visiting a country after like it
happened Argentina when their currency you know plummeted in the early 2000s as
well you know went from a hundred dollar taxi ride in from the airport to like a
twenty dollar taxi ride like you know it was overnight so when you do have
those huge drops in currency that can be really beneficial for you if you come to
visit somewhere that’s something to bear in mind an interesting anecdote to keep
that I have for after the Maidan revolution we actually came back to me
and my friend my sensei about it would have been two months after the protests
we came here in April if I remember correctly 2014 and they still had the actual
square was still occupied even though Yanukovich had fled and the government
had been replaced and because of that then they had groups these paramilitary
groups who were armed who were controlling the parts of square part of Khreshchatyk here and there was still the barrack you know part of the barricades
were still up and they had a lot of flags and paraphernalia going on it took
the government a while to persuade them to leave persuade them force them to leave
here but I remember we were actually at Buddha bar which is just here a bar just
on Khreshchatyk and we wanted to go to another club in Arena somewhere on
the other side of the street like this a very long Boulevard here and we needed
walk across Maidan or well really you know I think a huge detour around it and the
paramilitaries who were on the square I don’t remember which faction it was mean of
course you had different political factions that were that were controlling the the center of Kiev to show their power and gain influence they refused to
let us across or like no you can’t walk across there is a curfew if you go across the
center of Kiev at night a day that they had decided on we talked to them and
eventually I guess in part also to show their power they gave us an
armed escort across Maidan like halfway up Khreshchatyk up the
street and yeah so we had this young guy like just escort us so that we would be
you know safe or just to show that they were in control
of the square but we were allowed cross just to continue our party party night
out which was kind of a funny instance you know coming here I did not feel
threatened at all at that stage it’s after the revolution and there’s you know
there wasn’t any violence here in Kyiv you big violence there was you
know other parts of the country like in Crimea obviously with Russia’s
annexation and then also in the east of the country in parts of Donetsk and Lugansk
Oblasts which are under control of pro-Russian separatists and actually in Odessa as well there was one big day of violence there as well where there was a lot of
people were killed but other than that everything was extremely safe and felt
very safe when we were here when we’re here so that’s what I will leave you
with as my very short overview I know I probably spoke for a while in any case
just how it felt being here as a Western European at the time what you maybe can
learn from it you know definitely keeping safe being aware of what’s going
on and how you can leave get out of a situation and really like situations to
avoid like if the police had actually started shooting at the protesters on the
square you you want to have already thought about how you’re gonna get leave
the square in that in that case it did happen after I left a few days after I
left and you know how you’re getting out of it and what people that you need to
be aware of like titushki who are like these kind of thugs and how to spot
them if they’re coming towards you and you might be the kind of person they
might want to beat up definitely you got to be aware of all that but at the same
time you do get to learn a lot you get to see it with your own eyes and not
rely on the media or a collection of the media you get to have your own personal
you know experience of it and make up your mind about what’s going on I found
out very valuable from having come here to the protests if you have been in a
situation where there was a revolution political upheaval violence or you were
here in Ukraine around that time or you read the media then definitely drop a
comment below this video and let me know about your impressions and also you
know not just share me but also the other viewers so they get a you know
more and more points of view about what happened here
and what you can see you know today if you come to Ukraine and what’s left or
what’s changed if you’ve enjoyed this video normal protocol of course big
thumbs up strike the like button and you’ve got to the end of this video so
you’re probably already a subscriber but if not red subscribe button give it a
squeeze and definitely whack the notification bell beside it because
that’s how you get notified when I’m uploading new videos here on YouTube
that’s how YouTube works if you don’t have the notification bell don’t you you don’t
give them the pop-up or it doesn’t you know tell you basically and you mightn’t
see when there are new videos gonna be making a lot of new content in the next
few weeks as always I’m gonna be going back to Belarus I still have not edited
up and published the videos from Belarus but I have been there on and off a lot
over say got it but probably at this stage is probably ten months and I still
haven’t really produced much from it but I have filmed a lot so looking forward
to editing those up I’ve been promising them to you guys for probably six months at
this stage but we keep filming and editing other things in the meantime so
that will be coming soon I’m very excited about the the traveling
opportunities especially for guys like you who watched my channel in Belarus
it’s gonna be a nice you know interesting perspective to give you the differences
between traveling in Ukraine and traveling in Belarus today and the
pluses and minuses for both of them which I think is better for you know
different types of travel and experiences but definitely been very
interesting in Belarus to say the least my trips there and I’m going to be
probably flying back on Thursday got a little trip to Lviv in between anyways
I’m starting to rant a little bit so I’m gonna end the video right here and wish
you a great day evening or morning depending on the time zone that you are
watching this video in and I will see you and all your smiling enthusiastic faces for Eastern Europe in the very next video
до побачення до свидания ciao see you next one

13 thoughts on “Euro Maidan Revolution in Kyiv, Ukraine: an Irishman’s story! | Vodka Vodcast 022

  • Total bs. Read up history and particularly US and another non Russia country involvement in color revolution. As a result, things worked out very badly for the Ukrainians.

  • You should always have an exit strategy no matter where you are and no matter what is happening……!!!!

  • You never mentioned that 33 metric tonnes of gold disappeared from Ukraine with 72 hours after the Maidan riots and relocated to the Federal Reserve in New York……..

  • I was waiting to hear you tell this story and as usual it was fascinating. We've watched a recent documentary on it that was well done and you have added a lot of memorable context and color. The revolution that you could take the metro to – surreal. Good thing to keep walking when they might have wanted to drag you into the van. Definitely out of most peoples' comfort zones but that goes for your whole experience. The overwhelming smell of burning tires, the old ladies rapping their steel rods on something else steel …. and the cold. When Maidan Square was the Twilight Zone. Really a shame that many lives were lost. Your Chernobyl/Pripyat video was something as well – that huge radar grid – hadn't heard about that. And a true shame that the bravest of men had to go in there and put the fires out – and paid for it by suffering early and I'm sure painful deaths. Both videos done with honesty and respect. Great job.

  • Well done video Conor. We understand from our friends and family in Ukraine that Poroshenko has destroyed the economy and Ukraine as a whole. Yanukovych wasn’t perfect for sure, but Ukraine was in much better shape with him as president. It will take around 50 years to correct all the damage. Ukraine is now worse economy than Moldova and 50 years behind Poland.

  • My wife gets her information and news from Alexander Dubinsky a reporter journalist out of Kiev . He’s a thorn in Poroshenkos side! He has tried to silence Dubinsky. This man works on statistics concerning Ukraine. You can check out his Facebook videos that he post daily. Check out

  • You have got to be joking if you think the Ukraine is better now than it was before the Maidan thing. They merely changed one corrupt president to a probably as corrupt oligarch president. They lost majority of their industries and are rapidly becoming a giant Moldova with a lot of its citizen actually having to work abroad en masse to support their families.

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