Premier Minister Mykola Azarov during the Government session of January 22nd said: “The cynicism and amorality of the terrorists has reached such heights that they throw Molotov coktails into living people. In the night terrorists from Maidan had boken into hotels, captured plenty of citizens that they considered to be their opponents, and brutally beat them”. In answer to this remark of Azarov we translate a series called: Portraits of Ukrainian protesters.
”The Smiling terrorist”
“Down with the…!” – shouts resonate from the slopes above Hrushevskogo street. “Gang!” – Answers the vanguard.
It’s hard to see people’s faces in the darkness. Only the silhouettes are visible. There are many fire barrels in the middle line of defense, people are trying to warm themselves there. The silhouettes of the Fighters are seen from time to time at the near side of the colonnade – they are preparing Molotov cocktails.
A guy is passing by me, heading in the direction of the frontline. He has an obvious defect in the musculoskeletal system. He barely moves his feet, but his hands firmly grip an iron rod. His head is not covered by a helmet; neither does he have a scarf or mask.
A few days ago I heard аn old gaffer in clothes sooty from fire and smoke drive away a schoolboy near the Lobanovskiy stadium: “Did you come to play? Get out FAST!
Perhaps this guy will also be kicked out of the danger area.
Khreschatyk street. A huge cloud of black smoke is seen from Hrushevskogo street. People are clearing snow and packing it in bags to stack on the barricades. Among them, again I see the guy with the the musculoskeletal defect. He still has neither helmet, nor mask.
I do not know if this is the guy I saw earlier (again, it was dark). I turn around to look at the face. What I see there is a smile.
“The compassionate terrorist”. January 22, 21:40
A line in a Kyiv pharmacy. Strangers in the line are discussing what they need to buy for the needs of wounded soldiers. The frightened pharmacists are running like crazy from the cashier desk to the utility room.
- Are you all together or what?
The people exchange glances.
“The wealthy terrorist”. January 22. Around 23:00.
A white off-road Lexus is parking in the middle of the European square. The driver, a 50 year-old man, goes to the back of the car and searches for boys going to the frontline in the crowd.
- Guys, give me a hand!
A group of boys in masks immediately run up to him. All have helmets on their heads.The Lexuses owner takes his expensive leather gloves off, opens the trunk, and unloads tires. The boys ask no extra questions, take the tires and start carrying them in the direction of the frontline. Finally the driver takes a dark-green canister with fuel out of the trunk.
- This goes also there. Well, you’ll figure it out.
“The terrorist in love”. January 23, 19:50
Red Line of the Kyiv Metro, Khreschatyk station. A boy and girl are sitting in the train across from me. He is gripping her hand with both hands. His eyes are closed, there is serenity and confidence on his face. The girl looks at him and smiles. In her eyes – joy, kindness, love.
Every day I see thousands of such men, women, boys, and girls on Maidan and Hrushevskogo street. Women bring food and tea, clear up snow. Men carry heavy bags to barricades, drag tires, bring stones closer to the fortifications.
No, they do not go to the frontline, and I understand them. Under normal circumstances they would get into a fight and would not be involved in politics, but now their enemy does not understand any other language except the language of force. These boys and girls are not “terrorists.” They simply can not stand aside, they assist those who can speak on their behalf the language that is understood by the authorities.
January 22, around 16:00
This is my neighbor auntie Valya. Yesterday she was shot with a rubber bullet in her leg, but she came again. And today, when the berkuters were “killing a 86-year-old grandfather”, filming their “amusement” and heehawing, she fell to her knees and asked them to stop or at least to kill her instead of him. They did that, but, thanks to God, did not kill her. Beat her ribs with sticks and heehawed again and were very interested “So it’s not enough for you, bitch!??”
January 21, around 6:00. Three monks join the barricades and stand between the protesters and the Berkut and prayed for peace. During that day almost no battle actions had taken place.
Story by Andriy Pryimachenko, Daryna Shevchenko, illustrations by Oleksandr Komyakhov.