Today was the first day I'd been to Freedom Square since it all began. We had a meeting in a restaurant that overlooked the square and, not having heard any recent warnings about the area, decided to go. Here's what we saw upon emerging from the Derzhprom metro-
Still, the crowd was small and unstable. People approached, listened, and drifted away.
On the other side of the square, directly in front of the Regional State Administration building, was a second crowd.
As if to relieve some of the tension, brightly-colored Maslenitsa (spring holiday) decorations covered the ground between the two groups.
|A giant samovar!!|
The afternoon went on and we were able to keep an eye on Lenin and his crew. When viewed from eleven stories above ground, the crowd swelled and shrank like a giant amoeba.
Both groups were still there come nightfall, accompanied by extra police officers.
Further down Sumskaya street stood a lonely monument to Taras Shevchenko. Although this statue had been a popular meeting point for recent gatherings, Taras loomed over the little plaza in silence tonight. Dozens and dozens of red carnations lay at the feet of the workers that ring the monument. Colored candles flickered in the darkness. A few photographs had been taped to the pedestal; I'm guessing they represent those from Kharkiv who died this year in the fighting.
So for now, there's some calm again in the city. No more lines at the ATMs, fewer frantic shopping trips, no recent reports of violence that I've heard, and many people seem more optimistic about what lies ahead. Hopefully this is the beginning of a long-lasting peace.
For up-to-the date photos and a timeline of local events, go here.