February 18th Witness was made possible thanks to the grant I received from the Prague Freedom Foundation to report on the Ukrainian Euromaidan Revolution in March 2014.
This evening I met with Galika Olena Ivanivna. This 62-year-old woman with the energy and spirit of a college student was standing in Mariinsky park on February 18th. With a Russian mother and Ukrainian father, Galika did not feel patriotic about Ukraine until the Orange Revolution in 2004. Like the other protestors, she was sick of the government robbing the people who work hard every day.
That day she saw like-minded people of all ages being shot at and murdered right in front of her. She was helpless and couldn’t stop it. It’s been almost a month since and she had trouble keeping her voice steady as she spoke about what she saw. She hasn’t been back to the park or Maidan since.
Before the violence started, she described being at Maidan as “being in a different world where everything was perfect.” There was a sense of unison between the protesters, who were joined together by a common goal of “protecting the people, the future and democracy.” The protesters at Maidan would work together to keep the square safe from pickpockets and those who wished them harm. Every Sunday when the priests would come to lead prayer, they would gather together and make the area spotless and clean. “After leaving Maidan one would feel pumped with so much positive energy.”
She is concerned with the future of Ukraine but insists that “Crimea will be ours.” She is not sure who the future president will be, and she isn’t sure that Ukraine is ready to make that decision just yet. But she is certain that Maidan has now changed how people think and see the government. According to her, they will not step down until a worthy and fair leader is governing the country that so many had died to keep sovereign and free.
Originally posted here: https://olenakaguiukraine2014.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/feb-18th-witness/