Rebuilding The Mundane After Historic Changes | Kiev, Ukraine

Ira Ivanishkeva, 25, a student in organic agriculture from Kiev, wears a wreath of flowers (one of the main elements of the national female costume) in front of a pro-Maidan graffiti. Kiev, Ukraine – April 26, 2014

 

Photographer Tom Girondel is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this social documentary photography.  From his project ‘Revolution, Prayer & Routine’To see Tom’s body of work click on any image.

 

Ira Ivanishkeva, 28, on Khreschatyk Boulevard a few months after her military service in the Donbass region. Kiev, Ukraine – March 2, 2017

 

A woman shows a placard where is written “Klitschko has cheated the 100 sacrificed” (referring to the victims of Maïdan) which is addressed to the new mayor of Kiev, Vitali Klitschko, during his first speech on the Independence Square. Kiev, Ukraine – June 1, 2014

 

Before the sunset, citizens walk and stroll on the pedestrian esplanade of Maïdan along Khreschatyk boulevard. The pavement, occupied for several months was in 2014 the scene of numerous demonstrations and gatherings. Kiev, Ukraine – March 6, 2017

 

A pro-European activist looks towards Maïdan through a makeshift tent on a sidewalk. Khreschatyk Boulevard and the Independence Square were occupied for 6 months by activists and their camps. While the active majority of the revolutionaries left the place, most of the activists are still trying to stay there, considering Maïdan as an inviolable sanctuary. Kiev, Ukraine – April 30, 2014

 

On Khreschatyk Boulevard, near Maïdan, onlookers walk on the formerly busy sidewalk. While the police failed to evict protesters in August 2014, the citizens and municipal administration managed to dislodge the most hostile militants. Kiev, Ukraine – March 6, 2017

 

In 2013, the popular uprising against the increasingly authoritarian and corrupt Ukrainian regime was a turning point for an entire nation. After several weeks of tension and mobilization, in Kiev – on Maïdan – and in the oblasts, the population witnessed the flee of the ousted president, Viktor Yanukovych.

In the aftermath of the Euromaïdan, the atmosphere settles down; the activists desert the pedestrian esplanade, and the Khreschatyk boulevard return to normal. Only here remains a village of diehards and veterans from all over Ukraine.

 

On Maïdan, Ukrainian veterans who participated in the first war in Afghanistan make a security cordon during the speech of new Kiev mayor Vitali Klitschko. Kiev, Ukraine – June 1 2014

 

On the pedestrian esplanade of the Independence Square, tourists have come to stroll. Maïdan, now a national symbol, is no longer daily spotted by activists. Kiev, Ukraine – March 4 2017

 

Surrounded by tires and wooden pallets, a pro-European activist stands in front of a makeshift tent made of bricks in front of the entrance of the Dynamo local club football stadium. Kiev, Ukraine – April 25, 2014

 

Unrecognizable in 2014, the entrance to the Dynamo local football club stadium was cleaned and renovated by the municipal administration since Maïdan. Kiev, Ukraine – March 7, 2017

 

Ira Ivanishkova, a 25-year-old pro-European activist holds a Kalashnikov in a recruitment camp of the right-wing party Pravy Sektor located on the pedestrian esplanade of the Independence Square. Kiev, Ukraine – April 26, 2014

 

The revolutionary spirit of Maidan has vanished. A young woman poses for a photograph in front of the Globus underground shopping mall. Kiev, Ukraine – February 27, 2017.

 

The area is now marked by the memory of the heroes of the “Heavenly Centuries”, these hundred militants of Maïdan killed by the police – the “Berkut” – and whose destinies has broken down here. Maïdan becomes their sanctuary and the improvised altars – made of bricks and cobblestones – remind the cost of this “victory”

Equipped with my analog camera and black and white films, it is during this historic period that I decided to get there; I wanted to make the post-Maïdan universe timeless. I discovered then the void weighing around the square already symbolic.

 

One of the many exits of the Maidan Nezalezhnosti metro leading to the Europe’s Place is blocked by a pile of tires. The paralysis of Maïdan poses significant challenges in terms of transportation for the city. Kiev, Ukraine – April 28, 2014

 

On the stairs – since evacuated – to the Europe’s Place, three years later, teenagers walk to the Maidan Nezalezhnosti metro station. Kiev, Ukraine – March 1, 2017

 

In the early evening, on the Khreschatyk Boulevard, members of the far-right Svoboda party perform a torchlight march towards Maïdan. The evening will end with violent clashes between the Svoboda militia and anti-nationalist pro-European activists. Kiev, Ukraine – May 6, 2014

 

Passers-by walk on Khreschatyk Boulevard. Considered as the “Avenue of the Champs Elysees of Kiev” it is the main commercial street of the capital. The inhabitants have returned to their habits before the Euromaïdan they enjoy meeting there and shopping. Kiev, Ukraine – March 4, 2017

 

In 2017, I decide to see Maïdan again. But this time with a digital camera. I wanted to use the same framings as in 2014, but in color to create a serie of diptychs to emphasize that life carried on despite the Donbass war, the annexion of Crimea, and a power in Kiev running out of steam, where tensions took hold on unity.

At Maïdan, the contrast is striking: life returned to normal, the onlookers have replaced the makeshift tents. The revolutionary atmosphere has disappeared and the post-Maïdan silence has given way to the noise of traffic jams on Khreschatyk Boulevard. Like any major capital, the esplanade welcomes every day many bystanders and tourists proud to take pictures.

Only the burned facade of the union house, which is concealed under a huge ad, is reminiscent of yesterday’s violence.

 

Two women leave the Maidan Nezalezhnosti metro overlooking one of the facade of the former headquarters of protesters during the Euromaidan. It has been burned by the Berkut police special forces under the orders of former President Yanukovych on February 18, 2014. Kiev, Ukraine – May 2, 2014

 

Citizens climb the stairs of the Maidan Nezalezhnosti metro. The former house of the trade unions and protesters’ headquarters is being renovated. Kiev, Ukraine – March 6, 2017

 

Four months after the Euromaïdan. The Independence Square (Maïdan Nézalejnosti) is occupied by pro-European activists. On the right, the former union house and the protestors’ headquarters. It was partially set on fire on February 18, 2014. Kiev, Ukraine – April 25, 2014

 

The epicenter of the pro-European protest returns to normal. The violent repression of the Berkut resulted in about 108 dead and 1973 wounded from November 2013 to February 2014. As for the union house, it is being renovated. Kiev, Ukraine – March 7, 2017

 

See also:

Through Thick & Thin

By Tom Girondel

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: