Peaceful to Violent: Protests in Kiev


The emotional and historically accurate documentary, Maiden, is about Ukraine’s civil uprisings against the regime of president Yanukovych. The 2014 film leaves the viewer with tears in their eyes as the last scene ends with a funeral procession and Ukrainians coming together to sing their national anthem. Director Sergei Loznitsa used a series of frozen shots with the camera only moving to different locations a few times throughout the film. The entire documentary is solely footage; there is no dialogue or narrative. This technique helps viewers focus on the human aspect of the protests and Ukrainians desire to make their country a better Ukraine. 

The overall transition of the film is telling of country’s regime and climate. What started out as peaceful protests by half a million everyday Ukrainians, turned violent and bloody months later. The police invasion seems to spark ensuing violence in Kiev’s independent square, Maidan Nezalezhnosti. Protestors set fire to buildings and threw bricks at police, who eventually relative with gunfire leaving several wounded and shot. The protests occur in the Kiev, Ukraine’s capital and surround the Euromaidan movement that took place from 2013 to 2014.

This documentary was fascinating to watch because I took two class on the European Union last semester: Spain int he EU and the Economics of the EU. For my final project, I focused on President Yanukovych’s decision not to sign a deal with the EU that would have led to economic benefits for Ukraine. President Yanukovych was pressured by the Russian government to reject the deal as Ukraine is a key economic component for Russia. In addition, Ukraine was Russia’s #2 supporter during the Soviet Union’s rise to power. I studied the protest and ensuing consequences of the decision not to sign the deal. However, this was my first experience witnessing the protests from an emotional, human perceptive versus a researcher.

Image: http://www.globalresearch.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/ukraine-protests-fist.jpg

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