Sunday, March 2, 2014

Headline Places - Kiev Riot Turns Deadly

Location: Kiev, Ukraine

Kiev had captured tourists' attention as a cultural and scientific centre of Eastern Europe, but recent events had captured the world's attention - in a negative light. Three months of protest recently turned ugly as shots were fired upon, leaving as much as 82 people killed and the capital city of Ukraine, especially Independence Square, the site where most of the protests had been held, devastated. With the embattled Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovich fleeing the capital, and the parliament declaring him constitutionally unable to perform his duties (Feb 22, 2014) and setting an early election on May 25, Kiev may see a positive turn of events. Unfortunately that is not to be the case as masked gunmen tried to overtake key buildings in Crimea and Russia flexing its military muscle for a possible intervention.

Question: Where is Kiev in Ukraine?

One of the most powerful and viral image submitted to Imgur - a composition of the beauty of Independence Square before and its devastation after the riots (image taken from Reddit).

Ukraine was once part of the global power of USSR before declaring its independence in 1991, with its free election held in the same year. Kiev, its current capital, was historically one of Ukraine's most important cities yet it wasn't the republic's first capital. The nation was not formed under peaceful conditions, with civil war marring the west and east of the republic. When it emerged from the ashes of that conflict, Kharkiv, instead of Kiev, was the capital. This lasted only from 1919 to 1934, and the Ukrainian government decided to shift the seat of power from the eastern capital to the central city of Kiev, thus establishing the latter as a capital city until today.

Kiev's East European cultural beauty is reflected in St Michael's Golden Dome Monastery. The original building of two centuries worth of history was destroyed by Soviet Russia in 1930s, and was reconstructed by Ukraine post-independent, finally completed in 1999 (image taken from Hotel Club).

Kiev is situated on both sides of Dnieper River, which itself flows into the Black Sea to the south. The city is one of the oldest cities of Eastern Europe, its role in the development of medieval East Slavic civilization pivotal. When Kiev was established as the capital, many of the historically and architecturally important buildings were retained, making the city a blend of old and new. One of these important landmarks of Kiev is Maidan Nezalezhnosti, but known the world over recently with its literal name of Independence Square, where the bloody riot of Euromaidan, as it is now called, unfolded.

The protests turned into a riot that costed human lives and ruined a once beautiful city. Here protesters are helping a wounded member of their own (image taken from The Telegraph).

Independence Square has been an important square for political rallies in the past, and has been named several times, its current incarnation only bestowed in 1991 upon the declaration of the nation's independence. It is most often photographed as a spacious expanse dominated by a central monument devoted to Berehynia, the female spirit from Slavic mythology.


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