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Ukraine Struggle Captured 20 March 2014

As Ukraine’s struggle for independence turns more towards diplomacy and trade wars, we were recently reminded of the sacrifices that were born in Maidan Square.

Peter Olar has compiled an exhibition named: Maidan - Images of Freedom. The photographs are taken in Maidan Square during the winter struggle, which started in late November 2013 after former president Viktor Yanukovich renegged on a deal of establishing closer ties with the West.

Maidan Poster

Ukrainian protesters stood their ground in Maidan Square despite fatal abductions, snipers and conflicts with police, which led to an eventual death toll of well over 100.

Maidan Square images

Photo: Stasys Paškevičius

Peter Olar and a group of fellow well-known Ukrainian photographers documented the efforts of the mainly peacefull protests which held firm in the face of the brutal assaults of Yanukovich and his Moscow allegiance.

The A list of Ukrainian photographers also included Sergei Dolženko, Sergei Kovalev, Oleksandr Ratušniak and Markijan Lysenko.

Maidan Exhibition
Photos from the Moletai Opening

Driving overnight from Kiev a few weeks ago, they were first turned back at the Belarus border, and were forced to drive back to Kiev and then make their journey through Poland to Vilnius.

A total of 64 photographs show the human detail of mass resistance. Peoples of all ages, genders and class united in their cause.

A common theme is that of people wearing headgear, whether cooking colanders or pots. This was in response to a Yanukovich decree that anyone wearing any protective or combat clothing would face substantial jail time.

Maidan Square Photographs

Photo: Stasys Paškevičius

In another photo a tall pretty Ukranian girls stands in front of a group of soldiers or police holding a sign that says: “I’ll marry you if you change sides.”

The cold of the winter, the day-to-day dreariness of the struggle and the nightmare of having an unseen sniper picking off police and protesters alike is all on show for those of us insulated from the horrors and sacrifice of such a stand.

The exhibition was originally shown in the Seimas and is now in Moletai until 29 March.

The Moletai was held in the St Peter and Paul parish hall and organised by Stasy Paškevičius with Monsignor Kestutis Kazlauskas, Lithuanian MP Valentin Stundys and local organiser Viktorija Kazlienė, as well as many Moletus residents.

'Maidan - Images of Freedom' may be further exhibited in Lithuania before eventually heading to Germany.

Maidan Exhibition Seimas

Photo: Stasys Paškevičius


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