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Armenian 'Genocide' Survivors 100 Yea...
Yerevan
By Lorenzo Perrelli
14 Apr 2015

Armenia

April 24, 2015 marks the 100 year anniversary of the Armenian genocide. This collection of footage interviews some of the few remaining survivors of the genocide from their homes in Armenia. The interviews come at a time when Armenia and Armenians around the world are preparing to commemorate the centennial of the genocide. The commemoration is being help with the hope of keeping the fragile memory of the genocide alive and gaining recognition of the tragedy from Turkey and the international community.

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Ukraine: Lviv Residents Revive Soviet...
Lviv, Ukraine
By Yura_Melko
19 Feb 2015

A group of Lviv locals have volunteered to clean up bomb-shelters that they hope could save lives in case the conflict reaches the west of Ukraine. Everyone stresses that they would never have believed that they'd be involved in such activities a year ago. None of them thought a war would come to Ukraine. This isn't the first shelter the volunteers have cleaned and restored, and restoring the rest of the region's bomb shelters is a daunting task. The Lviv region alone has over 160 shelters, most of them abandoned by the state since the break-up of the USSR. Although they are fully functional, most of the shelters have become cesspits full of rubbish and dirt. Besides cleaning up the underground concrete rooms, the volunteers have set up electricity and illumination to make the shelters more livable in case they should need to be used.

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Beyond the wall 02
Leipzig, Germany
By Steve Weinberg
08 Oct 2014

Three pivotal diplomats active during the period of the Cold War's end meet once again in Leipzig in honor of its 25th anniversary; left-right, former German Foreign Minister Hans Dieter Genscher with U.S. Secretaries James Baker and Henry Kissinger.

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Beyond the wall 03
Leipzig, Germany
By Steve Weinberg
08 Oct 2014

German President Joachim Gauck (right) demonstrates mimeograph machine used during 1989 Leipzig protests before anniversary ceremonies at Nikolai Church. The building served as the organizational nexus for massive protest movements that ultimately helped topple the communist era in late 1989 leading towards German reunification one year later on 3 October 1990.

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Beyond the wall 01
Leipzig, Germany
By Steve Weinberg
08 Oct 2014

Leipzig, Germany commemorates its 25th anniversary for the peaceful revolution of 1989 when initial mass protests catapulted towards opening of the Berlin Wall one month later.

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Beyond the wall 04
Leipzig, Germany
By Steve Weinberg
07 Oct 2014

Symbols of current international hegemony represented by the flags of the European Union, USA and Germany seen during ceremonies of a symbolic signatory for the Berlin Wall opening.

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Beyond the wall 05
Leipzig, Germany
By Steve Weinberg
07 Oct 2014

Former US Secretary James Baker was the honored guest for a signature ceremony featuring a Berlin Wall section which included esteemed colleagues from this historic period.

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Twenty Five Years Beyond the Wall
Berlin
By Steve Weinberg
01 Oct 2014

Germany and particularly the city of Berlin celebrates the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Berlin Wall on 09 November next month, also marking the passage of the first generation which has experienced a post-Soviet world since the post-war years of the mid-twentieth century. An acute reminder of this situation occurred recently during earlier October celebrations in Leipzig, which is now a thriving city in former East Germany. It was here that initial protests in late 1989 helped accelerate the demise of the then totalitarian government and an ultimate opening of the Berlin Wall just weeks later.

Now it is often possible to meet "Wende Kinder," or children-currently young adults- from the turning point or changing times; those born from 1989 and immediately afterwards with no personal memory of the Berlin Wall or Soviet-directed period before that. It is a cultural phenomenon that arises as history becomes respective to its living members who can reflect on collective circumstance. It also becomes an indicator as to how the passage of time can and will affect all of us, now living through the early 21st century together, towards the future's future. Paralleling this historic period compels the comparison towards current events and Russian resurgence onto the global stage of attempted hegemony 25 years later, and urges the premise to question if history repeats through adjusted phases.
As a result of German reunification over two decades later, initial promises have predominantly not been met for a thriving eastern Germany due to disparity in employment opportunities which led to large population migrations to the more prosperous West. Additionally, contrasts in national character between both East and West have contributed to each region retaining their unique identities. Essentially, due to the extended simultaneous reign of the two differing German cultures, fundamental differences still outweigh the similarities. Yet, according to an Interior Ministry Report on German Unity released in 2013, despite the national contrasts, eastern Germany is improving in several ways and remains attractive for its returning inhabitants, signaling an appeal towards their origins despite persistent yet slowly improving economic inequalities.
It remains questionable if the social experiment to reunify Germany has become a reasonable success as a consensus about political assurances made a quarter of a century earlier have so far not been able to be fully achieved. A nostalgic movement has also arisen in several locations, longing for the "Ostalgie" of former times while also enhancing a merchandising appeal for the German tourism industry. The prevailing mood within Berlin and beyond during November's historic occasion will underscore the actual and speculative factors driving the world's fourth largest economy, while reflecting on whether or not the bridge between the East and West might ever occur.

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Beyond the wall 06
Berlin, Germany
By Steve Weinberg
03 Apr 2014

East German-Western 1960s period symbology including 20 year commemorative GDR (German Democratic Republic) Soviet issued envelope,1969.

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Beyond the wall 10
Berlin, Germany
By Steve Weinberg
27 Mar 2014

GDR (German Democratic Republic) 40 year anniversary symbol with period postcards and news clipping of the era. Berlin Wall will open one month after this anniversary passes marking the end of the country's existence.

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Crimean Tatars under Russian Authority
Crimea
By rafael.yaghobzadeh
12 Mar 2014

Crimean Tatars fear persecution under Russian authority

As Tatars in Crimea seek to preserve their way of life - their language, cultural and religious practices, and political organizations - under Russian authority, a crackdown on voices of dissent from within their community and on Tatar leadership doesn’t seem to be letting up.

On October 6, another young man, 25-year-old Edam Asanov of Bilogorsk was found dead after disappearing on September 29 while protesting the kidnapping of two young men from the community just days earlier. This is the latest in a string of kidnappings, raids and arrests that have shook the Crimean Tatar community in recent months.

Since the first Russian incursions into Ukraine’s Crimea region in February, ethnic Tatars have feared a return to the kinds of persecution and mistreatment the Muslim minority has historically suffered under Russian administration. Events since then seem to highlight the precariousness of their situation.

Days before Russia’s annexation of Crimea, on March 18 hundreds of members of the Tatar community gathered in a cemetery in Simferopol to pay their respects to Reshat Ametov, a 39-year-old found dead after having been missing for over two weeks. According to the local Tatar television channel ATR, police found the tortured body of the activist in a forest outside the Crimean capital. Investigators presumed he was killed by pro-Russian militiamen after he was seen crossing a line of pro-Russian protesters in military fatigues at a protest earlier in the month. The death came as a great blow to the Muslim Tatar community for whom persecution, deportation and violence remain vivid memories.

After the funeral, Remzie Dzhemilev, 87, gathered his family and recounted their history. Like the majority of Crimean Tatars, the Dzhemilevs were deported to Uzbekistan in 1944, a seemingly endless journey by wagon during which six of his family members died. The survivors returned to the Crimea in 1990 after the fall of the former USSR, and have remained there since. Mainly opposed to Russia, today he says that the community tries to preserve their traditions and culture, from language and religion to flags and national symbols, despite increasing fears that renewed Russian control of the Crimea will revisit suffering upon the Muslim minority.

Originating in the great steppes of Central Asia, the Turkic-speaking Tatars were one of the main ethnic groups of Crimea leading up to World War II. Their historical influence on the region is visible in Simferopol’s art and architecture and in their specific relationship to the land. Up until the 18th century, the Crimean Khanate was among the most powerful Muslim states in Central Europe.

Today, Tatars account for just over 10% of the population in this region of south-eastern Ukraine, in particular due to waves of deportations driven by Stalin in 1944. Called the “Sürgünlük” in Crimean Tatar dialect, these deportations led to the relocation of nearly 240,000 Tatars. Those who escaped deportation were often shot on sight, had their boats sunk, or died of cold and hunger trying to flee. Many were also deported to Soviet GULAGs where they would work as indentured servants.

Today, a delicate political situation has ethnic Russians in Crimea rejoicing over their annexation while historically marginalized Muslim Tatars and their organizations feel they have become the targets of a new brand of authoritarian rule from Russia and violence from militant pro-Russian activists. In April and July, the chairman of the Crimean Tatar People’s Movement Mustafa Dzhemilev and Simferopol’s Tatar leader Refat Chubarov were banned from re-entering Crimea for five years. Later, in May, Crimean authorities banned public protests and closed central Simferopol to prevent Tatars from commemorating the deportation.

More recently in September armed, masked men raided the Majlis, the Tatar’s self-governing council in Simferopol, removing a weapon, hard drives and “extremist literature,” according to the Russian Foreign Ministry. Mr. Dzhemilev told the UK daily The Telegraph that he equated this to a robbery.

"The Crimean Tatar nation is now in a most complicated and dangerous position since it has always spoken out against the illegal occupation [of Crimea by Russia]," Dzhemilev said.

Dzhemilev’s son was detained by Russian authorities on murder and weapons charges that he says were acquitted by a Ukrainian court. In a press conference on October 4, he told reporters that his son’s arrest by Russians was “blackmail by Putin.” “The Russians continue to play it in a heavy-handed, Soviet and blatant way,” he said.

Kidnappings, arrests and raids now amount to what Tatar leaders consider an officially sanctioned campaign of harassment and intimidation. On September 27, two more young Tatar men were kidnapped while walking down the street in their native Belogorsk. Witnesses saw a white van pull up next to the men, and throw them inside. 18-year-old Islyam Dzheparov and 23-year-old Dzhebdet Islyamov have not been seen or heard from since then, according to an October 3 report by Radio Free Europe.

"I think it is outrageous, completely outrageous,” Mustafa Asaba, the head of the regional Crimean Tatar Mejlis in Belogorsk, told RFE. “If there were some questions for these young people or anything like that, there are official organs, the police. They could have been summoned for questioning."

Russian authorities in Crimea launched an investigation into the disappearances. However, Tatars in Belogorsk feel that they are being driven into a corner based only on their ethnicity and religion.

"This is an attack on Crimean Tatars," one activist told a gathering of over a hundred locals who came together to pray for the men and protest the disappearances. "Our only guilt is that we are Crimean Tatars, Muslims. I don't see any other motives here.”

Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muiznieks brought up the issues facing the Tatars at a meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on October 1.

"My biggest concern, to be honest, is the situation of the Crimean Tatars -- a population with a very tragic history," Muiznieks said. "There is an urgent need to strengthen their sense of security, which has been shattered by a series of raids by armed, masked security personnel in religious institutions, schools, Tatar-owned businesses, private homes, and, after my visit, to the Mejlis. The Crimean Tatars have no history of violence or extremism, and the raids are completely disproportionate and should be stopped.”

-- Joe Lukawski with reporting by Rafael Yaghobzadeh for Transterra Media

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Veterans Protect Protesters in Maidan...
Kyiv, Ukraine
By lordcob
16 Dec 2013

One of the barricades built around Maidan Square. Barricades were reinforced and rebuilt after police forces tried to evacuate the camp in the night between 10th and 11th of December, shortly after the departure of the EU representative Catherine Ashton.

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Veterans Protecting Protesters in Mai...
kiev,ukraine
By lordcob
15 Dec 2013

Andrei served in the Soviet Army for 19 months in Kabul, and doesn't understand why the unarmed students had to be attacked. "If they didn't attack so intensely, the protests would have dissolved" he adds. He says he first came to the protests to watch, but later he decided to stay and join their efforts. Even though he was forced to go to Afghanistan with the army at just 18 years old, he finds it important now he's standing up for his own people in his land: "Yanukovych isn't Ukraine, he is not representing us, he's just friends with a dictator: Putin. We want a democratic country where people have rights, like in other European countries."

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Veterans Protecting Protesters in Mai...
kiev,ukraine
By lordcob
15 Dec 2013

A defender of the barricades getting some advice from the Afghanistan Veterans. Next to the veterans, many of the other groups help defend Maidan Square. A central coordination doesn't exist among the protesters: the different groups just try and work together while protesting in the streets.

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Veterans Protect Protesters in Maidan...
Kyiv, Ukraine
By lordcob
14 Dec 2013

One of the barricades built around Maidan Square. Barricades were reinforced and rebuilt after police forces tried to evacuate the camp in the night between 10th and 11th of December, shortly after the departure of the EU representative Catherine Ashton.

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Veterans Protecting Protesters in Mai...
kiev,ukraine
By lordcob
14 Dec 2013

Natalia helps with food in the Veterans' headquarters. The tens of thousands of people who live in Maidan, make use of several occupied buildings that are full of volunteers performing various tasks in order to keep Maidan alive.

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Veterans Protecting Protesters in Mai...
kiev,ukraine
By lordcob
14 Dec 2013

A group of Afghanistan veterans bring a suspected provocateur to the police station. They believe that Yanukovych supporters got paid to be drunk and disruptive in order to be provocative in Maidan Square, hoping for a violent reaction. They believe that police will let him go after a few hours.

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Veterans Protecting Protesters in Mai...
kiev,ukraine
By lordcob
14 Dec 2013

Stanislav, 47, an Afghanistan's Veteran, talks with his son who also lives Maidan Square. His son was beaten by the police on the 30th of November and spent a week in the hospital before rejoining the protests.

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Veterans Protecting Protesters in Mai...
kiev,ukraine
By lordcob
14 Dec 2013

A group of Afghanistan's Veteran return to their tent after a night watch.

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Veterans Protecting Protesters in Mai...
kiev,ukraine
By lordcob
14 Dec 2013

A team of Afghanistan veterans controlling one of the entrances to Maidan Square.

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Veterans Protecting Protesters in Mai...
Kiev, Ukraine
By lordcob
14 Dec 2013

Afghan Veterans during a break in the night patrols in Maidan square. Nights are long and freezing but it is during night that the police normally attacks.

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Veterans Protecting Protesters in Mai...
Ukraine
By lordcob
14 Dec 2013

Veterans control the access to Maidan Square. They have to keep their eyes open for provocators, which protestors believe might be sent in to give a wrong image of the Euromaidan.

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Veterans Protecting Protesters in Mai...
Ukraine
By lordcob
14 Dec 2013

A independent group from the region of Khmelnytskyi, 200km from Kiev, helps the veterans and other people preparing food at all hours of the day and night.

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Veterans Protecting Protesters in Mai...
Ukraine
By lordcob
14 Dec 2013

Oleg, 49, commander on the ground of the Afghanistan's Veterans. He was part of the Soviet Airborne Troops in Logar province, Afghanistan, between 1983 and 1985. Logar was one of the worst areas during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. Oleg was chosen by other veteran as chief when he decided to join Maidan after the violence of police against the protesters on November 30. He doesn't know what will happen next. "Well," he adds, "we remain here and we will protect the people because we know the price of life, blood and death."

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Veterans Protecting Protesters in Mai...
kiev,ukraine
By lordcob
14 Dec 2013

Alexander, 50, prepares himself for his team's night shift. He served throughout Syria with a small team of special forces between 1983 and 1984. He arrived in Maidan after the violence of the police on November 30 to protect the people. Since he has children, he wants them to grow up in a democratic country. "I am awaiting changes since our independence in 1991," he says, "Yanukovich when he had finally the possibility of joning Europe, he showed his real face."

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Veterans Protecting Protesters in Mai...
kiev,ukraine
By lordcob
14 Dec 2013

One of the barricades built around Maidan Square. Barricades were reinforced and rebuilt after police forces tried to evacuate the camp in the night between the 10th and 11th of December, shortly after the departure of the EU representative Catherine Ashton.

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Veterans Protecting Protesters in Mai...
kiev,ukraine
By lordcob
14 Dec 2013

An Afghanistan veteran controls the entrance outside one of the barricades. The missions of the veteran is to be alway the first line between the police and the protesters, they claim they are not scared and they know how to deal even with Berkuts, Golden Eagles, a section of riot police well known for its violence.

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Veterans Protecting Protesters in Mai...
kiev,ukraine
By lordcob
14 Dec 2013

Alexander, 50, divides his team in smaller groups for the night watch. They will have to keep their eyes open for provocateurs, who might be sent in to disrupt the image of the protests at Maidan Square.

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Veterans Protecting Protesters in Mai...
Ukraine
By lordcob
14 Dec 2013

A veteran places a flag saying "for Ukraine" on a newly built barricade in Madian Square. Barricades were reinforced and rebuilt after police forces tried to evacuate the camp in the night between 10th and 11th of December, shortly after the departure of the EU representative Catherine Ashton.

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Veterans Protecting Protesters in Mai...
Kyiv, Ukraine
By lordcob
14 Dec 2013

"Here Kabul 2, copy."

In the frigid night, a man in uniform speaks into the radio beside a military tent. But this is not Afghanistan. It is the centre of Kiev where, since November 21, protesters have been occupying Maidan Square. Almost a thousand of these demonstrators are Ukrainian miltary veterans who, as part of the Soviet Army, took part in different conflicts the USSR was engaged in around the globe before its dissolution, particularly in Afghanistan. This is also known as Soviet Union’s "Vietnam," where the USSR fought one of its bloodiest conflicts to date, between 1979 and 1789. This massive unrest in Ukraine that started initially as a demand to President Viktor Yanukovych to reconsider his decision of no longer committing to integration with the European Union has now turned into more of a demand for his resignation.

Andrei, who once served in Kabul for 19 months, still does not understand the reasons behind Yanukovych's decision to attack and injure unarmed students on November 30. “If they would not have attacked, the protest would have dissolved. Before I came to watch, then I came to remain to defend my own people against a President which behaves as a dictactor. We want a democratic country where people have real rights, like Europe."

Andrei, along with tens of thousands of others began living in Maidan Square in tents, occupying buildings and buses, warming themselves with firewood and listening to the never-ending music and speeches which run day and night on the main stage of Maidan Square. According to the commander on the ground of the Afghanistan’s Veterans, Oleg, 49, this all happened without any prior organization or connection with politics. “Veteran individuals just met on the square, they recognised each other, they organized themselves and they chose me as their coordinator. We are currently around 1,000 and we all have the same vision, in which a government should not use force against its own people. And so we put ourselves, experienced soldiers, who know the price of life, blood and death, in the middle.”

After a surprise attack on the night of December 11 and into the early morning of the 12 after Yanukovych's promise to European Union representative Catherine Ashton that he would not use force to disperse the protesters, the occupiers have become more organized, building strong barricades with snow and organizing shifts to defend the people. The system works in a sort of anarchy with the different defence groups, of which Afghanistan’s Veterans are the largest, having a dialogue on the ground as situations happen.

Every night, when the fear of attacks is highest, veterans patrol the area within and around Maidan Square. Since the major risk at the moment is that the government will use agent provocateurs to promote disorder or to give a wrong idea of what is happening in Maidan Square, veterans also control suspect people, and whenever found, bring them to the police.

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Veterans Protecting Protesters in Mai...
kiev,ukraine
By lordcob
12 Dec 2013

A team of Afghanistan's vetaran sing the Ukrainian National anthem, which is played time to time on the main stage of Maidan Square.

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Veterans Protecting Protesters in Mai...
kiev,ukraine
By lordcob
14 Dec 2012

One of the barricades built around Maidan Square. Barricades were reinforced and rebuilt after police forces tried to evacuate the camp in the night between 10th and 11th of December, shortly after the departure of the EU representative Catherine Ashton.

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Veterans Protecting Protesters in Mai...
kiev,ukraine
By lordcob
14 Dec 2012

Anatoli, 49, was in Bagram, Afghanistan between 1982 and 1984 with the Russian Airborne Troops. He lives in Vinnytsia, 150 km away from Kiev. He left his job to come to Maidan to protect his people. "I am here for my children," he says, "I am here from the beginning because my heart is here; I am here for Europe. I would really like my country to be like Germany with better democracy, better tribunals, better social system."

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Veterans Protecting Protesters in Mai...
Ukraine
By lordcob
14 Dec 2012

Brothers Ruslan and Vladislav Goncharov (41 and 44 years old respectively) sing the national anthem. They have been here for 12 days. They arrived as soon as they saw a video of innocent students beaten by Berkuts, Golden Eagles, a section of riot police well-known for their use of violence. "We couldn't stand it," they say, "we knew we had to protect our younger people, we came here and we found other veterans like us. We formed a group and we are now always in the frontline if police try to invade the square as they did few days ago. I had a Berkut in front of me and I told him, that the military motto is 'Serve your country' not to serve your president."

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Veterans Protecting Protesters in Mai...
Ukraine
By lordcob
14 Dec 2012

Natalia helps with food in the Veteran's headquarters. The tens of thousands of people who live in Maidan and several occupied buildings perform all sort of volounteer jobs to keep Maidan alive.

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Veterans Protecting Protesters in Mai...
Ukraine
By lordcob
14 Dec 2012

A man asks Alexander's team to check some of the suspicious people among the protesters.

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Veterans Protecting Protesters in Mai...
kiev,ukraine
By lordcob
14 Dec 2012

Alexander, 50, prepares himself for his team's night shift. He served throughout Syria with a small team of special forces bewteen 1983 and 1984. He arrived in Maidan after the violence of the police on November 30 to protect the people. Since he has children, he wants them to grow up in a democratic country. "I am awaiting changes since our independence in 1991," he says, "Yanukovich when he had finally the possibility of joning Europe, he showed his real face. Now he has to go."

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Veterans Protecting Protesters in Mai...
kiev,ukraine
By lordcob
14 Dec 2012

Alexander, 50, speaks into the radio during a night shift. He served all around Syria with a small team of special forces between 1983 and 1984. He arrived in Maidan after the violence of the police on the 30th of November to protect the people. Since he has children he wants them to grow in a democratic country. "I am awaiting changes since our independence in 1991," he says, "Yanukovich when he had finally the possibility of joning Europe, he showed his real face."