Andrei Andulkov is in his fifties. He came to Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, from the city of Chernivtsi a couple of days ago to take part in anti-government protests that erupted after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s refused to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union, following pressure from Moscow.
Andulkov spends his nights in Kiev’s October Palace, which houses the International Centre for Culture and Arts. The palace has been taken over by protesters, and more than 2,000 people sleep, eat, get blankets, warm clothing and medical care in the superb neoclassical building.
The protesters camping out here aim to blockade the capital’s government buildings and prevent the government from functioning. The protesters are present at the Presidential Palace around the clock, and two other public buildings are blocked for 12 hours a day.
Andulkov, who is a veteran of Ukraine’s 2004 “Orange Revolution”, says he’s determined to stay here “until the end” – which he sees as the resignation of Yanukovich and the calling of early elections.
The protesters’ central command is located in the Trade Unions building. Aside from a makeshift press centre, the building houses a giant kitchen where thousands of food packages are prepared and distributed to the protesters in the square.
Kiev’s City Hall is the occupied building with the greatest symbolic significance. Protesters have barricaded entrances and turned it into a coordination and supply centre.