In Ukraine, Peace and Post-Revolution Reforms Remain Elusive

KYIV, Ukraine—On Wednesday, a powerful thunderstorm rocked Ukraine’s capital city with lighting, thunder, and torrential rains. By early evening, the clouds had parted.

But another storm, which has been brewing for more than three years, still loomed over the embattled, post-Soviet country. It is the Ukrainian people’s disappointment with what many consider to be the failed promise of the 2014 revolution, as well as a crisis in confidence among Ukrainians for their elected officials and government institutions.

“The Maidan is still ongoing, and it requires a lot of efforts from all pro-European political forces for it to succeed,” Alex Ryabchyn, a Ukrainian member of parliament, told The Daily Signal, referring to Ukraine’s central square, the Maidan, which has become colloquially synonymous with the 2014 revolution.

Clues to the gathering storm clouds of discontent in Ukraine are subtle, but prolific. One piece of evidence is the facade of Emporium, a high-end furniture store in central Kyiv.

Emporium is on European Square—just a few blocks away from the Maidan. On this day, the store’s windows are smashed in. The stone facade is covered in vulgar graffiti.

The ransacked storefront of the Emporium store in central Kyiv; a bellwether, some say, for an undercurrent of discontent among the Ukrainian people toward their post-revolution government. (Photos: Nolan Peterson/The Daily Signal)

On Sept. 3, the store’s owners painted over graffiti images of prominent Ukrainians—images that had remained on the storefront since the revolution, more than three and a half years ago. The adjoining intersection of Petrivs’ka Alley and Mykhaila Hrushevskoho Street is where some of the most lethal violence occurred during the 2014 revolution. Painted body outlines still mark the sidewalk were protesters died more than three years ago.

The reaction to the removal of the graffiti portraits at Emporium was swift, and violent.

Pictures of a man painting over the portraits went viral on social media. Many of the associated comments accused the store’s owners of being secret Russian sympathizers, or worse, Russian agents. An angry mob soon gathered in front of Emporium, and the store was, in short order, trashed.

Graffiti at the Emporium storefront. “The Maidan was here, and it will be here forever,” the message in red paint reads.

“Never do this again” one spray-painted message on the storefront read. “Profiteer, give us back our…

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