Known for his nature scenes and series on political conflicts, photographer Ivan Bogdan has put together a carefully shot collection on the Euromaidan wave of demonstrations that took place mainly between November 21, 2013 and February 23, 2014 in Maidan Nezalezhnosti (“Independence Square”) in Kiev, Ukraine.
Ivan explains the matter from the perspective of a local: “For a long time, Ukraine’s government had been promising their citizens integration with the European world. That would’ve been a great step ahead for the country, because it was not only about a trade relationship with the EU, but also about reforms and fighting corruption.”
The government thought in one way, planned in another. Ultimately, Ukraine was ordered to enter into an unequal union with Russia. “And that would mean less civil rights, a increase in corruption and a move towards totalitarianism,” the photographer continues. “The last straw was the President’s refusal to sign the association agreement with the EU. To show their protest, people started to come to the streets. Everyday in the city centre, there were up to a million protesters. Their main demand was to change the government and start moving towards European qualities. People in power didn’t want to make concessions. The first protesters were killed after a while. About a hundred people died in the Euromaidan period overall.”
These events are called a political revolution but, maintains Ivan, they also generated a psychological shift in the Ukrainian society. “There was a consciousness of an ability to influence the processes of the government. This period of time should’ve become the beginning of changes for the better. But back then nobody could imagine that very soon Russia will start a hybrid war against Ukraine. And deaths will be counted in thousands of people…”
Some of Ivan’s recent exhibitions are “Donbas war and peace” (Prague, Belgium, London), “Human Factor” (Kiev), “Conflict Zone: Ukraine” (Chicago, USA) and “rEvolution” (Turda, Romania). As an artist, he says that he is “endowed with stubbornness and talent” but is “positive only about the former”, he is “determined to gain new skills and develop the old ones” in his “next 40 years”.
Here are Ivan Bogdan’s Euromaidan pictures showing a variety of flags, thick clouds of smoke, mountains of tyres and seas of helmets.
Images used with permission.