The controversial reconstruction of Kyiv’s historical Andriyivsky Uzviz
saw a further twist on April 10 when buildings owned by Rinat Akhmetov,
the country’s richest man, were demolished.
The destruction caused uproar, bringing hundreds of Kyivans onto the
street in a protest outside the office of Akhmetov’s System Capital
Management holding on April 11.
By April 12, Akhmetov had backed off plans to construct a multistory
business center in the buildings’ place, promising instead to build a
cultural center and restore the facades.
Despite the rare civil society victory in thwarting Ukraine’s powerful
oligarchs, many city residents were unconvinced by Akhmetov's promises and
decided to keep pressuring municipal authorities and the rich owners of
Andriyivskyi Uzviz buildings with another protest.
On Saturday, April 21st several hundred people came to Mykhailvska square
to protest the demolition of the former Yunist factory buildings on
Andriyivskyi Uzviz and to show their disapproval of the way one of the
city's most ancient city is being reconstructed.
Several Ukrainian music bands showed up to support the initiative,
including famous Ukrainian folk band Dakha-Brakha, leaders of Ukrainian
rock-band TNMK and Murik from the Green Grey band, which won fame during
the Orange Revolution. Opposition politicians from the far right party
Svoboda and Wladimir Klitschko-led UDAR party, reportedly one of the
protest organizers, also attended.
The protest and small concert lasted for more than two hours despite the
rain. After the rally on Mykhailivska square the protesters marched down to
Kyiv city administration building, promising to protect ancient Kyiv from destruction and
keep their voices heard.
(Photos by Ganna Bernyk and Oksana Faryna)