Located next to a square devoted to Taras Shevchenko, Ukraine’s most celebrated literary bard and a critic of czarist Russia, the 11-story building is heavily fortified with sandbags, barbed wire, car tires and masked guards armed with iron bars, baseball bats and police truncheons.
It’s sort of a reverse EuroMaidan Revolution – and that’s the point of the men who seized the complex.
“We’ve already accomplished what we wanted, we gave power to the people and formed an independent republic,” said Nikolai Solntsev, a member of the group’s political council, in remarks to journalists invited inside the building.
When he refers to “the people,” Solntsev points to several hundred supporters gathered on the street. The size of the crowds hasn’t increased since pro-Russian secessionists forcibly overwhelmed a dozen police officers on April 6.