November 25, 2004
This is an extract from the blog of Veronica Khokhlova
Wednesday November 24 3.15am
At 3am, the city's so loud you'd think it's daytime. In our backyard, there's always someone peeing - boys, not girls, of course, for it's too cold for a girl to pee outdoors now: cold and snowing. But tonight, somehow, I'm not mad at those who use us as a toilet. I'm sitting in my cosy, warm room, and they're out there in the cold.
I spent some time at the rally by Verkhovna Rada, and we walked down to Maidan after the parliamentary meeting. It ended roughly around the time Yushchenko swore himself in - I guess it was more like swearing on the Bible to be loyal to the Ukrainian people than swearing himself in as president; he knows the laws, after all.
Yushchenko and Tymoshenko spoke at the Maidan rally, and then the crowd moved to the presidential administration building. By that time, I was already drinking tea after tea at one of the bars nearby, but when I saw the footage of the riot police in full gear facing the protesters, my heart sank. Every so often a journalist announced that, according to some well-informed sources, the riot police were beating everyone up, or that the armoured personnel vehicles were approaching the city.
Those were all rumours, thank God. Later this evening, reports came in that the riot police are acting friendly and tolerant, and that they've declared their support for Yushchenko, and that they aren't embarrassed to put some orange stuff on themselves. I assume it happened thanks to Yulia Tymoshenko - thanks to her charisma.
Speaking of charismatic politicians, the president of Georgia, Mikhail Saakashvili, is one. He spoke wonderfully - and in Ukrainian!!! - about the situation in Ukraine, and everyone in the bar started applauding when the footage was shown on Channel 5.
There was also a football game tonight, Dynamo Kiev playing against Roma. We won, 2:0!
The election commission announced the official election results less than half an hour ago. They were showing the meeting live and it was such a shame.
The opposition representatives (there were more than a dozen of them, but Katerynchuk, Zvarych, Khmara and Tanyuk are the only names I remember) stood in the corner, squeezed between the door and the TV cameras, and the chairs taken by the pro-Yanukovich guys. Very humiliating. When Zvarych, Yushchenko's assistant wanted to sign the protocol on the results in the foreign voting district, he had to put the paper on the back of his colleague and write this way. It could not be more humiliating. At some point, someone from the opposition complained that one of the pro-Yanukovich thugs hit someone from the opposition "between the legs".
Yanukovich supporters got up and began applauding when the commission signed the final protocol. They were shouting: Yanukovich! Yanukovich! Yanukovich! Grigoriy Surkis, president of Dynamo Kiev, was the only one I know. They were also waving those blue flags of Yanukovich campaign.
They discussed a few other issues but I wasn't listening. The opposition was protesting loudly from their corner but the commission members went on with their business, ignoring the protests.
At the very end, the opposition and some journalists were shouting very loudly: Hanba! (Shame!) and Yushchenko!
And that was it.
One of the journalists had tears in her eyes, another shook her head in disbelief.
Surkis was laughing loudly; most of his other comrades were just smiling.