I and I know others have been concerned from the beginning that the crowds would just go home because they had had enough. It’s too cold, they aren’t making money, there’s no progress, or the family needs me there, something would eventually cause them to go home. This was a concern from the beginning. When I was down on the square with my wife the Monday after the elections, my thought was that they needed to do something fast because the crowds could not possibly stay there on the square for a long time. I thought they had three days before people would have to go back to life again. They had to act and act fast, I thought, to get something done, storm the Winter Palace, the Bastille, the Presidential Administration Building, something. But they acted slowly and deliberately and didn’t seem to be in any hurry at all. To me, though, the clock was ticking away.
I was wrong about the three days though. They didn’t go home after the three days were up. In fact, the crowds got bigger and bigger and bigger. OK, I thought, so they’ll still have to reach a point and very soon when they’ll need to go home and back to their lives. For me the clock was still ticking.
And today, my wife and I sat here after the Rada voted no confidence and we both thought that that was that. This would be the signal for people to start going home and back to their lives, not necessarily because it was over in fact, but that they might feel their point had been made, the government was gone, it’s too cold, we need to make some money, etc. and they could go home. Maybe the hard core support would remain and the tent cities, but I thought the rest would feel like they could finally go home.
Well, I went downtown this afternoon to make the rounds and to see how things were. I saw that the crowds were not big near the Presidential Administration building--maybe a few hundred, three hundred tops. But they were large enough to stop things on that street. They didn’t need all that many there. To me, it still was an effective crowd.
And near the Rada, maybe the same amount. There are more places there to get in and out of—it’s next to a public park-- so more people are needed to seal it off. But there wasn’t any need for this. Their point was being made by the crowd there and the deputies aren’t there all the time anyway. So it was fine there too.
I then walked down the street to get to Independence Square. As I reached a point on the street where it crested a hill and I could see the square, to my surprise, there were as many people there at that time (3:30 p.m.) as there had been the Monday evening after the election. Maybe it was 200,000 or 300,000, or maybe it was 500,000, I couldn’t tell. (I can’t tell these things too well.) But there was as large a crowd as there had been the day after the election. And it could have been even larger.
The point is that no one has really gone home yet at all. They are as interested as ever, as engaged as ever. I stood there, on the crest of the hill, absolutely impressed. These people have done nothing I thought they would do. And I think they would tell you that they have done nothing they themselves thought they would do. But they did it and are still doing it and it is on the backs of those masses of people that this thing has been carried. And they have done all of this, a lot of them, missing paychecks because their workplaces were closed, with the threat of a military crackdown hanging in the air. I admire them and I salute them. If there are annals anywhere where heroism is set down for posterity, these people ought to have a place of honor there.