Students describe aftermath of Ukrainian protests in Kiev

Several N.C. State students are spending their spring break in Ukraine shooting a documentary.
March 10, 2014 7:55:48 PM PDT
Several N.C. State students are spending their spring break in Ukraine shooting a documentary.

While they've been in Kiev for only a few days, they told ABC11 that they've already seen so much.

It's the story of these protesters, who are mainly college-aged, that some political science majors at N.C. State hope to bring home to students. They want to bring what's happening a world away back through the eyes of people the same age.  

"In the case of these protests, young people decided to stop going to college for an entire semester and basically camped out on the square," said N.C. State student Neel Mandavilli.

Right now Neel and Andriy Shymonyak are in Kiev. It's an area that was full of protesters that they say visually reminded them of another movement.

"When I was there I was thinking about the Occupy movement in some ways because in the square there are tents set up," said Mandavilli.

However, this has a much different aftermath, which is how the two describe what it's like being in Kiev now that the violence has moved to other areas.

The unknown is making things tense as everyone wonders what's next from parliament.

"You see candles and thousands of flowers laid out for those who died," said N.C. State student Andriy Shymonyak. "Seeing where bricks were torn out that were used to be thrown at police. Then walking down one of the main side streets and knowing that a few weeks before there were people being shot down by snipers and dead bodies being carried back and forth."

It's those powerful images, and the stories of the younger generation living through it that the two students hope to bring back from their 10-day trip into an area so foreign to so many of us, and yet with lives many can relate to.  

For Shymonyak, the experience is a little more personal.  His family history is tied to the Ukraine. His family just moved to the U.S. when he was five years old.

Shymonyak comes back this weekend, and hopes to use what he learn -- not just in that documentary -- but also in lectures.

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