Photos by, Graham Lawlor
Text by, Andrew Bridge
It has been nearly half a year since hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens gathered on Kiev’s Independence Square with justice on their minds and revolution in the air. After constant protests and violent clashes against the corrupt powers that be put in place by former President Victor Yanukovych, the Ukrainian citizens took back what is rightfully theirs.
But that was just the beginning.
Since the launch of the uprising, what came to be known as the Euromaidan, clashes between Ukrainian and Russian nationals have spread throughout the country, from Kiev to Crimea. Russian forces have flexed their strength while Russian-speaking Ukrainian residents violently clash with Ukrainian citizens throughout the country. And as the death toll rises, it becomes harder to see if the end of the violence is near. Or what the resolution will be.
With the continuous uprisings and domestic conflicts a new breed of travelers has risen. Those from outside the borders eager to get on the ground, despite the danger, in order to learn first-hand what is going on, why it is happening, and where it may lead.
Graham Lawlor, New York City based entrepreneur and economist and his voyage into the heart of Kiev as the uprising began, falls into this category. Throughout his weeklong experience in Independence Square, Lawler interviewed countless protesters – nuns, students, laborers, etc. - as he delved deeper into the heart of the matter at hand.
In reflecting on his time in Kiev, Lawlor recalled that the first few days were upbeat, with a strong sense of optimism and purpose in the air. This mood changed however on January 16th when Yanukovych passed a law that made the demonstrations illegal. Days later, the violence and clashes truly began, eventually leading to the overthrowing of the government.
When asked where he thought the conflict would lead following his return home, Lawlor’s answer was simple; “Civil War.” It appears his assessment was correct, as violence continues throughout Ukraine, with hopes of peace and prosperity in the future. His photos depict the mood of Kiev at the start of a revolution, and the brave citizens who made it happen.
GRAHAM LAWLOR @revoportaits
Graham is the founder of Ultra Light Startups, which helps Fortune 100 companies and government institutions connect with startups based on their strategic and financial objectives. He is a frequent guest speaker, moderator, interviewer, and press source on startups and online business.