Walking among Kiev’s tent camps

A year or two ago, back in my siberianlight days, Robert Mayer of Publius Pundit and I briefly discussed the idea of going to Belarus, to provide independent blog coverage of the Presidential election from on the ground.

I never got around to it, because I was too poor (and, let’s face it, too lazy).  But Robert is made of sterner stuff than I and, this summer, has spent several weeks travelling around Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, taking a long hard look at how democracy is faring.

Today, Robert has posted the first of a series of articles based on his travels – Walking Among the Tent Camps – which explores the mixture of disillusion and hope that is felt today by many of those who worked so hard to bring about Ukraine’s Orange Revolution.

Sergei is his name, a 23 year old student of political science who has been an activist for a few years now. He is one of the main coordinators of the camp, making sure that the little village of 52 volunteers, most between the ages of 20 and 30, runs smoothly. And it does. PORA’s base is well-regimented. Political leaflets are handed out as leaders try to persuade passersby to support their cause, the camp is kept clean, intruders are kept out, and volunteers are sent on missions to bring food and drinks for those staying in the tents.

He explained to me that he and the rest had been out on Maidan for nearly a month and would be out there until August 24th, Ukraine’s independence day, because they don’t like the coalition that was formed in parliament and believe that their country needs change. They know longer want to be part of Russia’s sphere of influence and because of it consider themselves true patriots of their country.

Robert has plans to visit more newly emerging democracies and totalitarian countries around the globe – but blog journalism like this doesn’t come cheap.  He’s looking for donations and, if you value quality independent journalism, I’d urge you to contribute a few dollars if you can.