By Thomas Theiner
The newly elected mayor of Kyiv, Vitaliy Klitschko, has announced that Maidan – the heart of the Euromaidan revolution in the center of Kyiv – will be cleared in the near future. We agree. Euromaidan has driven the dictator out; and it is now time to rebuild the nation. The people still on Maidan should either go to fight the Russian invasion in the east; or return to their communities, and ensure that corruption is cleansed from the nation – even in the smallest villages.
However clearing Maidan, Khreshchatyk and Instytutska in order to give them over to traffic is obscene. On this square, on these streets, people died for the freedom and liberty of the Ukrainian nation. Opening them to traffic would be an insult to those who gave their lives and a signal that the new government is already betraying the values and ideals of Euromaidan.
On Khreshchatyk – from TsUM to Instytutska – and on Instytutska itself, traffic should never again be allowed to dominate. We demand that these streets become a pedestrian zone for the people of Kyiv and Ukraine; and that Instytutska from Maidan to Olhynska Street becomes a national monument to the fallen.
The central streets and squares of all major European cities are pedestrian zones; as Mr. Klitschko certainly knows from his time there. Building a new Ukraine does not only mean efficient and honest government but also improvements to the lives and quality of life of Ukraine’s citizens. Announcing that central Kyiv will be for the people, always and only, is a first and highly visible step in the right direction.
To keep traffic in the center flowing, Khreshchatyk should be tunneled under – between European Square and Bessarabska Square. An international architectural competition to redevelop the new Kyiv pedestrian zone should be held; as well as for the the development of memorials on Institutska and Maidan. Nothing less will do.
Edited by Jon Barrow
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