Maidan’s tulips provide a semblance of peace amid the ravages of war

People take pictures of themselves and the tulip flowers in Maidan Square. (Wojciech Grzedzinski for The Washington Post)
People take pictures of themselves and the tulip flowers in Maidan Square. (Wojciech Grzedzinski for The Washington Post)
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Once upon a time, during the communist era, people would parade through the Maidan, Kyiv’s central square, on the first of May to show support for the Soviet government. Then, in 2004, Ukraine’s road to democracy began in the same square, with hundreds of thousands of people protesting the presidential election results, widely thought to be rigged. And in 2014, the square became the locus of events that gave rise to permanent pro-Western changes in Ukraine.

Today, yellow, red and pink tulips blanket a part of the square, attracting residents. “Two weeks ago, it was a ghost town. Now people are starting to come back,” said one woman who was there taking photos with a friend.

Everyone visiting the square, regardless of age, was taking photos of themselves with the tulips. Girls lined up in Instagram poses while families took selfies.

There is a semblance of peace in the square that belies the harsh reality of war devastating other areas of Ukraine. One girl recently visiting the square had escaped with her mother from the eastern region of Donetsk eight years ago. They have no desire to be pushed out of their home again.

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