At the turn of 80s – 90s a wave of ‘velvet’ revolutions rolled through Eastern Europe and the Baltic states. These revolutions caused totalitarian regimes to collapse and the new states chose democracy. Ukraine also began to emerge from its lethargic sleep. Starting from 1987, anti-communists and nationalists rallies began to be started in Ukraine. Struggle for independence began.
The students movement joined this struggle. It was in October 1990 that this protest proved to be the beginning of the end of the soviet era. The Ukrainian student union the Student brotherhood of Lviv openly protested against the last communist government of Soviet Ukraine. Students did not have the patience that shackled other people and they led the protests. Why? Because they were not satisfied either with the life in the Soviet Union or with the Parliament (Verhovna Rada).
They were against Ukrainian boys being drafted and sent by the Government to ‘trouble spots’. They wanted democratic changes. Since they wanted to stage a peaceful protest action, they decided upon a hunger strike on the main square of Kyiv. Their demands were: resignation of Soviet Premier Masol, establishment of multi-party elections, nationalization of the Communist party property, abolition of the proposed Union Treaty, law ensuring Ukrainian military conscripts only delivered military service within Ukraine. The main aim was to proclaim principles of independence. Luckily, the government was at loss what to do, the police did not expect the protesters to be so active, and the Kyiv City Council had enough democratically minded people among its members and supported the students. The Council sanctioned the protest action and the police were given Okay not to interfere. Many policemen did not want to take action against protesters. Anything could happen. It was very cold October, 2. Students were organized very well. Set up their tents, posted their guards around the tent, wrote their demands on a big posters, Kyivans gave moral support. In front of the camp stood a special police detachment, they wore white helmets, bulletproof jackets, and held shields. Students had no protection or weapon at all.
16 days on granite… and the students won! The Parliament accepted most of their demands.
It was the last revolution in Soviet Ukraine.