Is she a ghost from Ukraine’s past or a vision for the country’s new political order? Yulia Tymoshenko the former prime minister addressed the crowds in Independence Square urging them to stay and continue their protest.
There were tears from the one time political hero of Ukraine who was in a wheelchair because of a back injury.
Her language gave no hint of political ambition but was laced with emotion.
“This is a different Ukraine. This is a Ukraine of free people, and you have given this country to each and all of us, those who are living today and those who will live tomorrow. That is why people were on Maidan, who perished on Maidan will be heroes for ever,” she said.
And some of those heroes she referred to were remembered in the square. But Tymoshenko was not universally welcomed by the protesters. Many point the finger at her for the chaos of the post Orange revolution years in Ukraine and accuse her of corruption while in power.
“We’re afraid of experiencing a repetition of Julia’s first attempt to lead the government a decade ago. Of course, she can say all those nice things but actions speak louder than words. Everybody at the top enriched themselves and all we got was nothing,” explained one protester.
“Perhaps those in power understand that if the people have risen up already and shed blood, the Ukrainian people would do it again. Our people will ensure that Ukraine will become a normal European country so I expect a lot for Yulia,” said another.
Our correspondent in Maidan Sergio Cantone said “And so with a coup de theatre Yulia Tymoshenko appeared on stage. This Ukrainian revolution is now entering a phase of political construction and the most important first move is to see who will seize the leadership.”