Dozens of burly supporters of victorious pro-Russian candidate Viktor Yanukovich are camping out in a park overlooking Kiev's presidential palace, vowing to block any attempt by rival candidate Yulia Tymoshenko's loyalists to seize the building.
Vasily Fedosenko / Reuters
As the dust settles after Ukraine's presidential election, some staunch supporters of victorious pro-Russian candidate Viktor Yanukovich have a message for any backers of rival candidate Yulia Tymoshenko: Don't even think about trying another Orange Revolution.
Dozens of burly activists wearing the blue tunics of Mr. Yanukovich's Party of Regions have stationed themselves in a park overlooking Kiev's presidential palace, vowing to block any attempt by Ms. Tymoshenko's loyalists to seize the building.
It may sound quite dramatic, but these men believe they've been robbed before, in 2004, when Yanukovich's electoral victory was overturned by pro-Orange crowds who occupied these heights, and the central Maidan square just below, for three turbulent weeks.
"We're here to make sure there are no more Orange Revolutions in Kiev," says one of the pro-Yanukovich activists, Nikolai Klimenko.
Though the widely-accepted narrative of those 2004 events says that Yanukovich's forces falsified the vote, these men -- like most Yanukovich supporters -- refuse to believe that.
Mr. Klimenko says Yanukovich won those polls honestly, but had his triumph stolen from him through "clever use of crowds in the streets," orchestrated by Orange leaders Tymoshenko and Viktor Yushchenko.
"They're not going to prevent an honest victory this time. We'll stop them," he says.
The men spend their time huddled around heaters in a half dozen big tents pitched on the hill, and scanning for the approach of Tymoshenko activists.
They say things are calm, and that they don't really expect any trouble around the presidential palace.
But they get nervous when asked for their names, and adamantly refused to be photographed in their encampment.