As I suspected, the Yanukhonvych camp did pay protestors, as Globe and Mail reporter Mark MacKinnon writes on his blog:
A few thousand people, waving the blue flags of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich's Party of Regions, plus a few thousand more waving red Communist and Socialist banners, showed up on Kiev's Independence Square - the very site of the Orange Revolution in 2004. They're protesting President Viktor Yushchenko's controversial decision to dissolve parliament and call fresh elections .. They're pitching tents and promising to stay indefinitely.
... but so far it's a lifeless demo.... One woman told me she was there because she'd been paid 50 hrivnya (about $10 US) to stand on the square and wave a blue flag.
But the news services are reporting that thousands more Yanukovich supporters are headed for the capital from his power base in the Russified east of the country. ...
Full story here.
What a great blog! Bookmark it or, better still, subscribe to the RSS feed (as I've done).
I've always respected Mark as a reporter with integrity and insight. His writing is eminently readable as well as highly informative, and is utterly devoid of any propaganda or personal political bias.
He's just written a book called The New Cold War. It's available at his blog, and I'm sure will be a great read.
Check it out here.