True Freedom Fighters

Photo: Pravvy Sektor/Right Sector. Illustration for Nataliia Vladimirova's "True Freedom Fighters"

Nataliia Vladimirova
Faculty of Natural Sciences,
Environmental Studies (Ecology),
Master Program (1st year)
From Kyiv city

Since 1991, Ukraine is now going through the most painful but simultaneously most hopeful times. In recent months, the blood of the most dignified of the Ukrainian nation was spilled; these people were often not even ethnical Ukrainians but were real Ukrainians in their brave hearts. Much to our sorrow, only after the death of these people, it managed to change the course of the Revolution towards the victory of Ukrainians. The victims were ordinary people who in their protest against the existing corrupt and illegitimate government revolted and formed into the units of Narodna Samooborona [“People’s Self-Guard”] of Maidan. One of the divisions of Narodna Samooborona is 23 sotnia, which is the most revolutionary structure of Maidan – the Right Sector. For the whole period of Revolution, the Right Sector has been subjected to much criticism for its “too radical” actions from all sides: government, opposition, international community, and even from Ukrainian people. However, the Right Sector is the only power that managed to lead Ukrainian people to the victory in this bloody struggle for freedom!

First of all, the Right Sector was the first who began to actively oppose the government, which led to the gradual concessions on its side. Nevertheless, according to the statement of one of the leaders of opposition, Vitaly Klitschko, the Right Sector are provocateurs whose primary purpose is to discredit the opposition in the international arena. Moreover, Klitschko claimed that after the victory of opposition and the regime change, “all members of the paramilitary bandit formations that are fighting in the center of Kiev will be prosecuted.” However, the Right Sector never set the objective to discredit the opposition; from the very beginning of the Revolution, they were fenced off from all political parties and acted only as an independent force which has opposed the government.

Concerning provocation to date, it is an obvious thing that 2 months of peaceful assembly on Maidan did not lead to any real changes in the political life of Ukraine: corrupt government did not want to listen to the people. On the contary, the peaceful standing on Maidan only led to a deterioration of the situation, namely the adoption of laws on January 16, which established a dictatorship in the country. At that moment, the Right Sector decided to resort to actions as a sign of inner struggle against the regime of occupation. Thus, starting from January 19, Maidan ceased to be peaceful gathering: men started to record in units of Narodna Samoooborona and women joined the ranks of field kitchen’s cooks and doctors. All of these only became possible thanks to the Right Sector, who launched a real confrontation to Yanukovych’s regime. Additionally, Klitschko and other oppositionists after seeing that people trusted the Right Sector more than politicians, did not listen to threats of Yanukovych about what they should secede from radicals, which once again confirms the great importance of the Right Sector in the course of the revolution.

What is more, after refusing to sign an agreement with Yanukovych, the Right Sector has become the key of victory in this bloody confrontation between the people and the authorities. Nevertheless, few weeks later, when the confidence of people in the Right Sector was already very high, people accused Dmytro Yarosh – the leader of the Right Sector – of betrayal and corruption. The ground for such accusation was Yarosh’s meeting with the President on the day of sniper’s mass execution held from the hotel “Ukraina”, February 20. However, this meeting did make ​​clear for Yanukovych what was actually happening in the country, and why people were not afraid neither of him nor of his snipers’ bullets. Dmytro Yarosh at that meeting refused to sign the agreement about the discontinuation of bloodshed on Maidan, knowing that any deal with Yanukovych does not make sense because the President never adhered to agreements. This was confirmed by the events on February 20: after the proclamation of peace between Narodna Samooborona and law enforcers, more than 100 unarmed people were killed by snipers and Internal Troops of Ukraine with Kalashnikov automatic guns.  Yarosh stated that no peace talks with the dictator could take place, and the people’s struggle would continue until the reboot of the power. Along with the incessant confrontation between Narodna Samooborona and law enforcers, unsuccessful attempts to intimidate numerous people, their beatings and killings, as well as unsuccessful attempts of sweeps of Maidan, Yarosh’s refusal to sign a ceasefire agreement compelled Yanukovich to retreat, instructing his forces to stop shooting at people; moreover, he soon fled from Kyiv. Thus, the result was a victory of Ukrainian people over the dictator.

To summarize, the Right Sector remains to be ambiguous organization for Ukrainian people; for someone it is still an extremist group that may lead Ukraine to civil war. Nevertheless, I am very glad that the number of common people who adhere to such beliefs is becoming smaller. People are beginning to realize that it was not the opposition and their “peaceful protests” on Maidan that led to fundamental changes in Ukranian government. People realize now: Dmytro Yarosh is the only person who took the responsibility for the events on Maidan and in the whole Ukraine; all those brave warriors from the Right Sector are not fascists, and if they had not done what they did, there would be now neither Maidan nor hope for the formation of a new Ukrainian state.

Slava Ukraini!


This essay is part of a series of student writing on the Euromaidan, part of the the Student Views of Euromaidan project.

For more information on this series and a full index of contributions, please see the introductory post.

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