Faculty of Social Sciences and Social Technologies,
Master Program of Sociology (1st year)
From Kyiv city
For the last several months, news about current events in Ukraine constantly get on the front pages of international newspapers. Some would claim that the reason for this only relates to the importance of those deep political changes. Nevertheless, have you ever wondered if there is something more, concerning Euromaidan, something special that makes the whole world talk about it? As I am Ukrainian, live in Kyiv and consider myself a patriot, from the first days of Euromaidan I followed the development of events and tried to be involved as much as I could. The participation gave me better understanding of everything currently happening on Maidan. What impressed me the most from the first days – Euromaidan, though aimed at political purposes, was never driven by any of the political parties or groups. The events were totally operated by ordinary Ukrainian citizens seeking positive changes in their country – selfless, honest, fearless and inspired.
To begin with, at the night of November 30, 2013, the special police unit “Berkut” violently dispersed protesters on Euromaidan. This caused a wave of indignation among the people and attracted a large number of citizens to the city center. Starting from that moment the territory of Khreschatyk street and Maidan Nezalezhnosti Square became a small state with its own hierarchy and division into different directions. It now had an educational sector, a food department with its own kitchen, housing, medical parts, and the security service. The internal structure of Euromaidan state was gradually changing and becoming more and more complicated every day. Nevertheless, one element always remained unchanged – all of the initiatives were private and their functioning was possible only due to the efforts of thousands of volunteers. For me, there was always one Euromaidan department, whose members impressed me the most during the events – the one in charge of security. The things happening on the central square of Kyiv were becoming more and more dangerous for one’s health and life; however, those brave fearless people were not leaving their posts. More than 100 Euromaidan protectors (the so-called “Heavenly hundred”) had to sacrifice their lives while trying to save the Independence Square from the trimming by police. Thanks to their efforts, none of the attempts of the forceful dispersal ended up to be successful (except the very first one). Moreover, mostly thanks to their sacrifice, the main goal of Euromaidan was achieved.
Some would claim that a crucial role in the accomplishment of Euromaidan objectives – resignation of the government and the president – still belongs to oppositional political forces, as they were conducting the negotiations. Nevertheless, I believe that their role was still secondary compared to what was done by ordinary citizens. First of all, the shift from a standstill in the discussion with the power structures was only achieved after more than a hundred people were killed in clashes with the security forces. Secondly, the turning point in the events around Euromaidan is also connected to the actions of an ordinary activist. On the 21st February 2014, after signing that peaceful agreement between Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and the representatives of the political opposition, the head of the first Euromaidan hundred Volodymyr Parasiuk spoke the words of indignation saying: “..if you do not make a statement about Yanukovich’s resignation until tomorrow, ten o’clock, we will commit an assault with weapons.” Subsequently, this particular statement made Yanukovych escape, proving to be more effective than lots of the multi-week talks of different Ukrainian and international politicians.
That is why, I am pretty sure now that the events of Euromaidan will be included in the history books, and that we will be telling stories about it to our children and grandchildren. Of course, the final point of this story has not been achieved yet, so we cannot be sure about the particular context in which the events will be remembered. Nevertheless, I believe that Euromaidan can already serve as a great example of the national unity, of the power and invincibility of Ukrainian spirit. Those events will always be a great illustration of the ability to create something majestic, incredible and useful not thanks to the leadership of a particular ideology, but based on the common aspiration for positive changes and general good.
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.