||This article has been nominated to be checked for its neutrality. (February 2014)|
|Date||21 November 2013–present
(3 months, 2 weeks and 5 days)
|Location||Ukraine, primarily Kiev (notably Maidan Nezalezhnosti)|
|Methods||Demonstrations, Internet activism, civil disobedience, civil resistance, hacktivism, occupation of administrative buildings[nb 1]|
|Parties to the civil conflict|
The Euromaidan (Ukrainian: Євромайдан, Yevromaidan, literally "Eurosquare") is a wave of ongoing demonstrations, civil unrest and revolution in Ukraine, which began on the night of 21 November 2013 with public protests demanding closer European integration. The scope of the protests expanded, with many calls for the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych and his government. Many protesters joined because of the violent dispersal of protesters on 30 November and "a will to change life in Ukraine". By 25 January 2014, the protests had been fueled by the perception of widespread government corruption, abuse of power, and violation of human rights in Ukraine. Unrest stemming from the Euromaidan protests and subsequent, violent government response has prompted fears of civil war.
The demonstrations began on the night of 21 November 2013, when protests erupted in the capital, Kiev, after the Ukrainian government suspended preparations for signing an Association Agreement and a Free Trade Agreement with the European Union, in order to seek closer economic relations with Russia. The president had asked for 20 billion USD in loans and aid. The EU was willing to offer 610 million euros (838 million USD) in loans, however Russia was willing to offer 15 billion USD in loans. Russia also offered Ukraine cheaper gas prices. In addition to the money, the EU required major changes to the regulations and laws in Ukraine; Russia, however, did not. On 24 November 2013, first clashes between protesters and police began. Protesters strived to break cordon. Police used tear gas and batons, protesters also used tear gas and some fire crackers (according to the police, protesters were the first to use them). After a few days of demonstrations an increasing number of university students joined the protests. Despite currently unmet demands to renew Ukraine-EU integration, the Euromaidan has been repeatedly characterised as an event of major political symbolism for the European Union itself, particularly as "the largest ever pro-European rally in history".
The protests are ongoing despite heavy police presence, regularly sub-freezing temperatures, and snow. Escalating violence from government forces in the early morning of 30 November caused the level of protests to rise, with 400,000–800,000 protesters demonstrating in Kiev on the weekends of 1 December and 8 December. In the weeks since, protest attendance has fluctuated from 50,000 to 200,000 during organised rallies. Violent riots took place 1 December and 19 January through 25 in response to police brutality and government repression. Since 23 January several Western Ukrainian Oblast (province) Governor buildings and regional councils have been occupied in a revolt by Euromaidan activists. In the Russophone cities of Zaporizhzhya, Sumy, and Dnipropetrovsk, protesters also tried to take over their local government building, and have been met with considerable force from both police and government supporters.
According to journalist Lecia Bushak writing in the 18 February 2014 issue of Newsweek magazine,
EuroMaidan has grown into something far bigger than just an angry response to the fallen-through EU deal. It's now about ousting Yanukovych and his corrupt government; guiding Ukraine away from its 200-year-long, deeply intertwined and painful relationship with Russia; and standing up for basic human rights to protest, speak and think freely and to act peacefully without the threat of punishment.
A turning point came in late-February, when enough members of the president's party fled or defected that they lost their majority in the Ukrainian parliament. This gave the opposition a majority, and eventually one large enough for a quorum. This allowed parliament to pass a series of laws that removed police from Kiev, canceled anti-protest operations, restored the 2004 constitution, freed political detainees, and impeached the president. Yanukovych then fled to Ukraine's second largest city of Kharkiv, refusing to recognise the parliament's decisions. The parliament has assigned early elections for May 2014.
- 1 Background
- 2 Demands
- 3 Timeline of the events
- 4 Euromaidan groups
- 5 Casualties
- 6 Impact
- 7 Trends and symbolism
- 8 Reactions
- 9 See also
- 10 Notes
- 11 References
- 12 External links
The term "Euromaidan" was initially used as a hashtag on Twitter. A Twitter account named Euromaidan was created on the first day of the protests. It soon became popular in the international media. The name is composed of two parts: "Euro" is short for Europe and "maidan" refers to Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square), the main square of Kiev, where the protests are centered. During the protests the word "Maidan" has come to mean the act of public politics itself.
The term "Ukrainian Spring" is sometimes used in reference to the Arab Spring, which was triggered by similar causes such as heavy-handed authoritarianism, widespread official corruption, kleptocracy, and lack of opportunity.
The president of Ukraine had asked the EU for 20 billion US in loans and aid The EU was willing to offer 610 million euros (838 million US) in loans, however Russia was willing to offer 15 billion US in loans. Russia also offered Ukraine cheaper gas prices. In addition to the money, the EU required major changes to the regulations and laws in Ukraine, Russia however did not.
On 30 March 2012 the European Union (EU) and Ukraine initiated an Association Agreement; however, the EU leaders later stated that the agreement would not be ratified unless Ukraine addressed concerns over a "stark deterioration of democracy and the rule of law", including the imprisonment of Yulia Tymoshenko and Yuriy Lutsenko in 2011 and 2012.[nb 5] In the months leading up to the protests Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych urged the parliament to adopt laws so that Ukraine would meet the EU's criteria. On 25 September 2013 Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's parliament) Volodymyr Rybak stated he was sure that his parliament would pass all the laws needed to fit the EU criteria for the Association Agreement since, except for the Communist Party of Ukraine, "The Verkhovna Rada has united around these bills."
In mid-August 2013 Russia changed its customs regulations on imports from Ukraine such that on 14 August 2013, the Russian Custom Service stopped all goods coming from Ukraine and prompted politicians and sources to view the move as the start of a trade war against Ukraine to prevent Ukraine from signing a trade agreement with the European Union. Ukrainian Industrial Policy Minister Mykhailo Korolenko stated on 18 December 2013 that because of this Ukraine's exports had dropped by $1.4 billion (or a 10% year-on-year decrease through the first 10 months of the year). The State Statistics Service of Ukraine reported in November 2013 that in comparison with the same months of 2012, industrial production in Ukraine in October 2013 had fallen by 4.9 percent, in September 2013 by 5.6 percent, and in August 2013 by 5.4 percent (and that the industrial production in Ukraine in 2012 total had fallen by 1.8 percent).
On 21 November 2013 a Ukrainian government decree suspended preparations for signing of the association agreement. The reason given was that the previous months Ukraine had experienced "a drop in industrial production and our relations with CIS countries".[nb 6] The government also assured "Ukraine will resume preparing the agreement when the drop in industrial production and our relations with CIS countries are compensated by the European market." According to Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov "the extremely harsh conditions" of an IMF loan (presented by the IMF on 20 November 2013), which included big budget cuts and a 40% increase in gas bills, had been the last argument in favour of the Ukrainian government's decision to suspend preparations for signing the Association Agreement. On 7 December 2013 the IMF clarified that it was not insisting on a single-stage increase in natural gas tariffs in Ukraine by 40%, but recommended that they be gradually raised to an economically justified level while compensating the poorest segments of the population for the losses from such an increase by strengthening targeted social assistance. The same day IMF Resident Representative in Ukraine Jerome Vacher stated that this particular IMF loan is worth US$4 billion and that it would be linked with "policy, which would remove disproportions and stimulated growth".[nb 7]
President Yanukovych attended the 28–29 November 2013 EU summit in Vilnius (where originally it was planned that the Association Agreement would be signed on 29 November 2013), but the Association Agreement was not signed. Both Yanukovych and high level EU officials signaled that they wanted to sign the Association Agreement at a later date.
Public opinion about Euromaidan
According to December 2013 polls (by three different pollsters) between 45% and 50% of Ukrainians supported Euromaidan, while between 42% and 50% opposed it. The biggest support for the protest can be found in Kiev (about 75%) and western Ukraine (more than 80%). Among Euromaidan protesters, 55% are from the west of the country, with 24% from central Ukraine and 21% from the east.
In a poll taken on 7–8 December, 73% of protesters had committed to continue protesting in Kiev as long as needed until their demands are fulfilled. This number has increased to 82% as of 3 February 2014. Polls also show that the nation is divided in age: while majority of young people are pro-EU, older generations (50 and above) more often prefer the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia. More than 41% of protesters are ready to take part in the seizure of administrative buildings as of February, compared to 13 and 19 percent during polls on 10 and 20 December 2013. At the same time, more than 50 percent are ready to take part in the creation of independent military units, compared to 15 and 21 percent during the past studies, respectively.
According to a January poll, 45% of Ukrainians supported the protests, and 48% of Ukrainians disapproved of Euromaidan.
Public opinion about joining the EU
According to an August 2013 study by a Donetsk company, Research & Branding Group, 49% of Ukrainians supported signing the Association Agreement, while 31% opposed it and the rest had not decided yet. However, in a December poll by the same company, only 30% claimed that terms of the Association agreement would be beneficial for the Ukrainian economy, while 39% said they were unfavourable for Ukraine. In the same poll, only 30% said the opposition would be able to stabilise the society and govern the country well, if coming to power, while 37% disagreed.
Authors of the GfK Ukraine poll conducted 2–15 October 2013 claim that 45% of respondents believed Ukraine should sign an Association Agreement with the EU, whereas only 14% favoured joining the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia, and 15% preferred non-alignment. Full text of the EU-related question asked by GfK reads, "Should Ukraine sign the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, and, in the future, become an EU member?"
Another poll conducted in November by IFAK Ukraine for DW-Trend showed 58% of Ukrainians supporting the country's entry into the European Union. On the other hand a November 2013 poll by Kyiv International Institute of Sociology showed 39% supporting the country's entry into the European Union and 37% supporting Ukraine's accession to the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia.
In December 2013, then Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykola Azarov refuted the pro-EU poll numbers claiming that many polls operated questions about Ukraine joining the EU, and that Ukraine had never been invited to join the Union, only to sign the Association Agreement.
Comparison with the Orange Revolution
The pro-European Union protests are Ukraine's largest since the Orange Revolution of 2004, which saw Yanukovych forced to resign as prime minister over allegations of voting irregularities. Although comparing the 2013 events in the same East-West vector as 2004, with Ukraine remaining "a key geopolitical prize in eastern Europe" for Russia and the EU, The Moscow Times noted that Yanukovych's government was in a significantly stronger position following his election in 2010. The Financial Times said the 2013 protests were "largely spontaneous, sparked by social media, and have caught Ukraine's political opposition unprepared" compared to their well-organised predecessors. The hashtag #euromaidan (Ukrainian #євромайдан, Russian #евромайдан), emerged immediately on the first meeting of the protests and was higly useful as a communication instrument for protesters. Vitali Klitschko wrote in a tweet "Friends! All those who came to Maydan [Independence Square], well done! Who has not done it yet – join us now!" The protest hashtag also gained traction on the VKontakte social media network, and Klitschko tweeted a link to a speech he made on the square saying that once the protest was 100,000-strong, "we'll go for Yanukovych" – referring to President Viktor Yanukovych.
In an interview, opposition leader Yuriy Lutsenko, when asked if the current opposition was weaker than it was in 2004, argued that the opposition was stronger because the stakes were higher, "I asked each [of the opposition leaders]: "Do you realise that this is not a protest? It is a revolution [...] we have two roads – we go to prison or we win."
Paul Robert Magocsi illustrated the effect of the Orange Revolution on Euromaidan, saying, "Was the Orange Revolution a genuine revolution? Yes it was. And we see the effects today. The revolution wasn't a revolution of the streets or a revolution of (political) elections; it was a revolution of the minds of people, in the sense that for the first time in a long time, Ukrainians and people living in territorial Ukraine saw the opportunity to protest and change their situation. This was a profound change in the character of the population of the former Soviet Union." Lviv-based historian Yaroslav Hrytsak also remarked on the generational shift, "This is a revolution of the generation that we call the contemporaries of Ukraine's independence (who were born around the time of 1991); it is more similar to the Occupy Wall Street protests or those in Istanbul demonstrations (of this year). It's a revolution of young people who are very educated, people who are active in social media, who are mobile and 90 percent of whom have university degrees, but who don't have futures."
According to Hrytsak: "Young Ukrainians resemble young Italians, Czech, Poles, or Germans more than they resemble Ukrainians who are 50 and older. This generation has a stronger desire for European integration and fewer regional divides than their seniors." In a Kyiv International Institute of Sociology poll taken in September, joining the European Union was mostly supported by young Ukrainians (69.8% of those aged 18 to 29), higher than the national average of 43.2% support. A November 2013 poll by the same institute found the same result with 70.8% aged 18 to 29 wanting to join the European Union while 39.7% was the national average of support. An opinion poll by GfK conducted 2–15 October found that among respondents aged 16–29 with a position on integration, 73% favoured signing an Association Agreement with the EU, while only 45% of those over the age of 45 favoured Association. The lowest support for European integration was among people with incomplete secondary and higher education.
Escalation to violence
In the early stages of Euromaidan, there was discussion on whether the Euromaidan movement constituted a revolution - or a staged 'Colour Revolution' by outside forces. At the time many protest leaders (such as Oleh Tyahnybok) had already used this term frequently when addressing the public. Tyahnybok called in an official 2 December press release for police officers and members of the military to defect to 'the Ukrainian revolution'.
In a Skype interview with media analyst Andrij Holovatyj, Vitaly Portnikov, Council Member of the "Maidan" National Alliance and President and Editor-in-Chief of the Ukrainian television channel TVi, stated "EuroMaidan is a revolution and revolutions can drag on for years" and that "what is happening in Ukraine goes much deeper. It is changing the national fabric of Ukraine."
Select media outlets in the region have dubbed this staged movement, Eurorevolution (Ukrainian: Єврореволюція). On 10 December President Viktor Yanukovych stated "Calls for a revolution pose a threat to national security." Former Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili has described the movement as "the first geopolitical revolution of the 21st century".
Political expert Anders Åslund commented on this aspect: "Revolutionary times have their own logic that is very different from the logic of ordinary politics, as writers from Alexis de Tocqueville to Crane Brinton have taught. The first thing to understand about Ukraine today is that it has entered a revolutionary stage. Like it or not, we had better deal with the new environment rationally."
On 29 November, a formal resolution by protest organisers proposed the following:
- Form a coordinating committee to communicate with the European community.
- To state that the president, parliament and the Cabinet of Ministers aren't capable of carrying out a geopolitically strategic course of development for the state and calls on Yanukovych's resignation.
- Demand the cessation of political repressions against EuroMaidan activists, students, civic activists and opposition leaders.
The resolution stated that on 1 December, on the 22nd anniversary of Ukraine's independence referendum, that the group will gather at noon on Independence Square to announce their further course of action.
After the forced police dispersal of all protesters from Maidan Nezalezhnosti on the night of 30 November, the dismissal of Minister of Internal Affairs Vitaliy Zakharchenko became one of the protesters' main demands.
On 5 December Batkivshchyna faction leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk stated, "Our three demands to the Verkhovna Rada and the president remained unchanged: the resignation of the government; the release of all political prisoners, first and foremost; [the release of former Ukrainian Prime Minister] Yulia Tymoshenko; and [the release of] nine individuals [who were illegally convicted after being present at a rally on Bankova Street on December 1]; the suspension of all criminal cases; and the arrest of all Berkut officers who were involved in the illegal beating up of children on Maidan Nezalezhnosti." The opposition also demanded that the government resumed negotiations with the IMF for a loan that they saw as key to helping Ukraine "through economic troubles that have made Yanukovych lean toward Russia".
Timeline of the events
The Euromaidan protest movement began on 21 November 2013, as a peaceful protest.
Riots in Kiev
On 30 November 2013, the protests were dispersed violently by the Berkut riot police units, sparking riots the following day in Kiev. On 1 December 2013, protesters reoccupied the square and through December further clashes with the authorities and political ultimatums by the opposition ensued. This culminated in a series of anti-protest laws by the government on 16 January 2014, and further rioting on Hrushevskoho Street. Early February 2014 saw a bombing of the Trade Unions Building, as well as the formation of "Self Defense" teams by protesters.
1 December riots
On 30 November 2013, Berkut riot police and the Internal Troops of Ukraine violently attacked the Ukrainian protesters on Maidan Nezalezhnosti. They also attacked students and journalists. The latter resulted in all the protesters being completely dispersed from the square. The next day, the protesters reoccupied the square and clashed with police. This caused riots all over Kiev and on Bankova Street. The day saw the highest numbers of journalists injured by police in a single event since Ukraine's independence regain in 1991. Also, 1 December became the first instance of a public building being occupied by protesters in modern history of the country.
2014 Hrushevskoho Street riots
On 19 January, a Sunday mass protest, the ninth in a row, took place gathering up to 200,000 in central Kiev to protest the new anti-protest laws, dubbed the Dictatorship laws. Many protesters ignored the face concealment ban by wearing party masks, hard hats and gas masks. Opposition leader Vitali Klitschko appeared covered with powder after he was sprayed with a fire extinguisher. Riot police and government supporters cornered a group of people who were trying to seize government buildings. The number of riot police on Hrushevskoho Street increased after buses and army trucks showed up. The latter resulted in the buses being burned as a barricade. The next day, a cleanup began in Kiev. On 22 January, more violence erupted in Kiev. This resulted in 8-9 people dead.
2014 Ukrainian revolution
Protests across Ukraine
|Bila Tserkva||2,000+||24 Jan|||
|Vinnytsia||2,000||8 Dec 22 Jan|||
|Kirovohrad||1,000||8 Dec 24 Jan|||
|Kryvyi Rih||1,000||1 Dec|||
A 24 November protest in Ivano-Frankivsk saw several thousand protestors gather at the regional administration building. No classes were held in the universities of western Ukrainian cities such as Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Uzhhorod. Protests also took place in other large Ukrainian cities: Kharkiv, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Luhansk, Lviv, and Uzhhorod. The rally in Lviv in support of the integration of Ukraine into the EU was initiated by the students of local universities. This rally saw 25–30 thousand protesters gather on Prospect Svobody (Freedom Avenue) in Lviv. The organisers planned to continue this rally 'till the 3rd Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, on 28–29 November 2013. A rally in Simferopol, which drew around 300, saw nationalists and Crimean Tatars unite to support European integration; the protesters sang both the Ukrainian national anthem and the anthem of the Ukrainian Sich Riflemen.
7 people were injured after 40 titushky (thugs) attacked a tent encampment in Dnipropetrovsk, which was ordered cleared by court order on 25 November. Officials estimated the number of attackers to be 10–15, and police did not intervene in the attacks. Similarly, police in Odessa ignored calls to stop the demolition of Euromaidan camps in the city by a group of 30, and instead removed all parties from the premises. 50 police officers and men in plain clothes also drove out a Euromaidan protest in Chernihiv the same day.
On 25 November, in Odessa, 120 police raided and destroyed a tent encampment made by protesters at 5:20 in the morning. The police detained three of the protesters, including the leader of the Odessa branch of Democratic Alliance, Alexei Chorny. All three were beaten in the police vehicle and then taken to the Portofrankovsk Police Station without their arrival being recorded. The move came after the District Administrative Court hours earlier issued a ban restricting citizens' right to peaceful assembly until New Year. The court ruling places a blanket ban on all demonstrations, the use of tents, sound equipment and vehicles until the end of the year.
On 26 November, a rally of 50 was held in Donetsk.
On 29 November, Lviv protesters numbered some 20,000. Like in Kiev, they locked hands in a human chain, symbolically linking Ukraine to the European Union (organisers claimed that some 100 people even crossed the Ukrainian-Polish border to extend the chain to the European Union).
On 1 December, the largest rally outside of Kiev took place in Lviv by the statue of Taras Shevchenko, where over 50,000 protesters attended. Mayor Andriy Sadovy, council chairman Peter Kolody, and prominent public figures and politicians were in attendance. An estimated 300 rallied in the eastern city of Donetsk demanding that President Viktor Yanukovych and the government of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov resign. Meanwhile, in Kharkiv, thousands rallied with writer Serhiy Zhadan, during a speech, calling for revolution. The protest was peaceful. Protesters claimed at least 4,000 attended, with other sources saying 2,000. In Dnipropetrovsk, 1,000 gathered to protest the EU agreement suspension, show solidarity with those in Kiev, and demand the resignation of local and metropolitan officials. They later marched, shouting "Ukraine is Europe" and "Revolution". EuroMaidan protests were also held in Simferopol (where 150–200 attended), and Odessa.
On 2 December, in an act of solidarity, Lviv Oblast declared a general strike in order to mobilize support for protests in Kiev, which was followed by the formal order of a general strike by the cities of Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk.
In Dnipropetrovsk on 3 December, a group of 300 protested in favour of European integration and demanded the resignation of local authorities, heads of local police units, and the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).
On 7 December it was reported that police were prohibiting those from Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk from driving to Kiev.
Protests on 8 December saw record turnout in many Ukrainian cities, including several in eastern Ukraine. On the evening, the fall of the monument to Lenin in Kiev took place. The statue made out of stone was completely hacked to pieces by jubilant demonstrators.
The removal or destruction of Lenin monuments and statues gained particular momentum after the destruction of the Kyiv Lenin statue. Under the motto "Ленінопадів" (Leninopadiv, translated into English as "Leninfall"), activists pulled down a dozen monuments in the Kyiv region, Zhytomyr, Chmelnitcki, and elsewhere, or damaged them during the course of the EuroMaidan protests into spring of 2014. In other cities and towns, monuments were removed by organised heavy equipment and transported to scrapyards or dumps.
On 14 December, Euromaidan supporters in Kharkiv voiced their disapproval of authorities fencing off Freedom Square from the public by covering the metal fence in placards. They have since 5 December been the victims of theft and arson. A Euromaidan activist in Kharkiv was attacked by two men and stabbed twelve times. The assailants were unknown but activists told the Kharkiv-based civic organisation Maidan that they believe the city's mayor, Gennady Kernes, to be behind the attack.
On 22 December, 2,000 rallied in Dnipropetrovsk.
In late December, 500 marched in Donetsk. Due to the regime's hegemony in the city, foreign commentators have suggested that, "For 500 marchers to assemble in Donetsk is the equivalent of 50,000 in Lviv or 500,000 in Kiev." On 5 January, marches in support of Euromaidan were held in Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Odessa, and Kharkiv; the latter three drawing several hundred and Donetsk only 100.
On 11 January 150 activists met in Kharkiv for a general forum on uniting the nation-wide Euromaidan efforts. A church where some were meeting was stormed by over a dozen thugs, and others attacked meetings in a book store; smashing windows and deploying tear gas to stop the Maidan meetings from taking place.
On 22 January in Donetsk, two simultaneous rallies were held – one pro-Euromaidan and one pro-government. The pro-government rally attracted 600 attendees to about 100 from the Euromaidan side. Police reports claimed 5,000 attended to support the government, to only 60 from Euromaidan. In addition, approximately 150 titushky appeared and encircled the Euromaidan protesters with megaphones and began a conflict, burning wreaths and Svoboda Party flags, and shouted "down with fascists!", but were separated by police. Meanwhile, Donetsk City Council pleaded with the government to take tougher measures against Euromaidan protesters in Kiev. Reports indicated a media blackout took place in Donetsk.
In Lviv on 22 January, amid the police shootings of protesters in the capital, military barracks were surrounded by protesters. Many of the protesters included mothers whose sons are serving in the military, and pleaded with them not to deploy to Kiev.
In Vinnytsia on 22 January thousands protesters blocked the main street of the city and the traffic. Also, they brought "democracy in coffin" to the city hall, as a present to Yanukovych. 23 January Odessa city council member and Euromaidan activist Oleksandr Ostapenko's car was bombed. The Mayor of Sumy threw his support behind the Euromaidan movement on 24 January, laying blame for the civil disorder in Kiev on the Party of Regions and Communists.
Crimean parliament repeatedly stated that because of the events in Kiev it is ready to join autonomous Crimea to Russia. On 27 February armed men seize Crimea parliament and raised Russian flag.
In the beginning of March, thousands of Crimean Tatars in support of Euromaidan clashed with pro-Russian protesters in Simferopol.
On March 4, 2014, a mass pro-Euromaidan rally has been held in Donetsk for the first time. About 2,000 people were there. Donetsk is a major city in the far east of Ukraine and serves as Yanukovych's stronghold and the base of his supporters. On March 5, 2014, 7,000-10,000 people rallied in support of Euromaidan in the same place. After a leader declared the rally over, a fight broke out between pro-Euromaidan and 2,000 pro-Russian protesters.
Occupation of administrative buildings
Since 23 January several Western Ukrainian Oblast (province) Governor buildings and regional councils (RSA's[nb 8]) have been occupied by Euromaidan activists. Several RSA's of the occupied oblasts then decided to ban the activities and symbols of the Communist Party of Ukraine and Party of Regions in their oblast. In the cities Zaporizhzhya, Dnipropetrovsk and Odessa protesters also tried to take over their local RSA.
Protests outside Ukraine
Smaller protests or Euromaidans have been held internationally, primarily among the larger Ukrainian diaspora populations in North America and Europe. The largest took place on 8 December in New York, with over 1,000 attending. Notably, in December 2013, Warsaw's Palace of Culture and Science, Buffalo Electric Vehicle Company Tower in Buffalo, Cira Centre in Philadelphia, the Tbilisi City Hall in Georgia, and Niagara Falls on the U.S./Canada border were illuminated in blue and yellow as a symbol of solidarity with Ukraine.
Antimaidan and pro-government rallies
Pro-government rallies during Euromaidan have largely been credited as funded by the government. Several news outlets have investigated the claims to confirm that by and large, attendees at pro-government rallies do so for financial compensation and not for political reasons, and are not an organic response to the Euromaidan. "People stand at Euromaidan protesting against the violation of human rights in the state, and they are ready to make sacrifices," said Oleksiy Haran, a political scientist at Kyiv Mohyla Academy in Kiev. "People at Antimaidan stand for money only. The government uses these hirelings to provoke resistance. They won't be sacrificing anything."
Automaidan is a movement within the Euromaidan, that seeks the resignation of the Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. It is made up mainly of drivers who would protect the protest camps and blockade streets. It organised a car procession on December 29, 2013 to the president's residence in Mezhyhirya to voice their protests at his refusal to sign the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement in December 2013. The motorcade was stopped a couple of hundred metres short of his residence. Automaidan has been the repeated target of violent attacks by government forces and supporters.
On 30 November 2013, the day after the dispersion of Euromaidan, Euromaidan organisers, aided by groups such as Svoboda, have created Self-defense of the Maidan — formation for protecting protesters from police and providing security within the city.(Ukrainian) Head of Self-defence is Andriy Parubiy(Ukrainian)
The groups are divided up into sotnia, or 'hundreds', which have been described as a "resilient force that is providing the tip of the spear in the violent showdown with government security forces". The sotni take their name from a traditional form of Cossacks cavalry formation, and were also used in the Ukrainian National Army. Activists estimate at least 32 such groups are in Kiev now, with more forming all the time.
Along with Self-defence headed by Mr. Parubiy, there are some independent divisions (some of them are also referred to as sotnias and even self-defence), like the security of the Trade Unions Building until 2 January 2014(Ukrainian), Narnia and Vikings from Kiev City State Administration(Ukrainian), Volodymr Parasyuk's sotnia from Conservatory building(Ukrainian)(Russian), etc. Mr. Parubiy officially asked such divisions to not call itself Self-defence
Pravy Sektor coordinates it's actions with Self-defence and is formally a 23-rd sotnia(Ukrainian), although already had hundreds of members at the time of registering as sotnia. Second sotnia (staffed by Svoboda's members) tends to dissociate itself from "sotnias of self-defence of Maidan".(Ukrainian)
The first of major casualties occurred on the Day of Unity of Ukraine, 22 January 2014. Four people permanently lost their vision, and one man died by falling from a colonnade. The circumstances of his death are unclear. At least five more people were confirmed dead during the clashes on 22 January, four people perished from gunshot wounds. Medics confirmed bullet wounds to be from firearms such as a Degtyaryov sniper rifle (7.62 mm) and possibly a Makarov handgun (9mm) in the deaths of Nihoyan and Zhyznevskyi. There are photos of Berkut utilising shotguns (such as the RPC Fort), and reporters verified the presence of shotgun casings littering the ground. Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office confirmed two deaths from gunshot wounds in Kyiv protests. "It was established that the weapons and cartridges that were used to commit these killings are hunting cartridges. Such is the conclusion of forensic experts. Most likely, it was a smoothbore firearm. I want to stress that the cartridges which used to commit the murder were not used by, and are not in use of, the police. They have no such cartridges," said first deputy chief of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry's Main Investigative Directorate. The MVS has not ruled out that Berkut officers committed the killings.
On 31 January it was discovered that 26 unidentified, unclaimed bodies remained in the Kiev central morgue; 14 of which were from January alone. Journalists revealed that a mass burial is planned on 4 February 2014. The Kiev city administration followed on the announcement with its own statement informing that there are 14 such bodies; 5 from January.
On 18 and 19 February, at least 26 people were killed in clashes with police, Moreover,a self-defense soldier from Maidan was found dead. Journalist Vyacheslav Veremiy was murdered by pro-government Titushky and shot in the chest when they attacked his taxi. It was announced that an additional 40-50 people died in the fire that engulfed the Trade Union building after police attempted to seize it the night before.[unreliable source?]
On 20 February, 60 people had been killed by gunfire according to an opposition medical service.
At least 79 people have been killed and 570 injured. At least 13 officers have been killed and 130 hospitalised with gunshot wounds.
Press and medics injured by police attacks
A number of attacks by law enforcement agents on members of the media and medical personnel have been reported. Some 40 journalists were injured during the staged assault at Bankova Street on 1 December 2013. At least 42 more journalists were victims of police attacks at Hrushevskoho Street on 22 January 2014. On 22 January 2014, Television News Service (TSN) reported that journalists started to take off their identifying uniform (vests and helmets), as they were being targeted, sometimes on purpose, sometimes accidentally. Since 21 November 2013, a total of 136 journalists have been injured.
- On 21 January 2014, 26 journalists were injured, with at least two badly injured by police stun grenades; 2 others were arrested by police.
- On 22 January, a correspondent of Reuters, Vasiliy Fedosenko, was intentionally shot in the head by a marksman with rubber ammunition during clashes at Hrushevskoho Street. Later, a journalist of Espresso TV Dmytro Dvoychenkov was kidnapped, beaten up and taken to an unknown location, but later one of parliamentarians was informed that he was finally released.
- On 24 January, President Yanukovych ordered the release of all journalists from custody.
- On 31 January, a video from 22 January 2014 was published that showed policemen in Berkut uniforms intentionally firing at a medic who raised his hands.
Some known impacts to date include the following:
Support for Euromaidan in Ukraine
According to an 4 to 9 December 2013 study by Research & Branding Group 49% of all Ukrainians supported Euromaidan and 45% had the opposite opinion. It was mostly supported in West (84%) and Central Ukraine (66%). A third (33%) of residents of South Ukraine and 13% of residents of Eastern Ukraine supported Euromaidan as well. The percentage of people who do not support the protesters was in East Ukraine 81%, in South Ukraine 60%[nb 9], in Central Ukraine 27% and in Western Ukraine 11%. Polls have shown that two-thirds of Kievans support the ongoing protests.
A poll conducted by the Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Fund and Razumkov Center, between 20 and 24 December, showed more than 50% of Ukrainians supporting the Euromaidan protests, while 42% opposing it.
Another Research & Branding Group survey (conducted from 23 to 27 December) showed that 50% of Ukrainians don't support Euromaidan, while 45% did support it. 43% of those polled thought that Euromaidan's consequences "sooner could be negative", while 31% of the respondents thought the opposite; 17% believed that Euromaidan would bring no negative consequences.
An Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation survey of protesters conducted 7 and 8 December 2013 found that 92% of those who came to Kiev from across Ukraine came on their own initiative, 6.3% was organised by a public movement, and 1.8% were organised by a party. 70% said they came to protest the police brutality of 30 November, and 54% to protest in support of the European Union Association Agreement signing. Among their demands, 82% wanted detained protesters freed, 80% wanted the government to resign, and 75% want president Yanukovych to resign and for snap elections. The poll showed that 49.8% of the protesters are residents of Kiev and 50.2% came from across Ukraine. 38% of the protesters are aged between 15 and 29, 49% are aged between 30 and 54, and 13% are 55 or older. A total of 57.2% of the protesters are men.
Public opinion about Association Agreement
According to an 4 to 9 December 2013 study by Research & Branding Group 46% of Ukrainians supported the integration of the country into EU, and 36% into the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia. Most support for EU integration could be found in West (81%) and in Central (56%) Ukraine; 30% of residents of South Ukraine and 18% of residents of Eastern Ukraine supported the integration with EU as well. Integration with the Customs Union was supported by 61% of East Ukraine and 54% of South Ukraine and also by 22% of Central and 7% of Western Ukraine.
According to a 7 to 17 December 2013 poll by the Sociological group "RATING", 49.1% of respondents would vote for Ukraine's accession to the European Union in a referendum, and 29.6% would vote against the motion. Meanwhile, 32.5% of respondents would vote for Ukraine's accession to the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia, and 41.9% would vote against.
During the annual World Economic Forum meeting at the end of January 2014 in Davos (Switzerland) Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov received no invitations to the main events; according to the Financial Times's Gideon Rachman because the Ukrainian government was blamed for the violence of the 2014 Hrushevskoho Street riots.
A telephone call was leaked of US diplomat Victoria Nuland speaking to the Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt about the future of the country, in which she said that Klitschko should not be in the future government and she also casually stated "fuck the EU." German chancellor Angela Merkel said she deemed Nuland's comment "completely unacceptable". Commenting on the situation afterwards, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that Nuland had apologised to her EU counterparts while White House spokesman Jay Carney alleged that because it had been "tweeted out by the Russian government, it says something about Russia's role".
The IBTimes reported, "if Svoboda and other far-right groups gain greater exposure through their involvement in the protests, there are fears they could gain more sympathy and support from a public grown weary of political corruption and Russian influence on Ukraine."
The president had asked for 20 billion US in loans and aid from the EU The EU was willing to offer 610 million euros (838 million US) in loans, however Russia was willing to offer 15 billion US in loans. Russia also offered the Ukraine cheaper gas prices. In addition to the money, the EU required major changes to the regulations and laws in the Ukraine, Russia however did not.
Moody's Investors Service reported on 4 December 2013 "As a consequence of the severity of the protests, demand for foreign currency is likely to rise" and noted that this was another blow to Ukraine's already poor solvency. First deputy Prime Minister Serhiy Arbuzov stated on 7 December Ukraine risked a default if failed to raise $10 billion "I asked for a loan to support us, and Europe [the EU] agreed, but a mistake was made – we failed to put it on paper."
On 5 December Prime Minister Mykola Azarov stated that "money to finance the payment of pensions, wages, social payments, support of the operation of the housing and utility sector and medical institutions do not appear due to unrest in the streets" and he added that authorities were doing everything possible to ensure the timely financing of them. Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine Natalia Korolevska stated on 2 January 2014 that these January 2014 payments would begin according to schedule.
On 11 December the second Azarov Government moved the date of social payments due to "the temporarily blocking of the government". The same day Reuters commented (when talking about Euromaidan) "The crisis has added to the financial hardship of a country on the brink of bankruptcy" and added that (at the time) investors thought it more likely than not that Ukraine would default over the next five years (since it then cost Ukraine over US$1 million a year to insure $10 million in state debt).
Fitch Ratings reported on 16 December that the (political) "standoff" had lead to "greater the risk that political uncertainty will raise demand for foreign currency, causing additional reserve losses and increasing the risk of disorderly currency movement". It also added "Interest rates rose sharply as the National Bank sought to tighten hryvnia liquidity."
On 18 December, the day after an economical agreement with Russia was signed, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov stated "Nothing is threatening stability of the financial-economic situation in Ukraine now. Not a single economic factor." However, BBC News reported that the deal "will not fix Ukraine's deeper economic problems" in an article titled "Russian bailout masks Ukraine's economic mess".
On 21 January 2014 the Kiev City State Administration claimed that protests in Kiev had so far caused the city more than 2 million U.S. dollars worth of damage. It intended to claim compensation for damage caused by all demonstrators, regardless of their political affiliation.
On 5 February 2014 the hryvnia had fallen to a five-year low against the U.S. dollar.
On 21 February 2014 Standard & Poor's cut Ukraine's credit rating to CCC; adding that the country risked default without "significantly favourable changes". Standard & Poor's analysts believed the compromise deal of the same day between President Yanukovych and the opposition made it "less likely Ukraine would receive desperately needed Russian aid, thereby increasing the risk of default on its debts".
"Euromaidan" has been named as word of the year for 2013 by modern Ukrainian language and slang dictionary Myslovo, and the most popular neologism in Russia by web analytics company Public.ru.
According to a representative of the Kiev History Museum its collection in the Ukrainian House on the night of February 18–19, after it was recaptured by the police from the protesters. Eyewitnesses report seeing the police forces plundering and destroying the museum's property.
Music of Maidan
Ukrainian-Polish band Taraka came up with a song dedicated to "Euromaidan" "Podaj Rękę Ukrainie" (Give a Hand to Ukraine). The song uses the first several words of the National anthem of Ukraine "Ukraine has not yet died".
Films of Maidan
A short footage film-stories with general name "Babylon'13" were created about the 2013 revolution.
On 5 February 2014 a group of activists-cinematographers initiated series of films about people of Euromaidan.
Art of Maidan
Following the protests and RSA occupations in Ukraine's regions, the subject of Maidan was explored through several satirical maps. A map making fun of Russia's lack of protests vis-a-vis Ukraine's people's seizure's of power has gone viral and has been circulated by the Western press .
The 2013–14 UEFA Europa League Round of 32 match of 20 February 2014 between FC Dynamo Kyiv and Valencia CF was moved by UEFA from Kiev's Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex to the GSP Stadium in Nicosia, Cyprus, "due to the security situation in the Ukrainian capital".
On 19 February the Ukrainian athletes competing in the 2014 Winter Olympics asked for and were refused permission by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to wear black arm bands to honor those killed in the violent clashes in Kiev. IOC president Thomas Bach offered his condolences "to those who have lost loved ones in these tragic events".
On 19 February 2014 alpine skier Bohdana Matsotska refused further participating in the 2014 Winter Olympics in protest against the violent clashes in Kiev. She and her father posted a message on Facebook stating "In solidarity with the fighters on the barricades of the Maidan, and as a protest against the criminal actions made towards the protesters, the irresponsibility of the president and his lackey government, we refuse further performance at the Olympic Games in Sochi 2014."
On 4 March 2014, the 2013–14 Eurocup Basketball Round of 16 game between BC Budivelnyk Kyiv and JSF Nanterre was moved to Žalgiris Arena in Kaunas, Lithuania. On 5 March 2014, another Round of 16 game between Khimik Yuzhny and Aykon TED Ankara was moved to Abdi Ipekci Arena in Istanbul
Trends and symbolism
The red-and-black battle flag of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) is another popular symbol among protesters, and the wartime insurgents have acted as a large inspiration for Euromaidan protesters. Serhy Yekelchyk of the University of Victoria says the use of UPA imagery and slogans was more of a potent symbol of protest against the current government and Russia rather than adulation for the insurgents themselves, explaining "The reason for the sudden prominence of [UPA symbolism] in Kiev is that it is the strongest possible expression of protest against the pro-Russian orientation of the current government." The colours of the flag symbolise Ukrainian red blood spilled on Ukrainian black earth.
- Since 1 December 2013 Kiev's Town Hall has been occupied by Euromaidan-protesters; this forced the Kiev City Council to meet in the Solomianka Raion state administration building instead.
- Reports of some protesters attending under duress from superiors
- "Titushky" are alleged provocators during protests.
- Early November 2012 Communist Party party leader Petro Symonenko stated that his party will not cooperate with other parties in the new parliament elected in the 2012 Ukrainian parliamentary election. Nevertheless, in the current parliament its parliamentary faction usually votes similarly to the Party of Regions parliamentary faction.
- On 7 April 2013 a decree by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych freed Yuriy Lutsenko from prison and exempted him from further punishment.
- On 20 December 2013 Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov stated that the public had not been given clear explanations by the authorities of the reason of the decree suspended preparations for signing of the association agreement.
- On 10 December President Yanukovych stated "We will certainly resume the IMF negotiations. If there are conditions that suit us, we will take that path." However, Yanukovych also (once again) stated that the conditions put forward by the IMF were unacceptable "I had a conversation with U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden, who told me that the issue of the IMF loan has almost been solved, but I told him that if the conditions remained ... we did not need such loans."
- RSA stands for Regional State Administration.
- According to the Financial Times people in East Ukraine and South Ukraine "tend to be more politically passive than their western counterparts. Locals say they still feel part of Ukraine and have no desire to reunite with Russia – nor are they likely to engage in conflict with the west".
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- All Polish TV channels simultaneously turned on a song in sign of support for Ukraine. Mirror Weekly. 2 February 2014
- Band Taraka moved hearts. Polskie Radio. 4 February 2014
- Aflame the tire was on fire: new eurohit. Video. Ukrayinska Pravda. 29 January 2014
- New hit of the revolutionary Maidan: "Aflame the barrel was on smoke". espreso tv. 4 February 2014
- Band Skriabin at night on January 23 wrote a song. espreso tv. 23 January 2014
- Race car driver Mochanov dedicated his song to titushky. espreso tv. 5 February 2014
- DJ Rudy Paulenko created this track after being inspired by events on Maidan square 4 March 2014
- Babylon'13: 35 films about the life of Euromaidan. Ukrayinska Pravda. 24 December 2013
- Happy Kyiv. belsat. 10 February 2014
- Group of activists-cinematographers initiated series of films about people of Euromaidan. Ukrayinska Pravda. 5 February 2014
- Revolution through eyes of photograph. Hanna Hrabarska. Ukrayinska Pravda. 11 February 2014
- Revolution through eyes of photograph. Irakliy Dzneladze. Ukrayinska Pravda. 7 February 2014
- Revolution through eyes of photograph. Vladyslav Musiyenko. Ukrayinska Pravda. 4 February 2014
- Epeople: the best project about the faces of Euromaidan. Ukrayinska Pravda. 30 January 2014
- Illustrator Sasha Godiayeva. Emotional protest. Ukrayinska Pravda. 5 February 2014
- Dynamo to play Valencia in Cyprus, Euronews (19 February 2014)
- Dynamo to play Valencia in Cyprus, UEFA (19 February 2014)
- Hockey heartache for hosts, Ukraine violence shocks Games, Reuters (19 February 2014)
- Ukrainian Olympic alpine skier quits Sochi, blames Yanukovych for deaths on EuroMaidan, Kyiv Post (19 February 2014)
- Budivelinik, Khimik home games moved, Eurocupbasketball(3 March 2014)
- Допис by Alexey Tarasoff. (2014-02-27). "Хокейні вболівальники Росії під час матчу кричали ''Слава Україні'' | Українська правда". Pravda.com.ua. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- "Crimean Tatars protest Crimean parliament's refusal to recognize new authorities". Nrcu.gov.ua. 2014-02-26. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- UPA: Controversial partisans who inspire Ukraine protesters - World - New Straits Times
- ""Свободовцы" послали Лукьянченко красно-черный флаг - Донецк.comments.ua". Donetsk.comments.ua. 2014-01-18. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- "DesignContest.com Launches Euromaidan T-Shirt Contest". 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Euromaidan.|
- Euromaidan in English on Facebook
- EuroMaidan collected news and commentary at the Kyiv Post
- Euromaidan PR on Twitter
- Ukraine Channel 5 Live on YouTube (Ukrainian)
- Espreso TV – LIVE on YouTube (Ukrainian)
- Euromaidan Timeline
- Babylon13 Euromaidan Documentaries
- Defense of the peaceful Euromaidan from the Berkut forces
- Euromaidan webcams
- are hundreds of armed opposition activists without motivation and are beaten brutally unarmed police recorded several episodes