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Titushky at the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine November 24, 2013

Titushky (plural; Ukrainian: тітушки, Russian: титушки; sometimes titushkos, titushkas) are the mercenary support agents of the Ukrainian police force often posing as street hooligans with the express purpose of performing illegal acts.[1] The 'Titushki raid' is a widely-used term in Ukrainian mass media and by the general public to describe street beatings, carjackings and kidnappings by unidentified men in civilian clothes from behind the lines of political rallies.[1] Titushky are well-known to be employed by the government with the reported daily pay of 200 hryvnia.[1] Some of them are also suspected to be illegal formations of combat troops carying concealed pistols.[1] Their aim is to intimidate and disperse demonstrations by opponents of the government, and attack participants and representatives of the media. The term is sometimes translated as "Rent a Thug."[by whom?]

Titushky blend in with a crowd or mob and then instigate a violent fight. During the events in Ukraine in 2013/2014 known as Euromaidan, they became a collective term for provocateurs and thugs[2] hired by the Party of Regions[citation needed] and law enforcement agents in civilian clothing.[3][4][5] Supporters of President Yanukovich also used the term 'tituskhy' to refer to pro-opposition thugs.[6]

Name origin[edit]

The name comes from Vadym Titushko (Ukrainian: Вадим Тітушко) (also known as Vadik Rumyn (Russian: Вадик Румын), meaning Vadik "the Romanian"), a mixed martial artist[7] from Bila Tserkva who attacked journalists of the 5th Channel on May 18, 2013. He was one of three men who received suspended sentences over the attack. Titushko himself is unhappy with the association with his name,[8] and has expressed personal support for the anti-government Euromaidan protests.[9] In his interview Vadym explained that there was a good deal of confusion as to his association: in fact he was hired for the protection of the rally of the opposition. The journalist (without any badge or other identification) was in the middle of the fight, and he claims he only tried to remove a woman out of the harm's way. [7]

On Radio Liberty web page titushky are described as "burly guys dressed in sports wear who act as agents provocateurs. They crack down on protesters or provoke clashes with the aim of tarnishing peaceful protests".[10]


According to former head of Security Service of Ukraine, "titushki are actively used by the government in local standoffs with people. These are groups of provocateurs who get paid and these are mostly people without steady moral principles and very poor people who desperately need some money. They are not bandits nor prisoners nor criminals, said General Palivoda. Often they even don’t know who and why gathered them and what they will have to do. They understand what they got involved into only after they find themselves in the middle of some action.[11] However, the Titushky squad have pulled the journalist of the Vesti Reporter (Вести. Репортер) weekly, Vyacheslav Veremiy out of his car on the way to Euromajdan and shot him point-blank from a concealed gun causing death, which serves as concrete proof of more than just a happenstance action.[1] Veremiy's killing was confirmed on Wednesday 19 February 2014 at 6.45 am.[12]

A day earlier, on Tuesday 18 February 2014 according to article published in What's On magazine, Titushky were openly shooting live ammunition; at least one protester died at the scene near the Supreme Court building in Kyiv. On the same day, some 200 Titushky men dressed as Maidan defence units with green helmets, shields, bats and iron pipes were beating protesters on Velyka Zhytomerska shoulder-to-shoulder with Berkut troops. This time, the pretence of acting separately from each other was no longer maintained.[12]


The word IT-titushky or IT-titushkas (pronounces "ajtitushky") (Ukrainian: айтітушки) appeared in the Myslovo (Ukrainian: Мислово) dictionary of modern Ukrainian slang. It's composed with two words "IT" and "titushka" and stands for a hacker or an ordinary user, who aggressively acts (DDoS attacks as well as aggressive comments on sites or trolling) against the pro-Euromaidan sources. Are known for already have broken some "pro-revolution" blogs.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d e Katarzyna Kwiatkowska (2014). "Tituszki - napadają, wyciągają ludzi z aut, palą i grabią" [Titushky swarm in, drag people out of cars, burn them and rob]. WP.PL Wiadomości (in Polish) (1123). Archived from the original on 9 November 2013. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  2. ^ ""Беркут" и "титушки" дерутся с митингующими у здания Кабмина" (in Russian). Retrieved 6 December 2013. 
  3. ^ "Як на Банкову звозили "тітушок" автобусами та під наглядом силовиків (ВІДЕО)" (in Ukrainian). Mukachevo.net. Archived from the original on 4 December 2013. 
  4. ^ "Администрацию президента штурмовали на заказ, - СМИ" (in Russian). news.liga.net. 2 December 2013. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "Several hundred 'titushkis' advance on protester barricades in Kyiv, but then retreat". Kyiv Post. 8 February 2014. Archived from the original on 8 February 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  6. ^ ""За что они милицию бьют – быдлы, сволочи?" - как в Донецке и Макеевке оценивают столичные события" (in Russian). Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "Вадим Титушко: "У меня с детства ненависть к гопникам"" (in Russian). Archived from the original on 9 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "From Maidan To Berkut: A Ukraine Protest Glossary". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 18 December 2013. Archived from the original on 4 December 2013. 
  9. ^ "Prawdziwy Tituszko krytykuje "tituszków": Poparłbym EuroMajdan". Dziennik.pl (in Polish). 4 February 2014. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  10. ^ "From Maidan To Berkut: A Ukraine Protest Glossary". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 18 December 2013. Archived from the original on 4 December 2013. 
  11. ^ Frode Larsen (2 January 2014). "Ukrainian top general: There is proof of russian intervention in Ukraine". Uriks.no. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  12. ^ a b News (19 February 2014). "24 Hours of Hell". What's On Kiev (№6/2014). Archived from the original on 23 February2014. Retrieved 23 February 2014.