Last updated

Part of the Ukrainian crisis
Euromaidan collage.jpg
Clockwise from top left: A large EU flag is waved across Maidan on 27 November 2013, opposition activist and popular singer Ruslana addresses the crowds on Maidan on 29 November 2013, Pro EU rally on Maidan, Euromaidan on European Square on 1 December, tree decorated with flags and posters, crowds direct hose at militsiya, plinth of the toppled Lenin statue
Date21 November 2013 (2013-11-21) 23 February 2014
(Minor protests went on until 2 December 2014)
Ukraine, primarily Kyiv (notably Maidan Nezalezhnosti)
Caused by
Main catalyst:
Other factors:
Methods Demonstrations, Internet activism, civil disobedience, civil resistance, hacktivism, [11] occupation of administrative buildings [nb 1]
Resulted in
Full results
Parties to the civil conflict

Lesser Coat of Arms of Ukraine.svg Government of Ukraine

Government parties:


  • Civil servants and pro-government civilian protestors [39] [nb 3]
  • Hired supporters [41]

Political groups:

  • Ukrainian Front [42]

Militant groups:

Anti-government but anti-protest

Groups from Russia

Lead figures
Arseniy Yatsenyuk
Vitali Klitschko
Oleh Tyahnybok
Petro Poroshenko
Yuriy Lutsenko
Oleksandr Turchynov
Andriy Parubiy
Andriy Sadovyi
Ruslana [52] [53]
Tetiana Chornovol
Dmytro Bulatov
Dmytro Yarosh
Refat Chubarov
Viktor Yanukovych
Mykola Azarov
Serhiy Arbuzov
Vitaliy Zakharchenko
Oleksandr Yefremov
Andriy Klyuyev
Hennadiy Kernes
Mykhailo Dobkin
Viktor Pshonka
Olena Lukash
Yuriy Boyko
Leonid Kozhara
Dmytro Tabachnyk

400,000–800,000 protesters [54]
12,000 "self-defense sotnia" [55] [56]


Across Ukraine:
50,000 (Lviv) [57]
20,000 (Cherkasy) [58]
10,000+ (Ternopil) [59]
other cities and towns

Law enforcement in Kyiv:

  • 4,000 Berkut
  • 1,000 Internal Troops

3,000–4,000 titushky [60]
Pro-government/anti-EU demonstrations:
20,000–60,000 (Kyiv)
40,000 (Kharkiv) [61]
15,000 (Donetsk) [62]
10,000 (Simferopol) [63]

2,500 pro-Russia (Sevastopol) [64]
Casualties and losses
  • Died: 104–780 [65]
  • Injured: 1,850–1,900 (sought medical help as of 21 January 2014) [66]
    681 (hospitalised as of 30 January 2014) [67] [68]
  • Missing (probably abducted): 166–300 [65] [69] (as of 30 March 2014)
  • Arrested: 234 [70]
  • Imprisoned: 140 [70]
  • ...further details

Euromaidan ( /ˌjʊərəˌmˈdɑːn,ˌjʊər-/ ; [75] [76] Ukrainian : Євромайдан, romanized: Yevromaidan, literally 'Euro Square' [nb 6] ) was a wave of demonstrations and civil unrest in Ukraine, which began on the night of 21 November 2013 with public protests in Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) in Kyiv. The protests were sparked by the Ukrainian government's decision to suspend the signing of an association agreement with the European Union, instead choosing closer ties to Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union. The scope of the protests soon widened, with calls for the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych and his government. [80] The protests were fueled by the perception of "widespread government corruption", "abuse of power", and "violation of human rights in Ukraine". [81] Transparency International named President Yanukovych as the top example of corruption in the world. [82] The situation escalated after the violent dispersal of protesters on 30 November, leading to many more protesters joining. [5] The protests led to the 2014 Ukrainian revolution.

During the Euromaidan, there were protests and clashes with police throughout Ukraine, especially at the Maidan (central square) in Kyiv, which was occupied and barricaded by protesters, along with some administrative buildings, [83] including Kyiv City State Administration. On 8 December the crowd toppled a Lenin statue nearby. Protests and clashes increased in January, after the Ukrainian parliament passed a group of anti-protest laws. Protesters occupied government buildings in many regions of Ukraine. The protests climaxed in mid-February. Riot police advanced towards Maidan and clashed with protesters but did not fully occupy it. Police and activists fired live and rubber ammunition at multiple locations in Kyiv. There was fierce fighting in Kyiv on 18–20 February, (see List of people killed during Euromaidan). As a result of these events, the Agreement on settlement of political crisis in Ukraine was signed on 21 February 2014 by the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych and the leaders of the parliamentary opposition (Vitaly Klitschko, Arseny Yatsenyuk, Oleh Tyahnybok) under the mediation of the European Union and the Russian Federation. The signing was witnessed by the Foreign Ministers of Germany and Poland, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Radosław Sikorski, respectively, and the Director of the Continental Europe Department of the French Foreign Ministry, Eric Fournier. [84] Vladimir Lukin, representing Russia, refused to sign the agreement.

Shortly after the agreement was signed, Yanukovych and other high government officials fled the country. [85] Protesters gained control of the presidential administration and Yanukovych's private estate. Afterwards, the parliament removed Yanukovych from office, replaced the government with Oleksandr Turchynov, and ordered that former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko be released from prison. [86] Events in Kyiv were soon followed by the Crimean crisis and pro-Russian unrest in Eastern Ukraine. Despite the ousting of Yanukovych, [87] the installation of a new government, and the adoption of the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement's political provisions, the protests have sustained pressure on the government to reject Russian influence in Ukraine.


The demonstrations began on the night of 21 November 2013, when protests erupted in the capital, Kyiv, after the Ukrainian government suspended preparations for signing the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement with the European Union, to seek closer economic relations with Russia. [88] On 24 November 2013, 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). [89] After a few days of demonstrations an increasing number of university students joined the protests. [90] The Euromaidan has been characterised as an event of major political symbolism for the European Union itself, particularly as "the largest ever pro-European rally in history." [91]

Pro-EU demonstration in Kyiv, 27 November 2013 Euromaidan 01.JPG
Pro-EU demonstration in Kyiv, 27 November 2013

The protests continued despite heavy police presence, [92] [93] 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, according to Russia's opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, demonstrating in Kyiv on the weekends of 1 December [54] and 8 December. [94] In the preceding weeks, protest attendance had fluctuated from 50,000 to 200,000 during organised rallies. [95] [96] Violent riots took place 1 December and 19 January through 25 January in response to police brutality and government repression. [97] Starting 23 January, several Western Ukrainian Oblast (province) Governor buildings and regional councils were occupied in a revolt by Euromaidan activists. [16] In the Russophone cities of Zaporizhzhya, Sumy, and Dnipropetrovsk, protesters also tried to take over their local government building, and were met with considerable force from both police and government supporters. [16]

According to journalist Lecia Bushak writing in the 18 February 2014 issue of Newsweek magazine,

EuroMaidan [had] 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. [98]

A turning point came in late February, when enough members of the president's party fled or defected for the party to lose its majority in parliament, leaving the opposition large enough to form the necessary quorum. This allowed parliament to pass a series of laws that removed police from Kyiv, canceled anti-protest operations, restored the 2004 constitution, freed political detainees, and removed President Yanukovych from office. Yanukovych then fled to Ukraine's second-largest city of Kharkiv, refusing to recognise the parliament's decisions. The parliament assigned early elections for May 2014. [99]

In early 2019, a Ukrainian court found Yanukovych guilty of treason. Yanukovych was also charged with asking Vladimir Putin to send Russian troops to invade Ukraine after he had fled the country. The charges will have a little real effect on Yanukovych, 69, who has lived in exile in the Russian city of Rostov since fleeing Ukraine under armed guard five years ago. [100]


Name history

The term "Euromaidan" was initially used as a hashtag of Twitter. [77] A Twitter account named Euromaidan was created on the first day of the protests. [101] It soon became popular in the international media. [102] The name is composed of two parts: "Euro" is short for Europe and "maidan" refers to Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square), the large square in the downtown of Kyiv, where the protests mostly took place. The word "Maidan" is an Arabic word meaning "square" or "open space" adopted by Ukrainians from the Ottoman Empire. [77] During the protests, the word "Maidan" acquired meaning of the public practice of politics and protest. [103]

The term "Ukrainian Spring" is sometimes used, echoing the term Arab Spring. [104] [105]

Initial causes

On 30 March 2012 the European Union (EU) and Ukraine initiated an Association Agreement; [106] 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. [107] [nb 7] 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. [109] [110] 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." [111] According to Pavlo Klimkin, one of the Ukrainian negotiators of the Association Agreement, initially "the Russians simply did not believe (the association agreement with the EU) could come true. They didn't believe in our ability to negotiate a good agreement and didn't believe in our commitment to implement a good agreement." [112]

In mid-August 2013 Russia changed its customs regulations on imports from Ukraine [113] such that on 14 August 2013, the Russian Custom Service stopped all goods coming from Ukraine [114] and prompted politicians [115] and sources [116] [117] [118] 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). [113] 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). [119]

On 21 November 2013 a Ukrainian government decree suspended preparations for signing of the association agreement. [120] [121] The reason given was that the previous months Ukraine had experienced "a drop in industrial production and our relations with CIS countries". [122] [nb 8] 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." [122] 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. [124] [125] 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. [126] 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 stimulate growth". [127] [nb 9]

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), [109] but the Association Agreement was not signed. [129] [130] Both Yanukovych and high level EU officials signalled that they wanted to sign the Association Agreement at a later date. [131] [132] [133]

In an interview with Lally Weymouth, Ukrainian billionaire businessman and opposition leader Petro Poroshenko said: "From the beginning, I was one of the organizers of the Maidan. My television channel—Channel 5—played a tremendously important role. ... On the 11th of December, when we had [U.S. Assistant Secretary of State] Victoria Nuland and [E.U. diplomat] Catherine Ashton in Kyiv, during the night they started to storm the Maidan." [134]

On 11 December 2013 the Prime Minister, Mykola Azarov, said he had asked for 20 Billion Euros (US$27) in loans and aid to offset the cost of the EU deal. [135] The EU was willing to offer 610 million euros (838 million US) in loans, [136] however Russia was willing to offer 15 billion US in loans. [136] Russia also offered Ukraine cheaper gas prices. [136] As a condition for the loans, the EU required major changes to the regulations and laws in Ukraine. Russia did not. [135]

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. [137] [138] [139] The biggest support for the protest can be found in Kyiv (about 75%) and western Ukraine (more than 80%). [137] [140] Among Euromaidan protesters, 55% were from the west of the country, with 24% from central Ukraine and 21% from the east. [141]

In a poll taken on 7–8 December, 73% of protesters had committed to continue protesting in Kyiv as long as needed until their demands were fulfilled. [5] This number had increased to 82% as of 3 February 2014. [141] Polls also showed that the nation was divided in age: while a majority of young people were pro-EU, older generations (50 and above) more often preferred the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia. [142] More than 41% of protesters were 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 were ready to take part in the creation of independent military units, compared to 15 and 21 percent during the past studies, respectively. [141]

According to a January poll, 45% of Ukrainians supported the protests, and 48% of Ukrainians disapproved of Euromaidan. [143]

In a March poll, 57% of Ukrainians said they supported the Euromaidan protests. [144]

A study of public opinion in regular and social media found that 74% of Russian speakers in Ukraine supported the Euromaidan movement, and a quarter opposed. [145]

Public opinion about joining the EU

According to an August 2013 study by a Donetsk company, Research & Branding Group, [146] 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. [147]

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?" [148] [149]

Another poll conducted in November by IFAK Ukraine for DW-Trend showed 58% of Ukrainians supporting the country's entry into the European Union. [150] 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. [151]

In December 2013, then Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykola Azarov refuted the pro-EU poll numbers claiming that many polls posed questions about Ukraine joining the EU, and that Ukraine had never been invited to join the Union, but only to sign the Association Agreement. [152] [153]

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. [154] 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. [155] The hashtag #euromaidan (Ukrainian #євромайдан, Russian #евромайдан), emerged immediately on the first meeting of the protests and was highly useful as a communication instrument for protesters. [156] Vitali Klitschko wrote in a tweet [157] "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 [158] he made on the square saying that once the protest was 100,000-strong, "we'll go for Yanukovych" – referring to President Viktor Yanukovych. [156]

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.'" [159]

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. [160]

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. [92]

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." [161] 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. [162] [163] 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. [162] 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. [148]

Escalation to violence

Euromaidan protest in Kyiv, 18 February 2014 Euromaidan Kiev 2014-02-18 15-08.JPG
Euromaidan protest in Kyiv, 18 February 2014

The movement started peacefully but later protesters felt justified in using violence after the government's crackdown on protesters which happened during the night of 30 November 2013. The Associated Press said on 19 February:

The latest bout of street violence began Tuesday when protesters attacked police lines and set fires outside parliament, accusing Yanukovych of ignoring their demands to enact constitutional reforms that would limit the president's power—a key opposition demand. Parliament, dominated by his supporters, was stalling on taking up a constitutional reform to limit presidential powers. Police responded by attacking the protest camp. Armed with water cannons, stun grenades and rubber bullets, police dismantled some barricades. But the protesters held their ground through the night, encircling the protest camp with new burning barricades of tires, furniture and debris. [164]

In the early stages of Euromaidan, there was discussion about 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'. [165]

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." [166]

Media outlets in the region dubbed the movement, Eurorevolution [167] (Ukrainian : Єврореволюція). On 10 December Yanukovych said "Calls for a revolution pose a threat to national security." [168] Former Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili has described the movement as "the first geopolitical revolution of the 21st century". [169]

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. [170]


Opposition leaders Vitali Klitschko, Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Oleh Tyahnybok, addressing demonstrators, 27 November 2013 Opposition leaders.jpg
Opposition leaders Vitali Klitschko, Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Oleh Tyahnybok, addressing demonstrators, 27 November 2013

On 29 November, a formal resolution by protest organisers made the following demands.: [92]

  1. The formation of a co-ordinating committee to communicate with the European community.
  2. A statement indicating 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 demanding Yanukovych's resignation.
  3. 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. [92]

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. [171]

A petition to the US White House demanding sanctions against Viktor Yanukovych and Ukrainian government ministers gathered over 100,000 signatures in four days. [172] [173] [174] [175]

Ukrainian students nationwide have also demanded the dismissal of Minister of Education Dmytro Tabachnyk.

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. [176]

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". [177]

Timeline of the events

Euromaidan 2013 Mstyslav Chernov-14.jpg
Euromaidan-protestors on 27 November 2013, Kyiv, Ukraine
Riot police (Bekrut), defending the Kiev city council building, and protesters clash at Bankova str, Kiev, Ukraine. December 1, 2013-2.jpg
Bulldozer clashes with Internal Troops on Bankova Street, 1 December 2013

The Euromaidan protest movement began late at night on 21 November 2013, as a peaceful protest. [178]

Riots in Kyiv

On 30 November 2013, the protests were dispersed violently by the Berkut riot police units, sparking riots the following day in Kyiv. [179] 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, [180] as well as the formation of "Self Defense" teams by protesters. [181]

1 December 2013 riots

11 December 2013 assault

Conquest of the Ministry of Justice, Euromaidan, January 27, 2014.jpg
Protesters surround the Ministry of Justice, Kyiv, 27 January 2014

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 Kyiv to protest against 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 clean-up began in Kyiv. On 22 January, more violence erupted in Kyiv. This resulted in 8–9 people dead.

2014 Ukrainian revolution

After a series of violent events towards protesters in Kyiv leaving 100 of them dead [182] President Yanukovych signed the Agreement on settlement of political crisis in Ukraine. The next day he fled the country and was removed from office by the Rada on 22 February 2014. [183] [184] [185]

Protests across Ukraine

CityPeak attendeesDateRef.
Kyiv 400,000–800,0001 Dec [54]
Lviv 50,0001 Dec [57]
Kharkiv 30,00022 Feb [186]
Cherkasy 20,00023 Jan [58]
Ternopil 20,000+8 Dec [187]
Dnipropetrovsk 15,0002 Mar [92] [188]
Ivano-Frankivsk 10,000+8 Dec [189]
Lutsk 8,0001 Dec [190]
Sumy 10,0002 Mar [191]
Poltava 10,00024 Jan [192]
Donetsk 10,0005 Mar [193]
Zaporizhia 10,00026 Jan [194]
Chernivtsi 4,000–5,0001 Dec [190]
Simferopol 5,000+23 Feb [195]
Rivne 4,000–8,0002 Dec [196]
Mykolaiv 10,0002 Mar [197]
Mukacheve 3,00024 Nov [198]
Odessa 10,0002 Mar [199]
Khmelnytskyi 8,00024 Jan [189]
Bila Tserkva 2,000+24 Jan [200]
Sambir 2,000+1 Dec [201]
Vinnytsia 5,0008 Dec 22 Jan [202]
Zhytomyr 2,00023 Jan [203]
Kirovohrad 1,0008 Dec 24 Jan [192] [204]
Kryvyi Rih 1,0001 Dec [205]
Luhansk 1,0008 Dec [206] [ citation needed ]
Uzhhorod 1,00024 Jan [207]
Drohobych 500–80025 Nov [208]
Kherson 2,5003 Mar [209]
Mariupol 40026 Jan [210]
Chernihiv 150–20022 Nov [211]
Izmail 15022 Feb [212]
Vasylkiv 704 Dec [213]
Yalta 5020 Feb [214]

A 24 November protest in Ivano-Frankivsk saw several thousand protestors gather at the regional administration building. [215] No classes were held in the universities of western Ukrainian cities such as Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Uzhhorod. [216] 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. [217] 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. [218]

7 people were injured after a tent encampment in Dnipropetrovsk was ordered cleared by court order on 25 November and it appeared that thugs had undertaken to perform the clearance. [219] [220] Officials estimated the number of attackers to be 10–15, [221] and police did not intervene in the attacks. [222] 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. [223] 50 police officers and men in plain clothes also drove out a Euromaidan protest in Chernihiv the same day. [224]

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. [225]

On 26 November, a rally of 50 was held in Donetsk. [226]

On 28 November, a rally was held in Yalta; university faculty who attended were pressured to resign by university officials. [227]

On 29 November, Lviv protesters numbered some 20,000. [228] Like in Kyiv, 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). [228] [229]

The largest pro-European Union protests outside Kyiv have taken place at the Taras Shevchenko monument in Lviv Euromaidan in Lviv (24.11.2013) 11.JPG
The largest pro-European Union protests outside Kyiv have taken place at the Taras Shevchenko monument in Lviv
Pro-European Union protests in Luhansk Euromaidan in Luhansk.jpg
Pro-European Union protests in Luhansk

On 1 December, the largest rally outside of Kyiv 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. [57] An estimated 300 rallied in the eastern city of Donetsk demanding that President Viktor Yanukovych and the government of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov resign. [230] Meanwhile, in Kharkiv, thousands rallied with writer Serhiy Zhadan, during a speech, calling for revolution. The protest was peaceful. [231] [232] [233] Protesters claimed at least 4,000 attended, [234] with other sources saying 2,000. [235] In Dnipropetrovsk, 1,000 gathered to protest the EU agreement suspension, show solidarity with those in Kyiv, and demand the resignation of local and metropolitan officials. They later marched, shouting "Ukraine is Europe" and "Revolution". [236] EuroMaidan protests were also held in Simferopol (where 150–200 attended), [237] and Odessa. [238]

On 2 December, in an act of solidarity, Lviv Oblast declared a general strike to mobilise support for protests in Kyiv, [239] which was followed by the formal order of a general strike by the cities of Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk. [240]

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). [241]

On 7 December it was reported that police were prohibiting those from Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk from driving to Kyiv. [242]

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 Kyiv took place. [243] The statue made out of stone was completely hacked to pieces by jubilant demonstrators.

On 9 December, a statue of Vladimir Lenin was destroyed in the town of Kotovsk in Odessa Oblast. [244] In Ternopil, Euromaidan organisers were prosecuted by authorities. [245]

The removal or destruction of Lenin monuments and statues gained particular momentum after the destruction of the Kyiv Lenin statue. Under the motto "Ленінопад" (Leninopad, 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. [246] In other cities and towns, monuments were removed by organised heavy equipment and transported to scrapyards or dumps. [247]

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. [248] They have since 5 December been the victims of theft and arson. [249] 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. [250]

On 22 December, 2,000 rallied in Dnipropetrovsk. [251]

New Year celebration on Maidan

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 Kyiv." [252] [ better source needed ] 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. [253]

On 11 January 150 activists met in Kharkiv for a general forum on uniting the nationwide 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. [254]

Police clash with protesters Radically oriented protesters throwing Molotov cocktails in direction of Interior troops positions. Dynamivska str. Euromaidan Protests. Events of Jan 19, 2014-5.jpg
Police clash with protesters

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. [255] Meanwhile, Donetsk City Council pleaded with the government to take tougher measures against Euromaidan protesters in Kyiv. [256] Reports indicated a media blackout took place in Donetsk. [257]

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 Kyiv. [258]

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. [259] 23 January Odessa city council member and Euromaidan activist Oleksandr Ostapenko's car was bombed. [260] The Mayor of Sumy threw his support behind the Euromaidan movement on 24 January, laying blame for the civil disorder in Kyiv on the Party of Regions and Communists. [261]

The Crimean parliament repeatedly stated that because of the events in Kyiv it was ready to join autonomous Crimea to Russia. On 27 February armed men seized the Crimean parliament and raised the Russian flag. [262] 27 February was later declared a day of celebration for the Russian Spetsnaz special forces by Vladimir Putin by presidential decree. [263]

In the beginning of March, thousands of Crimean Tatars in support of Euromaidan clashed with pro-Russian protesters in Simferopol.

On 4 March 2014, a mass pro-Euromaidan rally was 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 5 March 2014, 7,000–10,000 people rallied in support of Euromaidan in the same place. [264] After a leader declared the rally over, a fight broke out between pro-Euromaidan and 2,000 pro-Russian protesters. [264] [265]

Occupation of administrative buildings

Starting on 23 January, several Western Ukrainian Oblast (province) Governor buildings and regional councils (RSA's [nb 10] ) were occupied by Euromaidan activists. [16] 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. [17] In the cities Zaporizhzhya, Dnipropetrovsk and Odessa protesters also tried to take over their local RSA. [16]

Protests outside Ukraine

Euromaidan in Munich Ukraine Demo Munchen (12269462196).jpg
Euromaidan in Munich

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, [266] Buffalo Electric Vehicle Company Tower in Buffalo, [267] Cira Centre in Philadelphia, [268] the Tbilisi City Hall in Georgia, [269] and Niagara Falls on the US/Canada border [270] 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[ citation needed ]. 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 Kyiv. "People at Antimaidan stand for money only. The government uses these hirelings to provoke resistance. They won't be sacrificing anything." [271]

Euromaidan groups


Automaidan [272] was a movement within the Euromaidan, that sought the resignation of the Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. It was made up mainly of drivers who would protect the protest camps and blockade streets. It organised a car procession on 29 December 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 was the repeated target of violent attacks by government forces and supporters.

Self-defence groups

Self-defence of the Maidan Radically oriented masked protesters armed with shovels, Dynamivska str., Euromaidan protests, events of Jan 19, 2014.jpg
Self-defence of the Maidan

On 30 November 2013, the day after the dispersion of Euromaidan, Euromaidan organisers, aided by groups such as Svoboda, created "Self-defence of the Maidan" – their own police force for protecting protesters from police and providing security within the city. [273] [274] Head of Self-defence is Andriy Parubiy. [275]

The groups are divided up into sotnias, or 'hundreds', which have been described as a "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 People's Army, Ukrainian Insurgent Army, Ukrainian National Army etc. [276]

Along with Mr. Parubiy's force, there are some "independent" divisions of enforcers (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, [277] Narnia and Vikings from Kyiv City State Administration, [278] Volodymr Parasyuk's sotnia from Conservatory building, [279] [280] etc. Mr. Parubiy officially asked such divisions to not call themselves Self-defence. [281]

Pravy Sektor coordinates its actions with Self-defence and is formally a 23-rd sotnia, [282] although already had hundreds of members at the time of registering as a sotnia. Second sotnia (staffed by Svoboda's members) tends to dissociate itself from "sotnias of self-defence of Maidan". [283]



US Secretary of State John Kerry looks at the photos of those killed at Maidan, at the Verkhovna Rada in Kyiv. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry looks at the photos of those killed at Maidan, at the Verkhovna Rada in Kyiv.jpg
US Secretary of State John Kerry looks at the photos of those killed at Maidan, at the Verkhovna Rada in Kyiv.

The first of major casualties occurred on the Day of Unity of Ukraine, 22 January 2014. Four people permanently lost their vision, [284] 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, [285] four people perished from gunshot wounds. [285] Medics confirmed bullet wounds to be from firearms such as a Dragunov sniper rifle (7.62mm) and possibly a Makarov handgun (9mm) in the deaths of Nihoyan and Zhyznevskyi. [286] [287] There are photos of Berkut utilising shotguns (such as the RPC Fort), and reporters verified the presence of shotgun casings littering the ground. [288] Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office confirmed two deaths from gunshot wounds in Kyiv protests. [289] "We are pursuing several lines of inquiry into these murders, including [that they may have been committed] by Berkut (special police unit) officers, Vitali Sakal, first deputy chief of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry's Main Investigative Directorate told a press conference in Kyiv on Friday...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 were used to commit the murders 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. [290]

Ukrainian Red Cross Society volunteers administering first aid to a wounded protester, 19 January 2014. Ukrainian Red Cross Society volunteers administering first aid to a wounded Euromaidan protester. Events of Jan 19, 2014-5.jpg
Ukrainian Red Cross Society volunteers administering first aid to a wounded protester, 19 January 2014.

On 31 January it was discovered that 26 unidentified, unclaimed bodies remained in the Kyiv central morgue; 14 of which were from January alone. [291] [292] Journalists revealed that a mass burial was planned on 4 February 2014. [291] The Kyiv city administration followed on the announcement with its own statement informing that there are 14 such bodies; 5 from January. [293]

On 18 and 19 February, at least 26 people were killed in clashes with police, [294] 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. [295] [ unreliable source? ]

On 20 February, gunfire killed 60 people, according to an opposition medical service. [296]

In total, more than 100 people were killed and 2,500 injured in clashes with security forces. The death toll included at least 13 police officers, according to Ukrainian authorities. [297]

Investigation into shooters/snipers

Hrushevskoho Street riot shootings

During the 2014 Hrushevskoho Street riots of 22–25 January, 3 protesters were killed by firearms.

Oleh Tatarov, deputy chief of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry's Main Investigative Directorate under Yanukovych, claimed in January that "[t]he theory we are looking at is the killing was by unidentified persons. This is an official theory, and the unidentified persons could be various people, a whole host of them… It could have been motivated by disruptive behavior, or with the aim of provocation." He then claimed the cartridges and weapons used in the shootings were not police issue. [290] Forensics experts found that protesters were killed with both buckshot and rifle bullets, [298] while medics confirmed the bullet wounds to be from firearms such as the Dragunov sniper rifle (7.62×54mmR) and possibly 9×18mm Makarov cartridges. [299]

A report published on 25 January by Armament Research Services, a speciality arms and munitions consultancy in Perth, Australia, stated that the mysterious cufflink-shaped projectiles presumably fired by riot police on Hrushevskoho Street at protesters during clashes were not meant for riot control, but for stopping vehicles, busting through doors and piercing armour. The bullets were reported to be special armour-piercing 12-gauge shotgun projectiles, likely developed and produced by the Spetstekhnika (Specialized Equipment) design bureau, a facility located in Kyiv and associated with the Ministry of Internal Affairs. [300]

On 31 January 2014, Vitali Sakal, first deputy chief of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry's Main Investigative Directorate told a press conference that "[w]e are pursuing several lines of inquiry into these murders, including [that they may have been committed] by Berkut (special police unit) officers." [290] On 31 January 2014 during a live broadcast on television channel "Rossiya", the far-right Russian politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky expressed threats towards the protesting events in Kyiv stating the following:

Today our client in Kyiv, the honored Viktor Federovych Yanukovych, he will show you the heat when the Olympiad ends. You will know what is Yanukovych. Right now he got sick just in case, but later it will be announced, "Spare no bullets!" And we will give bullets, instead of money we will give bullets.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, "Rossiya". 31 January 2014. [301]

On 10 October 2014 Reuters published a report about their examination of Ukraine's probes into the Maidan shootings. [302] They have uncovered "serious flaws" in the case against Berkut (special police force) officers arrested by the new Ukrainian government and charged with murder of 39 unarmed protesters. [303] For example, as Reuters' own investigation found out, the senior among arrested officers was missing his right hand after an accident 6 years ago. This dismissed main evidence presented by prosecutor, a photograph of a man holding his rifle with both hands. Other "flaws" according to Reuters included the fact that no one was charged with killing policemen and that the prosecutors and the minister in charge of the investigation all took part in the uprising. For example, the General Prosecutor of Ukraine Vitaly Yarema is known for hitting a traffic policeman in the face during the protests, [304] which he denied, [305] but a video of the incident appeared later and confirmed his involvement in the attack. [306]

Snipers deployed during the climax of the protests

Following the revolution of 18–23 February that saw over 100 killed in gunfire, the government's new health minister, Oleh Musiy, a doctor who helped oversee medical treatment for casualties during the protests, suggested to The Associated Press that the similarity of bullet wounds suffered by opposition victims and police indicates the shooters were trying to stoke tensions on both sides and spark even greater violence, with the goal of toppling Yanukovych and justifying a Russian invasion. "I think it wasn't just a part of the old regime that (plotted the provocation), but it was also the work of Russian special forces who served and maintained the ideology of the (old) regime," he said, citing forensic evidence. [307] Hennadiy Moskal, a former deputy head of Ukraine's main security agency, the SBU, and of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, suggested in an interview published in the Ukrainian newspaper Dzerkalo Tizhnya that snipers from the MIA and SBU were responsible for the shootings, not foreign agents, acting on contingency plans dating back to Soviet times, stating: "Snipers received orders to shoot not only protesters, but also police forces. This was all done to escalate the conflict, to justify the police operation to clear Maidan." [308] [309]

The IBTimes reported that a telephone call between Estonian foreign minister Urmas Paet and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton had been intercepted in which Paet stated that a doctor named Olga stated that victims from both sides were shot by the same snipers and that Olga had photos of the shooting victims with the same "handwriting." Paet said he found it "really disturbing that now the new coalition [doesn't] want to investigate what exactly happened," and that "there is a stronger and stronger understanding that behind snipers it was not Yanukovych, it was somebody from the new coalition." [310] However, Paet later denied that he implicated the opposition in anything as he was merely relaying rumours he had heard without giving any assessment of their veracity, while acknowledging that the phone call was genuine. [311] A spokesperson for the US state department described the leaking of the call as an example of "Russian tradecraft". [312]

Olga Bogomolets, the doctor, who allegedly claimed that protesters and Berkut troops came under fire from the same source, said she had not told Paet that policemen and protesters had been killed in the same manner, that she did not imply that the opposition was implicated in the killings, and that the government informed her that an investigation had been started. [313] A German TV investigation met one of the few doctors that treated the wounded of both sides. "The wounded that we treated, all had the same type of bullet wounds. The bullets were all identical. That's all I can say. In the bodies of the wounded militia, and the opposition." Lawyers representing relatives of the dead complained: "We haven't been informed of the type of weapons, we have no access to the official reports, and to the operation schedules. We have no documents to the investigation, state prosecutors won't show us any papers." [314]

On 12 March 2014, Interior Minister Avakov has stated that the conflict was provoked by a 'non-Ukrainian' third party, and that an investigation was ongoing. [315]

On 21 March 2014, Oleh Makhnitsky, Ukraine Parliamentary Commissioner for the supervision of the General Prosecutor of Ukraine and a member of the right-wing Svoboda party, stated that the government had identified the snipers shooting at the demonstrators in Kyiv as "Ukrainian citizens," but did not release their names. [316]

On 31 March 2014, the Daily Beast published photos and videos which appear to show that the snipers were members of the Ukrainian Security Services (SBU) "anti-terrorist" Alfa Team unit, who had been trained in Russia. [317]

On 2 April 2014, law enforcement authorities announced in a press conference they had detained nine suspects in the 18–20 February shootings of Euromaidan activists, acting Prosecutor General of Ukraine Oleh Makhnytsky reported. Among the detainees was the leader of the sniper squad. All of the detained are officers of the Kyiv City Berkut unit, and verified the involvement of the SBU's Alfa Group in the shootings. Officials also reported that they plan to detain additional suspects in the Maidan shootings in the near future, and stressed that the investigation is ongoing, but hindered by the outgoing regime's destruction of all documents and evidence. Ukraine's Ministry of Internal Affairs confirmed that Viktor Yanukovych gave the order to fire on protesters on 20 February. [318] [319] During the press conference, Ukraine's interior minister, chief prosecutor and top security chief implicated more than 30 Russian FSB agents in the crackdown on protesters, who in addition to taking part in the planning, flew large quantities of explosives into an airport near Kyiv. Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, the interim head of Ukraine's SBU state security agency, said the agents were stationed in Kyiv during the entire Euromaidan protests, were provided with "state telecommunications" while residing at an SBU compound, and in regular contact with Ukrainian security officials. "We have substantiated grounds to consider that these very groups which were located at an SBU training ground took part in the planning and execution of activities of this so-called antiterrorist operation," said Nalyvaichenko. Investigators, he said, had established that Yanukovych's SBU chief Oleksandr Yakymenko, who had fled the country, had received reports from FSB agents while they were stationed in Ukraine, and that Yakymenko held several briefings with the agents. Russia's Federal Security Bureau rejected the comments as "groundless accusations" and otherwise refused to comment. [320]

In 2015 BBC published a story based on an interview with an anonymous sniper who said he was firing at anti-riot police from Conservatory (music academy) building on the morning of 20 January 2014. The sniper said he was recruited by a "former military" claiming to be working for Euromaidan leadership. These morning shots are said to have provoked return fire from police snipers that resulted in many deaths. Andriy Shevchenko from Euromaidan leadership said he received calls from anti-riot police command reporting that his people are being shot by sniper bullets from the areas controlled by the protesters. Another Euromaidan leader, Andriy Parubiy, said his team searched the Conservatory and found no snipers. He confirmed that many victims on both sides were shot by snipers, but they were shooting from other, taller buildings surrounding the Conservatory and was convinced they were snipers controlled by Russia. [321]

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. [322] On 22 January 2014, Television News Service (TSN) reported that journalists started to remove their identifying uniform (vests and helmets), as they were being targeted, sometimes on purpose, sometimes accidentally. [323] Since 21 November 2013, a total of 136 journalists have been injured. [324]


Support for Euromaidan in Ukraine

Opposition leaders, 8 December 2013 Klitschko Tyahnybok Yatsenyuk Dec 8 2013.jpg
Opposition leaders, 8 December 2013

According to a 4 to 9 December 2013 study [137] by Research & Branding Group 49% of all Ukrainians supported Euromaidan and 45% had the opposite opinion. It was mostly supported in Western (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 81% in East Ukraine, 60% in South Ukraine [nb 11] , in Central Ukraine 27% and in Western Ukraine 11%. Polls have shown that two-thirds of Kyivans support the ongoing protests. [140]

A poll conducted by the Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Fund and Razumkov Center, between 20 and 24 December, showed that over 50% of Ukrainians supported the Euromaidan protests, while 42% opposed it. [139]

Another Research & Branding Group survey (conducted from 23 to 27 December) showed that 45% of Ukrainians supported Euromaidan, while 50% did not. [138] 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. [138]

An Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation survey of protesters conducted 7 and 8 December 2013 found that 92% of those who came to Kyiv from across Ukraine came on their own initiative, 6.3% was organised by a public movement, and 1.8% were organised by a party. [5] [339] 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. [5] [340] The poll showed that 49.8% of the protesters are residents of Kyiv and 50.2% came from elsewhere in 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. [5] [339]

In the eastern regions of Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv, 29% of the population believe "In certain circumstances, an authoritarian regime may be preferable to a democratic one." [341] [342]

According to polls, 11% of the Ukrainian population has participated in the Euromaidan demonstrations, and another 9% has supported the demonstrators with donations. [343]

Public opinion about Association Agreement

According to a 4 to 9 December 2013 study [137] 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. [344] 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. [344]

Political impact

US Senator John McCain addresses crowds in Kyiv, 15 December. Makkein na Ievromaidani.jpg
US Senator John McCain addresses crowds in Kyiv, 15 December.

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. [345]

A telephone call was leaked of US diplomat Victoria Nuland speaking to the US Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt about the future of the country, in which she said that Klitschko should not be in the future government, and expressed her preference for Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who became interim Prime Minister. She also casually stated "fuck the EU." [346] [347] German chancellor Angela Merkel said she deemed Nuland's comment "completely unacceptable". [348] Commenting on the situation afterwards, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that Nuland had apologized to her EU counterparts [349] 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". [350]

In February 2014 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." [351] In the following late October 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election Svoboda lost 31 seats of the 37 seats it had won in the 2012 parliamentary election. [352] [353] The other main far-right party Right Sector won 1 seat (of the 450 seats in the Ukrainian parliament) in the same 2014 election. [352] From 27 February 2014 till 12 November 2014 three members of Svoboda did hold positions in Ukraine's government. [354]

On 21 February, after negotiations between the president Yanukovych and representatives of opposition with mediation of representatives of the European Union and Russia, the agreement "About settlement of political crisis in Ukraine" was signed. The agreement provided return to the constitution of 2004, that is to a parliamentary presidential government, carrying out early elections of the president until the end of 2014 and formation of "the government of national trust". [355] The Verkhovna Rada adopted the law on release of all detainees during protest actions. Divisions of "Golden eagle" and internal troops left the center of Kyiv. On 21 February, at the public announcement leaders of parliamentary opposition of conditions of the signed Agreement, representatives of "Right Sector" declared that they don't accept the gradualness of political reforms stipulated in the document, and demanded immediate resignation of the president Yanukovych—otherwise they intended to go for storm of Presidential Administration and Verkhovna Rada. [356]

On the night of 22 February activists of Euromaidan seized the government quarter [357] left by law enforcement authorities and made a number of new demands—in particular, immediate resignation of the president Yanukovych. [358] Earlier that day, they stormed into Yanukovych's mansion. [359]

On 23 February 2014, following the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, the Rada passed a bill that would have altered the law on languages of minorities, including Russian. The bill would have made Ukrainian the sole state language at all levels. [360] However, on the next week 1 March, President Turchynov vetoed the bill. [361]

Following the Protests, Euromaidan activists mobilized toward state transformation. Activists began to, "promote reforms, drafting and advocating for legislative proposals and monitoring reform implementations. [362] Civic Activists stepped into peculiar roles (such as the armed defense and hard security provision, which was considered unusual at the time. Since the conclusion of the Euromaidan protests Civil Society in Ukraine has become a vibrant and active political actor, however civil society does not appear to have the capacity to truly hold government to account.[ citation needed ]

Human rights impact

In the wake of the 2014 Euromaidan, Eduard Dolinsky, executive director of the Kyiv-based Ukrainian Jewish Committee, expressed concern over the rise of antisemitism in Ukraine in an opinion for the New York Times, citing the social acceptance of previously marginal far-right groups and the government's policy of historical negationism with regard to antisemitic views of, and collaboration in the Holocaust by Ukrainian nationalists. Dolinsky also pointed out that Ukrainian Jews overwhelmingly supported and often participated in the Euromaidan protests. [363]

Economic impact

The Prime Minister, Mykola Azarov, asked for 20 billion Euros (US$27 billion) in loans and aid from the EU [135] The EU was willing to offer 610 million euros (838 million US) in loans, [136] however Russia was willing to offer 15 billion US in loans. [136] Russia also offered Ukraine cheaper gas prices. [136] As a condition for the loans, the EU required major changes to the regulations and laws in Ukraine. Russia did not. [135]

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. [364] First deputy Prime Minister Serhiy Arbuzov stated on 7 December Ukraine risked a default if it 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." [365]

Petro Poroshenko addresses Euromaidan on 8 December 2013 Petro Poroshenko addresses Euromaidan.jpg
Petro Poroshenko addresses Euromaidan on 8 December 2013

On 3 December, Azarov warned that Ukraine might not be able to fulfill its natural gas contracts with Russia. [366] And he blamed the deal on restoring gas supplies of 18 January 2009 for this. [366]

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. [367] Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine Natalia Korolevska stated on 2 January 2014 that these January 2014 payments would begin according to schedule. [368]

On 11 December, the second Azarov Government postponed social payments due to "the temporarily blocking of the government". [369] 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). [370]

Fitch Ratings reported on 16 December that the (political) "standoff" had led 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". [371] It also added "Interest rates rose sharply as the National Bank sought to tighten hryvnia liquidity." [371]

First Deputy Finance Minister Anatoliy Miarkovsky stated on 17 December the Ukrainian government budget deficit in 2014 could amount to about 3% with a "plus or minus" deviation of 0.5%. [372]

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." [373] 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". [374]

On 21 January 2014, the Kyiv City State Administration claimed that protests in Kyiv had so far caused the city more than 2 million US dollars worth of damage. [375] It intended to claim compensation for damage caused by all demonstrators, regardless of their political affiliation. [375]

On 5 February 2014, the hryvnia fell to a five-year low against the US dollar. [376]

Kyiv, 2 February 2014 Ievromaidan 02 liutogo 2014 Kiyiv.JPG
Kyiv, 2 February 2014

On 21 February 2014, Standard & Poor's cut Ukraine's credit rating to CCC; adding that the country risked default without "significantly favourable changes". [377] 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". [378]

Social impact

In Kyiv, life continued "as normal" outside the "protest zone" (namely Maidan Nezalezhnosti). [379] [380]

"Euromaidan" was named Word of the Year for 2013 by modern Ukrainian language and slang dictionary Myslovo, [381] and the most popular neologism in Russia by web analytics company [382]

Cultural impact

According to a representative of the Kyiv History Museum, its collection in the Ukrainian House on the night of 18–19 February, after it was recaptured by the police from the protesters. [383] Eyewitnesses report seeing the police forces plundering and destroying the museum's property. [384]

Music of Maidan

Protester performs on the roof of burned "Berkut" bus. The barricade across Hrushevskoho str. Kyiv, 10 February 2014. Protester Piano Extremist plays on the roof burned "Berkut" bus. The barricade across Hrushevskoho str. Kiev, 10.02.2014..jpg
Protester performs on the roof of burned "Berkut" bus. The barricade across Hrushevskoho str. Kyiv, 10 February 2014.

Leading Ukrainian performers sang the song "Brat za Brata" (English: "Brother for Brother") by Kozak System to support protesters. The song was one of the unofficial anthems of Euromaidan. [385]

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". [386] [387] [388]

Among other tunes, some remakes of the Ukrainian folk song "Aflame the pine was on fire" appeared (Ukrainian : Горіла сосна, палала). [389] [390]

The Ukrainian band Skriabin created a song dedicated to the revolutionary days of Maidan. [391] Another native of Kyiv dedicated a song to titushky. [392]

DJ Rudy Paulenko created a track inspired by events on Maidan called "The Battle at Maidan". [393]

Belarusian rock band Lyapis Trubetskoy's song "Warriors of Light" (Voiny Svieta) was one of the unofficial anthems of Maidan. [394]

Films of Maidan

A compilation of short films about the 2013 revolution named "Babylon'13", was created. [395]

Polish and Ukrainian activists created a short film, "Happy Kyiv", editing it with the Pharrell Williams hit "Happy" and some shoots of "Babylon'13". [396]

On 5 February 2014, a group of activist cinematographers initiated a series of films about the people of Euromaidan. [397]

The American filmmaker John Beck Hofmann made the film Maidan Massacre, about the sniper shootings. It premiered at the Siena International Film Festival, receiving the Audience Award. [398]

In 2014 Belarusian-Ukrainian filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa released the documentary Maidan. It was filmed by several cameramen instructed by Loznitsa during the revolution in 2013 and 2014 and depicts different aspects, from peaceful rallies to the bloody clashes between police and protesters.[ citation needed ]

In 2015 Netflix released the Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom about the Euromaidan protests. The documentary shows the protests from the start until the resignation of Viktor Yanukovych. The movie won the Grolsch People's Choice Documentary Award at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. [399]

Art of Maidan

Performance "Artist-fighter". Author image- Iana Zholud Performance "Artist-fighter". .jpg
Performance "Artist-fighter". Author image- Iana Zholud

Some photo correspondents created numerous unique pictures of everyday life at Maidan. [400] [401] [402] [403] Some artists expressed their solidarity with Maidan. [404]


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 Kyiv's Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex to the GSP Stadium in Nicosia, Cyprus, "due to the security situation in the Ukrainian capital". [405] [406]

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 honour those killed in the violent clashes in Kyiv. [407] IOC president Thomas Bach offered his condolences "to those who have lost loved ones in these tragic events". [407]

On 19 February 2014, alpine skier Bohdana Matsotska refused to further participate in the 2014 Winter Olympics in protest against the violent clashes in Kyiv. [408] 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." [408]

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. [409]

The Ukrainian ribbon. Ribbons are common symbols of non-violent protest Blue and yellow ribbon.svg
The Ukrainian ribbon. Ribbons are common symbols of non-violent protest
The rally on European Square in Kyiv, 24 November 2013 The rally on European Square in Kiev on Sunday, November 24, 2013 (cropped).jpg
The rally on European Square in Kyiv, 24 November 2013
Headquarters of the Euromaidan. At the front entrance there is a portrait of Stepan Bandera, a twentieth century Ukrainian nationalist. Headquarters of the Euromaidan revolution.jpg
Headquarters of the Euromaidan. At the front entrance there is a portrait of Stepan Bandera, a twentieth century Ukrainian nationalist.

A common chant among protesters is "Glory to Ukraine, Glory to Heroes!" [410] The chant has extended beyond Ukrainians and has been used by Crimean Tatars and Russians. [410] [411]

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. [412] 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 Kyiv is that it is the strongest possible expression of protest against the pro-Russian orientation of the current government." [413] The colours of the flag symbolise Ukrainian red blood spilled on Ukrainian black earth. [414]


In a poll published on 24 February 2014 by the state-owned Russian Public Opinion Research Center, only 15% of those Russians polled said 'yes' to the question: "Should Russia react to the overthrow of the legally elected authorities in Ukraine?" [415]

Investigation about Euromaidan was ongoing since December of 2013 following the initial dispersal of student gathering on the night of November 30. On December 13, 2013 the President Viktor Yanukovych and government officials announced that three high-ranking officials will be brought to justice. [416] [417] The General Prosecutor's Office of Ukraine questioned a chairman of the Kyiv City State Administration Oleksandr Popov on December 13 and a Security Council secretary Andriy Klyuev on December 16. [418] The announcement about ongoing investigation became public at the so-called "round table" negotiations initiated by former President of Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk. [419] On December 14, both Sivkovych and Popov were officially temporarily relieved of their duties until conclusion of the investigation. [420]

On December 17 the Prosecutor General questioned an activist Ruslana Lyzhychko who informed that beside Popov under pre-trial investigation are Sivkovych, Koriak and Fedchuk. [421] On request of parliamentary opposition, Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka read in Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament) a report on investigation about dispersal of protesters on November 30. [422] During the report the Prosecutor General acknowledged that members of public order militsiya "Berkut" "exceeded the use of force" after being provoked by protesters. Pshonka also noted that investigation has not yet determined who exactly ordered use of force. [423] Following the PG's report, the parliamentary opposition registered a statement on creation of provisional investigation committee in regards to actions of law enforcement agencies towards peaceful protests in Kyiv. [424]

Earlier, a separate investigation was started by the Security Service of Ukraine on December 8, 2013 about actions aimed at seizing state power in Ukraine. [425] In the context of the 1 December 2013 Euromaidan riots, the Prosecutor General informed that in calls for the overthrow of the government are involved member of radical groups. [426] During the events at Bankova, the Ukrainian militsiya managed to detained 9 people and after few days the Ministry of Internal Affairs announced that it considers Ukrainian organization Bratstvo (see Dmytro Korchynsky) to be involved in instigation of disorders, while no one out of the detained were members of that organization. [427] [428]


In mid-October 2014, President Petro Poroshenko stated that 21 November (Euromaidan started on 21 November 2013) will be celebrated as "Day of Dignity and Freedom". [178]

As of February 2019, the Ukrainian government has broken ground on a new Maidan memorial that will run the length of Institutska Street, now also known as Avenue Of The Heavenly Hundred. [429]

See also


  1. Since 1 December 2013 Kyiv's Town Hall has been occupied by Euromaidan-protesters; this forced the Kyiv City Council to meet in the Solomianka Raion state administration building instead. [12]
  2. There was no legal basis for these bans since in Ukraine only a court can ban the activities of a political force. [18]
  3. Reports of some protesters attending under duress from superiors [40]
  4. "Titushky" are provocators during protests. [45]
  5. Early November 2012 Communist Party party leader Petro Symonenko stated that his party will not co-operate with other parties in the new parliament elected in the 2012 Ukrainian parliamentary election. [48] Nevertheless, in at the time in parliament its parliamentary faction usually voted similarly to the Party of Regions parliamentary faction. [49]
  6. The term "Euromaidan" was initially used as a hashtag on Twitter. [77] A Twitter account named Euromaidan was created on the first day of the protests. [78] It soon became popular in the international media. [79] It is composed of two parts: Euro is short for Europe and maidan refers to Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square), the main square of Kyiv, where the protests were centered. [77]
  7. On 7 April 2013 a decree by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych freed Yuriy Lutsenko from prison and exempted him from further punishment. [108]
  8. 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. [123]
  9. 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." [128] 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." [128]
  10. RSA stands for Regional State Administration.
  11. 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". [338]

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