The fight of Ukrainian citizens for their rights that was named the “Euromaidan” (and later – the Revolution of Dignity) was one of the most amplitudinous events in the newest history of Ukraine and the logical course for the protection of human and citizenship rights.
On 21 November 2013 one and a half thousands of people came to the square as a sign of protest against the refusal of the pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych to sign the document to which our state had been coming for years – The Agreement on the Associated Membership of Ukraine in the European Union. On 30 November, at night, only several hundreds of activists remained on the street, mainly – students. They were brutally chased by police. In response to that, on 1 December, hundreds of thousands of people came to the centre of Kyiv. The police arbitrariness convoked people to rebel against corruption, the usurpation of power, the russification policy, and the rapprochement with Russia.
The eurointegrative mottos gave the continuous meeting the “Euromaidan” title. Having transformed into the project of the complete renewal of a state system, it gained the “Revolution of Dignity” title. People demanded to punish those who were guilty in the violence against protesters.
After the cruel beating of the youth by the special departments of security apparatus at the main Kyiv square – Maidan Nezalezhnosti – the protest movement transformed into the lasting campaign of the civil disobedience to the authoritarian regime, corruption, and the violation of human rights.
The campaign of solidarity and support of Ukrainian protesters were held in more than 20 countries. The greatest were held in various cities of Canada, the USA, Germany, Poland, Great Britain, Italy, and France. Local activists organized protest campaigns in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Georgia, Estonia, Spain, Portugal, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, Czech, and many other states of the world.
On the 61st day of Maidan, at the place of protests, the first two activists were shot. As at that moment, there were already two dead outside the places of confrontation. It was around a month when the power structure tried to clean up the city centre from protesters.
Only in the night of 22 February 2014, President Yanukovich escaped to Russia by using a charter jet. The amount of 108 victims of the Revolution of Dignity was officially determined. Most of the Heroes of the Heavenly Hundred died from fire wounds on 20 February 2014.
Tactically, the Euromaidan achieved the escape of the president-dictator, the resignation of the government. After the elections, Ukraine had chosen the European vector for development – became the associated member of the EU, citizens got the right of visa-free entry to the European Union. As a consequence of the Free-Trade Zone with the EU, the turnover of goods with the European countries is growing continuously.
Strategically, the country turned its back to its past, the “prison of states”, as the Soviet Union was called among people, and had stood facing to civilized states.
The Prime Minister of Belgium Guy Verhofstadt called the Euromaidan as the biggest Pro-European demonstration within the EU history. This is the most lasting meeting of the latest time. It was continuously standing for 92 days. For comparison, in 1989, manifestations for the overthrow of the communist regime in Czech and Slovakia lasted for 42 days. In Romania, where they were finalized with the lynch-law and the execution of a dictator, they lasted for 11 days.
The events and effort in aggravate that became the basis for the emerging of the Euromaidan phenomenon don’t have today any unambiguous interpretation or appraisal. But, certainly, it is possible to state that this Maidan became the epicentre of fundamental changes in the country. Regardless of its geographical position and outer political forces, perhaps it was possible in regions also. It had launched not only the process of transformation of the political scene but also social and cultural changes. The consequences of this anger explosion and the splash of dignity that had released the colossal public energy will remind on oneself not a single decade both in the geopolitical perspective and in terms of the social and political relations.
The coming of people to the streets in November 2013, after the government’s refusal to sign the association agreement with the European Union, most of the experts determine as the civilization choice. The continuance of civil protests and the self-organization of society in response to the pressure of the state and the union of citizens for the protection of Ukraine from the military aggression in the East signify the extreme importance of this choice.
Within three months, thousands of people lived on the square of the capital. The free time and the creative energy could not fail to be redirected to the active fellowships and valuable projects. The Maidan overgrew with the civil initiatives, tens of which are acting and developing even nowadays. The volunteers of Maidan created the All-Ukrainian volunteer organizations and charitable funds. The Open Maidan University already offers courses of free video lectures for 30 topics. The Unity of diplomats “Maidan of Foreign Affairs” had become the influential counseling place in the area of international affairs. Many members of the improvised security groups of the “Maidan’s Self-defense” agreed to become volunteers when Russia encroached the territories of Ukraine after Maidan. Certain hundreds joined in a centralized way the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The “Clerical Hundred” started from collecting together all destroyed documents from the ex-president residence and now, for the sake of publicity and oversight, digitalizes millions of declarations of officials. The group of movie directors Babylon`13 made over one hundred and fifty, short ones first, and later – full-screen documentaries. Now, they fix the life of the postmaidan country. During the heat of the revolution, there was an understanding of the historical value of events in the air. Nearly at once, two initiatives caught from the atmosphere of Maidan the understanding of the necessity to collect artefacts for descendants. They called the “Museum of Freedom” and the “Museum of Maidan”. Their joint work streamed to the founding of the National Memorial Complex of the Heroes of the Heavenly Hundred – the Museum of the Revolution of Dignity.
The Revolution of Dignity turned to be an extremely transformational and dramatic movement for Ukraine that lead to the death of 107 participants of the protest movement, called as the “Heavenly Hundred”, the escape of the corrupted president and his government, the annexation of the Crimea by the Russian and the commencement of the war in the Donbas.
The Maidan was a determinative step in terms of the process of de-sovietization of Ukraine, the lasting and painful process of the transformation of the post-totalitarian society and redirecting it to the democratic future. Exactly the entirely first post-soviet generation made the Maidan successful.
The Maidan appeared to be an important historical event that had a deep impact on politics not only in Europe but also worldwide. It had irrevocably directed the country to the course to Europe, caused the war with the neighbour Russia, lead to the renewal of the cold war between Russian and the West as well as the impact on the course of political events in the Middle East and the Pacific courtiers. Future historians and political scientists will write on this matter by researching from a broader perspective.
In the first turn, our website and our organization are dedicated exactly to this three-month event.