Thursday, 13 December

Five years ago, the government of former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov refused to sign an association agreement with the European Union. Dissatisfied Ukrainians took to the streets, for what seemed to be a peaceful protest. The protest, which turned into the struggle with the system and the Revolution of Dignity. Opinion talked with well-known Ukrainians and found out who the heroes of the Maidan are for them, for what they appreciate the Revolution of Dignity and what has been recalled the most in five years.

Andriy Lyubka, poet, prose writer, essayist, columnist, translator

Above all, the Revolution of Dignity for me is a confirmation that Ukraine is moving in the right direction, that from year to year, from generation to generation, the number of people who are ready to fight for their rights and dreams, that is to be Europeans, is increasing.

In 5 years, the brightest “memory” of Maidan for me is a dire picture, when heroes under a wooden shield, go forward, uphill.

The hero of Maidan for me is a person who in 5 years has managed not to lose a common sense and not to join the ranks of “all-in-vainers”. A person that doesn’t support populists and agents of Kremlin, the one that is ready to fight and defend further.

I appreciate Maidan for the fact that it has changed the history of Ukraine, and has become the beginning of tremendous changes in Europe. Perhaps, this is the most important event in our lives.

Річниця Революції Гідності: «Вільні люди обирають вмирати стоячи, аніж жити на колінах»

Photo: Zurab Javakhadze

Olena Dobrovolska, blogger

Above all, the Revolution of Dignity for me is the story about free people, who choose to die on their feet, rather than live on their knees. Many people don’t understand that Maidan wasn’t about Europe, but it was about freedom, self-identification and awakening from the sleep.

In 5 years, the brightest “memory” of Maidan for me is… There are a lot of them and they all form one big picture of Unity. Shock, anger and sorrow for the bodies of the deceased, to whom the priest gave last rites. And blood-stained Ukrainian flags. It seemed impossible, it is incomprehensible that in the center of the civilized world, in the XXI century snipers shot people dead.

The hero of Maidan for me is everyone who joined it. Those, who were not afraid to look into the abyss. These are not only the people who were on the main square of the country, but also in the cities where their head could be bashed in, car burnt down, and they could become disabled.

I appreciate Maidan for the awakening of many people. For the fact that it changed the country, at least determined its course. Someone says that nothing has changed, but it’s not true, although this resistance will last for many years. And the only question is that in someone’s head Revolution of Dignity has already happened, while other’s remains the same as before.

Річниця Революції Гідності: «Вільні люди обирають вмирати стоячи, аніж жити на колінах»

Photo: Vasyl Fedosenko, Reuters

Roman Bezsmertnyi, MP, diplomat, one of Ukrainian Constitution authors

Above all, the Revolution of Dignity for me is a protest for the sake of changes.

In 5 years, the brightest “memory” of Maidan for me is black Independence Square. The hero of Maidan for me is people.

I appreciate Maidan for its resilience, sincerity and dignity.

Річниця Революції Гідності: «Вільні люди обирають вмирати стоячи, аніж жити на колінах»

Photo: Valentina Oryzhenko, Reuters

Larysa Voloshynajournalist and psychologist

Above all, the Revolution of Dignity for me is a manifestation of strong solidarity. According to the polls, more than half of Ukrainians either participated directly in Maidan or actively supported it with money, gathered food and warm clothes, provided protesters with other help. Such unity that embraced the entire country, in my opinion, is the best evidence that people really wanted to change the system. However, they did it peacefully with the help of protest actions. The reaction of the other side is also illustrative. From the outset, the system showed its readiness for violence. Titushkas (mercenary agents who supported the Ukrainian police during the revolution – translator’s note), abductions, assaults on activists. The sides were clearly outlined. A society that has consolidated and tries to call on the authorities to change in a civilized way. And authorities, which are not going to negotiate with people. Authorities that provoke and bring violence.

In 5 years, the brightest “memory” of Maidan for me is lanterns that people lit during the concert of Vakarchuk. Svyatoslav was singing a song, then, looking somewere in the distance, he stopped and said that there was some kind of magic back then. I turned and saw thousands of lights in the darkness. They were everywhere. From the stage to Instytutska street. It seemed that it was a sea. Then it became clear to me that there were not just a lot of people, they couldn’t fit the square. Later on, Senator McCain published a video of these lights, filmed from the window of the hotel. Then I was thinking a lot that hundreds of thousands and millions of Ukrainians managed to unite around the protest against the authorities, meanwhile, they were able to create a completely peaceful community. Instead of aggression, there was solidarity, instead of hatred, there was a joy of being surrounded by like-minded people. Ukrainian Maidan was permated by that atmosphere – lights in the darkness that form the shining sea.

The hero of Maidan for me is Maidan itself. I wrote a lot about the fact that metaphorically Maidan is a collective hero. The image which Joseph Kemble described in his Hero with a Thousand Faces. Maidan is a phenomenon. It appears when Ukraine is in danger. The main idea of Maidan is the salvation of the offended people. Quite mythological image. Not every protest rally reaches the scale of Maidan. It is necessary for people to be unified around the dream of changes. Thus, the Maidan itself becomes a mythological hero to whom they appeal, whom they support, or hate; the one they are waiting for and the one they look up to. The hero is Maidan itself. And people are its participants. Therefore any attempts to name oneself a leader of Maidan cause the feeling of rejection in society. Such a “leader” is immediately blamed for being an impostor.

I appreciate Maidan for giving a chance for rebirth to Ukraine.

Річниця Революції Гідності: «Вільні люди обирають вмирати стоячи, аніж жити на колінах»

Photo: Vlad Sodel

Oleg “Mokh” Hnativ, producer of “Familia Perkalaba”, musician, blogger

Above all, the Revolution of Dignity for me is a clarification.

In 5 years, the brightest “memory” of Maidan for me is that night …

The hero of Maidan for me is people.

I appreciate Maidan for people.

Річниця Революції Гідності: «Вільні люди обирають вмирати стоячи, аніж жити на колінах»

Photo: RIA news

Zoya Kazanzhy, journalist, writer, blogger and communications consultant

Above all, the Revolution of Dignity for me is awareness of the power of people, who refused to play by imposed rules, and who were able to change the course of history.

In 5 years, the brightest “memory” of Maidan for me is the bells of St. Michael’s Church, which began to sound the alarm during one of the nights; the first deceased, to whom priest gave the last rites on the ground floor of the Ukrainian House; Ustym Holodnyuk (deceased heroe of Maidan – translator’s note), a boy and his “sky is falling”…

The hero of Maidan for me is people, everyone. Those who went out, who brought tires, firewood, medications. Those who died. All those who wanted changes and were ready to sacrifice their lives.

I appreciate Maidan for the feeling of freedom, for the sense of pride in our country. We’ve become different. Different in terms of quality.

Річниця Революції Гідності: «Вільні люди обирають вмирати стоячи, аніж жити на колінах»

Photo: Makhailo Petyakh

Stas Zhyrkov, director, honored artist of Ukraine, art director of “Zoloti Vorota” theatre.

Above all, the Revolution of Dignity, for me is a manifestation of courage and finding of new values. It’s self-identification of me and people who are around.

In 5 years, the brightest “memory” of Maidan for me is students. Disperse of the students.

The hero of Maidan for me is absolutely everyone who was there, who died there, who survived, the one who wasn’t afraid…

I appreciate Maidan for, as I said – for self-identification. I understood who I am.

Річниця Революції Гідності: «Вільні люди обирають вмирати стоячи, аніж жити на колінах»

Photo: Nina Beroeva

Larysa Denysenko, a writer and human rights activist

Above all, the Revolution of Dignity for me is different people united by different purposes; people with different interests, who stood up against injustice and mendacity. It’s like I’m looking at it from the heavenly perspective, and it looks like a unique planet, a living pulsating organism

The hero of Maidan for me is Kyiv citizens.

I appreciate the Maidan for sincerity, unity, joviality in spite of everything. People sprout through lies. Different people with different truths sprout through lies.

Річниця Революції Гідності: «Вільні люди обирають вмирати стоячи, аніж жити на колінах»

Photo: Serhiy Morgunov

Natalka Didenko, weather forecaster

Above all, the Revolution of Dignity for me is an understanding of millions of people that they are the nation, that they are people. On their own and together.

In 5 years, the brightest “memory” of Maidan for me is the night of one of the first serious assaults. When “Kyiv, stand up!” was heard from the Maidan, and Kyiv citizens rushed to save people in the middle of the night, by foot they were going through blocked bridges and streets. They just got up from their warm beds, put on jackets, scarves, hats and set off to help. Without fear, without looking for any benefits, without hesitations.

For me, there are many heroes of Maidan. These are the renowned names, as well as ordinary people, my friends and even people with whom I chatted there without knowing their names. The main thing is that I know – they will always be Ukraine’s foundation. They won’t betray.

I appreciate Maidan for the finest and most powerful emotions which I saw in simple things. It was the time when I clearly and distinctly felt the presence of God there.

Річниця Революції Гідності: «Вільні люди обирають вмирати стоячи, аніж жити на колінах»

Photo: Nataliia Kravchuk

Oleh Verhelis, a theatre critic, art columnist, publicist

Above all, the Revolution of Dignity for me is a realization that history is “here and now”.

In 5 years, the brightest “memory” of Maidan for me is faces of people.

The hero of Maidan for me is Ukrainian people.

I appreciate Maidan for changing something in everyone’s life.

Річниця Революції Гідності: «Вільні люди обирають вмирати стоячи, аніж жити на колінах»

Photo: Hlib Haranych, Reuters

Mykola Knyazhytskyi, chairman of the Committee on Culture and Spirituality, MP from “Narodnyi Front”(People’s Front) faction, journalist

Above all, the Revolution of Dignity for me is a struggle for real Independence.

In 5 years, the brightest “memory” of Maidan for me is the rescue of journalists of Espresso TV, who were saved from the burning Trade Unions Building with the help of a fire truck. They were hiding there from the squad of snipers.

The hero of Maidan for me is Dima Dvoichenkov – an operator who broadcasted all battles at Hrushevsky street directly, right from the scene of the event, the one who was arrested and repeatedly beaten by the police.

I appreciate Maidan for sincerity and the feeling of fraternity between completely unknown Ukrainians.

Річниця Революції Гідності: «Вільні люди обирають вмирати стоячи, аніж жити на колінах»

Photo: Hlib Haranych, Reuters

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