Before I start, let me tell you something. I’ve never considered myself a patriotic person. Yes, I love my country, but I admit that I want to live abroad. If someone had told me a year ago that I would be a participant in a revolution, I would have thought that person was crazy. Still, when the havoc in Ukraine started, I found myself voluntarily standing in the middle of it. Many of you have heard about Euromaidan and The Revolution of Dignity, as it is called. This is my story of the happening events.


November 26, 2013

I woke up from the sound of the TV. My mother was sitting in the chair beside me and was watching it with a tense look on her face.

“Hey, what’s going on?” I asked her, sleepily.

“I’m watching news. They said that on the 21st of November our government decided to suspend preparations for Association Agreement with the European Union. People are outraged. They organized themselves through social networks and came to the Independence Square in a sign of protest. Journalists and our activists ask people to join them. The police and troops of Berkut are already there. You better pay attention, probably you will talk about it in the university.”

I nodded and looked at the picture on the TV. There were hundreds of people with signs and national flags, and they stood face to face with Berkut and the police, who were trying to move them away to clear a place for a New Year Tree.

“Why did they decide to suspend preparations?”

My mom rolled her eyes.

“Probably because the President of Russia wanted them to. It would stop the corruption because EU would be watching us closely. They don’t want to lose money.”

We definitely didn’t live in a country where the people’s will was the first priority.

“Our President has two previous convictions for robbery and assault. Do you really think this man cares about us?”  She shook her head.

“Then we must take care for ourselves.” I stood and started to get ready to go to the university.


The first thing I noticed when I came into the building was a swarm of students in national costumes and blue and yellow ribbons. They were standing in groups, and it didn’t seem like they were going to the classes.

One girl was coming in my direction, and I caught her by her sleeve.

“What is this all about?” I asked.

“Haven’t you heard? We are going on a strike! Everyone gathers in the yard at 12.00 p.m. Our rector will lead us to Maidan.”

“What about classes?”

“It’s up to you. The teachers gave us permission to skip classes if we give them the assignments after 29th, when all this will be over. You can also choose where to go. Some of us will go to the Independence Square, and others will go to different universities to help them unite. After they join forces, they will also go to Maidan.”

I thanked her for the information and hovered in the hall. I had three classes that day, and my teachers were rather strict; they wouldn’t have thought that a strike was a good excuse for absence on the lessons. Finally, I decided to go on to my classes and see what would happen next. Deep inside I felt a twinge of guilt that surprised me — like I was going to miss something important, as if a strike was more important than lessons. As if my presence could somehow help. But it couldn’t, could it? If everyone had thought so, Maidan would’ve never arisen, and no one would’ve paid attention to the people. The result of the revolution always depends on each one of us.

After returning home, I heard about guys from my university on TV. I saw how their amicable column headed to Maidan, waving national flags and banners with stars of the European Union, and I wanted to join them so much!

The next day I was determined. Studying at a very patriotic university, it was hard not to catch its enthusiasm, its love for the country, and, above all, its hope that something can still be changed. Oh, we craved changes.

On the 27th of November, all the students had rallied in the main courtyard, from which we planned to go to Maidan. Like the last time, half of us were going for the students from other universities. Unfortunately, at other campuses, we found trouble. The administration was reluctant to let students go from school because they were afraid that the government would punish them. They locked the gate and did not allow anyone to enter or exit. The bravest of the boys climbed over the fence, even though they were threatened with expulsion. Later, repressions got worse.

I went with a group that was sent to Maidan. It was incredible. We gathered in the courtyard, dappled in blue and yellow colors. We were given a flag and ribbons, and girls in the corner painted our faces with gouache.

We had about 1,500 people. We lined up in rows of four people and went up the Andriyivskyy Descent. Emotions were extraordinary: people stopped and clapped for us, filmed us with cameras, and cheered, and cars honked in encouragement even though we were blocking the roadway. From somewhere came the reporters. We beat drums, shouted youth for Euro integration, student`s strike, student`s solidarity, Ukraine, get up, Ukraine above all, Ukraine is Europe, and so on. The main chant of the revolution was Glory to Ukraine, Glory to heroes.

When we got to Maidan, the stage announced our coming and asked others to give us the way. Music blared with Ukrainian songs to cheer us up and to not let us freeze. Outside it was -13 degrees, and the only thing we could do to warm up was to dance. Soon my friends and I strayed from the university group, and we began to explore the area. There were less people than I expected — about seven to eight thousand — and that was with the presence of the students. Politicians were not allowed on Maidan because it was a peaceful action without policy. Nevertheless, they sponsored us and later helped us to build a tent city on Independence Square. Near the Berehynia monument, which at that time served as the stage, people were handing out food. Right next to it stood the tent for warming and barrels with fire. People were sitting on plastic stools or on timbers. I was impressed by the friendly atmosphere that prevailed in the air. Every now and then we were approached by people asking if we were cold and offering us a place by the fire, food, or gloves.

When the scene announced the recruitment of volunteers, I cried, “I volunteer!” I laughed to myself. All of Maidan was littered with posters of The Hunger Games. I was put to cook. Nothing special: sandwiches and hot tea.

When I brought food, all the people smiled at me and wished me good health. I had never seen such kindness from my fellow citizens. According to many of our TV channels, the Independence Square was full of the homeless and unemployed. But no, there were people who came to defend their right to choose. We knew that EU is not very profitable for Ukraine, but an alliance with Russia was much worse. We have not forgotten the days of the USSR.

Once, I was approached by a woman about 70 years old. I was shocked that older people stood with us on Maidan since it was rather cold and uncomfortable. She gave me a stick of sausage and a bag of crisps.

“Here, child, take it and give to the others. You need it more than I. We will stand here for a long time.”

I tried to refuse — I was ashamed to take food from the old woman, whose pension barely afforded her to live — but she insisted. After a while I sat in a circle near the barrel. Next to me were people of all ages, from 16 to 80 years, but they still communicated with each other. I turned to a man with a European flag on his lapel.

“Soon there will be one more star,” he said with a sure smile.

I smiled weakly and nodded. I didn’t believe it. But we waited for 28-29 of November, the summit in Vilnus which would decide the fate of Ukraine.

Maidan was surrounded by the police and Berkut. They allegedly guarded the New Year tree and kept the situation in order. Girls gave them flowers, shouting, “Police is with people!” I, on the other hand, knew that during the Orange Revolution, the police were on the opposite side of the fence, so I looked at them with suspicion.

What struck me the most was the brightness in the eyes of my people. They found hope. After the last revolution, which ended in complete disappointment, I thought that I would never see it again. But no, even though there were not many of us, it was still a big breakthrough.

In the evening, my friends and I decided to go home. Many people stayed overnight on Maidan so that our little camp wouldn’t be removed while we were all asleep at our homes. But since my house was 15 minutes from Maidan, I decided to come back in the morning. The first time I came, it was more out of curiosity, but the second time I wanted to support the struggle of my people. It`s impossible to remain indifferent when you are surrounded by good people, charging you with adrenaline. You do not want to leave. At that moment I felt a unity with them. We were unanimous in our fantasies and hopes.

The remaining days were similar to the first: we came to the university, and then to Maidan, worked there until the evening, and then went home. The number of people on the Independence Square didn’t change; many came with kids and performed with them from the stage. Actions in support of the police continued. We gave them flowers and food. By and large it was an emotional attack: It is not easy to beat people who embraced you and took care of you. Yeah, at least that’s what we thought. People played concerts, danced in circles, sang the national anthem. It was fun. Until the 29th of November when Yanukovych again didn’t sign the agreement with the European Union. People became angrier. They were looking forward to the summit. From the scene, it was announced that we should continue to stand on Maidan and that we shouldn’t diverge.

If only we knew that this day will turn history.

 Below is a video that gives a glimpse into what this whole experience was like.

[su_youtube url=”” width=”540″ height=”320″][su_youtube url=”” height=”480″][/su_youtube]

4 Replies to “Memoirs of a Little Revolutionary”

Leave a Reply