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Mackenzie Institute | 06Feb2014 | Myroslav Petriw
Euro Maidan, the Ukrainian Revolution: Conflict of Civilizational
Choice in the Geographical Centre of Europe
Ukraine, a young European country with a millennium of recorded
history, is again experiencing spasms of protests in Independence
Square, the Maidan Nezalezhnosty, in Kyiv (Kiev).
Ukrainians -- Ruthenians of historic Rus’ -- have known civilizational
conflict before. They blunted the advance of Batu Khan’s Horde in the
siege of Kyiv in 1240. The Great Khan’s multi-ethnic Asian empire
raided further west, but fell back to lands east of Rus’-Ukraine. To
Ukrainians, the Russian Federation is a renamed cultural continuation
of that empire, and today’s conflict is a continuation of what began in
1240. By curious coincidence, the Maidan stands on exactly the same
real estate where the Lyadski Gates  stood, the place where Batu
Khan’s Horde broke through Kyiv’s defences on a cold December day
nearly 800 years ago. December 2013 saw crowds numbering many hundreds
of thousands stand there facing the armoured riot police of a Ukrainian
government that is Ukrainian in name only.
The inhabitants of today’s Ukraine are divided, scarred by the
genocidal policy of the USSR. In the words of Professor James Mace, the
Cherokee-American turned Ukrainian who studied the Holodomor Genocide
of 1932-33 (also known as the Terror Famine in Ukraine), “Ukraine is a
post-genocidal society.” 
Prior to the Holodomor, lands where Ukrainian-speakers formed the
majority had reached far east of Ukraine’s political borders. Today
Ukrainian-speakers are a minority in their own land. They form a solid
majority only in the western provinces of Halychyna and Volyn’ that
were outside the USSR prior to September 1939.
Data from 2007 shows that out of a population of 46.7 million , 17.5
million speak Ukrainian at home, 19.7 million speak Russian and 9.19
million speak Surzhyk, a Creole language that is a blend of the two .
The significance of this as applied to Ukrainian politics was best
expressed 150 years ago by the English philosopher John Stuart Mill
when he wrote his treatise on representative government:
…there is a still more vital
consideration. Free institutions are next to impossible in a country
made up of different nationalities. 
He continued by describing in detail the exact methods used by
Ukraine’s politicians to pervert democracy in order to hold power.
Among a people without fellow-feeling,
especially if they read and speak different languages, the united
public opinion, necessary to the working of representative government,
cannot exist. The influences, which form opinions and decide political
acts, are different in the different sections of the country. An
altogether different set of leaders have the confidence of one part of
the country and of another. The same books, newspapers, pamphlets,
speeches, do not reach them. One section does not know what opinions,
or what instigations, are circulating in another. The same incidents,
the same acts, the same system of government, affect them in different
ways; and each fears more injury to itself from the other nationalities
than from the common arbiter, the state. That any one of them feels
aggrieved by the policy of the common ruler is sufficient to determine
another to support that policy. 
Following this recipe, the current President Victor Yanukovych came to
power supported by the eastern Russian-speaking electorate. He
overturned all constitutional safeguards putting himself in the
undisputed centre of power. A Belorussian barely able to speak
Ukrainian, he immediately began trading Ukrainian sovereignty for his
own, and his supporting clan’s, economic advantage. He extended the
Russian Black Sea fleet’s lease on Sebastopol in exchange for a
temporary discount on the punitively overpriced Gazprom natural gas.
And so it came as a shock when he declared in August 2013 that Ukraine
intended to sign an association agreement with the EU by that November
during the EU summit meeting. This meant that Ukraine would not join
Vladimir Putin’s Russian customs union. Imposing party discipline on
his generally pro-Russian Party of Regions, he forced through much of
the required reforms. The opposition held its breath in anticipation of
a “Nixon in China” political shocker.
Not that long ago, under the very much pro-western President Victor
Yushchenko, Ukraine had been rebuffed by Europe when on 9 November
2005, Commissioner Rehn stated that “The EU’s absorption capacity is
stretched to its limits.”  Europe’s, and specifically Angela
newfound receptiveness, may be explained by the discovery and
exploration of two major shale gas fields in Ukraine.   An
independent Ukraine or even Ukraine as an energy supplier becomes very
attractive indeed. This same reality made Ukraine’s European overtures
a major threat to Gazprom and thus Putin’s Russia.
An information campaign was waged throughout Ukraine touting the
benefits of Europe and in fact the majority of Ukrainians already
favoured closer ties with Europe. Russia’s Putin reacted to this new
direction with a vicious campaign of trade interruptions, threats, and
anti-shale gas propaganda.  Yanukovych’s determination appeared to
waver after a five-hour off-the-record conversation with Putin in Sochi
on 27 October 2013.  This was followed by a secret meeting with
at the Moscow airport on 9 November 2013.  Coincidentally, the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) had refused a bailout of Ukraine’s
bankrupt finances at about this same time. 
On 21 November 2013, while Yanukovych was in Vienna still talking
association, his Prime Minister, Mykola Azarov (a Russian) declared
that Ukraine would not sign the association agreement with the EU but
would instead seek membership in Putin’s customs union. That day, the
first protesters took to the Maidan. They hoped that this was merely a
rift in Ukrainian politics and that Yanukovych would still sign with
Europe. With that hope, crowds began to gather on the Maidan on 24
November 2013 for a peaceful demonstration in support of association,
an event that had been planned and prepared weeks earlier.
Coincidentally on that same day an agreement with Iran regarding
uranium enrichment was announced by the US and five major powers. It
was generally understood that only Russian influence could achieve this
and that Russian influence does not come cheap. The previous month’s
IMF decision was seen to be somehow linked. 
On 28 November 2013, Yanukovych attended the Vilnius Summit. On 29
he refused to sign the association agreement, proposing instead a
tripartite negotiation between the EU, Ukraine and Russia, a proposal
that was another embarrassing surrender of Ukrainian sovereignty. The
crowds on the Maidan grew to enormous proportions. This was now a
protest. But being an idealistic apolitical protest, political parties,
their leaders and flags were not welcome.
Ill equipped to spend the night outdoors, the number of protesters
dwindled to a mere 250 after midnight. At 4 a.m. on 30 November 2013,
Berkut (Golden Eagle) riot police troops struck.  The protesters,
young and old, men and women were beaten and cleared from the Maidan.
There were 165 injured of which 109 were hospitalized.
The next day, on 1 December 2013, a crowd estimated to be between
and 600,000 gathered on the Maidan, and seized the City Hall and the
Trade Union Building. This time the three opposition parties and their
leaders were involved. These were Oleh Tyahnybok of the Svoboda
(Freedom) Party; Arseniy Yatseniuk of Batkivshchyna (Fatherland); and
Vitaliy Klitchko of UDAR (Punch). They provided what had been lacking
the previous day, namely structure, a communication network, marshals,
and a voice that could state the threat “sign or else”. The “or else”
was now clear. The protest demanded the resignation of the President,
Prime Minister and his government and the calling of new parliamentary
and presidential elections. Similar demonstrations took place in all
major Ukrainian cities, and cities around the world. Predictably, the
demonstrations in Ukraine’s east and south were much smaller.
One may be drawn to make some comparisons with the Orange Revolution of
2004, the widely publicized and ultimately successful protest against
the falsified results of Ukraine’s presidential election of 21 November
2004. The so-called Euro Maidan revolution is larger but not nearly as
well organized. It is very much a grass roots reaction.
The Orange Revolution had been prepared nearly a year prior, with
members of PORA, an election fraud monitoring non-governmental
organization, trained by the Einstein Institution in the US.  They
had an enormous number of tents so that their positions would not be
surrendered at night. They had food and medical supplies. They had
steel drums and drummers to counter the noise of police beating on
shields. They had marshals to maintain order and to catch provocateurs
(government planted thugs whose actions could discredit the whole).
They had strategies prepared, such as placing girls on the front lines
facing the riot police. They had a communication network including the
Maidan website that would report “enemy troop movements” of buses
filled with police, enabling timely interdiction by roadblocks or
protesters lying in front of vehicles.
This time it was different. The circumstances that caused this had not
been predicted. There was no organization trained and ready. Due to a
lack of tents the protest was weakest at night. However, just as nine
years ago, small business was supporting the protest with goods and
services. There is a unifying idea above and beyond politics and
When in 2004, the Russian Federation was seen as just another
not-quite-foreign country, today the pro-EU sentiment is actually a
fear of Russia. There is a clear understanding that Putin’s customs
union is the slippery slope to the renewal of the USSR or the Empire of
Moscovy. Putin does not hide it. He called the collapse of the Soviet
Union the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century.
 He stated to George W. Bush that Ukraine is not even a real
But those standing on the Maidan today have a clear understanding of
who they are, and what they want to be. It is a younger crowd. It is a
crowd of those that never knew the USSR.
Not surprisingly, when in 2004 the language of the Maidan was a 50/50
mix of Russian and Ukrainian, today Ukrainian dominates.
On 8 December 2013, the crowd grew to one million. Police were nowhere
seen as activists of the opposition Svoboda Party knocked down the
infamous statue of Lenin. It had once stood in New York at the 1939
World Fair, but was now an anachronism at Kyiv’s Besarabka marketplace.
Another test of the strength of the Euro Maidan came in the early
morning hours of 11 December 2013.  At first the forces of
and attacking police were evenly matched, but the demonstrators had the
high ground of the City Hall. In a replay of medieval siege tactics
they poured water from above onto the assault force. At minus 10
degrees Celsius, the tactic worked as well as the boiling oil of old.
The black-helmeted attack of the Berkut riot police was repulsed. The
improvised barricades on Institutska Street held. The call up of
reserves was heeded as fresh thousands poured out of their homes to
join the protestors on the Maidan.
Local police and “Interior Troops” did not take part in the assault. It
was the armoured Berkut troops that attacked shouting anti-Ukrainian
epithets, clearly signalling their loyalty to a foreign state. As the
sun rose, those black suited troops retreated.
Taxi operators struck by offering free rides to the Maidan. The
president of Microsoft in Ukraine left his position to take his place
among the demonstrators.  Social media is reporting worldwide in
time. A software programmer in Kyiv developed an app to support the
Euro Maidan that instantly calls preselected team leaders giving exact
co-ordinates whenever reinforcements are needed.
As New Years and the Christmas holidays approached the Euro Maidan
continued to stand. But as could be expected its numbers dwindled. But
on 25 December 2013, a hideous event broke the peace of the season. The
young investigative journalist Tetiana Chornovil had recently reported
on the palatial residence of President Yanukovych, and had just
photographed the sumptuous digs of the Minister of Internal Affairs
Vitaliy Zakharchenko, the man directly responsible for the actions of
the police. 
Tetiana was driving home after midnight on the highway to the Borispil
airport, when her car was cut off by a Porsche Cayenne. Her car was
then repeatedly hit by the large SUV and chased after she performed a
U-turn to escape the attackers. Her small car was forced off the road,
and she was pulled out and severely beaten by two assailants.
On 1 January 2014, Kyiv witnessed a massive torch-lit march in
commemoration of the birth of Stepan Bandera. Bandera was the wartime
leader of the Revolutionary wing of the Organization of Ukrainian
Nationalists (OUN) whose Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) had battled
both the Axis, and the Soviets.  His OUN had proclaimed the renewal
of Ukraine’s independence on 30 June 1941, forcing Hitler to tip his
The resulting arrest of much of the OUN’s leadership then revealed the
Nazis true plans for Ukraine. Bandera was assassinated in 1959 in
Munich by a Soviet agent. Symbolically both the red on black flag of
the OUN and the national blue on yellow flag have become recognizable
symbols of the Euro Maidan protests.
On 11 January 2014, an incident occurred that set the tone for what was
come. Several kilometres away from the Maidan, in the Svyatoshynsky
courthouse the verdict of the “Vasylkivsky terrorists” was being read.
These men had been charged in September 2011 for plotting to blow up a
statue of Lenin that stood in Borispil, although the statue had been
taken down by the city that previous June. Consistent with the
“telephone call law” legal practice in Ukraine, these men were
sentenced to six years’ incarceration.
In anticipation of this verdict the courthouse was surrounded by Berkut
troops. A large group of civil activists were present in the courtyard.
Present also was Yuriy Lutsenko, the former Minister of the Interior
under President Yushchenko, who had been recently released from
incarceration on trumped up charges himself. During the standoff, Yuriy
explained to the militsya that by law they had to remove their
balaclavas and identify themselves. This they reluctantly did. After
Lutsenko left, the crowd continued insisting on this identification
process. Soon a melee ensued and Lutsenko had to return to intervene.
In the ensuing struggle Lutsenko was hit eight times with a blunt
object and lost consciousness. He was taken by ambulance bleeding from
a head injury.
As the Euro Maidan protesters continued to stand despite the Julian
calendar Christmas holidays, a split in leadership appeared.
Surprisingly the three democratic opposition party leaders continued to
co-operate, but the non-aligned apolitical crowd formed a community
council and elected the first of their planned rotating chairmen. This
head was the singer Ruslana. The council immediately went about issuing
an ultimatum demanding the selection of one single opposition leader.
Rather than uniting the Euro Maidan, this immature move merely
introduced a fresh split. Oddly, it was the Yanukovych regime that by
means of its thuggish stupidity united the Euro Maidan protest again.
After the 14 January Julian calendar New Year, the Verkhovna Rada
(Parliament) was sitting in session again. The main item of legislation
was to be the budget, which presumably would incorporate the freshly
negotiated Russian loan.
On 16 January 2014, in a surprise move the government introduced
aimed at destroying the Euro Maidan along with most principles of
democracy and liberty. The legislation had been prepared over the
holidays in the President’s administration office. During the
legislative session, most people’s deputies were absent, and the
electronic voting equipment was not functioning when the speaker called
for a vote by a show of hands. Three seconds was all it took to
determine that the vote “for” was 235, a majority, this despite the
fact that there were only 119 deputies registered as being present.
This new legislation provided for:
* The State being able to ban Internet
* Criminalization of libel when media
criticized government officials, up to two years in jail.
* Charges for blocking government
buildings, up to five years in jail.
* Up to 15 days arrest for unauthorized
installation of tents, stages and sound equipment.
* Up to 10 days arrest for participation
in peaceful gatherings wearing a mask, helmet or other means of
covering one’s face.
* Requiring groups of more than five cars
driving together to get permission from the Ministry of Interior
Affairs, otherwise, the drivers face loss of license and vehicle for up
to two years.
* A broad definition of “extremist
activities” as adopted to disallow NGOs and churches from engaging in
support of civil protests.
* Allowing trial and sentencing in
absentia of individuals, including prison terms, in cases where the
person refuses to appear in court and when criminal proceedings in the
absence of such persons are pronounced possible.
* Charges for blocking access to
residential buildings, up to six years in jail.
* Charges for gathering and disseminating
information about Berkut (Ukraine’s special security force), judges or
their families, up to two years in jail.
* MPs being stripped of immunity by a
simple majority vote in Ukraine’s Parliament (the Verkhovna Rada)
thereby allowing initiation of criminal proceedings, detention or
arrest with such cases no longer requiring any prior review by the
relevant Parliamentary Committee.
* Amnesty from prosecution as previously
adopted by the Verkhovna Rada and granted to peaceful protestors who
participated in protests since 21 November 2013 but this has now been
extended to also exempt from punishment those who committed crimes
against protestors, including Berkut and other law enforcement
* Registration of NGOs that accept
funds as “civic organizations that fulfill the functions of a foreign
agent” facing high scrutiny, and additional tax and regulatory
This law has generally been interpreted as the end to civil liberty in
Ukraine. While mirroring similar legislation in Putin’s Russia, in each
case the punishments are more severe.
With the Feast of Epiphany on Sunday 19 January 2014 and with the
Anniversary of the first Independence (1918) and Unity (1919) on 22
January, the Euro Maidan called for massive support from the people.
And that they got. Eight weeks of peaceful protest were about to end.
It was on Sunday, 19 January 2014 that a column of cars from the Maidan
drove south up the steep grade of Hrushevsky St. They were headed for
the Verkhovna Rada, or Parliament Building. As the cars were even with
the columned ticket gate to the Dynamo soccer stadium they were stopped
by Berkut riot troops who then blocked the street with their buses and
command vehicles. A shoving match ensued, pitting the crowd’s
determination against the chest-high aluminum shields of the troops.
Vitaliy Klitchko, the leader of the UDAR political party and highest
rated candidate for next year’s presidential election, arrived to
intervene. He tried to convince the crowd to return to the Maidan to no
avail. Eight weeks of standing while being ignored by their government
was enough. 
What ensued was a battle where Berkut used rubber bullets, clubs and
flash bang grenades, while the crowd responded with rocks and Molotov
cocktails. After failing to tip the Berkut buses to form a barricade
the crowd instead set them ablaze. Soon four buses and two command
trucks were burning fiercely. The Dynamo stadium’s crowd control
fencing served to fill gaps in this makeshift barricade. A water cannon
truck was brought in to force the protesters back, but it was barely
able to put out the fires. The end result was a skating rink no-man’s
land between Berkut and the protesters.
The next day, 20 January 2014, the battle continued. Any shortfall of
bottles for Molotov cocktails was offset by the use of fireworks fired
horizontally. A slingshot catapult was moved into place to increase the
range of the Molotov cocktails that were still available. This
increased range allowed a second line of barricades to be constructed
further up Hrushevsky St. Berkut was moved even further back.
At one point Berkut charged the barricades amid a storm of flash bang
grenades hoping to disable the catapult. Unfazed, the protesters
charged the armoured troops forcing an immediate retreat.
Quite surprisingly Hrushevsky St. was peaceful on 21 January 2014. The
Berkut had called a cease-fire. But there may have been a more banal
reason for this uncharacteristic turn of pacifism. As reported by
activists on Facebook, the Berkut interior troops were forced to
imitate a cease-fire because the so-called 1st Tulchynskiy Diversional
Rebel Company successfully completed their operation. Around 2 a.m. on
the 21 January 2014, about 12 rebels broke the stable delivery of
to the Berkut.
They began the operation on Ivan Mazepa St. (formerly Arsenalna) near
Hrushevsky St. by setting fire to a government bus. While the police
were busy with the fire, the company seized 10 cases of Teren
(Ukrainian-made) teargas and flashbang. grenades (3400 units) according
to one of the activists.  Although this report is unconfirmed, the
fact that the next day Berkut was using Russian-made flash bang
grenades that were reportedly six times more powerful than the
Ukrainian ones gives this report some credibility. 
The Berkut troops were using enforcement methods that are banned by
Ukrainian law -- they were throwing their Teren grenades directly under
the feet of protesters, although they are required to keep them 2-3
metres away from people. As a result the activists suffered many
injuries. They were also firing rubber bullets at journalists, aiming
for their eyes. Some had been blinded.
Unity Day, 22 January 2014, began peacefully. It is the celebration of
union of Western Ukraine to the Ukrainian National Republic in 1919. It
was also Independence Day, commemorating that vital event of 1918,
although the Yanukovych regime did not refer to it that way to avoid
the logical question, independent from whom?
There were some priests standing on the icy no-man’s land along with
dozens of casual civilians viewing the battlefield and talking to the
line of Berkut troops standing behind their shields. A few activists
moved in bags of snow to begin the construction of a new line of
barricades. Almost imperceptibly additional cohorts of troops moved
into position behind this line. Later reports refer to the
participation of the Jaguar special militia regiment from Vinnitsa.
It was a shock when the Berkut troops suddenly rushed forward charging
the first line of barricades. A thousand armoured troops formed a
turtle with their shields right up against the barricade wall, and
began dismantling it from below. Over five hundred men remained behind
in reserve. Two dozen defenders stood and pelted the Berkut turtle with
rocks. Bottles for Maidan cocktails were in seriously short supply so
only one exploded among the Berkut troops. Soon the barricade crumbled
and the Berkut rushed through capturing and beating anyone that did not
run fast enough. The line of burnt out vehicles was the second line of
defence, but with so few defenders and even fewer bottles that line
Berkut was using the hastily imported Russian OMON issued flash bang
grenades. They were visibly six times more powerful. The Berkut line of
shields moved downhill to about the October Palace. The Maidan itself
was preparing for an assault and speaker after speaker called for Kyiv
residents to rush to their aid.
Meanwhile the Hrushevsky St. defenders that had retreated began piling
tires and setting fire to them. Fresh forces from the nearby Maidan
joined them. The logic of the tire fires became clear when thick black
smoke billowed up the steep grade of Hrushevsky St. driven by a
Soon the Berkut line backed up. An armoured BTR joined the line, but it
was used only to move some burnt out buses. The protesters used hooks
to drag their burning tires uphill. The Berkut backed up again. An hour
later the burning tires were piled against the original barricade line
of burned out vehicles and fifteen hundred Berkut troops were back at
their original line.  
The protesters suffered many casualties including wounded and captured
as well as several killed. At least two of the dead were killed by
gunfire. The first, an aspiring actor, Serhiy Nihoyan, was an Armenian
Ukrainian from Dnipropetrovsk. He died of multiple wounds including
bullets to the head and neck while defending the field hospital on
Hrushevsky. The second was a Belorusian, Mykhaylo Zhyznevsky. He had
left Belarus due to its repressive regime and became active in the
Ukrainian National Self Defence organization. He was shot through the
heart by a 9mm bullet.
Two bodies recovered from the woods near Kyiv had died of torture and
exposure. One was identified as Yuriy Verbytsky, who had been kidnapped
from a Kyiv hospital days before by unidentified men in black. The very
first death had been reported by a hospital the day before. A young man
fell or was thrown from the Dynamo stadium colonnade in a struggle with
Berkut attackers. Amid the smoke and blood of the 22 January 2014
Kyiv, Yuriy Lutsenko called all opposition deputies to the Verkhovna
Rada (Parliament) to form a National Council,  a parallel
to that of the Yanukovych clan. The head of this government, he
suggested, would be the leading presidential contender, Vitaliy
This government would already have its own police (so far unarmed) in
the form of the marshals in the crowd and the Avto-Maidan citizen
patrol cars that had been effectively intercepting “titushky” the
government’s paid thugs-for-hire. The “titushky” moniker comes from the
name of one such thug that famously assaulted a lady reporter a few
months ago, an act captured on film.
From the stage of the Maidan, Lutsenko also called for all gun-owners
to come armed to the Maidan to join an armed defence force. This call
has since been echoed by former Minister of Defence Lt. Col. (ret)
Anatoliy Hrytsenko. 
On 23 January 2014, it was government law enforcement that was sowing
on the streets of Kyiv. The Avto-Maidan mobile patrols were successful
in capturing many government paid titushky that were roaming the
streets smashing cars. So now the DAI, Ukraine’s much-hated traffic
cops were stopping suspected Avto-Maidan cars and smashing their
The streets of Kyiv had become dangerous not because of the protest but
because of the government’s reaction.
On 24 January 2014, Oleh Tyahnybok informed the crowd of the proposal
the three leaders received from Yanukovych during the last round table
negotiation. He said that Yanukovych proposed to release all prisoners,
and cancel arrest warrants for others in exchange for a simple retreat
from the existing positions on Hrushevsky St. Tyahnybok asked the crowd
to vote. To the apparent shock of Tyahnybok himself, the reply was a
near unanimous call to continue the struggle.
That day, six of seven western “oblasts” (provinces) had de-facto
become independent of the Yanukovych regime. The governors’ offices had
been seized and the Yanukovych-appointed governors were forced to
resign. Similar attempts at seizure of local administrations were
taking place in six other oblasts in central Ukraine. Three northern
oblasts including the Kyiv oblast’ were experiencing mass protests. But
the remaining ten oblasts of the east and south appeared to be firmly
in Yanukovych’s Party of Region’s control. On 25 January 2014 it became
known that Yanukovych had offered the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime
Minister positions to Arseniy Yatseniuk and Vitaliy Klitchko. This
transparent attempt at dividing the political forces and dividing the
Maidan protesters from the opposition politicians was rejected. The
peaceful protest of the last two months had become radicalized, united
and hardened to a degree unimaginable a month prior. The people had
lost all fear -- it was President Victor Yanukovych that was afraid.
The Balance of Power
The Berkut riot control troops (approximately 3,250  strong) are
loyal to President Yanukovych. The Interior Troops just under 33,000
strong, are likely divided in loyalty. Some 23,000  traffic cops
DAI) can be used to interfere with transportation, and the bulk
consider their future to be with Yanukovych. The armed forces number
about 140,000  and are considered to be poorly trained and
demoralized. Ironically they are very likely the wild card if a
widespread conflict continues. It has been speculated that this may be
the reason martial law has not yet been declared.
The most unpredictable factor in this balance is Putin’s Russia.
Despite rumours that many of the riot control troops are actually
Russian OMON dressed as Crimean Berkut, Putin’s response to this
revolution has been muted, and can be expected to remain so only until
after the Sochi Winter Olympics. The presence of US Naval power in the
Black Sea during the Olympics,  although not militarily effective,
may also serve as a damper to any rash moves by the Russians.
Putin’s Russia is clearly supporting President Yanukovych in this
struggle, although it will likely eliminate him like a used napkin even
if he achieves victory. That is why it is important to understand the
impact of the fact that the Russian language still dominates the
airwaves and the informational space in Ukraine. Ukrainian language
magazines are rare and Ukrainian language printed newspapers are
limited to western Ukraine. Since the carrier signal for information is
language, this factor in information wars is vital. The Russian
speakers of the east and south tend to be monolingual.  Compounding
this is the fact that Russian speakers are much less likely to have
travelled to western countries. Speakers of Ukrainian or of Surzhyk
(Creole) are to a great degree bilingual or multilingual. As a result,
the Russian speaking part of the country lives in an essentially
foreign, even Soviet, informational (and thus cultural and
The Ukrainian speaking part of the country is more open to western
values, although this sharp distinction is beginning to blur.
Throughout Ukraine the rural countryside is more likely to speak
Ukrainian, although large cities even within Ukrainian speaking
provinces still tend to be more Russian speaking. 
Countering this is the fact that rural areas generally have limited
access to television stations, their choice usually being limited to
the government run UT1, and the pro-government INTER. Pointedly, during
the height of the Hrushevsky St. battles, these channels broadcast
concerts. The Internet is slowly changing this bias in informational
space. And so it is notable that despite the fact that Ukrainians are
still predominantly rural, today’s Ukrainian revolution (as opposed to
that of 1918) is bourgeois.
The war on journalists that became apparent during the Hrushevsky St.
battles has a strategic purpose in addition to the tactical one of
limiting battlefield information. Also, as in other recent conflicts,
DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks on websites and mischief
from the entire spectrum of Russian cyber warfare expertise can be
expected to be brought to bear. Even in Canada we have already
experienced the mischief created when certain website URLs were added
to anti-virus spam definitions. Yes, the cure can be as bad as the
We can soon expect the activation of cold war fellow travellers old and
new in true Soviet practice touting every permutation of the imperial
policy of Putin’s Russky Mir. (Russian world) Just as in the case of
the 2008 Georgian War, the disinformation machine can be expected to
Often it is what is not there that is most important. The support from
inhabitants of eastern and southern Ukraine has been weak. The mind-set
of Russian-speakers locked inside the Russophone informational space is
pro-Moscow. Clearly, genocide works, otherwise it would not be so
popular. Observers of Ukraine’s struggles note that the lizard that
won’t lose its tail often loses its head.
Square in Kiev, Planner
Go website, accessed 13 December 2013.
 Iryna Shtogrin, Ukraine, A
Post-Genocidal Society, Radio
Free Europe website, 8 December 2008.
of Ukraine, Wikipedia
website, accessed 28 January 2014.
 Alexander Vyshniak, The
situation, Status and Languages in Ukraine: the Dynamics, Challenges
and Prospects, Nations
Forum website, 2008. Number given is the sum of
“only” and “mostly” percentages multiplied by the total population in
 John Stuart Mill, Considerations
Representative Government, The Project Gutenberg EBook
updated 6 February 2013.
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Representative Government, The Project Gutenberg EBook
updated 6 February 2013.
Hopes Russia Reviews Gas
Contract – PM Azarov Rianovosti
website, 24 November 2013.
 Blow to Kiev
as Brussels closes door
to further enlargement, EU
Observer website, 9 November 2005.
and Shell sign $10bn shale
gas deal, BBC
News, 24 January 2013.
and Ukraine set gas deal, New York Times, 5
is getting queasy about Ukraine’s shale gas
website, 17 January 2014.
and Putin in surprise meeting,
27 October 2013.
spokesman: Yanukovych visited Moscow on Nov. 9, 2013,
Kyiv Post website,
11 November 2013.
 Oksana Grytsenko in Kiev and Ian Traynor in Brussels,
U-turn on Europe pact was agreed with Vladimir Putin,
26 November 2013.
IMF - the main culprit breakdown agreement
between Ukraine and the EU, Newsland website,
accessed 15 January 2014.
violently break up Independence Square protests
at 4 a.m. today; many injuries reported, Kyiv Post website,
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Institution website, accessed 16 December 2013.
deplores collapse of USSR, BBC News website,
rallies in Ukraine - Dec. 11, 2013 coverage, Kyiv
Post website, 12 December 2013.
Director of “Microsoft Ukraine” went on vacation
to participate in Evromaydan, fakty website, 11
activist and journalist Tetyana Chornovil
website, 25 December 2013.
 Between Hitler and Stalin, Ukrainian Canadian Research
& Documentation Centre website, accessed 4
victim of new repressive laws - say Ukrainian
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streets erupt in clashes with
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на Грушевського осталася без ґранат активистьі
Майдана перехватили партию боєприпасов, Новий Реґіон New Russia L.P.
News Agency website, 21 January 2014 (Militia on
Hrushevsky has run out
of grenades – activists of Maidan intercepted a shipment of weapons).
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January 2014: black smoke in
the sky, blood stains in the snow, Channel 4 News website,
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22 January 2014.
calls on gun owners to patrol streets,
25 January 2014.
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January 2014 (State Traffic Police).
Troops of Ukraine, Wikipedia
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 Державна автоінспекція (State Auto Inspection)
“Державтоінспекція нараховує майже 23 тисячі працівників” (The state
Auto Inspection totals almost 23 thousand workers) Wikipedia website,
accessed 28 January 2014 (State Traffic Police).
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німими, або російськомовними, Galychyna News
website, 10 September 2010 (Either dumb or Russian
“…Українсько-російська двомовність асиметрична, оскільки активне
володіння обома мовами та двомовна практика властиві переважно етнічним
українцям, тоді як абсолютна більшість етнічних росіян надає перевагу
вживанню лише російської мови…” (Ukrainian-Russian bilingualism is
asymmetrical, as the active use and practice of both languages are
characteristic to ethnic Ukrainians while the majority of ethnic
Russians prefer to use only Russian).
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Ukrainian “Friday” and the Russian
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Myroslav Petriw, a
recipient of the Anna Pidruchney Award for New
Writers, the Shevchenko Medal, and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond
Jubilee Medal, is President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress
Vancouver Branch, and author of the historical-political thrillers
Скарб Ярослава (published 2003 in Ukraine), Yaroslaw’s Treasure (2009)
and Yaroslaw’s Revenge (2012).