Mikhaylo Zhyznevskiy, who was killed in the bloody attack on protestors in Kyiv on January 22, 2014, was a member of the Ukrainian liberation movement known as UNA-UNSO. The organization is affiliated with Right Sector, which is persistently accused of provocations by the pro-government media. A video taken three days before his death, however, shows the 25-year-old Belorussian trying his best to prevent rather than fuel provocations on Hrushevskiy Street.
The video shows Zhyznevskiy trying to persuade protestors, including members of Verkhovna Rada, to keep a safe distance from Berkut and the internal forces in order to avoid any possible altercations.
He is also shown asking the crowd not to bother the military forces on the front lines: “This isn’t Berkut,” he explained. “These are conscripted soldiers. They haven’t hurt anyone.”
The video raises important questions: Is this how radicals and extremists act? And quite simply, why was Zhyznvevkiy shot to death?
As of today, the government has not held a single person accountable for the excessive use of force against its own people. To the contrary, the police protect the crimes of the state, not the lives and interests of its citizens.
It is in this atmosphere that Ukrainians are organizing themselves into volunteer self-defense units and enrolling en masse into Right Sector. This is the only effective way to preserve self-respect, protect their families against excessive force, and resist a dictatorship.
Translation is edited by Lesia Stangret