Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine
Postcards from Maidan is an art initiative that helps facilitate the psychological rehabilitation and physical recovery of patients. Artists visit the wounded and use drawings as a storytelling mechanism of Maidan. The wounded are later presented with the drawings. This is the story of one Maidan protester. This is story #3.
“On December 10, I arrived on Maidan. I came directly from Moscow as soon as I found out that students got beaten on Maidan. It was difficult to get the tickets, so I took the train from Moscow to Kharkiv, via Belgorod. Moscow-Belgorod-Kharkiv. I was in the Kalush Third Company hundred, together with Serhiy Nigoyan. Our Kalush Company was located near the Archangel Michael on Maidan. We defended the barricade on Hrushevskiy Street. I came to Hrushevskiy St. at 3 am, look–Nigoyan was singing the [national] anthem. I asked him if he knew the Armenian anthem, and he took out the Armenian flag and began to sing [it]. And in the morning I woke up and saw that my boys were sitting with their heads low, and [they] said, “Serega [colloquial for Serhiy] was killed.” And that’s it. I just want no more bureaucracy, for Ukraine to become transparent, I want you, young people, to come to power.
On January 22, Shalik, a member of the Dynamo Ultras [soccer fan club], raised the tryzub [trident], a water cannon was shooting him off the barricade, pouring water on him, and he hooked himself by the trident‘s toothedge and sang, “Ukraine has not yet perished.” I cried. A true hero.
I experienced real fear on the night of February 18 to February 19, when people were burned alive. They (the Berkut riot police) only say that they threw grenades, but they actually threw Molotov cocktails into the tents. They burned the Trade Unions House with napalm, then they lied that the Right Sector burned it. What Right Sector? When thrown into a hallway or an open space, napalm looks for direction by itself. These are the special grenades which burn inside.
On the night of February 19, at 2:00 am [they] brought me to the St. Michael’s Cathedral, and then I got into the hospital. I had a contusion from a Flashbang [stun grenade] that exploded near my head. I was thrown down from a 5-meter height near the [Independence] Stela. They [the Berkut] kill the most active [protesters]. Whoever comes first, gets killed. I did what everyone did [at the time]. I once read in a book about the smell of death. On February 18, I found out for myself how death smells. It was very scary.
I had to spend 10 more days at the hospital, and then the doctor told me to go to a health hotel in Odesa. I needed 5,000 Hryvnias [USD $416] to do that. Our authorities divide their [ministerial] briefcases, they don’t need us. Only the Kyivans help [us].
Sometime in 1994 I was traveling for seasonal work, and a grandfather from Kosovo was also traveling, and so we talked about politics and he said the following, “The true Ukraine will come into being when the last Communist dies. When your generation dies, then the real Ukraine will come.” I am proud of the young. For those Dynamo Ultras, who rushed into battle without anything, without armored vests, and with their own bare hands ripped the batons from Berkut’s [hands]. Those were the real heroes.”
Tetyana Voytovych talked to Stephan at Kyiv City Clinical Hospital #17. As a gift, the artist created a portrait of the activist on site.