The quotes from the interview published here are part of the project “The Voices of Euromaidan in Global Protest and Solidarity Studies”. The project focuses on the edited and thematically organized materials from the collection of oral history interviews called “Voices of Resistance and Hope,” that were recorded in two stages, the first in December 2013 and the second in February 2014 (more then 100 interviews). They were gathered in the base “Intimate Chronologies of the Euromaidan”, which is available on Urban Media Archive website. This collection includes 17 themetical categories.

The category “Identities of protest participants” is built around the respondents’ thoughts about their identities, which were strengthened during the Euromaidan. During the second wave of the interviewing we added questions with a list of identities people might have – a resident of a city, region, a person with certain nationality, a European, a member of another community, as well as asked protesters what it means for them to be a man or woman at the Maidan. Among the identities mentioned in the conversations were ethnic, professional, political, as well as universal and supranational.


Identities of Euromaidan participants

See more:
Urban Media Archive
Intimate Chronologies of the Euromaidan
Original language:
Ukrainian, Russian

[I am] a patriot of my country. …

Man, about 18-23 years old, recorded in Lviv, December 4, 2013, active participant of Euromaidan and many local demonstrations and protests


I have long been sure Ukraine needs to move somewhere, not stay in the same place for twenty years. I’ve been to three European countries, which are beautiful, cultured, and civilized. I want Kharkiv to be the same, a European city.

Woman, 55+ years old, recorded in Kharkiv, December 7, 2013


I don’t represent any organization. … All my family is protesting.  …

Man, about 18-25 years old, recorded in Kharkiv, December 7, 2013, Euromaidan and Orange revolution participant


I can really identify myself as a Ukrainian.

Woman, about 18-25 years old, recorded in Kharkiv, December 8, 2013, Euromaidan and Orange revolution participant


I’m a Kharkiv resident. I’m from here. I’m involved in a non-governmental organization dealing with a national, let’s say, idea. I like it, and it’s close to my heart. …

Man, about 18-25 years old, recorded in Kharkiv, December 8, 2013, participant of the Euromaidan in Dnipro, participant of Orange Revolution


Well, before the revolution, I felt most like a Lviv resident because I was hurt more by what was related to Lviv and its issues. I participated in such urban initiatives as “Let us pass” and so on. When this whole thing started, I probably felt like a European. I mean, I was very concerned about the delay of European integration. The European idea became so unifying for people of different views, beliefs, political orientations, and so on. Now I feel (laughs) a representative of the revolutionary community. That is, my psyche changes have gone very far, let’s put it like that: people who aren’t concerned about our country now are more alien to me than representatives of other nationalities. That is, people who aren’t affected by what’s happening are like from another planet. So, probably, I feel the greatest unity with people who are also activists of the revolution. … Well, I’m one of those people who read books when everyone else did sports. So, I’m not trained to fight and all that. I’m more of a keyboard woodpecker. But when the war started, with Hrushevskyi [street] and all that, I thought, damn, what’s that saying: if you haven’t been to Hrushevskyi, you’re not a man. Well, I went there and realized I shouldn’t get into any fight because they would knock me out right away. But I stood there watching how people made Molotov cocktails and threw grenades. So, I started to feel a little more courageous. I don’t know, I saw many girls, including some of my students, advancing that Berkut. I’ve met girls who spill Molotov cocktails under fire and run to throw them. And it seems to me that now all these gender things don’t mean anything at all. I mean, at first, we were like, “We don’t take girls, only men, we need men.” My students are quite feminist, and they were offended by this. I even almost fought with one of them because of it. And then it became clear there was no difference. If 80-year-old men go to throw a Molotov cocktail or stand there in Self-Defense, then how is the girl different? … I hope to retain some remnants of my personality when it’s all over. Because I don’t read books, well, I almost don’t, I don’t think about my professional field or about work, and it’s hard for me to communicate with people on any topic except the revolution. I know that I wouldn’t like to be a professional revolutionary. It’s not my thing. Some people like fighting all the time. I’d still like to remain a journalist and a teacher, to have something to say to my students on various topics other than the revolution. I’d like to be interesting to my children. So I hope it won’t completely consume us.

Man, 32 years old, recorded in Lviv, February 5, 2014, Euromaidan and Orange revolution activist


Well, if you choose from this list [a city resident, a resident of the region, a representative of a certain nationality, a European, a representative of some other community], then let’s start. Can I choose several points? I rather feel like a resident of my city Lviv, and secondly a citizen of Ukraine, than a representative of a certain nationality. … To be a man on the Maidan … I don’t even know what it means. To be a man, in general, is the same as to be a man on Maidan. Maidan highlights certain traits of people. What I like most about Maidan is that everyone is natural in their behavior. The main thing is not to be afraid.

Man, 40 years old, recorded in Lviv, February 6, 2014, Euromaidan participant


[I am] a resident of my city. … [To be a man on Maidan] means not to be a tourist, but to participate. It means signing up either for Self-Defense or for some kind of institution to know who the boss is. To know what to do in case of emergency.

Man, 46 years old, recorded in Lviv, February 6, 2014, Euromaidan and Orange revolution participant


[I feel like] “a representative of another community” [laughter]. [I am] a streamer, a cameraman, a filmmaker. …

Man, 30+ years old, recorded in Kyiv, February 7, 2014, Euromaidan participant


Well, I would choose “citizen of Ukraine” and “a European.” I think that’s enough because I don’t really like this provincial patriotism. … I’d consider myself a free citizen who wants to have the ball and a chance to maneuver but who is acting along with a community that can solve a strategic issue. If I may say so … I adore watching people change because you can no longer treat our Ukrainian people with disrespect and think they are cattle to drive into stalls. These are really European free citizens. It’s a matter of their own choice, a matter of the sword, who can concentrate to create some kind of strategic history. It’s a very strange phenomenon that brings real joy. You start to respect your people. …

Man, 35 years old, recorded in Kyiv, February 7, 2014, Euromaidan participant


Well, first, of course, I’m a resident of my city, that’s for sure. … A Kyivan. Of course, a Kyivan. I was born here. Second, of course, I’m a citizen of Ukraine. Well, it’s clear I’m still a Ukrainian … Do I think of myself as a European? I’d like to … [Does being a protester on Maidan mean anything to you?] I don’t know. I’d not single it out. You see, there are many people in Kyiv who aren’t on Maidan physically but are there virtually. That is, they are supporting with information, coordinating the actions of their friends through social networks or in a similar way.

Man, 51 years old, recorded in Kyiv, February 7, 2014, Euromaidan participant 


I am a citizen of Ukraine. I think my nationality is written on my face. I feel like I belong to European culture. …

Man, 52 years old, recorded in Kyiv, February 7, 2014, Euromaidan and Orange revolution participant


Looking at the list, I think I can definitely admit I’m a citizen of Ukraine. Although I have a residence permit in another country, which I’ve never used. I consciously made it and don’t use it. Because I believe that we still can save Ukraine, and as long as I’m a citizen of this country, I can do a lot for it. If I give up, I have a plan “B.” …

Woman, 28 years old, recorded in Kyiv, February 7, 2014, Euromaidan participant, member of the “Narodnyi Hospital” organization


[I feel] like a resident of my city/village. Where do I live? Ivano-Frankivsk region. … [I feel like] a citizen of Ukraine. I was born, raised, educated, and studied in Ukraine. I’ll continue to live in Ukraine. I’m not going to go abroad to earn money. I’ll earn money here. … It’s my motherland. My mother gave birth to me, but Ukraine also gave birth to me. I was raised according to Ukrainian laws. Ukrainian culture. Well, in many cities, it’s different. But this is my homeland. The best one. It’s like my own mother. You can’t sell your mother. You can’t sell your homeland either. …

Man, 50 years old, recorded in Kyiv, February 7, 2014, Euromaidan participant


[I feel like] a citizen of Ukraine. A patriot of my country. How can I explain it? It’s just a state of the soul. As a wise man once said, you shouldn’t be ashamed to show your passport. You know? Nowadays, some people are ashamed of being Ukrainian. I know many such people who are ashamed to be Ukrainians because of the situation in our country. They were like that even before. There’s corruption everywhere. From the smallest echelons to the largest. You can’t live like that. … Well, you know, to be a man on Maidan (laughter) … I can’t find an answer. To be a man … You know, I can say in a vulgar way … A man isn’t one with a thing between his legs (laughter). A man is a man because of his actions … Well, what should those actions be? Let me give you an example. Those guys from the Berkut … I saw a girl lying there. And each of them running, there were about 40 Berkut people, and each had to hit her. Well, when a man hits a woman, he ceases to be a true man. My brother said that to hit a woman is to kill the man in you. It’s just the way it is. In my entire life, I’ll soon be almost 30, I’ve never harmed a woman or a girl. A man who hits a woman is just afraid to hit a man because he knows what he’ll get in return. You have it. That’s how our police protect us. These are the men in our police. Officers, as they call themselves. They are heroes who beat an old man, but they are simply afraid of their peers. “Together we are many, we can’t be overcome,” as they say.  …

Man, 29 years old, recorded in Kyiv, February 7, 2014, Euromaidan participant


The triad is the following: I feel like a European, that’s first; a citizen of Ukraine – second; and a citizen of my city – third. Well, a European in the first place … Well, first, I am a liberal. That is, liberal principles and values are very important to me. I mean the rule of law, private property, inviolability, and freedom. Freedom is a concept that includes personal freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and so on. As a citizen of Ukraine, it’s important that the country I live in follows the path of democracy and implements European values because the laws in Ukraine now are not bad, they just need to be brought in line with the requirements of the European Union, which we are going to join. But the problem for me, as a citizen of Ukraine, is that these laws are not followed. I mean, the bulk of the laws and the social contract in Ukraine don’t allow us to live according to the Constitution, let alone the European one. It doesn’t suit me … It’s important for me to feel like a city resident. I’m a second-generation Kharkiv resident. But, unfortunately, nowadays I can’t be proud of the city. I think the quality of the city’s intellectual level is falling. There was a special mythology of the city. Kharkiv was the first capital, an intellectual, student, scientific, and other center. But lately, I think, due to emigration and marginalization of the population, Kharkiv has largely lost its position. It’s no longer a city of science. It’s worse with science now than before. Not only in the Soviet era but even more so in the pre-revolutionary era. Yes. A city of students? I don’t know. The number of students in Kharkiv over the last two decades has generally decreased. It’s stable. There are 250-300 thousand students there, which is normal. But the quality of the student environment, I think, has decreased. It happened because the level of education, the educational standard in the country and the city, doesn’t allow us to value education now. … To be a man on Maidan, it doesn’t mean anything. A man is always a man.

Man, 56 years old, recorded in Kharkiv, February 7, 2014, Euromaidan and Orange revolution participant


I am a citizen of Ukraine. … Well, as they say, you can’t choose your parents, and you can’t choose the country you were born in either. I was born in Ukraine, and I love it as much as my mother. For me, responsibility for Ukraine is the same as for my parents. I live here, and I’ll do everything to develop it rather than going somewhere else and doing the same for other people. I’d rather go through this thorny path, from small to bigger, than just betray and leave. I’ve been abroad and studied there many times, but I still come back home, to my family, to my traditions, to my native land … Is there a kind of definition of a man on Maidan? Yes, I saw one poster, and I liked it very much: “If you haven’t been to Hrushevskyiii Street, you’re not a man.” That’s what it means. If you’re a man, you should take up your manly duties, not be a tourist. Many men actually behave like tourists. For example, come here for one, two, or three days, go around with a purse, and leave with two bags, taking away some humanitarian or other technical aid. Here, people help each other, bring everything they can, and then it turns out that some man is leaving. You stop him on the bus with a bag, and it appears he carries a hundred pairs of socks, a pack of batteries, and toilet paper! I don’t understand it. Such a person isn’t a man, but rather the opposite. …

Man, 25 years old, recorded in Kyiv, February 8, 2014, Euromaidan participant 


It’s hard to answer this question … I want to be European and live like all the other countries. That’s why I’m standing here with this poster. I write “Russian-speaking” [on the poster, t/n.] because we are all residents of Ukraine, regardless of nationality. Although I am Ukrainian, due to my job, I know more Russian words than Ukrainian, unfortunately. I can communicate in Ukrainian at the everyday level, and so … And many Kyiv residents – I’m surprised – come and thank me for this slogan. … [I am] purely passive, creating these slogans. It’s my fourth slogan. … A man on Maidan is the one who takes a stick and defends … Or goes to the barricades. I stand firmly on my own feet … I used to have a briefcase to sit on in that [Orange] revolution; now the guys gave me a chair.

Man, 69 years old, recorded in Kyiv, February 8, 2014,  Euromaidan participant


I don’t know, probably none of the listed (smile). [I am] a person first and foremost … I don’t identify myself as a citizen of Ukraine. I have a passport as a citizen of Ukraine. But if we are talking about a broader identification, I’d say a “person.” I even hate the distinction “woman/man,” I don’t care. But human values should come first, regardless of, I don’t know, religion or nationality. People are united by their values. … Universal values are what I am concerned about the most. Well, of course, if we talk about the events that began in Kyiv on November 21, then people came out for European integration, European values, and the European movement of our country. But if we are talking about European values, these are mostly universal values. The Declaration of Human Rights, things like that, tolerance, respect for each other, for the other’s opinion, for private property, for history, for different histories, and the absence of authoritarianism. At different stages of life, I can identify myself differently, but I always identify myself as Ukrainian.

Woman, 29 years old, recorded in Kyiv, February 8, 2014, Euromaidan participant


To be a man is to defend yourself, your friends, and your loved ones here. … [Has Euromaidan changed the vision of Ukrainian society and the state?] It has. I’ve already mentioned people are rethinking the events, and more and more people are joining in.

Man, 23 years old, recorded in Kyiv, February 8, 2014, Euromaidan participant, head of the information center


I’m Ukrainian. … First, it’s about belonging to a certain ethnic community, to a lesser extent than citizenship. … Do you mean a man by gender? To be a man on Maidan means defending your country and your people from the threats that hang over our state … Well, let’s say, ideologically, I am right-wing. I am not a nationalist, I am a Republican, that is, I’m radical, more liberal than a nationalist, but still have certain national views. If it’s about my job, I already mentioned it. …

Man, 30 years old, recorded in Kyiv, February 9, 2014, Euromaidan activist


I am a Ukrainian, definitely a Ukrainian. And for me, it means I’m a resident of my country, and I want to live here. I want it to prosper. For everything to be good … Oh, to be a woman, you know, it’s even about this red lipstick I’m wearing now: men need not only tea or food, but men also need attention, communication, some flirting, they need all of that. Yes, it’s very important to come, cook, and be a hostess here. But it’s also important to smile, hug, and let them kiss you if some guy asks you for a kiss. It’s important for them. For me, it’s not hard, I understand how hard it is for them, standing for two months without women and their attention. …

Woman, 33 years old, recorded in Kyiv, February 9, 2014, Euromaidan participant


I haven’t really thought about my identity. Maybe I’ll formulate it not very clear right now. Citizenship? The thing is that I’m an ethnic Russian. All of my ancestors are Russian. I came here, to Kyiv, from the Ural, where … Of course, maybe my mentality isn’t Ukrainian, but I feel like a citizen of this country. I speak about 200 percent of the language, and that’s the most important thing for me. My nationality and faith don’t matter to me; I am a fairly free person in this regard. I can’t say that I’m completely indifferent to my homeland. No. As far as I was brought up in the Soviet Union, I had a high sense of patriotism, this unselfish feeling, so I also, to the fullest extent, feel like a citizen of Ukraine.

Woman, 76 years old, recorded in Kyiv, February 9, 2014, Euromaidan participant


[I feel] rather like a citizen of Ukraine … Well, if you live on this land and you were born here, you’re already a resident of this country. Moreover, there are certain restrictions and limits, and you should value the state, its culture, traditions and defend its sovereignty. … Well, [to be] a man on Maidan (laughter). That’s my gender! It’s a good thing to be a man, but on Maidan, how can I say … There’s no difference between men and women. Almost everyone is equal here; everyone is defending their preferences. Well, as a man, I should be in the front, and the weaker sex should be behind, either a child or a woman. We are men, after all, we’re the stronger sex, which means we must protect the weaker ones. … Well, I have a higher pedagogical education (laughter). I’m a teacher, but apart from that, I’m a simple, ordinary Ukrainian, like many others. …

Man, 31 years old, recorded in Kyiv, February 9, 2014, Euromaidan and Orange revolution participant


I even have a picture of 3-year-old me in [19]91 with a flag because my father took me everywhere. So it was my destiny. I was brought up to stand up for … for the future, for what you are fighting for. So there were no words like “we are not going” or anything of the like. … I think everything is a bit mixed up here because the women who stayed at Euromaidan are very brave. But, on the other hand, men don’t allow [women] to carry something heavy an extra meter. There’s some kind of respect towards women here … Well, I don’t separate nationalities, the same goes for regions and cities, as these are very narrow concepts. The most important thing is to be a human being.

Man, 25 years old, recorded in Kyiv, February 9, 2014, activist of Euromaidan and Automaidan of the Orange Revolution


[I feel like] a representative … a citizen of the world, a representative of my nation. … I can move around the world, but I’m a Ukrainian. … To be on Maidan is, first, to be a man, a Ukrainian. And everyone on Maidan is men. …

Man, 55 years old, recorded in Kyiv, February 9, 2014, Euromaidan participant


[I feel like], of course, a resident of my city, of my country. And, somehow, it has been particularly vividly expressed lately (laughter). [I mean that I am a resident] not of the city, but of the country.

Woman, 44 years old, recorded in Kyiv, February 9, 2014, Euromaidan participant


First, [I’m] a musician, a kind of a gypsy person. The one without a homeland in a very broad sense. A person with a blurred self-identification. It’s hard to say. I hardly will highlight anything from this list [citizen of Ukraine/ representative of a certain nationality/ European/  representative of another community] … although I am a citizen of Russia, I still feel that I’m a citizen, and of course, a part of this society that came to Maidan. That’s it. For me, it’s a special experience because, as I said, I came to Ukraine five years ago, and everyone told me they had the same things in 2004, and “you didn’t see it, and you won’t even understand it.” So, I knew a lot about that Maidan in 2004. Well, they [my friends from Russia] are certainly more informed than most ordinary Russians, even though they don’t watch “Dozhd” and don’t listen to “Echo.” I tell them about everything that’s going on. Moreover, I feel they don’t fully understand what’s going on, and I realize I’m different from ordinary Kyiv residents. To overcome my caution and fear, I need to overcome myself. I feel people here are certainly freer. It’s much easier for them to do something … Of course, I’m not a revolutionary. I felt people here were freer, either because the climate is different or something. There may be some kind of protest tradition here … I’m a Jew from Russia. A Jew-Moscovite [a mocking, obscene way to call Russian people of Jewish origin, t/n.] (laughter). When I explained I was a Jew from Russia, and I supported them, the people were quite open-minded. And the most important thing was that they accepted the music. …

Man, 33 years old, recorded in Kyiv, February 9, 2014, Euromaidan participant


First, I’m a mother, and recently I realized I’m Ukrainian. It happened before Maidan. I’ve been asking myself about my nationality for about ten years since I left school because my mother is Belarusian, and my father is Russian-Ukrainian. However, looking at myself and my surroundings, both in Severodonetsk and Kharkiv, we don’t consider ourselves Ukrainians or Russians. We are some kind of “not really” (laughter). That is, we don’t really know the national characteristics of Ukrainians, there’s no culture, and we can’t consider ourselves Russians. So, just a year ago, I finally realized that I am Ukrainian, and I need to study history and culture more and pass it on to my children. I dreamt of taking my eldest daughter to Lviv in the fall, to the village, but it didn’t work out. I still want to take her there, to let her see it, because she has already been to Europe several times and she likes it there, but it’s more difficult with Ukraine (laughter). … Now [I feel like] a resident of Ukraine, Europe, and a representative of not the creative intelligentsia, but of a certain stratum … Well, I have many friends, IT specialists with higher education, who travel and communicate and discuss music and cinema … The main problem is that we don’t feel like Ukrainians. We, Kharkiv residents. We need to restore the pride of Kharkiv residents for their city, because if twenty years ago they could still be proud of something, the universities, some achievements, then now Kharkiv is, well, a big city, “barabashovo” [the biggest market in Ukraine, t/n.] (laughter). …

Woman, 30 years old, recorded in Kharkiv, February 9, 2014, Euromaidan participant


Now, perhaps, I feel like a resident of my city of Kharkiv. It has become more important for me, so to speak. I am beginning to understand the peculiarities of this city. I am a citizen of Ukraine, a European, and, yes, okay, let’s call it that. Will three be enough? … I still spend most of my time in my city, Kharkiv, for about a year already. So, I am first concerned about the events and processes here. I mean, utilities, my social circle, mostly Kharkiv residents. That’s probably why I said that self-identification is close … I feel like a human being on Maidan, a human being in general. [I felt like] a man when there was a certain stage with titushky and “cosmonauts,” that is, our policemen in helmets when they said men should stand on the frontline and women – in the middle. Well, I’m sorry, but I’m a physically weak person, so I’m not sure I would have been able to fight the titushky and the policemen at all. I mean, I don’t really support any kind of violence.

Man, 27 years old, recorded in Kharkiv, February 9, 2014, Euromaidan participant


I can probably call myself a representative of another community, a human being, and a resident of planet Earth. Why? It seems to me all people, regardless of nationality and religious beliefs, are united by something fundamental, something true, which erases gender boundaries, age boundaries, nationality boundaries, certain views, and even the boundaries of states drawn on maps by someone, well, states that someone once occupied and is still trying to maintain. … But the dominant thing is that I’m a human being. … It opened up a lot to me and I realized many things that I didn’t know and thought to be wrong. … Understanding people, understanding people’s movements and the multidimensionality of such a movement, which is driven by the desire of the heart, not by political engagement or something. I mean not by a thirst for heroism or a desire to get paid. …I noticed the presence of a woman raises the morale of men. Even if you just walk around Maidan, talk to people and smile at them, support them, inspire them with your good mood, your light, warmth, and love, it gives a lot to these people who are standing there, to the men who are giving a lot of their strength to keep this movement going. This is probably a woman’s trait.  …

Woman, 26 years old, recorded in Kharkiv, February 10, 2014, Euromaidan participant


I feel like a citizen of Ukraine. That is, I have no connection to the city, and I believe Maidan’s position is the position of a person who lives in Ukraine. … [This is] the point when we are beginning to realize who we are. Right? That we are Ukrainians, and we have certain values and aspirations. We want to continue to build our country because we realize we have no future with what’s happening now. Mainly, I’m talking about students or people around that age. And I think [Maidan] shouldn’t end; it should just take on new forms. Of course, the street protests will most likely end when Yanukovych leaves. Second, when all the people who committed illegal actions are punished. But I believe it to be a bit of an illusion and a utopia because it’s unlikely they will. I don’t understand it personally. I was talking to a friend once. Okay, if, for example, Yanukovych leaves and they have to choose a new leader … It’s complicated. We see the problem in the country now. We see there are no leaders, no people who are ready to take responsibility, who are ready to be on the side of the people. The opposition is more tied to the government than to the people. It’s not very interesting for the people. So I can’t answer this question. As we move forward, things should become more clear.

Woman, 26 years old, recorded in Kharkiv, February 10, 2014, participant in the protests


You know, first of all, I’m Ukrainian. I’ll tell you why. For some reason, I started reading newspapers early. I remember the [19]56 when there was a fall uprising in Hungary. I was 14 years old. I’d come home, and the first thing I’d grab was a newspaper. And our late father, God bless him, was an intelligent man. He would bring home books instead of a bottle. And we always subscribed to the central newspaper (Moscow one), the regional newspaper, and the city newspaper. We had a large factory. There was a factory newspaper. I used to read it. It was interesting. You know? I never heard people reading newspapers so early. Maybe people just don’t talk about it. When I was reading a newspaper, and came across some Ukrainian surnames, sometimes I thought the text somehow disgraced Ukrainians. You know? When I was working at the institute, I had a hard job. I was also the secretary of the trade union committee there for 16 years. I had such a job. I was the one who kept the library of the trade union committee. At first, it was [work for] free. Then they started paying me a little extra. Someone comes in speaking neither Ukrainian nor Russian. And treats the Ukrainian language with a kind of disdain. I said: “Who are you?” They asked in return: “Are you a Banderite?” And I said: “Yes, a Banderite from Donbas.” I don’t know, in our family it’s like that: my father is Ukrainian, my mother is Russian, and she’s from Krasnodar. Although her mother, my grandmother, is from near Krakow. She died when my mother was 8, and my grandpa died when she was 14. She says she’s not sure who she even is. Her surname is Russian, but what kind of blood does she have? I don’t know. This feeling of being Ukrainian, it’s … I studied Ukrainian at school. Most of us spoke Ukrainian. Although a Bulgarian woman was living next door, there were Gypsies and Moldovans. You know? It was a working-class suburb of Mariupol. People fled there in the 1930s. Azovstal was just starting to be built there. People spoke Russian. Everything coexisted so peacefully and quietly, and no one hated anyone … Well, I felt Ukrainian. You know? My sisters didn’t have this feeling. My brother didn’t have it. I went there [to Mariupol] in 2004. They asked me: “What’s in your head?” I said: “I don’t know what’s in your head,” I said, “But in mine, it’s different.” I don’t know where I got it from. But I am a Ukrainian. This is the most important thing in my life. Do I treat Kharkiv as my hometown, even though I’ve lived here for 50 years? No. I’m moving to Mariupol now. What has Akhmetov done to this city now? It’s a gas chamber. The worst environment is not only in Ukraine but also in Europe. I said what I said … [What it means to be a woman on Maidan] is a very difficult question. To be a woman? I don’t know.

Woman, 72 years old, recorded in Kharkiv, February 10, 2014, Euromaidan and Orange revolution participant


Probably, the most important thing for me is to be a representative of a certain nationality, a resident of my region, and a citizen of Ukraine. … [Which nationality?] Ukrainian, of course. It’s a certain set of symbolic cultural signs and values. As for my region, I respect and appreciate the environment I communicate with. And I see this environment as wider, I mean I don’t limit myself to a small space, such as a city or village, it’s not enough for me. And [I also feel as] a citizen of Ukraine, a conscious person who stands on state principles. I need to be a citizen of Ukraine. I feel that I live in a three-dimensional space. A European? It’s not very relevant. Cities and villages are too narrow [concepts]. As a representative of another community? Maybe, it’s also important for me in terms of the economic environment: entrepreneurship, business …  To be a man on Maidan? (laughter) Interesting … [It means] reaching your goal in any form of resistance, fighting for your goals. To say pretentiously, for the new Ukraine. To be ready to fight. Not every man on Maidan is a man from this point of view. I am more of a theorist, as I work in the intellectual field. My form of resistance is rather intellectual. I don’t like machine guns or pistols. I’m a man, but I’ve never taken them into my hands. There were many people, my peers, even a little older, who were constantly going to the mat: “Just give me a match and a gun!” And when these actions are starting, many of these people go to the background, and on the front line, on Hrushevskyi Street, there are ones who don’t need any recognition. There are real fighters there who don’t exaggerate. They don’t shout that they’ll shoot everyone. These are people who go and are ready to die. I was there on the 22nd, and they shot at me. I still have a small wound from a shrapnel bullet. I was running around with a gas mask on me, a civilian. Me, who didn’t shout that I’d be on the front line, that I’d fight. For me, a man is someone ready to fight for Ukraine anyhow. Not every man is like that here on Maidan. …

Man, 23 years old, recorded in Lviv, February 10, 2014,activist and one of the Euromaidan organizers


I’ve always considered myself a Ukrainian. Many people now say that they consider themselves Europeans. I don’t consider myself a European yet, but I want to. Well, I’ve always thought that being a Ukrainian means not only having some rights but fulfilling duties to the country. I don’t even mean anything pompous, but just go to the polls, follow the news, and participate in some actions and life of the country. These are the things I consider my duty. … A man on Maidan? Probably the same as being a man in life. I don’t know (laughs). Women don’t carry heavy speakers (laughs).

Man, 39 years old, recorded in Kharkiv, February 11, 2014, one of the Euromaidan organizers


I’d answer your questions somewhat differently, depending on the situation. Right now, when you’re addressing me, I [feel like] a participant of Euromaidan. Of course, for me, the main thing is to be a citizen of Ukraine, although to be a philosopher. No doubt, I am a citizen of Ukraine and a Kharkiv resident, yes, it’s important. … I’m responsible for its fate. … [Did Euromaidan change your vision of Ukrainian society and the state?] Not really. Even after [20]10, after the “Green Front,” I openly stated that there’s no Ukrainian state as such. There was a certain gang. A virtual gang. The institute doesn’t work with us. …

Man, 48 years old, recorded in Kharkiv, February 11, 2014,speaker, member of the coalition council of Kharkiv Euromaidan


I’d say that I am a citizen of Ukraine, then a European, then a city resident … Well, being a citizen of Ukraine means identifying myself with a country, its culture, mentality, certain way of thinking, and certain historical continuity. And a European, I think, is a broader concept, yes. It means belonging to or sharing some values. It includes private property, human rights, freedom of speech, movement, and everything else. And being a citizen of the city is more about your level of patriotism. Identifying yourself with a specific city. It’s, like, I’m a Kharkiv citizen, not someone else. So there are some local things. Including linguistic ones, for example, the word “trempel” [a hanger for clothes, t/n.] that people use only in Kharkiv. …

Man, 27 years old, recorded in Kharkiv, February 11, 2014,active member of “Green Front”


Well, probably I feel like both a Ukrainian and a European citizen. Right? To be a citizen of Ukraine means to be, no matter the region I am in, like at home, to have the right to freely communicate and receive information, to have the right to peacefully protest. Not to be afraid to walk around the city. Not to hide, to know that my child has the right to a quality, good education. To be at least partially confident in my future, to understand what awaits me tomorrow, and not to be afraid for myself and my family. I guess that’s the main thing, right? To be European means some kind of security, to understand we’re in Europe not only geographically, but also culturally, educationally, economically … What does it mean to be a woman? My niche is that I work with boys. From the very start, when I started doing Self-Defense, it was my place. I was in the epicenter of the events on the 11th when we were just pulled out of the crowd by our people and pushed away because we were women and all that. There were a few women from “Vidsich” there. These women know they must go because men can’t always do it. So, we have a slightly different policy to put women in the front because they can make people more emotional … There were many conflicts, up to the point where I was shouting, “I am almost thirty years old, I’ll decide for myself, it’s my civic position, and take your hands off me.” They said: “What if the Berkut beats you?” And I said: “We’ll get bruises here anyway.” Then I started managing Self-Defense. I was asked to do it; it wasn’t my initiative. But I won’t name the people who asked me to do it. They just came up and asked me because they heard that I was organized and disciplined. When I was passing the guards, not the ones I knew, because my guys, of course, listen to me, love me, respect me, and all that. They know how I work. Other men were standing there, from eighteen to sixty years old, and here I came, a little girl, and I gave them orders: “You stand here, you stand there, blah-blah-blah.” But they didn’t want to listen, so I had to shout and give them orders. And I had to mention the headquarters and all that. As a result, they started calling me “Furia.” There were many funny things (laughs), but they all obeyed me after all … But, well, if there were new people, I still encountered this sexism, it was very strong, very acute. “Oh, go there and cook something,” some people said. But it’s okay, we have to be calm about that. We have to understand 90% of those people came from their towns and villages, and maybe they aren’t speaking out of malice, but because their life is like this, it’s built in this way. If something goes differently, they feel strange. If he’s a man, I don’t know, ninety-five kilograms, and he’s commanded by me … They think that if they’re stronger, they have to be in charge of the defense. So I have to think logically about how to behave in different situations and give certain instructions. It’s not just that you’re in charge, walking around and talking. In case of an attack or something else, I am responsible for the people at my checkpoint, at my barricade. It’s really important and serious, so …

Woman, 30 years old, recorded in Kyiv, February 11, 2014, Euromaidan activist


You know, there is a phrase: “Lviv is a free city of free people.” It means I am a citizen of Ukraine and a resident of my city at the same time. You asked me how Euromaidan changed my life. I loved Ukraine, I wanted to live here all my life. Now it has changed. I mean, I see many people like me, united by these events. We are the structure that will never move. That is, if the same thing happens again, if, God forbid, such an event happens again, that is, when the government goes against the people, these people will be ready for it. Also, if it happens later, I think the younger generation will support us. As a resident of Lviv, I am very lucky to live here, as it was recognized as the best tourist city. I’m very happy to join various demonstrations in Lviv … I mean, taking an active part in city life. … To be a citizen of Ukraine means taking a bullet if necessary.

Man, 18 years old, recorded in Lviv, February 12, 2014, Euromaidan activist


I am a citizen of Ukraine, and today I identify myself as a Ukrainian. It means I live in Ukraine, I am a patriot of my country, and I want our country and every citizen of Ukraine to become a worthy representative of the country … On Maidan, I defend my civic position concerning our country, our life in Ukraine.  … To be a man on Maidan is to do all the men’s work (laughter). To defend Maidan.

Man, 35 years old, recorded in Kyiv, February 13, 2014, Euromaidan activist


At some lower levels, I consider myself a citizen and a resident of my city. I defend its interests. If it comes to some, I don’t know, worldview and other things, then I feel like a part of the European community. We have to follow the European path… It’s about the responsibility I am ready to bear in deciding where this country is moving, what it should be, what it is like, and whether I am satisfied with it. To feel like a citizen of the country is not only, I don’t know, some kind of a cultural bonus, but also other things: first of all, it’s about responsibility and the ability to bear this responsibility and understand it. In all the scope possible. …

Woman, 35 years old, recorded in Kharkiv, February 14, 2014, active Euromaidan and Orange revolution participant


Among these positions, probably the most important for me is to be a citizen of Ukraine, as I’m very proud to be of this nationality. I’ve always been proud of it, all my life, because Ukrainians are a freedom-loving and proud nation that has declared itself to the whole world. For example, Europeans saw Ukraine from a completely different perspective during Euro 2012, when Ukrainians showed themselves as peaceful, friendly, compassionate people, always ready to help others. We received pleasing feedback from all countries, from all tourists who visited our country. And now, with the recent events of Euromaidan, my pride for Ukraine has grown because Ukrainians have shown themselves from a different angle. They’ve shown that they can unite around a single problem, support each other, and sacrifice their lives for each other, for the sake of the future, for the sake of our children. So, I’m very proud of us Ukrainians, we’re the best. But I’m also very happy that I live in the Lviv region because only here you can breathe freely. We can see what’s happening in other regions, and I feel very sorry for those who live in the East of our country because they are terrorized, and they can do nothing about it. The wretched government has taken over everything and committed illegal actions. People there can do nothing. For example, when we entered the Lviv Regional State Administration, we did not fight, and no criminal proceedings were opened against us. And if they were, they were immediately closed. What we could see in other regions is just terrible. How those people were treated, caught, imprisoned, and terrorized. So, I’m very glad I live in Lviv, and I don’t want to live anywhere else, only here. … To be a woman on Maidan? It’s necessary that all people, regardless of their gender, come to Maidan. I’m proud of our men fighting for our future, using force. Women should also take their position and help those men. Somebody has to feed them, provide them with medical care, and even cheer them up because our women are the best in the world, they can create the necessary atmosphere. Some active women sign up for people’s Self-Defense units. We’ve created a people’s Self-Defense unit in Ternopil. In Kyiv, more than two hundred girls have registered with the “Narodnyi sprotyv” [People’s Resistance, t/n.] who are ready to actively defend their civic position and even do it physically. …

Woman, 20 years old, recorded in Lviv, February 15, 2014, Euromaidan participant


For me, the most important thing is to be Ukrainian. Well, I feel like a citizen of the country because it so happened that at the age of fifteen, I stood on the barricades, and as a schoolboy, I wore a blue and yellow badge, for which I was expelled from school in 1989. It has determined my choice of the future. I entered the History Department in 1991, just when the putsch started. I knew what I was going to do, there was a political science department, and I started to study journalism, including political journalism. And so I went through the second revolution of 2004. When last year’s events of November 20th happened, when Azarov announced that Ukraine, my country, was turning off the course of European integration, I was shocked. I started corresponding on Facebook with my friends, and we went to the square. Since then, we’ve been going out every day for eighty-eight days and fighting for the future of Ukraine. That’s why I feel like a Ukrainian.

Man, 39 years old, recorded in Kharkiv, February 16, 2014, one of the organizers of the local Euromaidan


First of all, the main thing for me is to be a citizen of Ukraine. … Well, being a man [on Maidan] means, first of all, fulfilling a man’s role: standing on the barricades, helping women, children, defending my country from, you know, different people who are against Euromaidan.

Man, 21 years old, recorded in Lviv, February 17, 2014, Euromaidan participant in Lviv and Kyiv


So, I need to be a citizen of Ukraine because I’m a citizen of Ukraine. I’ve been living here since birth, and I’m proud to be a Ukrainian and a European. Not only is Ukraine geographically located in the middle of Europe, but it should remind us it’s a European country following European development; that’s why it’s important to feel European. Well, if you look at the Russian media, what they show, well, on the Internet, of course, it’s not that they are unreliable … They generally propagate fictional events, not even close to what’s happening in Ukraine … Everyone knows we need more men on Maidan as they have to defend freedom. There should be more men, as people are being killed, and men are supposed to be the stronger sex, and so on. Women play a role of a driving force. They help and inspire us. And, of course, they greatly help with food and cooking. With cooking, morale, and support. …

Woman, 19 years old, recorded in Lviv, February 18, 2014, Euromaidan activist in Kyiv


I feel like a resident of my village, where I was born and live. And I think I will continue to live there. … How can I not feel like a citizen of Ukraine while living here and feeling connected to it by everything? Of course I do. … [Do you feel like a European?] Not really (smiles). Maybe in the future, if everything goes well. … I don’t have an idea about being a woman on Maidan. What is meant by that? For me, we’re all the same, we are united, and we are the people defending our rights. I think there’s no such thing as a [special feeling] of being a woman on Maidan.

Woman, 18 years old, recorded in Lviv, February 19, 2014, Euromaidan and Orange revolution participant in Lviv

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Image for Attitudes towards “Leninopad” in interview responses of Euromaidan’ participants, 2013-2014
Attitudes towards “Leninopad” in interview responses of Euromaidan’ participants, 2013-2014
The quotes from the interview published here are part of the project "The Voices of Euromaidan in Global Protest and Solidarity Studies". The project focuses on the edited and thematically organized materials from the collection of oral history interviews called "Voices of Resistance and Hope," that were recorded in two stages, the first in December 2013 and the second in February 2014 (more then 100 interviews). They were gathered in the base "Intimate Chronologies of the Euromaidan", which is available on Urban Media Archive website. This collection includes 17 themetical categories. “Leninopad” is one of them. The answers given in this category indicate the attitudes towards Lenin's monuments, to specific forms of urban...
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Worked on the material:

“The Voices of Resistance and Hope” team


Anna Chebotarova, Natalia Otrishchenko

Database creation

Hana Josticova

Translation into English and Editing

Yulia Kulish, Vitalii Pavliuk, Oleksandr Korman, Sofia Andrusyshyn and Sonia Bilotserkovych

Cover Photo

Assembly (Vіche / Віче) on European Square on November 24, 2013 / Oleksandr Zakletskyi / Digital Archive of the Maidan

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