Central/Eastern Europe: Maidan Heroes
From February 18-20, 2014, the Maidan Square in Central Kiev was the scene of a siege, the culmination of months long protests initially led by students who were later joined by Ukrainians of all walks of life representing all aspects of society. What began as a protest against President Viktor Yanukoych’s decision to sign an economic agreement with Moscow over an association agreement with the European Union had morphed into something else, a larger demonstration of the people against the state. Snipers positioned on buildings surrounding the square attacked the demonstrators with live rounds, leading to over 70 deaths. The next day, Yanukovych fled his luxurious residence outside of Kiev for Russia, where he remains. The Maidan Heroes are those who were shot and survived this spat of political violence. This is not a name I have chosen for them, but rather how the Ukrainians refer to them.