Witnessed a protest that started ten years ago
On November 21, 2013, a massive, months-long protest began in the center of Kyiv. This happened in response to the suspension by the Ukrainian government of preparations for the signing of an association agreement between Ukraine and the European Union, which was supported by residents of several regions. MK spoke with writer Platon Besedin about the events of ten years ago.
- Plato, do you remember the first day of pro-Western protests in Ukraine, which went down in history as “Euromaidan” (or “Second Maidan”)?
- I remember very well. In my “Diary of a Russian Ukrainian,” I describe the first day in detail: November 21, 2013, I come to Euromaidan, I need to pick up Lyubko Deresh’s book “The Peacemaker.” Students had already gathered there, next to the tents “Yuli – freedom” (“Yuli – freedom”, that is, with slogans in support of Yulia Tymoshenko, who was in prison. - Author). I didn’t even have a thought that it would develop into something terrible, probably because my head was occupied with something else. But when I found myself in the center of European Square (Maidan is translated from Ukrainian as square), I suddenly felt, as a writer, monstrous energies, I felt a nascent hurricane. And then the word “peacemaker” was ingrained in my consciousness - I remembered a quote from the Bible and realized that this was my task for the next few years: to be a conductor of peace and common sense between Russia and Ukraine.
And when he left, he turned on the music in his headphones, and the track “November rain” started playing - about how nothing disappears without a trace, even this cold November rain, which really began to fall at that moment. I left there with a premonition of great trouble.
- Were you on the Maidan at the height of the events?
- I spent a lot of time there, but let’s clarify that not as a supporter, but as an observer. I understood that this was the very center of history.
I saw everything: executions of people, burning of buses, destruction of the security forces on which the government relied. But most importantly, I saw how fragile and malleable the human psyche is, how technologies work to change consciousness, how the “sect of Lucifer” operates when decent people become crazy and want blood themselves. Indeed, many people went there with good intentions, but it turned into something terrible. And then I realized, forgive the pathos, that justice means nothing without mercy.
- Was it clear that “Maidan” is not a road to a European future, but a path to nowhere?
- Yes, it was clear. On November 30, 2013, I published an article with an extremely clear title: “This is your blood, a lot and in vain.” In this article I say that Euromaidan will lead to the loss of Independence and loss of integrity of Ukraine. And the beginning of a future civil war.
- Was it possible to see tents “for the Maidan” in those days in Crimea, at least a few?
- To be honest, I don’t remember this. If there was something, it was immediately demolished. There were no serious actions at all (Neither for nor against - I.V.). Our people, even a month later, did not understand the seriousness of what was happening. I asked the question: what will we do when their power is established in Kyiv? They answered me, and they were serious people: “Why are you worried, now they’ll shoot (the protesters) from a helicopter - that’s all.” “Everything will work out somehow,” that was our mood. I was amazed by the lack of awareness of the scale of events, that everything was going to hell.
- In what city did you live in November 2013?
- In Kyiv, I was just delivering cargo, communicating a lot with people - and moved to Sevastopol. And then from Sevastopol I went to Kyiv, a week there - a week there, then it was possible to do this.