Published in:

TheGuardian, Der Spiegel, Le Nouvel Observateur, Die Tageszeitung, Delfi.lt, Diena.lt

Ukrainian struggle for freedom and justice was named under persian world "Maidan " (meaning square). It refers to Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square in central Kiev).

"Maidan" has grown into something far bigger than just an angry response to the fallen-through EU deal. It's now about ousting corrupt government, guiding Ukraine away from its 200-year-long, deeply intertwined and painful relationship with Russia, standing up for basic human rights to protest, speak and think freely and to act peacefully without the threat of punishment.

With the fires of the Maidan protests fading in Kiev, the geopolitical wind blowing from the North East sparked the revolutionary fire in the Ukrainian region of Donbas. One year after the revolution, the country is fighting the Russia-backed separatism.

Despite the mutual ceasefire agreement laid out in the Minsk Memorandum signed on September 19, gunfire continues on the daily basis in the east of the country.

During days spent on the front lines,  the motivation and patriotism of the Ukrainians are evident. Young volunteers, many of whom are still in the university or have recently graduated, were pacifists a year ago, but now they can handle weapons and are not afraid to die for their country. The Ukrainian Army is just behind their lines, but key tasks are entrusted to the volunteers.

The voluntary army feeding on nationalism and armed with trophy weapons captured from the separatists sends a clear message to the Ukrainian government: “When we are done in the Eastern Ukraine, we are coming for you.”

“We have never believed in the illusion of Independent Ukraine. The government is still staffed with the same Soviet relics that take pleasure in putting spokes in the wheels of the European Ukraine,” says Andrey, a leader of Azov battalion.

 

 

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