Today Kharkiv is paying homage to the third anniversary of the Revolution of Dignity which started on 21 November 2013.
People then went out to the streets to protest against the refusal of the political leadership of Ukraine to follow the legislated course to the integration with Europe after Russia as an economical and political model of further development was preferred by the government. One of the main reasons for the protests was the concentration of power in the hands of ex-president Viktor Yanukovych and his criminal ‘family’ who were regarded as pro-Russian puppets.
Local activists remind today that the mass protest actions in Kharkiv started earlier than all over Ukraine. For the first time, Kharkivites gathered with placards and demands to sign the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement on November 19, 2013, on Maidan Svobody which was two days before the protests in Kyiv started.
Later due to fierce resistance to civic protests of Kharkiv authorities, local Euromaidan started gathering near the Shevchenko monument, and people were protesting the whole winter 2013-2014.
This Ukrainian poet statue site was the main place for daily ardor discussions, slogans, planning a new future, choosing new leaders, collecting money and warm clothes for the National Euromaidan in Kyiv. This was the point of departure for volunteers going to Kyiv to join national protests. Here the civil funeral rites were held later for those, who were killed at Euromaidan and in the armed conflict area in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Thus Shevchenko monument is the symbolic place, where today’s meeting of the participants of Kharkiv Euromaidan and all those who now continue to support the Army, to volunteer and organize civic actions is to be held.
Volodymyr Chystylin, a journalist and one of the most famous Kharkiv activists, remembers that Kharkiv Euromaidan was mostly a gathering of Kharkiv intellectuals, creative youth, musicians and writers. The art actions were held here and the first live open-air rock concert was arranged. So today’s commemorative concert is really significant as well.
The concert and the awarding ceremony for Russia-Ukraine war heroes are starting at 17.30.
“We are going to talk not only about what we had done and lived through for these 3 years but of what we are doing now. The volunteers and war veterans are the main participants of today’s holiday”, says Chystylin.
Note: 21st of November was made the National Day of Dignity and Freedom by President Petro Poroshenko on November 13, 2014 to celebrate the beginning of the Revolution of Dignity .
Report and pictures: Olena Sokolynska