Question Answered: Who Was
Behind the 2014 Maidan Massacre?
“Euromaidan” protesters on 20 February 2014 pointing to snipers firing on them from Hotel Ukraina, the headquarters of the Maidan protests, yelling for them to stop. The 48 protesters and several policemen killed in the Maidan massacre were murdered in a false flag operation by the fascist action squads, backed by the oligarchic Ukrainian nationalist bourgeoisie, not by the riot police of the government that was overthrown in a U.S.-backed coup d'état the next day
In a box accompanying the lead article “Down with the Imperialist-Backed Fascist/Nationalist Coup in Ukraine!” in The Internationalist No. 37 (May-June 2014), we asked: “Who Were the Snipers Who Killed Kiev Protesters and Police on February 20?” The massacre in the Maidan (Independence Square), in which 48 protesters against then-president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovich and several policemen were killed, was the trigger that the very next day set off the coup d’état led by fascist and Ukrainian ultra-nationalists and backed by Washington. The coup plotters, the imperialist press and U.S. authorities in unison blamed the riot police unit (the Berkut) of the Ukrainian government of the Yanukovich government, which they considered pro-Russian. But from the outset there were numerous questions about where the fusillade came from. A large number of the killed and wounded were shot by snipers firing from above.
In our article we detailed the many doubts/questions/suspicions about who did the shooting raised by protesters and news media present at the scene. We asked: “cui bono, who benefits? Why would regime supporters single out women, bystanders and medics as targets, which would only inflame protesters and set public opinion against the government?” And we concluded that “there is more and more reason to suspect that the bulk of the killings were carried out by provocateurs from the Maidan.” After our article was published online, we included an addendum in the print edition citing a report of the Monitor program of the German ARD television network broadcast. That program interviewed numerous witnesses, obtained audio tapes of Berkut communications and visited the site from where most of the shots were fired, the Hotel Ukraina, which was then the headquarters of the Maidan protesters and in particular of the fascist groups leading their action squads.
The supporters of the Ukrainian nationalist post-coup regime, their fascist-infested repressive apparatus and their imperialist backers continue to insist – despite conclusive evidence to the contrary – that the pro-Russian Yanukovich government and its riot police were to blame. But a Canadian academic, Ivan Katchanovski of the University of Ottawa School of Political Studies, who was in the Ukrainian capital in February 2014 and visited the site soon after the massacre, has courageously pursued the question of who shot the protesters and police. His investigations, detailed in a series of academic papers and online video annexes, show beyond any doubt, that the deadly fusillade came from buildings controlled by the Maidan protest leaders and the fascist squads, particularly the Pravy Sektor (Right Sector).
In an initial paper “The ‘Snipers’Massacre’ on the Maidan in Ukraine,” presented at a seminar at the University of Ottawa in October 2014, and then updated and revised for presentation along with two video appendixes at the American Political Science Association (APA) annual meeting in September 2015, Katchanovski summed up his findings:
“This academic investigation concludes that the massacre was a false flag operation, which was rationally planned and carried out with a goal of the overthrow of the government and seizure of power. It found various evidence of the involvement of an alliance of the far right organizations, specifically the Right Sector and Svoboda, and oligarchic parties, such as Fatherland. Concealed shooters and spotters were located in at least 20 Maidan-controlled buildings or areas. The various evidence that the protesters were killed from these locations include some 70 testimonies, primarily by Maidan protesters, several videos of ‘snipers’ targeting protesters from these buildings, comparisons of positions of the specific protesters at the time of their killing and their entry wounds, and bullet impact signs.”
In a subsequent paper, “The Far Right in Ukraine During the ‘Euromaidan’ and the War in Donbas” (September 2016), Katchanovski analyzed the role of Pravy Sektor and other fascist squads in the brutal war on the Russian-speaking breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, including evidence that some weapons used in the Maidan massacre were used in a provocation that blew apart a U.S.-Russia-European Union-Ukraine peace accord signed in Geneva.
The same group of protesters continued to be fired on by snipers in the Euromaidan headquarters, leaving five dead (seen here lying on the street) and at least seven injured.
Ivan Katchanovski continued to follow the evidence about the Maidan shootings, including the trial of Berkut policemen accused of perpetrating them. In another paper, “The Maidan Massacre in Ukraine: Revelations from Trials and Government Investigations” (May 2017), he cited evidence from the General Prosecutor’s office that at least 77 of those wounded (out of a total of 157) were clearly shot from buildings occupied by Maidan squads and not from Berkut positions. He cites statements of over 100 witnesses and the testimony of 22 wounded Maidan protesters that they were shot from, witnessed, or were informed by others of snipers in the Hotel Ukraina, Bank Arkada, Music Conservatory, Main Post Office and other locations of Maidan forces. Yet prosecutors denied that snipers shot any protesters from Maidan-controlled buildings.
Then in 2018, Ukraine’s General Prosecutor declared the case closed, based on a 3D model reconstructing the crime scene that supposedly proved that the Berkut police massacred Maidan protesters. This was publicized in a New York Times Magazine (3 June 2018) article, “Who Killed the Kiev Protesters? A 3-D Model Holds the Clues.” As Katchanovski delicately put it in his 2017 paper, “The media often follows their respective governments or political elites in covering foreign countries and conflicts, in particular in the case of Ukraine.” But the Times’ “model” goes beyond this, publicizing a cynical fabrication produced in conjunction with the Ukrainian government. In an article in Consortium News (22 April 2018), “The Buried Maidan Massacre and Its Misrepresentation by the West,” the Canadian Ukrainian professor takes this apart piece by piece.
In the model, supposedly based on analyzing videos and photographs, the positions of the wound locations in the protesters killed in the massacre do not match those in the forensic examination of the bodies. The trajectories of the bullets are grossly altered to make them nearly horizontal rather than at an angle from above, as the medical examiners stated. A protester shot from the back (as shown in a video) is portrayed as shot from the front. Etc. Moreover, SITU, a New York architectural firm which constructed the model, said it “worked with Ukrainian attorneys, activists and computer scientists.” In praising these “citizen investigators,” the New York Times reported that among them was a Ukrainian “volunteer,” but didn’t mention the Ukrainian general prosecutor’s admission that its office financed a group of “volunteers,” including that Ukrainian graduate student, in compiling and synchronizing the videos.
So who was behind the Maidan massacre? There is by now plenty of evidence to answer this question. Katchanovski quotes Yanukovich and his former head of Ukraine’s political police saying that the massacre was organized by Andriy Parubiy (the head of the Maidan goon squads, who was then made head of the coup regime’s National Security and Defense Council, and later head of Ukraine’s parliament), Serhiy Pashynskyi (later head of the coup regime’s presidential office) and Volodymyr Parasyuk (head of the Maidan paramilitary squad in the Music Conservatory, later part of the Dnipro Battalion and member of Ukraine’s parliament), backed by oligarchical politicians Oleksander Turchynov and Arsen Avalkov, who took charge of Ukraine’s police and military for the ensuing years.
To carry out the dirty work, this gang brought in snipers from Georgia, the Caucasus country that was the site of the U.S.-sponsored 2003 “Rose Revolution,” whose leaders were close allies of the anti-Russian Ukrainian nationalists. This is attested to in interviews with five Georgian ex-military members and their depositions to the lawyers for the Berkut members charged with the Maidan massacre. An article by the Russian news agency RIA Novosti (“‘Shoot at Everyone on the Maidan’: Georgian Snipers Reveal their Paymasters” [in Russian], 14 February 2018) laid out their testimony in detail. Two of the shooters, Koba Nergadze and Alexander Revazishvili, say that they were hired by Georgian paramilitary Mamuka Mamulashvili, with a down payment of $50,000 and promises of another $50,000 when the job was completed. The task, they were told by Mamulashvili, was to “to create chaos on the Maidan by using weapons on all targets, protesters and police – there is no difference.”
The snipers (who spoke out because they were afraid of being “eliminated” for their direct knowledge of the massacre) reported that Pashynskyi and Parasyuk brought in the weapons, and that Pashynski gave the order to start firing, in which he participated with a Kalashnikov assault rifle. The Georgian snipers’ video testimony was finally presented to the much-delayed Maidan massacre trial in Kiev on 21 December 2022. But you don’t have to believe former Yanukovich officials, the Russian media or testimony from the contract killers themselves to verify it. It was confirmed by a former Ukrainian air force helicopter pilot and nationalist “hero,” Nadezhda Savchenko. She was an instructor with the Aidar Battalion, was captured in 2014 by forces of the Lugansk breakaway republic, elected to Ukraine’s parliament while being held in a Russian jail for directing a mortar attack that killed two Russian journalists, and then released in a prisoner exchange.
In 2018 Savchenko, who participated in the U.S. occupation of Iraq as part of a squad of Ukrainian “peacekeeping” troops, declared her intention to run for president. She set off a commotion by declaring that “she saw Andriy Parubiy, a key organizer of the massive protests that drove Ukraine’s former Russia-friendly president from power, leading snipers into a hotel next to the capital’s main square, the Maidan” (AP dispatch, 15 March 2018). Hours later Savchenko corrected herself to say she had confused the names (understandably, given Parubiy’s deep involvement) and who she had seen was fellow parliamentary deputy Serhiy Pashinskiy. The upshot of this explosive revelation? She was arrested, charged with planning a terrorist attack to overthrow the government, and kept in jail for a year until after the first round of the 2019 election.
As for the Georgian paramilitary squad leader Mamuka Mamulashvili who assembled the squad of assassins, he is now the head of the Georgian National Legion fighting against Russia in Ukraine, where he boasts that his forces take “no prisoners,” executing any Russian soldier they get their hands on, as shown in video footage. In 2017, this war criminal and assassin was invited to the U.S. and feted by U.S. Congressional leaders, including New York Democrats Eliot Engel and Carolyn Maloney (Grayzone, 8 April).
The importance of determining the truth about who unleashed the Maidan shootings is severalfold. First, it shows that the post-coup regime was born of a monstrous crime. As Katchanovski noted, the massacre “set the stage for the violent overthrow of the pro-Russian government in Ukraine and a new Cold War between Washington and Moscow.” He added:
“This was the best documented case of mass killing in history, broadcast live on TV and the internet, in presence of thousands of eyewitnesses. It was filmed by hundreds of journalists from major media in the West, Ukraine, Russia, and many other countries as well as by numerous social media users. Yet, to this day, no one has been brought to justice for this major and consequential crime.”
–Consortium News, 22 April 2019
Second, it dramatically showed the active complicity of the imperialist media in perpetrating the cover-up, in the interests of waging this Cold War which is now turning hot. And third, at the present time (six weeks into the Russia-Ukraine war) when fervor for war on Russia is being whipped up with a series of reports of alleged Russian atrocities (bombings of a Mariupol maternity hospital and a theater that had been a shelter, seemingly random killings in Bucha, rocket attack on the Kramatorsk train station), the logic of the situation (cui bono) and much evidence in each case point to “false flag” attacks by Ukrainian forces. Sound familiar?
The question inevitably arises: are these forces, and particularly the neo-Nazi and fascist militias integrated into the Ukrainian military, capable of cold-bloodedly attacking “their own people” in this horrific way? The answer to that question is yes, they already did it, in the 20 February 2014 Maidan massacre. And everything indicates they are now at it again. ■