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The Snipers Massacre on the Maidan in Ukraine

The Snipers Massacre on the Maidan in Ukraine
(Revised and Updated Version)
Ivan Katchanovski,

Ph.D.School of Political Studies &Department of CommunicationUniversity of Ottawa

Ottawa, ONK1N 6N5, Canada
February 20, 2015


Earlier version of this paper was presented at the
 Chair of Ukrainian Studies Seminar at theUniversity of Ottawa, Ottawa, October 1, 2014.


“Il est défendu de tuer; tout meurtrier est puni, à moins qu’il n’ait tué en grande comp
agnie, etau son des trompettes; c’est la règle”
[It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets; it is the rule] 1 (Voltaire).

1 There was a trumpeter playing during the “snipers’ massacre,” but he came under
liveammunition fire from the shooters at the Hotel Ukraina. See Vasil Ponamariov, “Кровавый Расстрел Украинцев На Майдане 20- февраля! Krwawy Rozstrzał Ukraińców na
majdanie!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nx34GTJTlYM.


This paper is an updated and revised version of the first academic study on the mass killing of the “Euromaidan” protesters and police in the Maidan area of Kyiv, Ukraine, on February 20, 2014. This massacre is crucial from both political science and politics perspectives because itrepresented a turning point in Ukrainian politics ; in particular, it led to the government’s overthrow and was a tipping point in the escalating conflict between the West and Russia over  Ukraine. The research question is which side was involved in the «snipers’ massacre». This study relies on the theoretical framework of rational choice and the Weberian theory of rational action. It uses interpretative and content analysis of the following evidence: publicly available videos and photos of the protesters’ massacre, as well as the police and suspected shooters; recordings of live statements by the Maidan announcers; radio intercepts of the Maidan “snipers ” and the snipers and commanders from the special Alfa unit of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU); ballistic trajectories; eyewitness reports by both Maidan protesters and government special unitcommanders; public statements by both former and current government officials; the bullets and weapons used; and the types of wounds among both protesters and the police. The paper also includes a brief analysis of other cases of violence during and after “Euromaidan.” This study establishes a precise timeline for various events of the massacre, the locations of both the shooters and the government snipers, and the specific timeline and locations of nearly 50 protesters ’ deaths. It presents unreported, suppressed or misrepresented videos and otherevidence concerning the involvement of armed groups, leadership elements of far-rightorganization such as the Right Sector and Svoboda, and oligarchic parties, such as Fatherland,which were directly or indirectly involved in this massacre in order to seize power, which led tothe subsequent government investigation being falsified.


The analysis and the evidence presented in this academic investigation put “Euromaidan”  and the conflict in Ukraine into a new perspective. The seemingly irrational mass shooting and killing of the protesters and the police on February 20, 2014 appear to be rational from self-interest based perspectives of rational choice and Weberian theories of instrumentally-rationalaction. This includes the following: the Maidan leaders gaining power as a result of the massacre, President Yanukovych and his other top government officials fleeing on February 21,2014 from Kyiv and then from Ukraine, and the retreat by the police. The same concerns Maidan protesters being sent under deadly fire into positions of no important value and then being killed wave by wave from unexpected directions. Similarly, snipers killing unarmed protesters and targeting foreign journalists but not Maidan leaders, the Maidan Self-Defense and the RightSector headquarters, the Maidan stage, and pro-Maidan journalists become rational. While such actions are rational from a rational choice or instrumentally rational theoretical perspective, the massacre not only ended many human lives but also undermined democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in Ukraine. The various evidence analyzed from such a theoretical perspective indicates that armed groups and parts of leadership of the far right organizations, such as the Right Sector and Svoboda, and oligarchic parties, such as Fatherland, were directly or indirectly involved various capacities or likely knew about actual perpetrators of this massacre of the protesters and the police. This mass killing was aimed in seizing power. This study also provides a rational explanation for the failure of the government investigation to find and prosecute those directly involved in this mass killing and for falsification of the investigation. However, specific nature and degree of the involvement of each of these political organizations and specific leaders and armed protesters remains unclear. Such a false flag massacre by its nature could have been organized and successfully carried out only by a small number of Maidan leaders and protesters. The absolute majority of the Maidan protesters, activists, members, and supporters of the “Euromaidan” mass protests and parties that led these protests, including the victims among the  protestors, were not aware about the actual organizers and perpetrators of this politically motivated murder and not involved in any other way in this mass killing. The massacre of the protesters and the police was a key part of the violent overthrow of the government in Ukraine and a major human rights crime. This violent overthrow constituted an undemocratic change of government. It gave start to a large-scale violent conflict that turned into a civil war in Eastern Ukraine, to a Russian military intervention in support of separatists in Crimea and Donbas, and to a de-facto break-up of Ukraine. It also escalated an international conflict between the West and Russia over Ukraine. The evidence indicates that the involvement of the special police units in killings of some of the protesters cannot be ruled out. The new government that came to power largely as a result of the massacre falsified itsinvestigation, while the Ukrainian media helped to misrepresent this mass killing of the protesters and the police. The evidence indicates that the far right and oligarchic parties played a key role in the violent overthrow of the corrupt and oligarchic but democratically elected government in Ukraine. This academic investigation also brings new important questions that need to be addressed.

Full text is available at: https://www.academia.edu/8776021/The_Snipers_Massacre_on_the_Maidan_in_Ukraine

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