Events outside the Presidential Administration of Ukraine on December 1, 2013


A large-scale civil protest was intended in Kyiv on December 1, 2013. Society was disturbed by the beating of peaceful protesters on Independence Square the day before, on November 30. And meanwhile hundreds of thousands of people were gathering on the main square, the confrontation had commenced outside the Presidential Administration on Bankova Street.

150 soldiers of Internal Troops without proper protection withstood tractor-grader (it is still unknown who, how, and why directed it to the administration block). The vehicle made several attempts to storm the rank of selectees and some scores of aggressive young men with covered faces later identified as provocateurs. Amid the provocateurs’ armaments, the chain, armature, fire props, burning mixtures, and tear gas were found. In response to the provocateurs’ actions, a police started throwing stun grenades into the crowd and giving the cobblestones back into the host of people previously cast by provocateurs.

Spontaneously, we along with a few journalists and demonstrators, amid whom I remembered Vladyslav Maistriuk and Oleksiy Hrytsenko, started to hold back the hooligans and shield the soldiers from an attack.” – tells a journalist Yuriy Butusov in his publication who described in the most exhaustive way everything what happened on Bankova Street and from where he was taken by an ambulance. While in the first part of this episode, the provocateurs were in a foreground, during the following events everyone was shocked by the cruelty of “Berkut” fighters. They started attack on the protesters without any warning and beat everyone and everything on their way. In particular, several scores of journalists fell the victims of Berkut’s violence. The witnesses assert, by that time the provocateurs left the scene.

“Berkut” detained several protesters on Bankova Street and adjacent streets and afterwards took them onto inner yard of the Presidential Administration in order to continue the tortures and violence against those detainees. At that time, the victims of Special Force officers were absolutely defenceless and showed no resistance. Mostly, they sat or lay on the ground. Then “Berkut” fighters also burst into the House of Writers where they beat up several protesters hiding in a building.

Later, after the video with cruel beating was given wide publicity and promulgated, the president Viktor Yanukovych acclaimed that events which took place on Bankova Street on December 1were a provocation and those who are guilty of it must be punished by the court. Nevertheless, at present 9 people are charged with organizing and active complicity in disturbances. All of them became the victims of police beating, and their guilt in “disturbances” remains even more than doubtful. Now 6 of them are under house arrest or on recognizance not to leave, one defendant is remanded, and another two pleaded guilty. As a consequence, the indictments of those two defendants were requalified and the court obliged them to pay a penalty.