A Revolution of Dignity − Why Did Businesspeople Go to Maidan?

The Lviv Business School of UCU asked businesspeople why they went to Maidan.

“The revolution must live not only on Maidan, but in all of us – to the last official or judge who takes a bribe,” said Tatiana Martyniuk, owner of the advertising agency TRETOSHE, a graduate of the Key Executive MBA program.

From the very first day she was on EuroMaidan in Lviv. On December 1 she went to Kyiv. “Then there were plans to do something more drastic, to walk to Mezhyhirya, not only rally on Maidan. I really want businesses to work according to European laws, and not according to the ‘rules of the criminal,’” says Tatiana.

In Lviv, together with the graduates and participants of LvBS programs we supported the students when they took to the streets and began to prepare for further strikes. I am very grateful to everyone who responded promptly to the needs that arose. I helped the stage director in Lviv, selected the videonews, and launched them on the screen.

In Kyiv on Maidan I volunteered wherever I could and was ready to do whatever was needed: I wanted to give the country all I had to wipe away the tears and ease the pain of those who on that terrible night of November 30 were near the column on Maidan. I returned to Maidan the morning after that terrible night, when thousands of troops of the Interior Ministry and the “Berkut” cracked down on the peaceful civilians. Then I was ready to do anything, go anywhere, so that those who experienced that terrible night could sleep and rest. That day I stood for 20 hours manning a field kitchen: I poured tea, coffee, made sandwiches, organized supplies, looked for volunteers, handed out flyers. I was most impressed by how, having not slept for two days, my energy only increased.

My story from EuroMaidan. In the line for tea, a disabled boy noticed that I was holding my back, which was hurting from fatigue. He pulled a capsicum plaster out of his backpack and gave me it me. Another girl who I asked where I could find the nearest pharmacy so that I could buy rubber gloves for the kitchen literally took me there by the hand and bought all the necessary things, though it was not urgent. Everyone wanted to help somehow, everyone those days sympathized with those around. On Maidan there was a unity among the people that I had never seen before.

What should be done next?

I don’t want us to be overly caught up by the euphoria that rages today. The revolution has to live not only on Maidan, but in all of us – to the last official or judge who takes a bribe, to the last caddish public transport driver, to the last negligent public utilities worker…That is, until we as an entire community embrace European values, which is what we have come out for. Yanukovych, without realizing it, was a powerful catalyst in facilitating the Ukrainian people’s catharsis. From this catharsis we must emerge beyond the territory of the Maidan, beyond the territory of our homes, beyond the territory of our cities, beyond the territory of our minds. And we must continue to work on ourselves, because we have many years ahead of complex processes and reforms.

Come out to the maidans in all the cities of Ukraine so that tomorrow your children and grandchildren will never know the Berkut’s truncheons. Carry love and kindness to the masses by your example. Your little action today can change the country tomorrow.

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“Maidan is not a matter of one day. No one will do it in our place,” Mykhailo Yusyp, co-owner and regional director of the jewelry company Adamas, participant of the Key Executive MBA program.

He took to the streets after students were beaten up on the night of November 30. Mykhailo traveled three times to EuroMaidan – spending a few days there then returning for a day or two to Lviv and then back to Kyiv.

I went to Maidan, because I believe that something needs to change in Ukraine. We are going nowhere, and the cynicism of the authorities has gone too far, and so we must oppose the current government. Courts, schools, universities, medicine – in Ukraine nothing functions properly. My resentment accumulated gradually, but when I saw the students and the crackdown near the column, my friends and I decided to go. When my friends and I are on Maidan in Kyiv we go to the coordination center and do whatever needs to be done. In particular, we stood on the barricades on the night of December 11 on Instytutska Street.

My story from EuroMaidan. We stood on Khreschatyk along with the guys from the Interior Ministry and talked. Many are aware of what sort of government we have, but they say they cannot do anything about it, “Whoever is elected as president of Ukraine we guard because we serve the state,” said the troops. Many believe that it is wrong, they condemn the actions of the Berkut on the night of the dispersal, but most don’t understand our vision. 

What should be done next?

We need to communicate with people from the East and South as much as possible, especially through social networks. The people who have visited Europe have already changed. However, the majority of the people are not well informed so they are easier to manipulate. In fact, everyone is sick of the authorities, in the East and the West. So we should just communicate. The more support from the East (even though there is some already), the easier it is to defend our rights.

Іn Ukraine can you send your child to a normal kindergarten, school, university? Except for a few exceptions, there are no normal institutions. In our country neither the courts nor the public prosecutor's office work properly, and the government just straight up robs the people. Those who share my opinion should go to Maidan. It’s not something that can be accomplished in one day or one hour. No one will do it in our place.

I believe that the main achievement of Maidan is the change in the people. Since 2004 (when I was also on Maidan), the young people and students have changed, the nation has changed, and I am very impressed. What happened on the night of December 11 when Kyiv residents came out and the people rallied indicates that the nation is transforming.

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“If the people had rights and freedoms in Ukraine, they would not have gone to Maidan, but would have changed the situation through the legislative process,” Oleh Pankiv, Project Manager at the company Eleks, participant of the MSс in Technology Management.

He first went to Maidan after students were beaten up on the night of November 29 to 30. The next time he went was after the attempt to disperse Maidan on the night of December 11. He spends a few days on Maidan, a few at work. If he sees that the number people are decreasing, he calls his colleagues and they go to Kyiv.

I was the coordinator of a group of 10 people from Lviv and the first day after the dispersal we guarded the car (made ​​a human chain around it) from where public figures and politicians were speaking on Maidan. When the stage was erected, we guarded it from the other side. We also worked the night shifts on the barricades. I also volunteered at the International Infocenter tent.

My story from EuroMaidan. A foreign journalist came to the International Infocenter tent. He was a bit tipsy and had forgotten the name of his hostel and the street on which it was located. He only remembered that the name of the street ended with “koho” and that the hostel was near the Kyiv City State Administration building. We walked toward the Kyiv City Council, then I asked my new friend on which website he reserved the hostel. He remembered, and it turned out that in this area there was only one hostel on a street whose name ended with “oho.” The foreigner was very grateful that after an hour and a half of searching together we finally helped him get home.

What should be done next?

We must stay on Maidan. The motivation should be that EuroMaidan is no longer “euro.” People are in fact defending their fundamental rights. If we don’t do it now, there may not be another chance. Many people came out not because of economic problems, but because of the oppression of their rights and freedoms. If there was sufficient freedom, people would not take to the streets but instead change the situation through the legislative process.

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“We made a report about the dreams that people have on Maidan. One man told me that here in Kyiv he never sleeps,” Oksana Puzhakovska, Manager of Public Relations at the Ukrainian Catholic University, member of the MS in Innovations and Entrepreneurship

She went to EuroMaidan in Kyiv on November 28.

My friend, who was already on EuroMaidan in Kyiv recorded a video called “EuroMeeting,” and invited me to join the protest. I knew that I couldn’t stand aside from these events, because they would determine the future of our country, where I want to live.

On Maidan, I worked as a volunteer for Hromadske TV. We recorded the comments of people on EuroMaidan and reports. First we volunteered only for Hromadske TV but later we sent our video and audio materials to all the reporters we knew. So they were used by Hromadske TV, Lvivska Khvylia Radio, Channel 24 News, and the press service of the UkrainianCatholicUniversity.

My EuroMaidan story. We made a report about the dreams that people have on Maidan. One man told me that here in Kyiv he never sleeps. He makes a living as a migrant worker and he is tired of it. He spends a few days on Maidan and then alternates with his friends who also make their earnings from similar work. I've thought about this a lot. In fact, when I was a child, my parents and the parents of many of my friends went abroad to earn some money. Perhaps this is a sign of provincialism, but I would really like for the next generation of Ukrainian children not to know these parental earnings, at least not as much.

What should be done next?

Do not stand aside. Work on yourself and set an example to everyone around. Defend your rights and perform your duties, starting off with yourself and ending with the country and the world.

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Tymofiy Aleksandronets and Larysa Nemesh, participants of MSc in Innovations and Entrepreneurship at the Lviv Business School: “Ukrainians must acquire the ability to repeat the success, to achieve results repeatedly

They were on EuroMaidan from one of the very first days.

What did you do on Maidan?

On Saturday, December 30, my friends and I went to St. Michael’s Square, joining all the Ukrainians who also could not remain indifferent to the events that occurred on the night of the “bloody dispersal.” The same day, friends asked if they could help Hromadske TV, which needed people to keep track of the news and check the accuracy of the information. It was a great opportunity to be useful, so we gladly came and spent the rest of the day there.

The Hromadske TV team was supposed to official start their project a few weeks after the start of EuroMaidan with 2-3 hours a day. In connection with the events in the country, the channel started much earlier and was on air 24/7. Within a week, the number of people who worked on the channel reached almost a hundred (and many were on reserve). The lion’s share of the team was made up of volunteers. Often these were people who had never worked with the media before. Ludmyla Yankina from the company pro.mova (pro.mova actually made ​​a significant contribution to the formation of Hromadske) was responsible for coordinating the volunteers and organizing financial support. The volunteers were very committed – they worked late into the night, some of them invited guests to go on air, some were on duty with a car, some searched and verified news or simply contributed to the life of the channel. Gradually it became self-organized and this helped to expand broadcasting by adding a simultaneous translation broadcast for the English-speaking audience.

Larysa Nemesh

I was responsible for verifying the news. To make an interesting broadcast, the editor must receive a flow of relevant and trusted news. Therefore, we constantly monitored social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Vkontakte) and news sites, which today are some of the most effective sources of information, filter information, and carefully check (confirm or deny) for objectivity. For example, on the day of the provocation near the Presidential Administration building, information that military and police equipment was heading toward Kyiv was spreading on social networks. To check this information, volunteers were organized to stand on the perimeters of Kyiv and watch out for such equipment. There was also information on social networks that tanks were heading to the capital. To verify this information, one of the volunteers drove to several railway crossings and spoke to the workers. Then the information was refuted, which was promptly reported on air. Provocations often appeared on news sites, for example, that politicians issued resonant statements. In such cases, it was necessary to obtain a confirmation or refutation of the information from the original source.

Tymofiy Aleksandronets

I helped organize the volunteers’ work. From the channel’s team and group of volunteers one big team was formed. In the first days it was very difficult, because the volunteers constantly alternated, so there was sometimes some poor communication: people did not know one another nor their areas of responsibility. Also, we had to look for volunteers, create a schedule for them, organize food, logistics, and so on so that the channel could operate normally. Fortunately, there were many people willing to help. People brought hot food, equipment. We felt the sincerity of the intention of each person who helped the channel. We are extremely grateful to these people!

The number of viewers of Hromadske reached up to two million a day and so Hromadske has a very big responsibility to the Ukrainian and international communities. The team worked 24/7 to broadcast up-to-date and reliable information.

The work that Larysa and I did on Hromadske was our way of helping EuroMaidan as well as of gaining a completely new, interesting, and useful experience working with the media.

What should be done next?

In the post-Soviet space the concept of “success” often means “to build a business and live on the dividends,” and correspondingly, a lot of people think that to make a successful revolution means to live in a completely new country. That is, for most of us success is a one-time achievement that puts a mental imprint of “success” on a person, which will always give some dividends (money, status, rules, etc.). In the Western world, the word “success” has a slightly different meaning and is treated as a long-standing achievement, for example, the ability to build business and in the case it is lost, not to fall but build a new one. I believe that success can be seen not only as a fact of the revolution, but also as our personal change, our ability to introduce new rules in the future.

The post-Soviet “success” is the ability to achieve something, and the Western “success” is the ability to repeat the success, to achieve results repeatedly. Now the Ukrainians are being tested on whether they can have new categories of the notion of “success.” So first, EuroMaidan must continue to fight and continue to reach small and large successes. Second, it is necessary for EuroMaidan to awaken in each of us the understanding that we are personally responsible for the country – since the country begins with you. If we criticize the “criminal government,” but are ready to come and “take something for ourselves,” we risk turning EuroMaidan into a “redistribution” of wealth (some “bandits” were removed, others took their place). Each of us has to give up his own opportunism (not give bribes, not to “steal” at work, pay for transport, etc.). Third, we must realize that only we, the participants of EuroMaidan, can make sure that the next (or current) government performs its duties. The successors of the government and parliament must feel the they are monitored by civil society: if a raider attack is committed, the whole city has to rise up; if a journalist is illegally sentenced, the whole community must respond.

P.S. Impressions of the ultra-right and ultra-left views of the east and west of Ukraine are extremely hypertrophied in the media. In the east, all are “communists who need Batya [Yanukovych],” and in the west, all are “fascists-Banderivtsi [Bandera supporters].” On both sides of the Dnipro are many level-headed people. It should be understood that we need to depart from stereotypical thinking and seek common ground (communicate and discuss). Only together can we completely transform the Ukrainian society.