The original on the website of The Guardian
Three years have passed since then, both on the streets of Kiev, protesters, demanding the resignation of the government, which, in their opinion, did not meet its purpose.
These demonstrations resulted in a chain of events that led to the annexation of Crimea by Russia and the war in the East of Ukraine. Thousands of people died and half a million were forced to leave their homes.
But today, when the Russian foreign policy interests shifted to Syria and the Baltic States, we asked young Ukrainians a question about what was for them the last three years, and what they think about their future.
“When Euromaidan started happening, I realized that I was ready for it her whole life.”
When Euromaidan started happening, I realized that I was ready for it his whole life. Finally came the end of the decaying post-totalitarian kleptocracy in Ukraine. More than a million people gathered in the Central square of Kiev, and together we felt that we have enough forces to make Ukraine a country where people want to live.
I joined the protesters and the days and nights spent in the resistance headquarters, where there was a feeling that the future of Ukraine depends on, whether will sustain our wooden shields the onslaught of Riot police.
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At the barricades I was translating the news into English and helped to coordinate the media. Periodically, I would go home and sleep.
I opened my own website Euromaidan Press to talk about what’s happening. I wanted to present an alternative version of events to the English-speaking world, which is different from the narrative of the Russian media called us “Nazi junta”, “dangerous nationalists” and “extremists”.
But three years have passed, and I have the feeling that Ukraine is not treated more as a pawn in the diplomatic game — as a country which is constantly bullied and the former Soviet occupiers, and the current world power.
The Western media also apply to Ukraine as objects, as things, which worsened relations with Russia. But there are other stories that need to tell, say, about how until now suppressed the rights of our citizens, as our daily ongoing information war with Russia.
Alya Shandra, 32 years old, Kiev
“I refuse to hate people who want to separate from us”
I come from Starobelsk, in the East of Ukraine. My mother is Russian, she speaks Ukrainian, and has never been in cities where people speak the Ukrainian language.
My father is a traditional Ukrainian, who promised to be the first to volunteer in the army, if you come to town Pro-Russian rebels.
My city was Russian, and I grew up with this feeling that Russia and Ukraine are two countries with a common history, culture and folklore. But after the war, I do not really clearly understand the situation.
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We have too much propaganda, natravlyayut one side to the other, but I refuse to hate people who want to secede from the rest of the country.
Since I am from the Luhansk region, it is clear to me that these people do not think Ukraine is bad. They simply believe that to live in Russia they will be better.
Dasha Leprosy, 21, Lviv
“People think that someday we will again become brothers and sisters — but we will not”
Most often the wrong idea about relations with Russia, Ukraine is formed due to the idea that someday we will again become brothers and sisters.
In my city Odessa on 2 may 2014 was a terrible tragedy when Pro-Russian forces attacked Pro-Ukrainian March. I was playing football, but stopped to see what was happening. I had a camera, and I ran between the two camps, when flew bullets, stones and bottles of gasoline.
On the corner of main Odessa streets, Deribasovskaya someone called my name and I went to meet him. After a couple of seconds on the very spot where I was standing, killed the man. By the end of the day the total number of deaths exceeded 40 people.
It took more than two years, and the official investigation could not determine who caused the collision, and why the authorities did nothing to stop them. In the incident tried to understand the journalists and independent experts, but we have still no official conclusion.
History shows that people find it difficult to recover after a conflict with a large number of victims, especially if the perpetrators are not brought to justice. But how can we be friends without that?
Irina Koropenko, 27 years old, Odessa
“Obama and Stalin — dictators that killed millions”
“Obama and Stalin are not different from each other… they are both bloody dictators who killed millions of people” and “Hillary Clinton is sitting on drugs.” That is the opinion of those Ukrainians who read the news on Pro-Russian sites.
When I was at school, we learned about the propaganda of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, however, this propaganda has today become an everyday reality in Ukraine.
My father is Ukrainian, he recently retired from the Russian merchant fleet, where he worked for 32 years. He listened to Western rock music and saw the world. Now he believes that Joseph Stalin and Ivan the terrible were great leaders, and in their honor we must erect monuments.
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When I said that Stalin was responsible for the deaths of millions of people, father said that Obama is too “bloody dictator”.
Ukraine bans Russian state television on the grounds that it spreads misinformation and propaganda, but Russia calls it a violation of freedom of speech. But in any case, all you can read and see online.
My friend just returned from the conflict zone in the Donbass, and said that there is no one to watch the Ukrainian channels, but only programmes from Russia that passes the so-called Donetsk people’s Republic.
Some people think that the Russian television gives a false interpretation of events to destroy Ukraine. But someone believes in this version of events. As is often said, Russian journalists, any situation seems to be true from one point of view, and lies on the other.
Natalia Steblina, 33 years old, Odessa
“The conflict destroyed many homes, including mine”
In Soviet times people moved around from one Republic to another. So uncles and aunts my mother went to Ukraine to study in Russia, where live the last 30 years. The Russian-Ukrainian conflict destroyed many homes, including mine.
Before the war they came to us every year. They loved our country. Now it is not so. We stopped to talk with them in 2014 when they while talking on Skype I started to say things like “only Putin will save you from the Americans.” We have had disagreements over Crimea, and they began to regard us, their relatives, enemies.
My family history is not unique, and I know that someday we have to forgive each other, because without such personal connections any cooperation with Russia will be very difficult.
Alla Gardener, 26 years old, Exactly
“The Crimea, which we know is destroyed”
Family, table, three cups of coffee, three chairs. But one is empty. Third family member, son or daughter, disappeared. Parents eyes full of tears.
This Crimean scene was repeated last month near the Russian Embassy in Kiev in order to draw attention to the plight of families living on the Crimean Peninsula.
This fate befell the family of Erwin Ibragimov, was abducted five months ago in the city of Simferopol. Since then nobody never heard of him. March 2013 for political reasons thrown in jail dozens of people, and their relatives and friends are scared: they don’t know what could happen to them.
Meanwhile, the authorities accusations of persecution of the indigenous population, Crimean Tatars. And the Pro-Russian and Pro-Ukrainian inhabitants of the Peninsula are afraid of each other.
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Against this background, going to Ukraine debate seem ridiculous. Whose Crimea is historically ours or theirs? If the referendum in 2014 was a reflection of the thoughts of people?
Until we Wade into the quagmire of discussions on the topic of the history of the Crimea, which we know is destroyed. Soon we do not know our home, our beloved black sea resort, where he fled 20 thousand people.
Crimea is not a pawn in the political game. It’s not a piece of territory, it is the house and the fate of two million people. Someone now gets a higher Russian pensions, someone who loves Russian culture, and that’s fine. But we need international support to protect those who do not receive and do not like.
Alexander Ochman, 25 years, Kiev
Prepared MeV Serlo
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