Day of Ukrainian Unity and Remembrance for the First Maidan Victims


One year ago today two Maidan activists -  Serhiy Nihoyan and Mikhail Zhyznevsky - were shot and killed on Hrushevsky St in Kyiv.  On that same January 22 -  Ukrainian Unity Day [День соборності] Roman Senyk received fatal injuries, dying several days later, and Yury Verbytsky was left to die in a forest after being subjected to horrific torture.  Nobody has been held to answer for any of these deaths.

Serhiy Nihoyan was 21 and had served as one of the voluntary defenders of Maidan since December 2013.

Serhiy was a Ukrainian of Armenian origin.  His parents had sought refuge in Ukraine from the violence over Nagorno-Karabakh shortly before their son was born. 

The video here ‘Our Shevchenko’ was first posted on Dec 22, 2013.  Serhiy is seen on Maidan and reading lines from Taras Shevchenko’s poem ‘The Caucuses’.

And glory, freedom’s knights, to you,  
Whom God will not forsake.
Keep fighting -- you are sure to win!
God helps you in your fight!
For fame and freedom march with you,  
And right is on your side.

Sergei Nihoyan was his parents’ only child.  His mother has been seriously ill since his death and it is his father, Harik Nihoyan, who normally visits his grave, close to Bereznovativka, the village near Dnipropetrovsk where he lived with his parents.  

Mikhail Zhyznevsky was 25 and from Belarus. He had come to Ukraine 10 years earlier seeking refuge from persecution.  In Ukraine he was active in the nationalist UNA-UNSO movement. 

Roman Senyk was 45 and from the Lviv oblast. He died in hospital three days after being shot on Maidan.

Investigation into the killings was first under the control of the Interior Ministry, but has now been taken over by the Prosecutor General’s Office.  Serhiy Horbatyuk, head of the department for special investigations within the PGO explained to the Inter Podrobnosti news team:

“In the Interior Ministry, documents were not retained indicating which unit was deployed in which city. Either they weren’t drawn up, or else somebody destroyed them. “

Yury Verbytsky

The 51-year-old Lviv seismologist was abducted from hospital during the early hours of Jan 21 by 10 men in plain clothes.  His body was found in a forest outside Kyiv on Jan 23.  He had been tortured, suffering horrific injuries, and left to die. 

The Interior Ministry’s Central Investigation Department announced in August 2014 that it had concluded its investigation into the abduction of EuroMaidan activists Ihor Lutsenko and Yury Verbytsky .  It believes that their abduction was organized by two men who acted with the full support of the former management of the Interior Ministry and Prosecutor General’s Office.  An indictment has been drawn up with respect to two men, and another 10 have been placed on the international wanted list.  The police have however refused to reveal any names.  It was later reported that only one person is actually in custody.

One of the main versions that the investigators have for the killings on Hrushevsky St is that the first deaths were not by chance, but an attempt to frighten off the Maidan supporters”.

It seems, however, that the families of these first victims have long lost any hope of a proper investigation which would ascertain who was responsible for the deaths.


Halya Coynash

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