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Second ex-Berkut officer wanted for Maidan crimes found crushing protest in Russia

Halya Coynash

Photos from the violent suppression of peaceful protests in Russia on June 12 have exposed a man now in Russian OMON riot police gear, but wanted by Ukraine for his leading role in the bloody dispersal of Maidan activists on November 30, 2013.  Serhiy Kusyuk is the second key suspect who appears to now be helping the regime under Russian President Vladimir Putin to crush protest. 

Kusyuk’s face can be clearly seen on TV Dozhd’s collection of photos from the protests on Russia Day before or during which over 1500 people were detained, many with the use of totally gratuitous force.  The title says it all: ‘The Middle Ages on Tverskaya St: how Navalny supports clashed with OMON and 12 centuries of Russian history’

Kusyuk held colonel rank in the now-disbanded Ukrainian Berkut special force, and is reported to have been in charge of many attempts by Berkut to disperse the Maidan protests.  He fled to Crimea after Russia’s invasion, and has now turned up in Moscow.

Serhiy Horbatyuk, the head of the Special Investigations Department investigating crimes against Euromaidan activists, has identified both Kusyuk and Petro Fedchuk as the two men who led the effective attack on peaceful activists, many of whom had been asleep at 4 a.m. on Nov 30, 2013.   They were in charge of 290 Berkut officers, many of whom savagely beat the activists.  St Michael’s Monastery nearby opened its gates to help the mainly young Maidan activists escape the officers’ batons. 

It was probably the horrific brutality shown that morning that changed the course of Euromaidan and Ukraine’s history.  A large number of authoritative organizations and public figures refused to have anything to do with a regime which had so compromised itself, and on Dec 1, there were hundreds of thousands of people in the centre of Kyiv.

On July 1, 2015, Horbatyuk’s department lodged indictments against two deputy heads and two commanders of Kyiv Berkut over the events on Nov 30.  Of 15 people facing charges, nine were on the wanted list.  Horbatyuk named Fedchuk, as the then deputy head of the Kyiv police and Kusyuk as the Berkut unit commander as having been in charge and given instructions to carry out a dispersal which was not based on a court order and was therefore totally illegal. 

Petro Fedchuk, or somebody looking very like him, was seen on December 30, 2014 in Moscow, during a protest against the sentences passed on leading opposition politician Alexei Navalny and his brother Oleg.  8.38 minutes into the video below, Fedchuk’s face can be seen among the police officers suppressing the peaceful protest.  He has the stripes for the rank of colonel, and the word ‘police’ can be seen when he turns around.

According to information from the Special Investigations Department, 10 of the 23 former Berkut officers suspected of gunning down protesters in the last bloody days of Euromaidan have now received Russian citizenship, while a further two men have been given ’refugee’ status. 


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