In memory of Heavenly Hundred Heroes: Sixth anniversary of mass shooting on Ukraine's Maidan

Source : 112 Ukraine

Six years tragic events claimed the lives of over a hundred people in Kyiv downtown
08:00, 20 February 2020

Ukrainian photo

Mass murder in the center of Kyiv in February 2014 became one of the most tragic episodes of modern Ukrainian history. The Day of Heroes of Heavenly Hundred is a date designed to commemorate the tragedy. Every year on this day, Ukraine recalls those who were killed and once again asks a question, which does not lose its relevance: “How is the investigation going?”

Related: Why Maidan case lawyer Zakrevska announced hunger strike?

Day of Remembrance

The Day of Heroes of Heavenly Hundred was established on February 11, 2015, by decree of the 5th Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko.

“To perpetuate the great human, civil and national courage and selflessness, fortitude of citizens, which changed the course of history of our state, act of bravery of the Heroes of Heavenly Hundreds who gave their lives during the Revolution of Dignity (November 2013 - February 2014 ), defending the ideals of democracy, defending human rights and freedoms, the European future of Ukraine,” the document said.

Why February 20? This day became a turning point during the events of the Revolution of Dignity: six years ago on February 20, mass shooting at protesters began on Instytutska Street. In just a day there were up to a hundred victims, who were called “Heavenly Hundred.”

Berkut on Maidan

At night, at around 22:17, the Verkhovna Rada adopted a resolution “On the condemnation of the use of violence, which led to the deaths of civilians in Ukraine.”

In total, 73 protesters and 11 law enforcement officers were killed during the clashes, more than 600 people were injured. 

Related: Zelensky plans to meet with students who suffered duting Maidan protest clashes in 2013


There are problems with the investigation of crimes committed during the Maidan.

Investigations into the killings on Maidan have been ongoing for six years. And it is still unclear how long it will take to complete these investigations.

In early November, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky promised imprisonments in many cases, including murder cases.

“For example, the Maidan case. Now the prosecutor Chumak is starting to review this case, he has to create a group, he has already created it. And, indeed, the case has been examined for 6 years. And we, as a society, do not see the real result of this complex case. I’m sure there will be,” Zelensky promised at the time.

Along with the promises of the president, the events relating to Maidan cases have been unfolding quite rapidly lately.

At first, it became known about the liquidation of the organization’s management and procedural guidance in criminal proceedings regarding crimes of a special category, headed by Serhiy Horbatyuk.

Open source

Instead of this office, Prosecutor General Ruslan Ryaboshapka created the General Prosecutor’s Office Department for Maidan cases. Viktor Mysyak was appointed the head of the department.

Two days later, Horbatyuk said that the investigation into Maidan has actually been suspended at the moment.

He noted that 448 people were notified of suspicion, 298 indictments were sent to the court and 57 sentences were announced in Maidan cases.

Related: Who began to unleash carnage during Ukraine's Maidan revolution in 2014?

“A huge work has been done, it continued, but, unfortunately, it has actually been suspended at the moment,” the department head said.

General Prosecutor’s Office denied Horbatyuk's statement.

“The information about the alleged suspension of the investigation into crimes committed during the mass protests in 2013-2014 is false and manipulative,” it was reported.

“According to the laws of Ukraine, from November 20, prosecutor bodies lose the right to the pre-trial investigation, and all proceedings after the audit should be transferred to the relevant pre-trial investigation bodies,” the GPO added.

In early November, the head of the State Bureau of Investigation Roman Truba said that the Verkhovna Rada should increase the number of SBI staff so that the investigation of ‘Maidan case’ does not stop.

At the same time, on November 6, it became known that the GPO started an internal investigation. The reason is a possible loss of materials in Maidan cases.

Lawyer of the Heavenly Hundred Yevheniya Zakrevska feared that from November 20, the investigation into Maidan cases may be interrupted due to the fact that the Verkhovna Rada has not adopted the norm providing for the investigation.

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“After November 20, the Verkhovna Rada did not vote for the norm on ensuring an investigation of Maidan cases. “It didn’t have time.” The next attempt will be only on December 3. That means, on November 20 we have a “black hole.” There is no one and nowhere to transfer the cases … the investigation stops,” Zakrevska said.

The investigation stopped on November 20, when the Verkhovna Rada did not vote for the necessary amendments to the law on the State Bureau of Investigation, allowing to continue the investigation of Maidan's crimes. In protest, the lawyer for Heavenly Hundred families, Zakrevska, went on a hunger strike on November 21.

“From today, I will not eat until they adopt this amendment, create a department and transfer these investigators there. I promise you that,” Zakrevska announced.

Related: MP explained why he did not get up during minute of silence in memory of those killed on Maidan

As expected, at a meeting on December 3, the Rada adopted presidential bill #2116, which essentially unblocked the investigation of Maidan cases. In view of this, Zakrevska stopped the hunger strike.

“I stop the hunger strike, but we do not stop monitoring the government’s implementation of the action plan to resume the investigation of Maidan’s cases and do not loosen public attention over these cases. As soon as the public’s attention disappears, the priority for the authorities disappears and there’s a collapse,” Zakrevskaya wrote.

In 2020, on January 2, the press service of the agency reported that Oleksandr Buryak would head the investigation of Maidan cases in the SBI.

State Investigation Bureau

In 2020, on January 2, the press service of the agency reported that Oleksandr Buryak would head the investigation of Maidan cases in the SBI.

Prior to that, he worked as Deputy Director of the Bureau, he was responsible for the work of operative units and was engaged in their staffing.

“The completion of the investigation of Maidan cases is one of the most crucial tasks of the SBI. This is a difficult area of work, where not only desire but also significant experience in the investigation is required. The management of the SBI understands this well, so they entrusted me with this responsible work.” Buryak said.

The very next day, on January 3, the lawyers of the Heavenly Hundred and relatives of Maidan heroes said that Buryak’s appointment to this position had been closed and opaque, and his reputation was dubious.

“The appointment was as closed and opaque as possible. It is not known by what criteria the head was chosen and why O. Buryak was appointed to such an important position. He has no experience with Maidan cases or achievements in other cases, but there is a dubious reputation,” the statement says.

Related: Maidan cases: Will investigation continue?

According to the lawyers, it’s Buryak who is mentioned in the well-known records of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau from the office of the chairman of the Kyiv District Administrative Court Pavlo Vovk, published on the official website of NABU.

“It follows from the records, Pavlo Vovk is in such close friendly relations with Buryak that he can get the needed decision or investigative action from the SBI,” the lawyers said.

They also added that the search, as a result of which these records were obtained, were carried out during the investigation of the Maidan case, and a number of judges of the District Administrative Court are involved in the Maidan cases.

Lawyers urged the acting Director of the SBI Iryna Venedyktova to cancel the decision on Buryak’s appointment and to schedule an open and transparent competition for this position.

A week later, on January 11, it became known that the SBI had completed forming a unit on Maidan investigation: 32 candidates for investigators and prosecutors of the General Prosecutor’s Office were approved for transfer to positions in the bureau.

“We ensured the procedural participation of these specialists in the investigation of Maidan cases, the results of which the society expects from us,” Venedyktova said.

The SBI reported on January 22 that the unit on Maidan cases investigation unit had already prepared one case on the 2014 Maidan shooting to file to the court.

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