The Revolution of Dignity also known as Euromaidan (21 November 2013 – 23 February 2014) occurred in Kyiv, Ukraine. It is one of the bloodiest civil unrests in the recorded history of Ukraine and Eastern Europe. It started as a student protest against the suspension of the signing of the EU-Ukraine association agreement, preferring Russian Federation-oriented course.

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Unlawful Use Of Aggression Against The Ukrainian Citizens

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The actions of the on that time President – Victor Yanukovych – started a demonstration. After the brutal night attack by the Special Forces group Berkut on those students, the Ukrainians responded with massive protests, demonstrations and clashes led by the opposition leaders. Protesters occupied and barricaded Maidan Nezalezhnosti and several of the governmental buildings, provoking a violent response of the Ukrainian President. He sanctions police operation against the activists, which resulted in about a hundred of murdered activists and less than 20 killed police officers.

The authorities ordered the fully-armed military and police officers with anti-riot ammunition, riffles, and shotguns to kill the civilians, who were mostly unarmed or had only bricks, Molotov cocktails, and clubs to protect themselves. Euromaidan massacre was the primary attention-grabber of the world politicians and caused different reactions in the global leaders.

The EU reaction was mostly anti-violent, threatening to impose sanctions on Ukraine for the committed violence. Later, the European Union comprehended the necessity to “combine normative and realistic approaches” (ECFR, 2013) to the given situation. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, emphasised the importance of preservation of the basic democratic liberties (Coe, 2014). The primary guilt of Yanukovych’s regime was for violation of the IV Geneva Convention when the President approved police action. Under conditions of police actions, the activists should have been protected from the “willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment” (UN, 1949: p. 221) by Article 147.

Nevertheless, the Geneva Convention was disregarded, resulting in about hundreds of injured and dead. The delicate EU reaction was backed up by the more harsh response from the U.S. government that “openly threatened imposing sanctions” (Coe, 2014) on both sides of the protest for the committed violence. Yanukovych acted delusional, and the only global leader who “encouraged Yanukovych to crack down harder on the unrest” (Traynor, 2014) was Vladimir Putin, the Russian President. Such disregard to the human rights by the Ukrainian authorities should have caused more active and severe reaction in the EU officials instead of the “woefully inadequate” (Peisakhin, 2015) one. Perhaps, a more active participation of the EU and the USA in stressing the importance of the Articles 1 (equality of humans), 3 (right to security and life), 5 (prohibition of torture and inhuman treatment), 19 (freedom for expression of the opinion), and 20 (peaceful assembly), etc. of the UN Declaration of Human Rights (UN, 1948) would have changed Yanukovych’s actions.

Reviewing Euromaidan from the liberal perspective, it is evident that the fundamental principle of democracy (people’s rule) was severely violated as well as the civil rights and freedoms. It has caused such negative response in the Ukrainians. From the realists’ perspective that contrasts liberalism, Euromaidan was seen as a potential threat to the state, and thus, had to be removed. Yanukovych needed to concentrate all power in his hands, as it was advised by Putin, to be able to dominate over the people.

To conclude, the Revolution of Dignity was an essential step to overthrowing a tyrant from the post of the Ukrainian President and promoting democracy as the primary interest of the state. People started their protest as a response to the severe violation of the fundamental human rights and freedoms. The clash between the activists and the police resulted in hundreds of dead and injured. The most influential global politicians exhibited an inadequate and slow reaction to the Revolution, intending to impose sanctions both on the opposition and on the government of Ukraine. The reaction of the global leaders was also different: the USA and Germany threatened with sanctions but stressed the necessity of preservation of the human rights, while authoritative Russia insisted on the use of force against the activists. The Revolution of Dignity will forever be remembered as a significant massacre of unarmed civilians by the fully equipped police, and as the example of a violation of the fundamental human rights.