The Maidan Massacre in Ukraine: Revelations from Trials and Government Investigations

72 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2017

Date Written: May 4, 2017


The massacre of the protesters and the police during the “Euromaidan” mass protests on February 18-20, 2014 in Ukraine contributed to the overthrow of the Ukrainian government and ultimately to a start of the civil war in Donbas, Russian military interventions in Crimea and Donbas, the annexation of Crimea and an international conflict between the West and Russia. However, in spite of its importance to the politics of Ukraine and global politics this mass killing have been central subject of only a couple of studies. These studies concluded that the Maidan massacre of the protesters was a false flag operation and that far right organizations were involved in the mass killing of both police and the protesters. However, the dominant narrative promoted by the governments and the media in Ukraine and the West attributed the Maidan massacre of the protesters to the government forces and mostly ignored killings of the police. The official investigation by the Prosecutor General Office of Ukraine charged Berkut special police commanders and members with the massacre of the Madian protesters on Viktor Yanukovych orders and publicly stated that Berkut policemen and Internal Troops servicemen were killed by unknown persons of unknown allegiance.

The research question is as follows: What does a large volume of various evidence made public for the first time by the Maidan massacre trials and government investigations reveal about which of the political forces were involved in this politically crucial case of mass killing? This paper analyzes more than 350 hours of video recordings of the Maidan massacre trials and information concerning investigations of this massacre in over 2,000 official court decisions in Ukraine, media interviews of prosecutors, Maidan and Berkut lawyers, and Ukrainian media reports about these trials and investigations. It examines court testimonies of wounded protesters and relatives of the killed protesters, results of forensic ballistic and medical examinations and investigative experiments, and videos and photos of the Maidan massacre shown during the trials. A video appendix includes brief relevant videos of the Maidan massacre and information from the recordings of the Maidan massacre trial. The 55 minute long online video appendix with added English-language subtitles is compiled from brief synchronized segments of on-site reports by American, Belgian, Belarusian, British, Finish, French, Dutch, German, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Ukrainian TV correspondents and social media videos by various Maidan protesters who filmed this massacre on February 20, 2014.

The study finds that the Maidan massacre investigations and trials revealed a variety of evidence, such as results of forensic examinations and testimonies of many wounded protesters, which shows that at least the absolute majority of the protesters were killed and wounded from Maidan-controlled locations and that the investigation and trials were for this reason stonewalled. The analysis shows patterns of ineffective and delayed Maidan massacre trials and the GPU investigations, trumped-up charges, and ignoring, reversing, and covering-up of the evidence, which was revealed by the GPU own investigation and which pointed to the massacre of the protesters and the police by “snipers” in the Maidan-controlled buildings and not by the Berkut police. The paper discusses implications of this study for understanding the Maidan massacre and the conflict in Ukraine and the international conflict over Ukraine.

Keywords: Ukraine, political violence, conflict, justice, politics

Suggested Citation

Katchanovski, Ivan, The Maidan Massacre in Ukraine: Revelations from Trials and Government Investigations (May 4, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Ivan Katchanovski (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa ( email )

School of Political Studies
Ottawa, Ontario K2C 1H7


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