I didn’t know him personally and we never really met There was the story about the “Blue Helmet” and his father let everyone know what “The Sky is Falling” meant For me it was…I read up on it, looked at the pictures, And understood this was what I was feeling, When you read a book And you understand the hero…you think like the hero That you live through the same things Three Months in the Life of Ustym Holodnyuk The Student Maidan The student’s maidan, the organized part, started on Saturday I was online in my dorm alone And saw hashtags popping up KMA-Maidan, KPI-Maidan And it made me wonder, why is Shevchenko Univeristy missing? I called my friend, Ivan Priymachenko, he was in his final year in the history department And now he’s the founder of the “Prometheus” on-line learning platform Back then he administered a site “Catch the Moment” for the univsersity, where studnets could make announcements I called him and said, “Ivan, listen, all the normal universities are already with the Maidan And there’s nothing from us, it’s embarassing I’ll make somekind of announcement and you share it.” He said, “Yeah, let’s go.” That I started the group “Shevchenko U-Maidan” on Vkontakte And all of a sudden, shit, I’m the organizer of the student strikes Students Strike! Students Strike! Back then, I was still in class and that’s why I, was in a suit, a jacket and with my beard Everyone thought I couldn’t be a student, that I was some kind of “player” trying to get ahead on the backs of students We were supposed to say just a few words and then head to the Maidan And out of nowhere, appears Klitchko We all thought, “Shit.” He’s making his way to us, and our guys were, “No, No, don’t approach, we’re not going to let you speak.” Because everyone would think that we’re from the Young UDAR, his political party, and no one would believe we weren’t And then he stops and says, “Do the students want to hear me?” There was silence. And I don’t know who, some girls started screaming, “Yes!” And we thought, “Man. We fucked up.” Cameras were filming. And we thought people were going to think that we organized this for Klitchko, which we didn’t Klitchko walks up, said something, I don’t remember what, I don’t think anyone remembers Then they took the mic away from him when he started to talk about UDAR, his political party We set up the columns of students to make our way down Shevchenko street toward the Maidan And then I understood, when the students from Mohyla university showed up, there was a lot of us But now, there was a crap load of us On the Maidan, the people that were keeping things going under the Stella monument, they were also shocked that so many of us came out No one thought the students would get organized This was the start of the myth behind the organized students strike Because, “Oh my God” it was not very organized I showed up on my own. A lot of people were making statements. Cars had stopped I first met Ustym standing next to the Stella monument I asked, “How can I help?” He said, “If the Berkut arrive, make sure you’re here.” I said, “Ok!” And then two days later, I saw him when the Berkut attacked At night on November 29-30. They beat us

“Still upon us brothers-Ukrainians, Fate will smile.” “And our little enemies will vanish…” The Militsiya is with the people! I got a text message from my friend, “My head is busted, I’m in a paddy wagon, here’s my geolocation.” Around 6AM my friend showed up and said we should go take a look around We first went to the Cabinet of Ministers buidling The Berkut were standing there with shields That was our, “What?!” moment In what country did we just wake up in And then we finally made it to the Maidan And there the Berkut had taken over And the municipal workers were cleaning the blood from the street And here I see people, making a miserable wage, And they were told simply: go and clean the street I’m watching their hollow eyes as they just clean the street Then we went to St. Michael’s monastery We already knew people were there We stopped and parked our car About five minutes later, the Berkut arrived At St. Michale’s in the morning And this feeling you have, when you stand on the threshold of the church On the outside, the Berkut And you don’t know, if they’ll make their way inside and will start beating you or not Some priests went out to talk with them To try and figure out why there were there And in these 10 minutes, while the priests talked with the Berkut they got them to not enter the church and to simply leave, This was a turning point When I understood, that in my country, I am not safe On the St. Michael’s square, a lady came up to me And said, “I recognize you. You were on TV.” “Look, you asked us to come out, and we came out.” Heroes Never Die! Heroes Never Die! A lot of people were already there There was a lot of people, the atmosphere, was very… I can put it into words, it was thick The feeling was, give us someone we can beat. Really The first week we always talked about peaceful methods We wanted a nonviolent resistance Then, I was a big fan of Gandhi, I read his biography As a historian, I respect him And a lot of civil society organizations always gave out bookelts about peaceful protests How to do things correctly We didn’t think about the use of force Quite the opposite, we thought students shouldn’t take part in things like that Because this would just force Yanukovych’s hand and he’d arrest everyone The west would see the wrong picture, that we’re some aggressive inadequate group But on St. Michael’s square, I was truly scared Because I thought for sure, they’re going to take these people somewhere They’d come up with something that no one would be able to make sense of and just arrest everyone But nothing happened. Everyone was really angry, but nothing happened We lasted until Decemeber 1, when there was a huge manifestation There were so many people And the mood was, we’ve finally come together We’ll change things now Everyone thought the opposition leaders would come out, And say, “We’re going to the government quarter and take care of things.” “We’ll take power into our hands, Yanukovych, the criminal, beat people.” “That we’d, I don’t know, punish him in some way.” A lot of people got together. A lot of angry speeches, but nothing happened. The only fighting happened on Bankova Street

Let’s go boys, let’s go… I’ll take this We stand together! Put it out! Garbage men, did you fuck someone up? I thought for sure that was it… Peaceful Protest I am responsible for what will happen tomorrow Berkut, we are standing for the future of your children Honestly, I was skeptic of all these protest movements I made good money, worked on TV, taught a few courses at university I was more bohemian People were honestly protesting, they beat the students, we want to get into Europe, I agree I started to attend meetings at the Trade Union building, every day after work I helped keep the protestors fed, handed out food to people Because people were freezing. Not everyone is bright Obviously, it won’t fix Yanukovych or something else But they’re protesting for good things, they need to be supported The old people and the poor And on December 11, I was also handing out soup to the poor and the elderly When I got the text message or a tweet that, “Hey, Myroslav, they’re going to run everyone out again.” That it would start around 11PM I thought I’d make it to the subway, but there were so many fakes about an attack on the protestors that I thought there’d be nothing It was close to midnight. Yatsenuk said there would be no attempt to disperse anyone In other words, it’s ok to go to sleep. So, we went to sleep And we woke up not because of the TV But because we heard them marching down Kostelniy Street The Interior Troops were already heading down Kostelniy Street We looked out the window and saw a river of black helmuts And we were like, “Fuck.” Really, this was stupid Build it up! You finished building it? What’s with the smoke break? What are you guys hard of hearing? Build it up! Are you Ukrainina? Yes, I’m Ukrainian. I’m Armenian, but I’ve been living here a long time now

I love this city I tried to make things better Even just a little bit, from time to time But it’s really hard I have nothing against any of you And I believe that none of you have anything against me, because we may be strangers and don’t know one another Just please, think before you do anything Before you move forward, and you will move forward Before that, before anything, think for a second You may say it’s all the same. But you know that it’s not that way and it’s not all the same to me either Because you need to live, too. You have needs and you maybe you have to feed your family or something Everyone has to live, go places, see things Become better in the world, make the world a little better It was like something out the Tolkien films: the Orcs are attacking – And someone yelled out, “Look, they have the same crap.” I remember, I walked up to a fire to warm up, we rotated in shifts People held the line, left for moment to warm up and then returned to hold the line And I remember some girls were standing nearby I said, “Girls, what are you doing here. Get lost! There’s going to be a serious beating here and they’ll arrest you.” And they said, “No, no. We will not run away.” After that, could you run away? I posted in Facebook: “Fellas, we’re about to take a beathing here. Get together and come out.” And I started to get replies, that people were blocking the bridges, preventing more Militsiya from entering the city center That public transportation was down and there’s no way to get to the Maidan But we’ll get there. Just hold on And at that time, the bells at St. Michael’s monastery started ringing for the first timein 800 years I’ll always remember when the bells started ringing at St. Michael’s. That was cool I’d say it was even epic And the sun was just starting to come up and it was clear more and more people were joining And this was important after that first euphoric week They knocked us down with the beatings, with not signing the EU agreement, and there was no reaction No one was being held responsible, we were being ignored But Decemeber 11 was a like a charge, that we won’t leave here until we achieve what’s right Together and to the end Luba, come here I went to the Trade Union building with salt pork and paid the first bribe in my life I didn’t have a pass but this bag of salt pork was my ticket inside I entered the Trade Union building, left the bag of salt pork in the kitchen and made my way up to the second floor press center and that’s it They didn’t just let anyone in, but thanks to good people, I got there. I said that I know English Marketing skills, that I can put to use I first went to Mr. Averchenko and Mr. Kubiv and offered them to create an International Public Relations Secretary of the Maidan We worked with international journalists, that was our mandate We worked with them, found them fixers, helped them correct some basic mistakes because they never worked in Kyiv Many of them were here from the Moscow bureaus with their preconceived notions that just didn’t line up with reality We found them qualified young people who had a command of English who could volunteer their free time Maidan was there for Bandera, or against Bandera, Maidan had everyone: right, left, green, purple parties with different styles and NGOs from across the country They were all united by a love for freedom, for expression and discussion And I saw on the Maidan a true and ideal civil dialogue

Serious professors would say: “A Social Contract” written by them People on the Maidain, some were there to protest, resist and others were to write a new life for Ukraine in this social contract, a new page of Ukrainian history Dictators Laws What they did on January 16, in my mind, absolutely, Gave the right for those buys, to use force and to do what they did I had no doubt that that they were right I did fear that others would use them to choke the rest of us Because Yanukovych had more resources And in my eyes, this absolutely allowed him to use even more force What I didn’t understand then, that at that moment, he started to lose everything he was holding on to They stopped listening to him and it’s clear to me now — everyone was afraid to take responsibility Who was going to put their signature on a piece of paper that gave the command to clear out everyone We were also part of the peaceful march along Hrushevskoho to the parliament The got people together, my car was one of the first to get there together with the others from the AutoMaidan And then they abandoned us — they disappeared. The leaders that organized it, they just vanished And when the troopers refused to let us pass, my anger was so great, I left with the others, together, we got to that first ambulance, pulled it away and lit it on fire Me and my friends, who were close by It was on that day that I understood, that peaceful resistance is not possible It is simply not possible What did the opposition in parliament achieve during the revolution? A lot What concretely? Individual voting Bullshit. What did they achieve during the revolution? During the revolution… Or after the revolution? Okay, so now they catch people without the backing of laws. What’s the difference? Just a second. What did you expect? You’re asking the question like a lawyer or a prosecutor Why did the opposition allow the adoption of these laws? How else could it have acted?! Look… But you didn’t offer them shields or batons to fight back with Quiet. Take is easy old timer Listen, let me tell you: Had our guys not showed up with their fists wrenched, those dudes would’ve simply left and voted on Bankova street The whole world would see they’re clowns for lifting up their hands to vote The internet even counted and the number of hands don’t match up with the count Anyway, they would’ve met on Bankova street, they did that before when they were blocked What did they do? They went to Bankova Street guarded by the Berkut and voted Ok. But I’m asking about concrete things, what concrete things were accomplished by the revolution in parliament Let me explain. What did you expect? There’s no majority I’d like to see parliament dismissed. At least do that -But how?! -Just a second, how? Let them walk in, put down some kind of device and blow the place up You’re babbling Naïve maximalisms Friends, remember this: you can spill blood on the Maidan and feel like a hero for one day The next day, what will you tell your buddy’s parents? “We had a really good time?” Look, in all seriousness… Hold on, let’s listen You capable of listening? I haven’t interrupted you, right?

I still have my question: what concrete accomplishments do we have after two months of peaceful dancing? Concretely? The Cabinet’s been dismissed Wrong. They were dismissed after the battles on Hrushevsky street Europe supports us! How? By saying “Hooray, we’re with you?” Yes. What’s wrong with that? Sure, cool… And they’re talking about elections soon. The political powers don’t know how to dispense with this Maidan They can try and direct, time flies, and no results. They’re all just throwing shit around and still do nothing And everything came to a head in February, the do nothing brought about the, what did they call the big march on the 18th? The Peaceful March Hello Mom and Dad! Glory to Ukraine! To the Heroes Glory! This is Mariinsky Park On February 18, the self-defence companies lead people in a peaceful protest march Basically, we surrounded the government district We stood here, talking with the cops. And behind them we could see they organized a huge number of gang-thugs And behind them were the Berkut. We didn’t know they were… Well, we figured they were armed, but we sort of hoped that with so many people, this huge protest… I often think about that first week. What we spoke about and organized on the Maidan One of the things I spoke about was the amount of pessimism being expressed The slogans, “Glory to the Nation! Death to our Enemies!” or “We won’t leave, we’ll stand here to the end” But we wanted this to be a positive movement. The EuroMaidan was supposed to be positive, for something good, not against something bad For 20 years we’ve been dying for our own ideas, but we have to be those people willing to live and prevail… And use different methods to achieve a different result January and February were…I felt lost and didn’t understand the why’s and how’s Later I understood, how naïve I was, when you live in an Asiatic state You think you can be peaceful, nonviolent, and achieve some kind of change It’s not that peaceful protest doesn’t make sense, but I realized just how naïve we can all be That somehow, we could remove people like Yanukovych from power using peaceful marches or even with a million people These are different cultures, different civilizations. They don’t understand these kinds of things This was a hard lesson to learn And I’m even embarrassed that I even said stuff about no one needs to die for Ukraine, that we have to live and create today It might still be like that, but it sounds stupid given what happened and what’s going on today It will fall. They won’t last. Think about this. Other’s will be in power. They’ll find work for you

Just be honest, and live according to God I know, that there are good people among the cops I strated to get phone calls and text messages that somewhere on Hrushevsky street there was shooting But we held on. I remember seeing my company commander And I heard the command, “Get ready! To battle!” And the battle started immediately Somehow, everything got so disorganized, up until then everything was very disciplined All of sudden, Parubiy disappeared, something happened with his heart People disappeared, I mean the ones in charge From here, from the direction of the helicopter landing pad, I saw the Berkut moving up in their blue uniform with pump action rifles And they just started shooting at the people There was complete panic, this instinctual fear, these people, the old ladies and old men, they ran, some fell down, some were being helped up, The self-defence companies started to leave, sort of organized, but then, They broke through their lines, they shattered them When you’re being shot at, and pardon me, none of them were holding batons or molotov-cocktails — nothing One was thrown over there, another there I had money at home that was supposed to be for medicines, EuroMadianSOS already released a list of medicines I called my friends, and they were there already and said that Serge will come by and pick me up I said, let’s go to Klovsky street, my aunt used to live there, I know that’s a good place to park the car We just took a few steps up the hill and people were running toward us And some guy runs up and covers me, not that I had anything with me, And he says to me, “Dummy, what are you doing, they’re shooting over there!” Some people were running to the left, but the cops had already blocked that route To the right, people were running toward Arsenal street, it was like a herd to the slaughter It was a wild panic, I don’t think I’ll see that again, that instinctual fear I stopped here and some people tried to get lower to hid They broke the doors, a mass of people were running I stopped here, the troopers already blocked the way They started hurling rocks at us, those thugs were let loose on us, and I remember one cop had a smile on his face, He was in full gear, with his baton, just waiting to hit someone Rocks were flying at us I covered myself with this shield, it literally saved my life, and I got down on one knee, The mass of people was huge, they were yelling, some were crying

I was standing on one knee, and took cover with the shield And people started to walk on it… I thought I was being hit, but that I realized it was people using the shield like step to get up here And I’m standing there on one knee and I thought I was about to die I thought I was dead, either I’d be crushed or they’d burn me, or… And I’m being honest here… In that sort of…You know, when fear tears into you there’s a second before you give into panic, I said to myself: “God, they’re about to kill me… I want to live. I don’t want to die.” All of a sudden, this voice from above: “Come here!” I turn around, and these dudes, broke the only window not behind bars, About 20 people got in there and the last guy says: “Crawl up here, crawl up!” I throw the shield down and they pulled me in The last few got together on Krpostniy street. The most prepared companies gathere over there “Glory,” “Bears” and others And…they were torn to shreds And this looked like the end They just let loose the water canons on the people And we saw this avalanche of people and cars And that we made it out of there…just because I know this district well… I knew there was a school near the subway I grabbed him by the hand and we ran to the school… Everthing was locked up. The school guards already knew I started knocking. And he says: “I can’t let you in.” I said: “They’re going to shoot us.” I didn’t know what was going to happen…He says: “Okay. If they ask you, tell them you came to pick up your kids.” We were there together and they let us in And we watched everything happen through the school windows Then some people with cracked skulls ran up The nurse…together…we went to the gym and took everything from the lost and found box T-shirts, sweat pants…and we made bandages out of them They brought everhthing they could from the school medicine cabinet: iodine, hydrogen peroxide Everything We bandaged their heads, and… Burn you freaks! From Arsenal street we went to the Maidan… And I see the Berkut near the October Palace, The helmuts were sparkling in the sun…it was a very sunny day On February 18 And you understood the feeling: “It’s now or never.” The last battle, you know It’s the same in books and films…you feel it like never before Not for a second are you thinking about fears or something else You feel that everything in your life led you to this moment A short life…for the time being…but it all led to this moment And you have no right to abandon that moment “At 5PM the headquarters decided to halt the demonstration. Everyone retrun to the Maidan.” The peaceful protest could not continue. And it was obvious when everyone returned to the Maidan, They tried to attack the Maidan, they destroyed some of our barricades and injured many of our brothers.” We had one conversation that I’ll always remember, with one man

My friend was with me and he came up to us, He just wanted to talk with someone Very often during the Maidan, the elderly would want to talk with us, Telling us: “We’re here to support you kids, we’ll be here to the end, we won’t leave.” And this old-timer, he told us about how his son died because, The hospital wouldn’t give him the right medicines, they didn’t give him his insulin And he told us, how he once went to the hospital with an axe so that they’d give his son his meds, And suddenly the medicince appeared and he got this idea, That Bohatyryova should leave the Ministry of Health, because she killed his son And he said, he knows they’re going to shoot, they’re already shooting at us, But we will not leave We first heard the phrase “The Sky is Falling” beside Stella Alina said, “The sky is falling…” We always went back to that sahing, “the sky is falling” – Ustym told us, And he’d laugh that something was wrong with her, anything that didn’t agree with her, she’d say “the sky is falling.” When the battles on Hrushevsky street started, this slogan, it became our slogan, Whenever we thought we were in real danger We’d run back into the tent and scream, “the sky is falling” — the Berkut was getting ready to attack from the stadium, And disperse the demonstration, and when we heard that slogan, we knew it was time to get ready We survived February 18. The next day early in the morning, I started to hand out tea, I carried it to the first barricade and people started to come out again. It was a good feeling, And they offered their help And Ustym standing there and some guy came up to him and said: there’s a car, money, how can I help I said, we need gas. Ustym said he’d go with him Honestly, it was scary because we already knew that they were following people, We knew that it could lead to death, a lot of people were hospitalized, Our company was broken — that night was really rough for us And Ustym decided to go, and later, when they told me he had died, I remember the last time I saw him, when he agreed to go and get some gas I said: Did he bring the gas? They said: Yes, the gas is there, but Ustym wasn’t The Sky is Falling On February 20, I went to teach I was teaching, I think eighth or ninth graders, The first thing that was in my feed was the news about that girl from the “Red Cross” that was injured in the neck After that, really quickly, video from Institutska street where they were shooting showed up, How one after another they fell, and others were trying to pull them away, And this was just some sort of return to the wild, because, No one…in one moment, everyone stopped and was doing nothing, A normal teaching day in school, — teacher sitting at his desk, the kids were all there, but everyone was on their phones, And the school was silent They’re shooting with automatic Kalashnikov rifles

I remember saying, that this is the end for Yanykovych: “You might think that he’ll win, but this is how they’ll lose What happened has set his fate, he will to fall.” I said that, but I didn’t believe it myself. I thought we were all doomed. Really Then parents arrived to take their kids home And it just so happened, the director of the school’s child — the school where I worked — it’s on the left bank, And the director went to pick up her child, who was in a hospital on the right bank And she asked: “Who’s going to the right bank?” No one I said, I had to be on the right bank We got in a car, a taxi of some kind, – the school’s driver drove us to the right bank And not once through the whole Maidan did I get so depressed at this site, The bridge we crossed to get to the right bank, I think it was the Moscow bridge, or whatever… The bridge was packed with cars leaving the right back, But the road to the right bank was bare. Just our car I was in real shock. I couldn’t understand why everyone was evacuating the left bank. Where were they going? I went along Victor street toward Shevchenko University toward Shevchenko street And my classmate was walking toward me, Max Lysenko He was walking, his clothes grimey and dirty. He sees me and says, “Hey.” He says: “I’m just leaving the Maidan. They’re killing people there. I helped carry the bodies.” I asked him: “Are you okay?” He says: “Yeah, I’m ok. I didn’t sleep the whole night and I’m exhausted. They’re not shooting now — this is fucked up.” And then he says: “I’m going home to get some rest.” He left and I stood there for probably half an hour and didn’t know where to go or what to do Romance is waiting for him – You know when a person gets livid, boils inside, blood gets in their eyes… – I know, I’ve held an axe in my hands – Let me hold “Lesia” – I’m waiting for the “Berkut” – Let me hold “Lesia” – It’s prettier with the Christmas lights, turn off the light please and turn the garlands on – Would you like some tea? – That’d be great – Me too – Get up and bring some tea – And for yourself too – Here you take the light, I’ll bring some tea – I’ll bring some tea – And a half-litre cup, if possible. And lots’ve sugar For me, Ustym is more than a person. I didn’t know him. But the story with his father and everything after… He’s part of Heaven’s Company, and I think, for my generation, he is the best example He is the face of Heaven’s Company Today, when I see these posts about wanting to emigrate, I get this idea in my head, For the people, those that joined the student Maidan, with whom Ustyem joined up, and that Ustym later defended, Fro them to talk about emigration today — it’s the same thing as telling his father that his son died in vain. It’s just terrible Stanislav Hreshchyshyn, Advisor to the Minister of Health of Ukraine Svyatoslav Yurash, Communications Manager Olena Stadnyk, Journalist Myroslav Hai, Head of a charity foundation “Peace & Co”, Reserve Officer Vasyl Styfurak, Volunteer 25th Battalion “Kyivska Rus”, Cadet Maryna Baturinets, “Bazilik” School Headmaster The Sky is Falling Three Months in the Life of Ustym Holodnyuk #BABYLON’13 would like to express a thank you to everyone who helped in the making of this film: Volodymyr Holodnyuk, Volodymyr Mzhelsky,

Azad Safarov, Dmytro Dzhulay, Yulia Konik, Hryhoriy Mustang, Ihor Green, Kostiantyn Pyontkovsky

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