The Maidan sniper killings were pivotal for the 2014 Kiev coup – why is research into the massacre being censored in the West?
Political scientist Ivan Katchanovski – of the University of Ottawa – has revealed that a paper he produced outlining evidence that the February 2014 massacre of Ukrainian protesters by sniper fire, a defining moment of the Western-backed Maidan coup, was not published by an academic journal for “political reasons.”
‘The evidence is solid’
In a lengthy Twitter thread posted on January 6, Katchanovski first laid out the circumstances behind the rejection of his article, and the bombshell evidence included in it. The paper was initially accepted with minor revisions after peer review, and the journal's editor offered a glowing appraisal of his work, writing:
“There is no doubt that this paper is exceptional in many ways. It offers evidence against the mainstream narrative of the regime change in Ukraine in 2014… It seems to me that the evidence the study produces in favour of its interpretation on who was behind the massacre of the protesters and the police during the ‘Euromaidan’ mass protests on February 18-20, 2014, in Ukraine, is solid. On this there is also consensus among the two reviewers.”
As the editor noted, the massacre was a “politically crucial development,” which led to the “transition of powers in the country” from the freely elected Viktor Yanukovich to the illegitimate and rabidly nationalistic administration of Aleksandr Turchinov, a former security services chief. It was endlessly cited in Western media as a symbol of the brutality of Ukraine’s government and an unprovoked attack on innocent pro-WesternMaidan protesters, who allegedly sought nothing more than democracy and freedom.
Rumors that the killings were a false flag intended to inflame tensions among the vast crowds filling Maidan, and provoke violence against the authorities, began circulating immediately.
No serious investigation into what happened was ever conducted by the Western media, with all claims that the sniper attacks were an inside job dismissed as Kremlin “disinformation.” However, even NATO’s Atlantic Council adjunct admitted in 2020 that the massacre was unsolved and that this “cast a shadow over Ukraine.”
Ask the witnesses
It may not remain unsolved for much longer though, due to an ongoing trial of policemen at the scene on the fateful day. The legal action has been unfolding for well over a year and has received no mainstream news attention at all outside Ukraine. Katchanovski drew heavily on witness testimony and video evidence that has emerged over the course of the trial in his suppressed paper.
For example, 51 protesters wounded during the incident testified at the trial that they were shot by snipers from Maidan-controlled buildings, and/or witnessed snipers there. Many spoke of snipers in buildings controlled by Maidan protesters shooting at police. This is consistent with other evidence collected by Katchanovski, such as 14 separate videos of snipers in protester-controlled buildings, 10 of which clearly feature far-right gunmen in the Hotel Ukraina aiming at crowds below.
In all, 300 witnesses have told much the same story. Synchronized videos show that the specific time and direction of shots fired by the police not only didn’t coincide with the killings of specific Maidan protesters, but that authorities aimed at walls, trees, lampposts, and even the ground, simply to disperse crowds.
Among those targeted by apparently Maidan-aligned snipers were journalists at Germany’s ARD. They weren’t the only Western news station in town at the time – so too were Belgian reporters, who not only filmed Maidan protesters screaming towards Hotel Ukraina for snipers not to shoot them, but also participants being actively lured to the killing zone. This incendiary footage was never broadcast.
CNN likewise filmed far-right elements firing at police from behind Maidan barricades, then hunting for positions to shoot from the 11th floor of the Hotel Ukraina, minutes before the BBC filmed snipers shooting protesters from a room where a far-right MP was staying. The network opted not to report this at the time.
We needn’t rely purely on video footage. Over the course of the trial, no fewer than 14 self-confessed members of Maidan sniper groups testified they had explicitly received massacre orders, Katchanovski claims. By contrast, no police officer at the scene has said they were directed to kill unarmed protesters, no minister has come forward to blow the whistle on such a scheme, and no evidence Yanukovich approved of the killings has ever emerged.
Separate from the trial, leaders of the far-right Svoboda party have openly stated that Western government representatives expressly told them before the massacre that they would start calling for Yanukovich’s ouster once casualties among protesters reached a certain number. This figure was even actively discussed by both sides – were five enough, or 20? Or even 100? The latter was the final total reported, and indeed led to calls for the Ukrainian government’s abdication.
Katchanovski previously published a landmark study on the Maidan massacre in 2021, which has been referenced over 100 times by scholars and experts, already making him one of most cited political scientists specializing in Ukraine, according to Google Scholar.
Whatever the nature and source of the political pressure applied to the journal that led to the censoring of the dynamite paper, the move may well backfire massively, in the spirit of the Streisand Effect. Indeed, it could help the truth of what happened on those deadly days come out, and assist in those responsible for the killings being brought to justice.
It should also prompt a wider reconsideration of the nature of Maidan too, and the government it produced. The banning of opposition parties, attacks on the Orthodox Church, the closure of dissident media outlets, and the war on Russian culture and language are all consequences.