Sunday, August 28, 2016


From Maidan To Berkut: A Ukraine Protest Glossary

Opposition "Euromaidan" protesters or "євромайданівці," as they are known in Ukraine.
Opposition "Euromaidan" protesters or "євромайданівці," as they are known in Ukraine.
Don't get your Berkut confused with your titushky. From maidan to moskal, here's RFE/RL's glossary for the Ukrainian protests.

Maidan (майдан) and Euromaidan (євромайдан) are now pretty familiar terms to anyone watching the protests in Ukraine. They're a reference to the maydan, or square, that's become the focal point of the Kyiv rallies, and the European aspirations of those out on the streets.

titushky (тітушки) -- burly guys dressed in sports gear who act as agents provocateurs. They crack down on protesters or provoke clashes with the aim of tarnishing peaceful protests. This video claims to show titushky being bussed by police to a protest site in Kyiv.

Not a completely new, Euromaidan-specific term, "titushky" was coined earlier this year after two journalists were beaten up in Kyiv by a group of athletically built youth. Titushky are named after Vadym Titushko -- one of three men who received suspended sentences over the May attack. Titushko apparently is not very pleased at the association.

Berkut (Беркут) -- riot police. Berkut, which means golden eagle, is the Ukrainian counterpart to Russia's OMON. Berkut stands accused of abuse of force in the violent dispersal of protesters in Kyiv on November 30.

Mark Galeotti, a U.S.-based expert on Russia's security services, has a nice overview of this special police force here, including one of their recruitment videos.

berkutivets (беркутівець) -- a member of the riot police

Bankova (Вулиця Банкова) -- a central Kyiv street, home to the president's office and site of some of the most violent clashes of the last few days, including an attempt by some protesters -- possibly provocateurs -- to smash down police barricades using a tractor.

zek (зек) -- Russian slang for convict, a taunt aimed at President Viktor Yanukovych referring to the time he spent in prison for theft and assault some 40 years ago.

maydan flags -- aside from the ubiquitous blue-and-yellow Ukrainian and EU flags, protesters have been waving other banners, too.

There are the red and black flags of the World War II-era Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), which is revered primarily in western Ukraine for fighting both Nazi Germany and Soviet forces for Ukrainian independence. Others, particularly in the more pro-Russian east, consider the UPA traitors for fighting against Soviet soldiers.

Then there are the red-and-white banners bearing the name of Udar, the party led by boxer-turned-opposition leader Vitali Klitschko, and the blue flags of the Crimean Tatars. Here's a hybrid, EU-Crimean Tatar flag (in the second photo)

"If you're not jumping, you're a Moskal" ("Хто не скаче той москаль") -- Euromaidan protesters often shout this while jumping, but the chant isn't restricted to the protests, as this video of Ukrainian soccer fans on a metro shows "Moskal" is a historical term for Muscovite, now used mainly as an ethnic slur for Russians. Some Russians take offense at being called "Moskals."

"Up yours, Yanukovych, Ukraine's off to Europe!" ("Януковича в жопу, Україну в Європу!") -- another protest slogan, somewhat ruder in the original than our polite translation.

"Shame!" ("Ганьба!") -- often shouted by Euromaidan protesters (євромайданівці)

-- Kathleen Moore and Pavel Butorin

Question image

Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Ukraine?

Situated right in the heart of Europe, Ukraine's rich and varied history has left an indelible mark on the old continent.
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Comment Sorting
by: AndyCanDo from: Canada
December 05, 2013 00:59
Thank you for the glossary - a nice start :) It would be good to see a follow-up with a greater sampling of the many colourful words and phrases that describe life in Ukraine. One clarification about the spelling - Euromaidan vs Euromaydan: a Google search for Euromaidan yields 2,730,000 results. Compare that to Euromaydan, which automatically redirects to a search for Euromaidan and asks whether you want to search instead for Euromaydan. When all is said and done, Euromaidan beats out Euromaydan by a ratio of 10:1 ... and Wikipedia officially references Euromaidan as the common spelling as well. СЛАВА УКРАЇНІ !!!

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
December 05, 2013 11:06
My prediction: these guys will be demonstrating on the Maidan square for a few more weeks, disrupting the normal life of the citizens of the Ukrainian capital. The latter will in turn get completely sour against the opposition (if one looks at many comments on Ukrainian web-sites today already, many people complain that the Euromaidan tends to emanate unpleasant smell due to the fact that the species that have made of it their natural habitat do everything they need right there!). So, the presence of the opposition on the Maidan will equally leave an unpleasant reminiscence in the minds of many citizens of Kiev which in turn will be remembered during the next elections in 2015.
In Response

by: Zenon Zawada from: Kyiv, Ukraine
December 11, 2013 09:47
I can tell you're in Vienna (allegedly).
I am in Kyiv and I can assure you that you have no clue of what's going on here.
Kyiv supports the Maidan 100%.
And the Party of Regions has NEVER had support here.
Moreover, there are portable toilets everywhere.

by: Maryxmas from: Kyiv
December 05, 2013 21:13
Dear authors,
they are trained fighters, whose task is to take down organized crime. Ukraine does not have riot police.

by: Jack from: US
December 06, 2013 02:06
usually all sorts of marginalized characters jump to the action, when given a chance, as we witness in Kiev. I would suggest Ukrainian government to calmly wait and let winter take care of the clowns. Putin must be an egomaniac if he wants to pick up a bill for the Ukraine and pay to feed Ukrainians at the expense of Russian taxpayers. Russian people will gain nothing from this, by Putin will get his ego boost. Unfortunately our own government does similar things - sends billions of dollars to Pakistan, Israel, Africa without getting anything

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