February 20, 2014 ‘Snipers’ Massacre’: Another EuroMaidan Protester Acknowledges Killing Berkut First

Ukrainian neofascists

by Gordon M. Hahn

{This is a preview of my forthcoming revision of my Working Paper on the Snipers’ Massacre of 20 February 2014 on the Maidan in Kiev, Ukraine. Although based much on Ottawa University Professor Ivan Katchanovski’s work, it includes some other data, including the following recent disclosure, confirming once more that the ‘sniper’s massacre’ or shooting at least on that pivotal day was not initiated by the Berkut or any other forces of the Viktor Yanukovych regime, no less of Russia. Rather, they were an internal false flag operation carried out by the neo-fascist and ultra-nationalist element – the Svoboda Party and Right Sector – of the EuroMaidan movement that turned the first peaceful Maidan protests into increasingly violent protests and a violent seizure of power.}

Around the time of the second anniversary of the February massacre, yet another pro-Maidan sniper, Ivan Bubenchik, has emerged to acknowledge that he shot Berkut before any protesters were shot that day. In a print interview Bubenchik previews his admission in Vladimir Tikhii’s documentary film ‘Brantsy’ that he shot and killed two Berkut commanders in the early morning hours of February 20th on the Maidan. Bubenchik hails from Lviv, having learned how to shoot in the Soviet army and undergone training at a military intelligence academy for operations planned for Afghanistan and “other hot points.” Claiming that he was on the Maidan from the “first day,” he soon joined the MSD’s “Ninth” soten tasked with guarding the subway exits onto the Maidan, so the SBU could not use them to infiltrate the square.  At some point, the MVD blocked their acces to the government quarters on Hrushevskii Strret. The Ninth soten delivered a written ultimatum that if by the next day Ninth’s fighters were not allowed to move freely between the Maidan and the Metro, they would attack the Internal Troops, which they did with Molotov cocktails and stones.[1]

On February 20th, Bubenchik claims that the Yanukovich regime started the fire in the Trade Union House—where his and many other EuroMaidan fighters lived during the revolt—prompting the Maidan’s next reaction. As noted above, however, pro-Maidan neo-fascists have revealed that Right Sector started that fires there. Relocating to the infamous Conservatory where, Bubenchik confirms other testimony that there were pro-Maidan fighters “with hunting rifles”… shooting at the units of special troops seventy meters away.” He moved them away from windows through which they were firing at the secial forces when the latter allegedly began throwing Molotov cocktails at the building in order to burn down their “last refuge.” Claiming he had been praying for 40, then 20 Kalashnikovs to appear, on the morning of the February 20th an unidentified person brought to them a Kalashnikov and 75 bullets in a tennis racket bag. He emphasizes that those who claim the weapons had been captured from the pro-Yanukovich titushki on February 18th are wrong. Bubenchik fired at police from a window situated behind columns farthest from the Maidan, targeting likely commanders betrayed by their “gesticulations.” He expresses his pride in shooting the two commanders in the back of the skull and killing them and then shooting an unspecified number of other Berkut servicemen in the legs with the intent merely to wound. Bubenchik then moved out of the Conservatory onto the street and continued to fire on police from behind the shields of other protesters, who were moved “to tears of joy.” After the police began to return fire, Bubenchik ran out of ammunition and was told by “people with status” that more was on the way. He does not clarify whether it arrived, but concludes by noting that two of his comrades in the Ninth hundred were killed: Igor Serdyuk and Bogdan Vaida.[2]

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[1] Ivan Siyak, “Ivan Bubenchik: ‘Ya ubil ikh v zatylok. Eto pravda,” Bird in Flight, 19 February 2016, https://birdinflight.com/ru/mir/ivan-bubenchik-ya-ubil-ih-v-zatylok-eto-pravda.html.

[2] Siyak, “Ivan Bubenchik: ‘Ya ubil ikh v zatylok. Eto Pravda.”

*For my original Working Paper, see WORKING PAPER: “Violence, Coercion and Escalation in the Ukrainian Crisis: Escalation Point 6: The ‘Snipers of February,” Gordonhahn.com Russian and Eurasian Politics, 8 May 2015, https://gordonhahn.com/2015/05/08/violence-coercion-and-escalation-in-ukraines-maidan-revolution-escalation-point-6-the-snipers-of-february/

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Gordon M. Hahn is an Analyst and Advisory Board Member of the Geostrategic Forecasting Corporation, Chicago, Illinois; Adjunct Professor and Senior Researcher, Middlebury Institute for International Studies at Monterey; Senior Researcher, Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS), Akribis Group, San Jose, California; a Contributor for Russia Direct, www.russia-direct.org; and an Analyst/Consultant, Russia Other Points of View – Russia Media Watch, http://www.russiaotherpointsofview.com. Dr Hahn is author of three well-received books, Russia’s Revolution From Above (Transaction, 2002), Russia’s Islamic Threat (Yale University Press, 2007), which was named an outstanding title of 2007 by Choice magazine, and The ‘Caucasus Emirate’ Mujahedin: Global Jihadism in Russia’s North Caucasus and Beyond (McFarland Publishers, 2014). He also has authored hundreds of articles in scholarly journals and other publications on Russian, Eurasian and international politics. Dr. Hahn has taught Russian politics and other courses at Boston, American, Stanford, San Jose State, St. Petersburg State (Russia), and San Francisco State Universities as well as the Middlebury Institute for International Studies at Monterey, California. He also has been a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (2011-2013) and a Visiting Scholar at both the Hoover Institution and the Kennan Institute. His website is http://www.gordonhahn.com. 

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About Gordon M. Hahn