Prisoner Gennadiy Afanasiev, 25 years old, originally from Crimea was returned to Ukraine last month along after spending 767 days behind bars in Russia following his detention at a May 2014 Victory Day protest in Crimea. Afanasiev sat down with Hromadske near Maidan Nezalezhnosti for an interview. “Today we are at the place, where everything started. Where Ukraine became free. Now, I am also free."
In February 2014, Afanasiev traveled from Crimea to Kyiv during the height of the Maidan Revoltuion to dispell the myths of what he was seeing on Russian Television back home. "I came and I was here and I was looking around and I saw that people, they believe in what they do. They didn't look dangerous, they were friendly and on Bankova Street, I saw the place where first defenders of our democracy and our independence died."
After returning to Crimea, and witnesseing firsthand Russian Forces invading his NAtive Simferopol, Afanasiev was compelled to organize a protest of his own On March 8th, 2014, 10,000 Ukrainans gathered in Crimea to say ''we want to be a part of Ukraine, that we want to stay in Crimea like a part of Ukraine.'' They following day, March 9th, Victory Day, Afanasiev was kidnapped and later tortured, foreced to give false testimonies about Sentsov and Kolchenko.
Hromadske's Nataliya Gumenyuk spoke to Gennadiy Afanasiev in July 2016 in Kyiv.