In the evening on November 29, 2013, 17-year-old Roman Ratushnyy was dozing by a makeshift fire, while literature student Liza Zharikova and history major Vitaliy Kuzmenko were keeping warm near the central column on Kyiv’s Independence Square. All three students had come to Euromaidan to support Ukraine’s course toward integrating into the European Union. Later that night, at 4 a.m., all three were attacked by the Berkut riot police, who came to clear the square. Zharikova was protected from blows by the hard cover of a book of poems by a Ukrainian dissident, while Ratushnyy managed to run away as the police chased him with their batons. Kuzmenko was beaten severely – he suffered a concussion and broken arm – and spent the night in a police van.
READ MORE: Ukraine's Freedom Manifesto
Five years on, the students have graduated and are now working. Zharikova writes poems and songs, and Ratushnyy is a political analyst. Kuzmenko has returned from serving on the front in eastern Ukraine; as a veteran he is involved in projects helping soldiers reintegrate into civilian society.
In anticipation of the 5-year anniversary of the Euromaidan revolution, Hromadske met with them to find out what has changed in their lives since those first nights on the square. We asked them how they felt about about their participation in the protests today, whether they would go out onto the streets again, and what changes they’ve observed in their country.
SEE ALSO: The Sunday Show: 5 Years of Euromaidan