Parasyuk on the bad, and the good, at Poroshenko’s Presidential inaugural banquet

ParasiukVolodymyr Parasyuk is the Maidan sotnyk/company leader who emerged as one of the most well-known and respected heroes of Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity. After opposition leaders signed an EU-brokered deal to end the conflict in Kyiv in February 2014, the 26-year-old Parasyuk addressed the crowd on Independence Square and issued an ultimatum that helped to turn the tide against Yanukovych and caused the ex-president to flee.

Parasyuk said he was surprised, given that he had not been a “loyal” supporter during the election campaign, to have received an invitation to the inaugural banquet in honour of newly elect Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kyiv.  But Parasyuk promised that he would share his impressions of the event.

I will start with the negative.

As I drove up towards the the Mystetskiy (Cultural) Arsenal, I constantly got stuck in traffic jams and witnessed how the “Lexuses and Mercedes” of our officials calmly drove out into oncoming traffic lanes and violated all known traffic rules.  I understood, yet again, that there are some people in our country who feel they can just spit on the laws.

During the first 15 minutes I was plagued by one question: what am I doing here?Gathered, at the banquet, was a unique contingent of those who throughout all the years of independence had “cared” for Ukraine and promised us a wonderful future but, for some reason, we have what we have.  Putin is not to blame for everything.

The culmination was the appearance of Akhmetov and the “regional” scum.  Fortunately, Simonenko was not there (I heard that he was getting a tan somewhere in rotting Europe). The Regionals (Party of Regions members) walked around in groups, only talked among themselves and constantly looked around to their sides.  I wanted to approach them and “chat,” but they immediately, as if having seen someone familiar, turned away from me and fled.

I was shocked that to this day the Soviet tradition of men greeting each other with kisses on the mouth was still being practised. To my mind, it’s disgusting.

I cannot describe the buffet itself, as I did not approach the tables. I could not understand how one could eat, drink, celebrate, when only yesterday I was in the east and saw people dying there.

I also concluded that our “political elite,” for the most part, is not elite at all. At least not in their manner of behaviour, communication and consumption of food.

I saw that many people were standing near the Arsenal behind the barrier, watching how the “top” was inaugurating itself. I came out some three times and asked them: “Why are you standing here? Do you take pleasure in looking at all of this?” They responded: “Maybe someone will see and approach us, we want to talk, we want to be heard.” Nobody came out in the end.

I tried to communicate the opinions of the regular people to some politicians, and concluded that the majority don’t give a damn about the people.

I was unable to catch Avakov. He was constantly being followed around by some tall guy. They said he was someone from Maidan.

Poroshenko was not the one who drew up the guest list, and I don’t think he even approved it. There is such a thing called protocol and according to this protocol everyone who has been in the government at some point is invited to such events. And the rest are optional. I think this is one of the bad things, as throughout all the years of independence in Ukraine, the people in the government were those who should have been in prison a long time ago. And here, they were present in the majority, and this, to my mind, compromised both the President and the event itself, and all the normal people that came there. As one of the guests told me: “We should have carried out the ATO here and then there would be peace and calm in the country.”

Now, the positive things.

Poroshenko’s speech. He spoke clearly, briefly, in a pro-European fashion and very patriotically. I must admit that it was pleasant to listen to him. If he also does everything he said he would, then we will have a real Hetman in Ukraine. I really hope so, as I have grown weary of populist presidents. Overall, Poroshenko behaved in a very dignified way.

After Poroshenko’s speech, everyone rushed to congratulate him and shake his hand. Some were sincere, some were doing it out of obligation. The Regionals were especially active. I regard this as positive. They are trying by any means to jump into the last car of the train. I would not want to disappoint them, but this train left a long time ago, and for the Regionals along with the Communists, the lights have gone out. For the Ukrainian people this is a very good thing.

It was pleasant to have talked with intelligent people, scientists, writers. I noted that they were also shocked by the guest list. I met Mustafa Dzhemilev, Mikhail Saakashvili, Volodymyr Vyatrovych. I spoke to Kolomoyskiy, mostly about the “Dnipro” battalion, as I am serving in its ranks.

I also consider my conversation with the Vice Prime Minister Yarema positive. We spent a long time talking about the problem of human resources, especially in law enforcement. I illustrated how corrupt officials are trying to get into power using the Lviv oblast as an example. Yarema promised to fight this. He gave the impression of a person who really cares about what is happening in the country.

Groysman was also positive. He has many good ideas regarding reforms in Ukraine.
Finally, there was something confusing and strange: I could not find a logical explanation as to why Lutsenko is so actively and happily talking to those who put him behind bars.
As an aside, I would like to comment on the photo with Yaroslavskiy and Bohoslovska, published by Ukrayinska Pravda (UP). This photo was taken by Mustafa Nayyem (of, who spent a long time talking to Yaroslavskiy about something. Then they saw me and Yaroslavskiy asked to take a photo with him. I did not give this much significance, as I am frequently approached even in the street and asked to take a photo as a memento. I did not know where Bohoslovska came from; I did not see her approach. Dear UP journalists, don’t turn into a tabloid. This is unbecoming of you.

For some reason, Mustafa published my photo but he did not write with whom he took pictures himself.

Well, there, I think that’s all. I promised to write about my impressions, and I carried out my promise.

I got three days’ rest from the battalion, so I even managed to come home and see my family. It is sad that near Rivne my car engine decided that it has had enough but, thanks to the guys from Right Sector, I got to Lviv in the end.

Today I am returning to the East.

Source: Facebook post of Vododymyr Parasyuk:

Translated by Maria Shcherbinina; Edited by Olena Wawryshyn

Additional  articles about Volodymyr Parasyuk:

The Sotnyk who turned it around, Euromaidan

Meet the man who forced Ukraine’s president to run for his life, New York Post:

In Ukraine turbulence, a lad from Lviv becomes the toast of Kiev, Reuters:



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