“Our close friend supported our expulsion from Crimea under the threat of death”

By Mykola Myrny

Spouses Ihor and Olena Kyryushchenko supported the Euromaidan for whole three months.

They say that because of the different point of view on the events in Ukraine, thugs from the Russian Bloc came to them on March 10 and ousted them from their own apartment under the threat of murder.

Kyryushchenko submitted a complaint with the Kyiv Prosecutor's Office about an offense under the Article 129 of the Criminal Code - "death threat" and Article 146 - "unlawful confinement or kidnapping." In an interview with "No to Corruption!" the retired couple talked about the last days of their stay in their native Sevastopol.

No to Corruption!: Why did you decide to support the Euromaidan?

Ihor Kyryushchenko: I came to the Maidan not because I support Bandera but because these people fought with hopelessly corrupt authorities. Remember how huge was the gap between the revenue and expenditure parts of the budget! By the end of the year we had a budget deficit running into UAH 65 billion. Even with the $ 15 billion credit from Russia, who was supposed to carry the weight of the remaining UAH 51 billion? Should we leave this government working for another year or longer, we would have reached the figure of UAH 166 billion. We were heading for a default. It can be felt to this day. No further deficit should be allowed. Not only Ukrainians fought on the Independence Square. There were Armenians and other nationalities, even Russians... It was a war against corruption. And I still do not understand why the Russians are so supportive of Yanukovych, this corrupt character, which has brought the country to such a pitiful state.

No to Corruption!: How have these economic problems under Yanukovych affected your family?

Ihor Kyryushchenko: I worked in the Marine Hydrophysical Institute as a developer of electronic devices. The shortage of the element base on which we develop the hardware is a very acute problem. We need an entirely different technology to raise the economy. Our factories the source of economic potential, are in shambles. To restore production we need to introduce new technologies. Instead, here I am, sitting with a soldering iron... We are working on an ancient level, not as Europeans with their new technologies. This is a screaming shame. With this approach, the economy will never rise.

No to Corruption!: You frequented the Euromaidan?

Ihor Kyryushchenko: No, I was not there too often. I had a job. In December, I had a few days of unused of holidays so I used it to visit the Euromaidan. I met with friends there, other people, and I have not seen the rabid Bandera bandits with which the residents of Crimea were scared by. By the way, we have organized in Sevastopol a Euromaidan cell, whose main objective was to fight against corruption in the government.

No to Corruption!: You claim that you were forced to leave Crimea. How did it happen?

Ihor Kyryushchenko: I did not expect anything special. We were preparing for the holiday, the 200 anniversary of Taras Shevchenko, held a rally opposite the Shevchenko monument. Literally, on the very same day, Ukrainian television channels were disconnected, the next day ten thugs came to our place led by a certain woman with a list in her hand. They told us to get dressed and go to some kind of roadblock to "to be interrogated and give evidence."  I say "What evidence?" She says "Have you been on the Maidan? - Yes, I have! – So you will be beaten up there! I tried to explain that the people on the Independence fought not against Russia but against the government, which allowed the country's budget deficit of 65 billion. They turn away in silence. Then they were told that two more Maidan activists were caught, so they ordered an ultimatum: "Get out of Crimea! Now."

No to Corruption!: Were those people masked?

Ihor Kyryushchenko No, they were unmasked. They wore white armbands saying Russian Bloc. They threatened: "Pack up or we shall kill you."

No to Corruption!: Did they have any weapons?

Ihor Kyryushchenko: I did not notice any weapons. I do not know what they had in their pockets, though...

No to Corruption!: They used physical force?

Ihor Kyryushchenko: They have tried to forcibly take us somewhere for questioning. After threats, we threw all there was on the rack into a backpack, took the documents and immediately left to the station. What we are wearing is all that we have.

No to Corruption!: Where are you staying in Kyiv?

Ihor Kyryushchenko: We got a shelter in the Kyiv State Administration. We sleep on mattresses on the floor. But I like to be engaged in social activities, I need to be online. Sometimes we go to our friends' place, if we stay long, we pass the nigh with them.

No to Corruption!: What are your plans?

Ihor Kyryushchenko: I was the initiator of the Committee on the Protection of Refugees...
Olena Kyryushchenko: The number of refugees is increasing. When we were organizing the Committee, we met a reporter from Sebastopol, who said that he had brought forty people who fled Sebastopol so need to decide what to do about them. I heard yesterday that the government developed some programs partly for the families of military who left Crimea, as well as for other refugees... Our main problem is to somehow transfer our pensions from Sebastopol, because, according a friend that had just come from Crimea, everything is blocked. The treasury does not work, pension files are transferred somewhere, passport card index was given over to the new authorities. Yesterday, we filed an application, so that they, having an electronic database, could receive their pensions here.

No to Corruption!: Do you have any money to support yourselves?

Olena Kyryushchenko: We get help from people. After we have appeared on the TSN channel, it was surprisingly... so touching. People can be so sympathetic (tears in his eyes). I did not know that we have such great people. People offer us accommodation and money. For three days running we got phone calls from across Ukraine. The day before yesterday after a meeting at the Maidan, when the Committee was organized, were approached by two strangers. One was a young woman, who offered us a room in her apartment for. The other was a man, a retired military officer. He said: "I have a house in the suburbs, seven rooms. We live with my wife and a small child. I will take you by car any minute. Such compassionate people...

No to Corruption!: Your friends and family, how did they react to your leaving Sevastopol? (Ihor Kyryushchenko sighs).

Olena Kyryushchenko: Russian-speaking population is duped by propaganda. A part of citizens succumbed to Russian persuasions. I do not know what expects them. Other deliberately went at it all. They participate in the Russian Bloc. Some of the people from my husband's work joined this organization...

Ihor Kyryushchenko: And seem quite happy.

Olena Kyryushchenko: They go on patrols. When they heard there will be the referendum, they danced on the streets.

Ihor Kyryushchenko: A feast during the plague – that's what I call their response. Some of them were close friends of mine for a long time, we went hiking together, did not support us at all. I call, "Valera, do you know just what happened?" I told him about everything. I ask, "Do you think they did the right to kick us out from our apartment?" He says, "They did the right thing!"

We had to part ways with so many of our friends.


Translated by Y. Tsyganok

The Ukrainian version see here