BBG Watch Commentary

Serzh Nihoyan, RFERL PhotoUkrainian In Spirit, If Not In Name: Euromaidan’s First Victims” is the title of an outstanding Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) news report from Ukraine about two men killed by gunfire amid clashes between demonstrators and police as Ukraine’s new laws restricting public demonstrations went into effect on January 22.

One of the men killed is an ethnic Armenian, the other is a Belarusian native. The first victim identified was Serhiy Nihoyan, a 21-year-old from Bereznovativka, a small village outside the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk. Nihoyan’s Armenian parents reportedly immigrated to Ukraine from the embattled enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in 1992, a year before Serhiy was born. RFE/RL report has an interview with Serhiy’s father. It also includes Serhiy’s photo and a video in which he recited a passage from “The Caucasus,” a poem by Ukraine’s 19th-century poet and artist Taras Shevchenko that depicts the struggle of Circassians to free themselves from Russia.

The second victim was Mikhail Zhyzneuski, a native of Belarus. Zhyzneuski, who was in his late 20s, reportedly died of a gunshot wound to the heart. Since moving to Ukraine, he had become a member of UNA-UNSO, a sometimes controversial Ukrainian nationalist organization that is militantly opposed to Russian influence, RFE/RL reported.

No other news organization known to us has been able to provide more accurate, balanced and comprehensive surrogate news reporting from Ukraine than RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service and other RFE/RL reporters and editors working on the story.

Read more: Ukrainian In Spirit, If Not In Name: Euromaidan’s First Victims by Daisy Sindelar, Yulia Ratsybarska and Franak Viachorka, RFE/RL, January 22, 2014.