MaidanWatch Formed After Trip to Ukraine
By Walter Derzko
Walter Derzko met with Toronto optometrist Dr. Richard Hareychuk after his recent trip to Maidan and to visit journalist Tetiana Chornovol, after she was viciously attacked and left for dead on the side of the highway in Kyiv.
Walter Derzko: Why did you decide to go to Maidan.? What was the trigger?
Dr. Richard Hareychuk: The main focus of the trip revolved around Tetiana Chornovol. I’m a firm believer in Maidan, but we have fallen into a trap where we turned it into an abstract concept, whereas it’s very concrete. It’s got living souls, people, it’s got its problems and efforts. Tetiana Chornovol epitomized the effort in Maidan, so I singled out one individual and I wanted to see for myself that one individual. On Jan. 10, we had a church service and a greeting book that people signed. It ended up that some people also wanted to help with her medical expenses, so I passed it on to her. We also arranged a radio interview on CBC radio on “As it Happens” from Tetiana Chornovol’s home, which was very significant. I arrived on the 17th of January and within an hour I was at Teniana’s house and then on Maidan.
I’m also a firm believer in the power of the media. One of the obligations of Ukrainians in Canada is that we have to push the media to cover this international event. Unfortunately this hasn’t happened. I called CBC before I left and asked how many correspondents does CBC have on the ground in Ukraine? The answer was: zero. I was very disappointed to hear this, but I was lucky enough to make a connection with one of the producers at CBC and so we turned that negative into a positive and arranged for a CBC interview that was heard coast to coast in Canada on “As It Happens.”
W.D.: Was this a private initiative?
R.H.: Yes, I think that often we get wrapped up with the emotional side of things and peoples intensions are good, but I wanted to prove to myself, I guess to a certain extent, that I could do something concretely. Could I change someone’s life? Could I do things a little bit better? We are not just talking about passing on a few dollars or passing on half a suitcase, but a making a substantial, significant change.
W.D.: Last week the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the prosecutor’s office announced that the attacks on Tetiana Chornovol are artibuted to simply “road rage” Have you heard from Tetiana? or what is your reaction to this decision.
R.H.: I haven’t communicated with Tetiana directly, but of course, the outside observer just has to put two and two together. Whose toes did she step on? She’s a pretty aggressive reporter. When she told me about some of the things that she would do such as climbing over fences, well, to the general person, she seems very determined to get her story. This may well threaten people in power. The story of her incident goes that the owner of the car was in the back seat and two guys were test driving the car when supposedly Tetiana car scraped the Porsche Cayanne. Some story like that. We have to look at this completely objectively and I think we can come to the right conclusion.
W.D.: You and your wife Olia are proposing some follow-up actions. Can you tell us about that?
R.H.: ”My wife Olia has banded with other doctors in the community. Olia, who is a dentist by training , phoned a few of her dental colleagues to start collecting needed hospital supplies for Maidan. As you know, people in Kyiv are very nervous about going into hospitals to get treatment. They are more comfortable getting their medical treatment onsite [on Maidan]. So we are collecting gloves, surgical supplies, samples etc. If someone donated money, we would buy the needed medical supplies and send them directly to Maidan.
I’m involved with a project called Maidan Watch. The goal is to track human rights abuses in Ukraine and advocate for these people from the West. We’ve partnered with EuroMaidan SOS, who are providing us with verifiable accurate, fresh, daily statistics. As of Feb 2, 2014, there are 1,739 people at risk and the numbers are growing daily. These are people who have been arrested, detained, warned, assaulted, injured, shot, beaten by titushky (government sponsored goons), abducted, simply disappeared or killed. It’s the power of one person advocating on behalf of someone at risk on Maidan.”
MaidanWatch is an initiative within the Ukrainian community in Canada. Its goal is to monitor the well-being of participants in the Maidan demonstrations in Ukraine. Citizens deemed to be “at-risk” in Ukrainian society can be registered via this Facebook page and eventually will be paired with a person outside of Ukraine who will use all methods available to ensure that the Ukrainian partner is safe and free from political or other unjust persecution. Our partner in Ukraine provides us information about the Ukrainians who are at risk, and they will be formally presented on our website. ( As of February 2nd, there are 1739 such individuals). International partners will “adopt” one of these individuals and appeal personally to organizations like the Council of Europe and Amnesty International in an effort to ensure their safety and well-being. Ongoing updates about the Ukrainian victims are posted by the international partner.
W.D.: How can someone reading this interview get involved in Maidan Watch?
R.H.: For more information go on Facebook to: https://www.facebook.com/groups/577891252295662/ or to the Maidan Watch web site: www.maidanwatch.org (under construction) to register or to get more information.”
UPDATE: Feb 23, 2014. A document was found in the reservoir beside the presidential residence. It lists the types and registration numbers of cars known to have been used by Tetiana Chornovol. Evidence that Yanukovych ordered the attack on her.
Ukrainian journalist Tetiana Chornovol and Dr. Richard Hareychuk