Kharkiv, Ukraine: On 11 January 2014, one of working groups of the first All-Ukraine Euromaidan Forum was attacked. There were casualities. The working group was dedicated to civic education at Euromaidans. It was moderated by the well known writer Serhij Zhadan and the director of International Renaissance Foundation Yevhen Bystrytsky. The event took place at the Knyharnya Ye bookstore at 3 Sumska Street. Kharkiv Euromaidan volunteers served as security guards outside the building.
Around 5:00 PM local time, the same bandits (titushki) who harassed Forum activities earlier in the day had jumped out of several cars. About twenty of them suddenly attacked the bookstore, using pepper spray. They forced their way into the bookstore, broke the glass doors and released pepper gas inside the bookstore, resulting in an evacuation of the store. Most of the working group participants suffered damage to their respiratory tracts.
Oleh Kolodij, a psychologist acting as a volunteer security guard, was severely beaten. His nose was broken and his retina was badly damaged. In his video statements, he blamed the city mayor for the attacks on activists.
At at 5:07 PM, police dispatch disregarded the activists’ request for intervention, refusing to dispatch police to the scene. After repeated requests, police were eventually dispatched, but took thirty minutes to arrive at the scene of the attack. In addition, Oleh Kolodij reported that a detective pressured him to edit his witness statement, which Mr. Kolodij refused to do.
After the incident, more than ten witnesses contacted members of the Forum’s Organizing Committee and the Maidan Monitoring Information Center to report that they recognized the attackers, whose pictures were posted on social media websites. All those witnesses said that the attackers belonged to the OPLOT Sport Club, which specializes in training fighters. According to a member of the Maidan Monitoring Information Center, OPLOT is believed to be under control of neo-Stalinists.