On the 19th of January, 2014, a peaceful protest of Ukrainian Euromaidans on the Hrushevskyi Street in Kiev turned into the possible beginning of a civil war. It went too far, with explosions of gas grenades, Molotov cocktails, shootings of activists by the special police unit “Berkut,” abductions of people to the forest, acts of torture and all the other methods employed by dictatorial regimes. I couldn’t remain indifferent to what was happening in the country. I called a fellow photographer and friend, Sergey Lebedinskyi, and the decision was made to go to Kiev immediately. We bought tickets and the following day we were running on the Maidan in freezing temperatures, holding onto our gear, aiming our cameras at the crowd, and trying to keep warm, sharing tea and sandwiches with the activists. Twice God saved us from a “Berkut” attack. With no helmets or gas masks, not even the orange press coat, it was not safe. The latter wouldn’t have saved us anyway as the press were being systematically targeted by the police. We stayed on the Maidan for two days documenting the events as much as we could. We’re still alive without scratches or injuries. As I write these words, I’m sitting in a train, Sergey is in a plane, our films and impressions are with us. Exactly one month later, and after the death of more than 100 activists under ruthless sniper fire, sitting on the edge of civil war, Ukraine has owned its freedom at the cost of the lives of a “Hundred Heavenly” heroes! Former President and tyrant Yanukovych is hiding! The path to become the new Ukraine, a free and freedom-loving nation, will be difficult. Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes! Eternal memory to the fallen heroes!
Born in 1980, Vladislav Krasnoschek is a native of Kharkov, a city with a strong tradition for photography (the famous fotographers Boris Mikhailov and Sergei Bratkov also come from Kharkov). Photography was not Krasnoschek’s first career, nor is it his only one. He is a practicing surgeon by day, doing jaw and facial surgeries at the Kharkov Emergency Clinic.
Vlad Krasnoschok’s work is also included in the VASA Witness Ukraine project.