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Ukraine: Armenian Diaspora Members Reluctant to Take Sides

Sergey Nigoyan, an ethnic Armenian born in a village about 500 kilometers east of Kyiv, is believed to be the first person killed during recent protests in the Ukrainian capital. (Photo: Jacob Balzani Lööv/TRANSTERRA Media)

Sergei Nigoyan, a 20-year-old ethnic Armenian born in Ukraine, was the first Euromaidan activist to fall. His death back in late January created a challenge for leaders of the sizable Armenian community in Ukraine: as the revolution unfolds, Armenians are generally eager to be seen as loyal and neutral.

In statements issued over the past month, the Union of Armenians in Ukraine (UAU), the leading civic organization representing the Armenian diaspora in the country, has studiously avoided taking sides, and instead expressed support for the maintenance of constitutional order. Tacitly, leaders of the civic group would seem to prefer that ethnic Armenians stay out of the struggle between Euromaidan supporters and loyalists of ousted president Viktor Yanukovich.

In the immediate aftermath of Nigoyan’s death on January 22, the UAU urged “all citizens not to come under the influence of provocations and to refrain from illegal actions.” Subsequently, a statement issued following a gathering of Armenian youth in early February noted that “every Armenian has the right to express a civic position, but not in violation of the country’s constitution.”

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Jacob Balzani Lööv provided this report via Transterra Media.

Ukraine: Armenian Diaspora Members Reluctant to Take Sides

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