#FreeMax: Ukrainian human rights activist in Russian captivity

July 13,2022 597
#FreeMax: Ukrainian human rights activist in Russian captivity

Maksym Butkevych is a defender of Ukraine, a journalist, and a human rights activist – all making him a criminal in the eyes of putinoids. Now he is in Russian captivity notorious for the inhuman treatment of POWs. Russian propaganda has been already calling him a “Nazi platoon commander” or just a “Nazi.” You can hardly imagine anything being as far from the truth because the truth is just antipodal.

This is what Maksym said in an interview five years ago: “I need Ukraine as a country of free people, as a project, as a society, and our movement towards an ideal where everyone will be able to live without fear in this land. Regardless of who they are and what opinions they express. If this does not happen, if it is an authoritarian, chauvinistic, xenophobic country – then I don’t need it.” A “Nazi”???

Brought up in a family of Soviet intelligentsia, he dreamed of becoming an astronaut but had to give up the idea for reasons of health. He graduated from the Philosophy Department of the Kyiv Shevchenko National University and then studied applied anthropology at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom.

He is a co-founder of Hromadske Radio, an NGO, and the ZMINA human rights center. He also worked for the BBC World Service and several Ukrainian TV channels and served on the board of Amnesty international’s representative office in Ukraine.

During the 2013/2014 Revolution of Dignity, he acted as a Hromadske Radio pro bono reporter and anchor. And after Russia attacked in 2014, he became the coordinator of the No Borders Project engaged, among other things, in protection of refugees, displaced persons, and stateless persons. With the start of the full-scale war, Maksym suspended his humanitarian and journalistic activities and joined the ranks. He was taken prisoner near Hirske, Luhansk Oblast.

Maksym has been a human rights activist for 20 years. A colleague of his says that he knows how to make people look at ordinary things from a different angle. “Frankly, human rights activists are cesspool cleaners, we remove sewage. But every time when I manage to help a person, I feel that I’ve saved somebody’s world,” says Maksym Butkevych.

Sources: Hromadske Radio; ZMINA; personal communication

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