In memoriam Roman Ratushny

June 15,2022 523
In memoriam Roman Ratushny

The sad news that shook Kyiv’s civil society and far beyond: Roman Ratushny, the 24-year-old daredevil spearhead of the Protect Protasiv Yar initiative and leader of the same-name NGO, bright and handsome, died a hero’s death in a battle near Izyum, Kharkiv Oblast. “The country has lost not just a Hero but a Citizen who could and did change all of our country for the better,” said Serhiy Sternenko, renowned civil society activist from Odesa. You could hardly say better.

A scout of the 93rd Mechanized Brigade, Roman was with the party that went behind enemy lines and fell into an ambush. He died on June 9. Getting through to him was impossible at the time, so it was only after his body was retrieved on June 13 that his death was confirmed officially.

Roman Ratushny was born on July 5, 1997, in Kyiv, to a family of Svitlana Povaliayeva, a writer and a journalist, and Taras Ratushny, a journalist and a civic activist. He was one of the students hurt in the Nov. 30, 2013, riot police attack on EuroMaidan protesters – an incident that turned EuroMaidan into the Revolution of Dignity. In 2018, Roman spearheaded the initiative to protect Protasiv Yar, a piece of hilly nature in the middle of Kyiv, to prevent the construction of high-rise apartment buildings on the hillside. A year later, this initiative evolved into an NGO of the same name, and it was also led by Roman. He was physically threatened for these activities and even had to go into hiding but eventually won, and the construction project have been never implemented. In 2021, he was arrested on bogus charges after the protests near the Presidential Office in support of Serhiy Sternenko unjustly prosecuted by the state.

After the beginning of the Russian full-scale invasion, Roman voluntarily joined the Defense Forces of Ukraine and created a Protasiv Yar unit. He defended Kyiv and then fought in Sumy Oblast, participating in the liberation of its towns and villages. From early April he fought in Kharkiv Oblast, specifically in the Izyum District.

Roman once wrote on Twitter how he saw the problem of Russia should be resolved in a way that it would not continue to be a problem for our children. Twitter removed the tweet as incompliant with its standards. Roman has lived and died to other standards: courage, honor, truth, and love for the Motherland.

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