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In memoriam : Roman Ratushnyi 1997-2022
Last week the world learned that Roman Ratushnyi was killed by Russian shelling of his unit. He was a reconnaissance officer of the 93rd brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and one of the brightest lights of the new generation of courageous young builders of a democratic and just civil society in Ukraine. Roman’s death struck a chord in Ukraine because of his civil social activism and anti-corruption activism.
Roman organized and led protests from the time he was beaten by police on the first night of the Maidan Uprising of the Revolution of Dignity, on November 21, 2013, when he was just 16 years old. He was 24 years young when he died on June 9, 2022.
A selfless and fearless defender of truth, Roman inspired tens of thousands. To the moment of his untimely death, he was a role model who was uncompromising in challenging corruption, brutality, and imperialism.
While on the front line, Roman devoted some of his precious time on May 4 to speak about the realities of the eastern front on the live streamed updates on Ukraine of the Walter Report. Heroes like Roman live and die defending democracy for you, for us, for the world. Russian aggression and imperialism killed Roman. Together let’s help other heroes stay alive.
Mriya Aid has already delivered 33 thermal-imaging drones to the front lines in Ukraine and is currently procuring ten military-grade Fury drones for imminent delivery. With other gear and medical supplies sent by Mriya Aid, drones help equip Ukrainian units to defend civilians, save lives, and have heroes come back alive.
As a tribute to Roman and the great heroes defending Ukraine, Mriya Aid will inscribe Roman’s name on each drone sent to the Ukrainian front in the coming weeks. Mriya Aid thanks our wonderful donors and supporters and the listeners of the Walter Report who helped raise the final $25,000 needed to send this next shipment of drones to Ukraine.
By posting the activist poet Mykhaylo Semenko’s 1917 poem Patagonia on his Facebook page, Roman expressed his intense commitment to life, his devotion to Ukraine, and his courage in the face of death. Captions of select lines of the poem accompany photos of the wonderful human and true patriot, Roman Ratushnyi :
“I will not die full of death, I will die full of life”...
... “I will die young; Could my spirit grow old?”
(M. Semenko, 1917)
I will die in a moment when nature goes quiet, Waiting for the very last dark night. I will die in a moment when my heart is overwhelmed by My youth, and life, and the fight. (M. Semenko, 1917; Illustration by Iryna Sazhynska, based on a photo by Zhora Evich)
The city of Kyiv will name the park Protasiv Yar that Roman saved from destruction and development, in his honor. Just before Father’s Day Roman’s father, Taras, also a Ukrainian soldier, thanked his son at a tribute to him on the Maidan in Kyiv, saying,
“You did not build a house, but protected your house from the mafia of developers; You did not plant a tree, but saved the whole park; You did not have children, but formed a community."