When over one hundred people died during a night of violence on the Maidan, Kyiv’s central square, on February 20, 2014, memorial shrines commemorating the tragic deaths sprang up immediately. By creating sacred commemorative space, the surviving protesters created a means and a place for grieving. These popular memorials and the rites of mourning performed there not only commemorate death and sacrifice, they also focus outrage. As such, the memorials cultivate deeply felt moral sentiments of loss, mourning and grieving that feed the conviction that the protests were more than a political act. They constituted a “revolution of dignity.”
Catherine Wanner is a Professor of History and Cultural Anthropology at The Pennsylvania State University. She received her doctorate in cultural anthropology from Columbia University. She is the author of Burden of Dreams: History and Identity in Post-Soviet Ukraine (1998), Communities of the Converted: Ukrainians and Global Evangelism (2007), which won four best book prizes and was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title, and co-editor of Religion, Morality and Community in Post-Soviet Societies (2008), editor of State Secularism and Lived Religion in Soviet Russia and Ukraine (2012) and editor of a forthcoming collection of essays on resistance and renewal during the Maidan protests. She is currently working a book entitled, The Winter that Changed Us: Religion, Faith and Belonging in Russia and Ukraine. Her research has been supported by awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, and the Social Science Research Council among others.