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Presidential round table had a fake student leader

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Dec. 13, 2013, 6:56 p.m. | Politics — by Katya Gorchinskaya

Dmytro Levin is pictured on the right in this photograph that carried a Party of Regions slogan.
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Katya Gorchinskaya

Katya Gorchinskaya has been the Kyiv Post's deputy chief editor since 2009 and is a contributor to The Wall Street Journal and other publications. Follow her on Twitter @kgorchinskaya.

 The student leader who claimed to represent young organizers of EuroMaidan, a pro-European and anti-government mass movement, at the national round table on Dec. 13, turned out to be a fake. In fact, he is a representative of Young Regions, the youth wing of pro-presidential Party of Regions.

The real student leaders of EuroMaidan said they were not invited to take part in the discussion designed to start a dialog on ways out of the political crisis.

The round table, organized by former President Leonid Kravchuk, was attended by three leaders of the opposition, representatives of the government, parliament, clergy and civil society.

There was no live broadcast on any national channel, and the live stream of two TV channels got disrupted when opposition leaders spoke.

Dmytro Levin, the 18-year-old student of Kyiv's International Relations Institute, gave an unmemorable speech at the round table. His two main messages were that Ukraine needs to strive for the European Union and build a new society in Ukraine.

This brief and vague messages is uncharacteristic for the real leaders of the student strikes, who were one of the first Maidan communities to articulate their demands and even come up with their own specific set, such as stopping repressions against students and dismissal of Education Minister Dmytro Tabachnyk.

“He's not ours, we were not invited,” said Anton Savidi, one of the student Maidan coordinators, when asked about Levin's performance.

Levin himself told Hromadske TV after the round table that he represents a student organization registered on Nov. 24, three days after EuroMaidan kicked off of the day the government took a decision to not sign a political and trade deal with the European Union.

He said his organization has less than 90 official members, and they only were on EuroMaidan for six days. Levin said they stopped coming after Nov. 30, after the beating of peaceful demonstrators in the early hours of the morning. “Politicians started using us,” he explained.

But it appears that the young man who pretended to be a student leader is a representative of the Young Regions, the youth wing of the Party of Regions. His personal account in a social networks - where he called himself Dima Tequila - featured  photographs of him posing with other young men in front of banners of his party and with the party logo superimposed. The account was deleted after the round table incident.

Levin said that he simply wrote a letter to the organizers of the round table when the idea started to get circulated, and were invited when the date and time was set.

The leader of Young Regions could not be reached for comment.

Dmytro Levin is the third on the right.

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