Never forget Odessa and Mariupol!
By KD Tait
On 2 May the government in organised a pogrom against anti-government protesters, in which official figures admit that at least 46 people were killed, more than 200 were injured and 78 people hospitalised.
Forces within the government orchestrated the massacre, bringing in a thousand Right Sector fascists from Kyiv and Kharkov to make an example of those who continued to defy the regime.
It now seems beyond doubt that agents provocateurs, dressed as anti-Maidan supporters, opened fire on the fascist march, and local police authorities loyal to Kyiv quickly withdrew from the scene.1
The Kyiv ministers and local police chiefs thus provided a “justification” of the massacre – claiming that it was simply the inevitable response to a bloody and unprovoked attack.
In fact, as can be clearly seen in dozens of videos, the fascists carried out a violent attack on the peaceful anti-government protest tent camp on Kulikovo Field; the unarmed protesters took refuge in the House of Trade Unions.2
The crowd of fascists – unmolested by police – threw Molotov cocktails and shot at those inside, setting fire to the building. It is now clear that many of those who perished in the House of Trade Unions were actually murdered in cold blood by fascists who gained entry to the building. Besides those who died in the flames, or were suffocated by the fumes, some perished by jumping from windows. Those who survived the fall were clubbed to death on the ground by the fascists.3
A witness from the socialist group Borotba reports:
“People began to jump out of the windows of the upper floors – trying to escape the fire. But on the ground, they were finished off by nationalist paramilitaries. Thus, our comrade – a member of ‘Borotba’ union Andrew Brazhevsky – was killed. Deputy of regional council Vyacheslav Markin (a fellow of the leader of ‘Borotba’ Odessa Alexey Albu) was also brutally killed the same way when he jumped out of window… Some of our comrades, including the leader of Odessa ‘Borotba’ and city council deputy Alexei Albu were severely beaten by bats and kicked. They have numerous bruises, broken bones and head injuries.”4
Some local pro-Kyiv forces it is true did try to rescue people trapped on window ledges with ladders and scaffolding. But for two days after the atrocity fascists and the police unleashed a reign of terror in the city, beating and arresting those who tried to protest the slaughter. The Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov, a man with close connections to neo-Nazi groups, supervised and excused all this.
The official line of the government to the massacre can be taken verbatim from the Kyiv-appointed governor of Odessa, who described the murder of dozens of civilians as a “necessary measure”.5
That this pogrom took place whilst “the whole world was watching” seemed to matter not one iota to the western media and politicians. The Kyiv government, Barack Obama and EU leaders immediately set about covering up the indisputable responsibility of the fascists and the total complicity of Ukrainian state authorities in it.
Outrageous as this response is, it should be no surprise if we remember the carnage in Iraq and Afghanistan. For all their democratic sermonising, the Nato allies are past masters at excusing atrocities. Moreover the US is well used to getting fascists to do their dirty work for them, e.g. in Latin America.
But the terror in Odessa was not enough to subdue the opposition and on 9 May another massacre was attempted, in Mariupol. When local police refused the order from a new Kyiv-appointed police chief to disperse the VE day demonstration and arrest people – the fascists shot a policeman – the police rebelled and shot the fascist leader.
Fascists and special forces were sent to quell the “mutiny”. Tanks moved in and attacked the police building. Large crowds of ordinary people gathered to support the rebellious police. On their march out the fascists casually killed at least a dozen civilians.
The massacres have drawn a river of blood between the inhabitants of the South-Eastern region and the regime in Kyiv. They will never willingly submit to its usurped authority or the results of its rigged elections. The protesters in the south and east were and are right to oppose the government in Kyiv and fight for its downfall.
2 A comprehensive video is The untold Truth of Kulikovo Field, www.youtube.com/watchv=whqQCx6RXkY