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The Fires This Time

Pravy Sek­tor

Swo­bo­da leader Oleh Tia­hany­bok salutes

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COMMENT: Robert Par­ry has post­ed anoth­er use­ful sto­ry on the Ukrain­ian cri­sis. Not­ing the OUN/B her­itage of Swo­bo­da and Pravy Sek­tor in the cur­rent Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment, he cor­re­lates that Nazi her­itage with the lethal fire­bomb­ing of pro-Russ­ian demon­stra­tors in the Black Sea port city of Odessa. 

(We have cov­ered the ascen­sion of the OUN/B heirs in the Ukraine in a num­ber of pro­grams: FTR ‘s 777778779780781782, 783784.)

Appar­ent­ly per­pe­trat­ed by a street-fight­ing con­tin­gent act­ing in accor­dance with the tac­ti­cal prin­ci­ples of both Pravy Sek­tor and Swo­bo­da, the fire­bomb­ing is rem­i­nis­cent of the mas­sacre of res­i­dents of the Pol­ish city of Huta Pien­ac­ka by the Gali­cian Divi­sion (14th Waf­fen SS.)

As dis­cussed in FTR #781, the Yuschenko regime in the Ukraine that came to pow­er through the so-called Orange Rev­o­lu­tion fun­da­men­tal­ly re-wrote the his­to­ry of World War II in that part of Europe, under super­vi­sion of the Insti­tute of Nation­al Mem­o­ry, oper­at­ed by OUN/B activists. Deny­ing the respon­si­bil­i­ty for the Huta Pien­ac­ka mas­sacre was an ele­ment of the revi­sion­ism craft­ed by the Ukrain­ian “Min­istry of Truth.”

In addi­tion, Par­ry notes an OUN/B involve­ment with the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion’s U.S. Infor­ma­tion Agency and Radio Lib­er­ty, col­or­ing broad­casts in the 1980’s in a pro-Nazi fash­ion.

In FTR #‘s 777, 778, we went into much greater depth, not­ing the evo­lu­tion of the OUN/B and the over­lap­ping Gehlen spy out­fit and Anti-Bol­she­vik Bloc of Nations. We chron­i­cled the CIA/OPC spon­sor­ship of OUN/B gueril­la cadres formed by the Third Reich and per­pet­u­at­ing their com­bat into the ear­ly 1950’s. OUN/B ele­ments fig­ured in the assas­si­na­tion of JFK.

OUN/B evolved through their inclu­sion in the Cru­sade for Free­dom, and became an impor­tant ele­ment of the GOP and the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion. Along with oth­er ele­ments of the Anti-Bol­she­vik Bloc of Nations, the OUN/B was cen­tral­ly involved with the desta­bi­liza­tion of the Sovi­et Union and East­ern Europe through the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion. 

Yka­te­ri­na Chumachenko–a key OUN/B oper­a­tive and Deputy Direc­tor of Pub­lic Liai­son for Reagan–married Vik­tor Yuschenko, who presided over the revi­sion of Ukrain­ian World War II his­to­ry by OUN/B.

That is the sad, trag­ic back­ground to the cur­rent con­fla­gra­tion.

“Ukraine’s ‘Dr. Strangelove’ Real­i­ty” by Robert Par­ry; Consortiumnews.com; 5/5/2014.

ENTIRE TEXT: As much as the coup regime in Ukraine and its sup­port­ers want to project an image of West­ern mod­er­a­tion, there is a “Dr. Strangelove” ele­ment that can’t stop the Nazism from pop­ping up from time to time, like when the Peter Sell­ers char­ac­ter in the clas­sic movie can’t keep his right arm from mak­ing a “Heil Hitler” salute.

This bru­tal Nazism sur­faced again on Fri­day when right-wing toughs in Odessa attacked an encamp­ment of eth­nic Russ­ian pro­test­ers dri­ving them into a trade union build­ing which was then set on fire with Molo­tov cock­tails. As the build­ing was engulfed in flames, some peo­ple who tried to flee were chased and beat­en, while those trapped inside heard the Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists liken them to black-and-red-striped pota­to bee­tles called Col­orados, because those col­ors are used in pro-Russ­ian rib­bons.

“Burn, Col­orado, burn” went the chant.

As the fire wors­ened, those dying inside were ser­e­nad­ed with the taunt­ing singing of the Ukrain­ian nation­al anthem. The build­ing also was spray-paint­ed with Swasti­ka-like sym­bols and graf­fi­ti read­ing “Gali­cian SS,” a ref­er­ence to the Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist army that fought along­side the Ger­man Nazi SS in World War II, killing Rus­sians on the east­ern front.

The death by fire of dozens of peo­ple in Odessa recalled a World War II inci­dent in 1944 when ele­ments of a Gali­cian SS police reg­i­ment took part in the mas­sacre of the Pol­ish vil­lage of Huta Pieni­ac­ka, which had been a refuge for Jews and was pro­tect­ed by Russ­ian and Pol­ish par­ti­sans. Attacked by a mixed force of Ukrain­ian police and Ger­man sol­diers on Feb. 28, hun­dreds of towns­peo­ple were mas­sa­cred, includ­ing many locked in barns that were set ablaze.

The lega­cy of World War II – espe­cial­ly the bit­ter fight between Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists from the west and eth­nic Rus­sians from the east sev­en decades ago – is nev­er far from the sur­face in Ukrain­ian pol­i­tics. One of the heroes cel­e­brat­ed dur­ing the Maid­an protests in Kiev was Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor Stepan Ban­dera, whose name was hon­ored in many ban­ners includ­ing one on a podi­um where Sen. John McCain voiced sup­port for the upris­ing to oust elect­ed Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych, whose polit­i­cal base was in east­ern Ukraine.

Dur­ing World War II, Ban­dera head­ed the Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nationalists‑B, a rad­i­cal para­mil­i­tary move­ment that sought to trans­form Ukraine into a racial­ly pure state. OUN‑B took part in the expul­sion and exter­mi­na­tion of thou­sands of Jews and Poles.

Though most of the Maid­an pro­test­ers in 2013–14 appeared moti­vat­ed by anger over polit­i­cal cor­rup­tion and by a desire to join the Euro­pean Union, neo-Nazis made up a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber. These storm troop­ers from the Right Sek­tor and Svo­bo­da par­ty decked out some of the occu­pied gov­ern­ment build­ings with Nazi insignias and even a Con­fed­er­ate bat­tle flag, the uni­ver­sal sym­bol of white suprema­cy.

Then, as the protests turned vio­lent from Feb. 20–22, the neo-Nazis surged to the fore­front. Their well-trained mili­tias, orga­nized in 100-man brigades called “the hun­dreds,” led the final assaults against police and forced Yanukovych and many of his offi­cials to flee for their lives.

In the days after the coup, as the neo-Nazi mili­tias effec­tive­ly con­trolled the gov­ern­ment, Euro­pean and U.S. diplo­mats scram­bled to help the shak­en par­lia­ment put togeth­er the sem­blance of a respectable regime, although four min­istries, includ­ing nation­al secu­ri­ty, were award­ed to the right-wing extrem­ists in recog­ni­tion of their cru­cial role in oust­ing Yanukovych.

See­ing No Nazis

Since Feb­ru­ary, vir­tu­al­ly the entire U.S. news media has coop­er­at­ed in the effort to play down the neo-Nazi role, dis­miss­ing any men­tion of this incon­ve­nient truth as “Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da.” Sto­ries in the U.S. media del­i­cate­ly step around the neo-Nazi real­i­ty by keep­ing out rel­e­vant con­text, such as the back­ground of nation­al secu­ri­ty chief Andriy Paru­biy, who found­ed the Social-Nation­al Par­ty of Ukraine in 1991, blend­ing rad­i­cal Ukrain­ian nation­al­ism with neo-Nazi sym­bols. Paru­biy was com­man­dant of the Maidan’s “self-defense forces.” [Paru­biy belongs to Swoboda–D.E.] 

When the neo-Nazi fac­tor is men­tioned in the main­stream U.S. press, it is usu­al­ly to dis­miss it as non­sense, such as an April 20 col­umn by New York Times colum­nist Nicholas Kristof who vis­it­ed his ances­tral home, the west­ern Ukrain­ian town of Kara­pchiv, and por­trayed its res­i­dents as the true voice of the Ukrain­ian peo­ple.

“To under­stand why Ukraini­ans are risk­ing war with Rus­sia to try to pluck them­selves from Moscow’s grip, I came to this vil­lage where my father grew up,” he wrote. “Even here in the vil­lage, Ukraini­ans watch Russ­ian tele­vi­sion and loathe the pro­pa­gan­da por­tray­ing them as neo-Nazi thugs ram­pag­ing against Russ­ian speak­ers.

“‘If you lis­ten to them, we all car­ry assault rifles; we’re all beat­ing peo­ple,’ Ilya Moskal, a his­to­ry teacher, said con­temp­tu­ous­ly.”

In an April 17 col­umn from Kiev, Kristof wrote that what the Ukraini­ans want is weapons from the West so they can to go “bear-hunt­ing,” i.e. killing Rus­sians. “Peo­ple seem to feel a bit dis­ap­point­ed that the Unit­ed States and Europe haven’t been more sup­port­ive, and they are humil­i­at­ed that their own act­ing gov­ern­ment hasn’t done more to con­front Russ­ian-backed mil­i­tants. So, espe­cial­ly after a few drinks, peo­ple are ready to take down the Russ­ian Army them­selves.”

Kristof also repeat­ed the U.S. “con­ven­tion­al wis­dom” that the resis­tance to the coup regime among east­ern Ukraini­ans was entire­ly the work of Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, who, Kristof wrote, “warns that Ukraine is on the brink of civ­il war. But the chaos in east­ern cities is his own cre­ation, in part by send­ing provo­ca­teurs across the bor­der.”

How­ev­er, when the New York Times final­ly sent two reporters to spend time with rebels from the east, they encoun­tered an indige­nous move­ment moti­vat­ed by hos­til­i­ty to the Kiev regime and show­ing no signs of direc­tion from Moscow. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Anoth­er NYT ‘Sort of’ Retrac­tion on Ukraine.”]

Beyond the jour­nal­is­tic risk of jump­ing to con­clu­sions, Kristof, who fan­cies him­self a great human­i­tar­i­an, also should rec­og­nize that the clever depic­tion of human beings as ani­mals, whether as “bears” or “Col­orado bee­tles,” can have hor­ren­dous human con­se­quences as is now appar­ent in Odessa.

Reagan’s Nazis

But the prob­lem with some west­ern Ukraini­ans express­ing their incon­ve­nient love for Nazis has not been lim­it­ed to the cur­rent cri­sis. It bedev­iled Ronald Reagan’s admin­is­tra­tion when it began heat­ing up the Cold War in the 1980s.

As part of that strat­e­gy, Reagan’s Unit­ed States Infor­ma­tion Agency, under his close friend Charles Wick, hired a cast of right-wing Ukrain­ian exiles who began show­ing up on U.S.-funded Radio Lib­er­ty prais­ing the Gali­cian SS.

These com­men­taries includ­ed pos­i­tive depic­tions of Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists who had sided with the Nazis in World War II as the SS waged its “final solu­tion” against Euro­pean Jews. The pro­pa­gan­da broad­casts pro­voked out­rage from Jew­ish orga­ni­za­tions, such as B’nai B’rith, and indi­vid­u­als includ­ing con­ser­v­a­tive aca­d­e­m­ic Richard Pipes.

Accord­ing to an inter­nal memo dat­ed May 4, 1984, and writ­ten by James Critchlow, a research offi­cer at the Board of Inter­na­tion­al Broad­cast­ing, which man­aged Radio Lib­er­ty and Radio Free Europe, one RL broad­cast in par­tic­u­lar was viewed as “defend­ing Ukraini­ans who fought in the ranks of the SS.”

Critchlow wrote, “An RL Ukrain­ian broad­cast of Feb. 12, 1984 con­tains ref­er­ences to the Nazi-ori­ent­ed Ukrain­ian-manned SS ‘Gali­cia’ Divi­sion of World War II which may have dam­aged RL’s rep­u­ta­tion with Sovi­et lis­ten­ers. The mem­oirs of a Ger­man diplo­mat are quot­ed in a way that seems to con­sti­tute endorse­ment by RL of praise for Ukrain­ian vol­un­teers in the SS divi­sion, which dur­ing its exis­tence fought side by side with the Ger­mans against the Red Army.”

Har­vard Pro­fes­sor Pipes, who was an infor­mal advis­er to the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion, also inveighed against the Radio Lib­er­ty broad­casts, writ­ing – on Dec. 3, 1984 – “the Russ­ian and Ukrain­ian ser­vices of RL have been trans­mit­ting this year bla­tant­ly anti-Semit­ic mate­r­i­al to the Sovi­et Union which may cause the whole enter­prise irrepara­ble harm.” . . . .

 

 

 

Discussion

13 comments for “The Fires This Time”

  1. Nazis burned Odessa Trade-Union Hall on *May 2, 2014* to cel­e­brate storm­ing of Berlin Trade-Union Head­quar­ters by Hitler’s SA on *May 2, 1933*. Rus­sia Today refus­es to make the con­nec­tion. West­ern (pro-)Nazi media tries to say it was done to cel­e­brate May Day. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqoOugw46BY Orga­nized labor silent.

    Posted by Atlanta Bill | May 6, 2014, 4:12 am
  2. This prob­a­bly isn’t going to go over well...

    The Wall Street Jour­nal
    Dead­ly Ukraine Fire Like­ly Sparked by Rebels, Gov­ern­ment Says
    Rebels Acci­den­tal­ly Dropped Molo­tov Cock­tails on Roof, Accord­ing to Pre­lim­i­nary Inves­ti­ga­tion

    By Philip Shishkin in Odessa, Ukraine and
    Lukas I. Alpert in Moscow

    Updat­ed May 6, 2014 3:34 p.m. ET

    A hor­rif­ic fire last week that killed dozens in a hulk­ing Odessa build­ing where pro-Russ­ian pro­test­ers had tak­en cov­er was like­ly sparked by rebels on the roof who acci­den­tal­ly dropped Molo­tov cock­tails, accord­ing to a pre­lim­i­nary inves­ti­ga­tion by the gov­ern­ment.

    The find­ing is like­ly to fur­ther anger sep­a­ratists in east­ern Ukraine who view the new gov­ern­ment in Kiev with deep sus­pi­cion. It comes as author­i­ties said the sit­u­a­tion on the bor­der with Rus­sia has grown increas­ing­ly tense, and France warned of the prospect of “chaos and civ­il war” if the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion set for this month is upend­ed.

    The two-month-old gov­ern­ment has been press­ing a mil­i­tary offen­sive in the east to try to quell a pro-Russ­ian insur­gency, but is increas­ing­ly los­ing its grip in the regions of Luhan­sk and Donet­sk, which bor­der Rus­sia. The unrest spread Fri­day to the Black Sea port of Odessa, which was hit by riot­ing that led to a fire that claimed 42 lives.

    Ser­hiy Cheb­o­tar, Ukraine’s deputy inte­ri­or min­is­ter, who is now work­ing in Odessa, said Tues­day that the fire began on the top floors and quick­ly spread through the trade-union build­ing, where pro-Russ­ian pro­test­ers had tak­en refuge from a mob of pro-Kiev mil­i­tants.

    “The fire began from the roof. There were extrem­ists there, we found cas­ings and firearms,” Mr. Cheb­o­tar said. “But some­thing unex­pect­ed hap­pened; their Molo­tov cock­tails fell, and ignit­ed the high­er floors of the build­ing.”

    This ver­sion of events is like­ly to be con­test­ed by griev­ing rel­a­tives of those who per­ished in the fire or died jump­ing out of win­dows. Four oth­ers were killed in the riot­ing that day.

    Pro-Russ­ian activists in Odessa believe the fire was a delib­er­ate atroc­i­ty com­mit­ted by Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists. Russ­ian media have com­pared the fire to the worst Nazi crimes against civil­iansin World War IIand sug­gest­ed it was a plot by Kiev.

    “We are deal­ing with real geno­cide, a geno­cide of Russ­ian and Ukrain­ian peo­ple in today’s 21st cen­tu­ry,” the speak­er of the low­er house of Rus­si­a’s par­lia­ment, Sergei Naryshkin, said of the fire, which he blamed on “riotous rad­i­cals,” the Inter­fax news agency report­ed.

    Act­ing Pres­i­dent Olek­san­dr Turchynov on Tues­day dis­missed the head of the Odessa region­al admin­is­tra­tion, hav­ing already fired the chief of the region­al police and much of his senior staff.

    The fire occurred after a pro-Ukraine ral­ly was attacked by pro-Russ­ian pro­test­ers, whose ranks includ­ed a small group of armed mil­i­tants. The fight­ing esca­lat­ed before some peo­ple escaped to the build­ing. Both sides threw Molo­tov cock­tails.

    Video footage shows some pro-Ukraine activists help­ing peo­ple trapped in the burn­ing build­ing escape by lean­ing scaf­fold­ing against the walls. There were oth­er pro-Ukraine pro­test­ers who were attack­ing peo­ple.

    ...

    Mean­while, pro-Russ­ian mil­i­tants, who call Mr. Yanukovy­ch’s ouster an ille­gal coup, aim to hold a ref­er­en­dum Sun­day in areas under their con­trol on pos­si­ble inde­pen­dence.

    Ukraine’s Bor­der Guard Ser­vice said ten­sion along the bor­der with Rus­sia had risen since the start of the month, cit­ing two attempts to attack guards and take their guns on Mon­day.

    “Groups of local cit­i­zens threat­en the bor­der guards, say­ing that they must switch over to the side of the sep­a­ratists,” agency spokesman Oleg Slo­bodyan said on Tues­day.

    Rus­sia has tens of thou­sands of troops sta­tioned along the bor­der and has said it reserves the right to inter­vene in Ukraine if it feels eth­nic Rus­sians liv­ing there are under threat.

    Mr. Slo­bodyan said “provoca­tive Russ­ian mil­i­tary move­ments” could be seen along the bor­der late last week, but they had ceased in recent days.

    In Kiev, the par­lia­ment held a spe­cial closed ses­sion to hear a report from secu­ri­ty chiefs, amid con­cerns that the vio­lence could spread into the cap­i­tal in an attempt to dis­rupt the elec­tions.

    Mem­bers of Ukraine’s Com­mu­nist fac­tion in par­lia­ment, who open­ly express Russ­ian sym­pa­thies, weren’t allowed into the ses­sion.

    The head of the state Secu­ri­ty Ser­vice, Valen­tyn Naly­vaichenko, urged peo­ple to avoid Vic­to­ry Day fes­tiv­i­ties on Friday—a cel­e­bra­tion of Nazi Ger­many’s defeat in World War II—as there were fears that sep­a­ratists would seek to engi­neer provo­ca­tions.

    ...

    Ugh. But it’s not all omi­nous news. Putin called on the sep­a­ratists to post­pone thi­er planned ref­er­en­dum on seces­sion and also appears to be pulling Russ­ian troops back from the bor­der today. So it’s pos­si­ble we’re see­ing the start of a sus­tained attempt at a reduc­tion in ten­sions (or at least a pause in the build up) in the lead up to the elec­tions. What hap­pens after that is very dif­fi­cult to say.

    Well, ok, aus­ter­i­ty will pre­sum­ably take place no mat­ter what hap­pens and the impact of that aus­ter­i­ty will prob­a­bly fuel grow­ing dis­con­tent, sep­a­ratism, rad­i­cal pol­i­tics, and lay the foun­da­tions for a lost gen­er­a­tion in the months and years to come because that’s what mind­less, bru­tal aus­ter­i­ty does to a pop­u­lace. But beyond aus­ter­i­ty-induced socioe­co­nom­ic hope­less­ness it’s still very unclear what else to expect in Ukraine’s future.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 7, 2014, 2:06 pm
  3. The “Trash Buck­et Chal­lenge”: the pop­u­lar new way for Ukraine to throw away its civ­il soci­ety, brought to you by the usu­al sus­pects:

    The Tele­graph
    Up to a dozen Ukraine offi­cials dumped in wheel­ie bins
    ‘Trash buck­et chal­lenge’ spreads across Ukraine as activis­its throw politi­cians into rub­bish bins to ‘pun­ish cor­rup­tion’

    By Roland Oliphant, Kiev

    10:12AM BST 07 Oct 2014

    It’s a bad time to be a Ukrain­ian politi­cian.

    The war in the east refus­es to end, despite a “cease­fire”. Win­ter is approach­ing, and with it all the wor­ries of anoth­er “gas-war” with Rus­sia. And with par­lia­men­tary elec­tions just weeks away, pre-rev­o­lu­tion­ary MPs are get­ting ner­vous about hang­ing on to their jobs.

    To make things worse, there is a grow­ing chance of end­ing up in a wheel­ie bin.

    Since ear­ly Sep­tem­ber up to a dozen MPs, city coun­cil­lors and oth­er offi­cials accused of wrong doing have been hauled from their offices by masked gangs in what has become know as the “Trash Buck­et Chal­lenge.”

    The per­pe­tra­tors — often mem­bers of the rad­i­cal right-wing group Right Sec­tor — say the pub­lic humil­i­a­tions are to pun­ish the cor­rup­tion and crim­i­nal­i­ty that char­ac­terised the pre­vi­ous regime.

    But crit­ics warn the attacks are just one step away from mob jus­tice and pub­lic lynch­ings.

    “The main thing in our coun­try now is that the crim­i­nals are all still there,” said Yury Mindiuk, the head of Right Sector’s cen­tral exec­u­tive. “No one wants to imple­ment the ideas of Maid­an.”

    Right Sec­tor emerged as an alliance of far right groups dur­ing the rev­o­lu­tion, and earned a fear­some rep­u­ta­tion as one of the most mil­i­tant ele­ments in the street fight­ing that led to Mr Yanukovych’s over­throw. Since then some mem­bers of the group have fought in the war in east­ern Ukraine, but they have strug­gled to find polit­i­cal rel­e­vance in post-rev­o­lu­tion­ary pol­i­tics.

    It was the group’s Odessa branch that came up with the idea last month, when they dumped Oleg Rudenko, a city insur­ance offi­cial accused of tak­ing a £28,000 bribe, in a trash can.

    The stunt hit a chord. Soon Right Sec­tor groups across the coun­try were doing the same thing to any­one from MPs with links to the pre­vi­ous regime through to local munic­i­pal offi­cials accused of tak­ing bribes.

    On Sep­tem­ber 16 a mob grabbed and “binned” Vitaly Zhu­ravsky, an MP for­mer­ly of Mr Yanukovych’s now defunct Par­ty of the Regions. On Sep­tem­ber 25 it was the turn of Vik­tor Pylypyshyn, anoth­er Par­ty of the Regions man.

    In both cas­es activists seemed most upset about their sup­port for repres­sive pack­age of laws Mr Yanukovych rushed through par­lia­ment in a doomed bid to crush the anti-gov­ern­ment protests in Decem­ber.

    But it is not just MPs linked to Mr Yanukoych who are in dan­ger. In the most recent inci­dent on Right Sector’s web­site fea­tures a doc­tor from a munic­i­pal hos­pi­tal in the small town of Tere­bolvya. The group says he was con­vict­ed of bribery three months ago.

    Oth­ers have tak­en up the “trash buck­et chal­lenge.” Oleh Lyashko, a con­tro­ver­sial MP who has earned noto­ri­ety for his DIY “arrests” of sus­pect­ed sep­a­ratists in the east of the coun­try, frog-marched a munic­i­pal offi­cial in Kirovo­grad into a wheel­ie bin for “lying.”

    ...

    It is meant to be a polit­i­cal street the­atre, a pub­lic humil­i­a­tion rather than a lynch­ing. But the stunts can get fright­en­ing­ly out of hand.

    Nestor Shufrych, anoth­er MP of Mr Yanukovych’s now dis­band­ed Par­ty of the Regions, end­ed up in hos­pi­tal after his cam­paign stop in Odessa was inter­rupt­ed by pro­test­ers.

    Police and body guards man­aged to get the MP to his cam­paign bus before the mob could dump him in a bin. But a video shows him tak­ing a nasty beat­ing before he made his escape. He lat­er said he received a con­cus­sion dur­ing the vio­lence.

    Mr Mindiuk lat­er admit­ted the group had gone too far, and the inci­dent prompt­ed Arsen Avakov, the Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter, issued a plea via his Face­book page for the rad­i­cals to desist.

    “Just a cou­ple more bro­ken faces like Shufrich’s or lynch­ings like Pylypyshin, and Europe will turn away from our vic­to­ri­ous rev­o­lu­tion,” he said. “Don’t be mar­gin­al morons, fol­low stu­pid instincts and pro­voke crowds to mob jus­tice,” he wrote.

    That got short thrift from the rad­i­cals, how­ev­er.

    “Avakov is the Moron,” Mr Lyashko wrote in his reply, “for not under­stand­ing that peo­ple act in such a rad­i­cal way because there is no law.”

    “Today we’ll lus­trate the Par­ty of the Regions through the trash, and tomor­row we’ll throw Avakov on the land­fill.”

    Both Right Sec­tor and Mr Lyashko rev­el in their respec­tive rep­u­ta­tions for direct action — and, indeed, vio­lence. But pub­lic back­ing for their tac­tics appears to be luke­warm.

    Although polling puts Mr Lyashko’s Rad­i­cal par­ty in sec­ond place at the up com­ing par­lia­men­tary elec­tions on Octo­ber 26, it is set to take lit­tle more than 10 per­cent of the vote.

    Right Sector’s leader Dmytro Yarosh took less than 1 per­cent of the vote at the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in June, and the group does not look like­ly to make gains.

    Note that it sounds like the “Trash Buck­et Chal­lenge” emerged from the Right Sec­tor in Odessa. It’s pret­ty omi­nous.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 8, 2014, 8:19 am
  4. The Kiev gov­ern­ment just passed a law intend­ed to purge the gov­ern­ment of its past cor­rupt­ing influ­ences. Sure­ly this means the gov­ern­ment is about to strip the oli­garchs of their immense pow­er and com­mit to cre­at­ing an open soci­ety for peo­ple of all races, reli­gions, or creeds. Or maybe not:

    Ukraine could sack up to mil­lion offi­cials with ties to Russ­ian past
    AFP
    By Dmit­ry Zaks Octo­ber 9, 2014 7:19 PM

    Kiev (AFP) — Ukraine’s pres­i­dent approved a dis­put­ed anti-graft mea­sure on Thurs­day that could see up to a mil­lion civ­il ser­vants with alleged links to past Sovi­et or pro-Russ­ian gov­ern­ments imme­di­ate­ly sacked.

    The so-called “lus­tra­tion law” fol­lows the exam­ple of oth­er east­ern Euro­pean nations that broke free of decades of Moscow’s dom­i­na­tion at the end of the Cold War.

    It was also a ral­ly­ing cry of the protests that con­vulsed Kiev last win­ter and led to the ouster of pro-Russ­ian pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych and a secre­tive band of Ukrain­ian tycoons.

    The law removes any­one who held a fed­er­al or region­al gov­ern­ment posi­tion for more than a year under Yanukovych, who is now in self-imposed exile in Rus­sia.

    It also sets up a spe­cial com­mis­sion to inves­ti­gate judges and law enforce­ment agents sus­pect­ed of liv­ing lav­ish lifestyles on hum­ble gov­ern­ment wages.

    Anoth­er pro­vi­sion pre­vents any­one unable to explain their sources of income or assets from hold­ing office for five to 10 years.

    Law­mak­ers’ ini­tial fail­ure to adopt the leg­is­la­tion last month sparked vio­lent protests out­side par­lia­ment that engulfed the build­ing in the black smoke of burn­ing tyres and brought riot police out on the streets.

    The bill itself says it was draft­ed to help “restore trust in the author­i­ties and cre­ate a new sys­tem of gov­ern­ment that cor­re­sponds to Euro­pean stan­dards”.

    “This is a his­toric day for Ukraine,” Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko post­ed on his Face­book account.

    “The state machine will be cleansed. Glo­ry to Ukraine!”

    - Way to set­tle scores? -

    But the leg­is­la­tion has been bit­ter­ly fought by law­mak­ers rep­re­sent­ing Russ­ian-speak­ing east­ern regions — the power­base of the for­mer regime and now par­tial­ly con­trolled by sep­a­ratist rebels.

    Its legal­i­ty has also been ques­tioned by the Coun­cil of Europe and busi­ness lead­ers who fear it will lead to a dam­ag­ing exo­dus of com­pe­tent bureau­crats.

    Even the pres­i­den­t’s own spe­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive on chil­dren’s issues com­plained that it “vio­lates basic rights and free­doms of cit­i­zens, is anti-con­sti­tu­tion­al and does not cor­re­spond to Euro­pean judi­cial pro­ce­dures or stan­dards.”

    “It pro­vides a way to set­tle scores with your (polit­i­cal) oppo­nents,” chil­dren’s ombuds­man Yuriy Pavlenko wrote on his Face­book account.

    Oth­er claus­es in the law bar any­one found guilty of back­ing sep­a­ratist caus­es and any­one who worked as a pros­e­cu­tor or held a top office when state agents shot dead near­ly 100 pro­test­ers dur­ing the Kiev unrest.

    The com­mis­sion can addi­tion­al­ly probe civ­il ser­vants’ links to the Sovi­et-era secret ser­vice and Com­mu­nist Par­ty.

    The mea­sures have already prompt­ed the res­ig­na­tion of two top finance and econ­o­my min­istry offi­cials who are respect­ed by the busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty but were hired dur­ing Yanukovy­ch’s 2010–2014 pres­i­den­cy.

    A suc­ces­sion of recent gov­ern­ments have been riv­en by squab­bles and busi­ness clan rival­ries that stalled the adop­tion of cru­cial eco­nom­ic restruc­tur­ing mea­sures and left the coun­try near­ly bank­rupt and depen­dent on for­eign help.

    Yanukovych and his allies were accused of per­se­cut­ing their pre­de­ces­sors and jail­ing for­mer prime min­is­ter Yulia Tymoshenko for polit­i­cal rea­sons.

    ...

    As the arti­cle notes, “Law­mak­ers’ ini­tial fail­ure to adopt the leg­is­la­tion last month sparked vio­lent protests out­side par­lia­ment that engulfed the build­ing in the black smoke of burn­ing tyres and brought riot police out on the streets”. Here’s a bit more on those protests:

    Voca­tive
    Watch Angry Ukrain­ian Pro­test­ers Throw a Politi­cian in the Dump­ster
    And hold him down by the neck
    Author: Sarah Kauf­man
    Post­ed: 09/16/14 16:16 EDT

    It’s been a hell of a year for Ukraine. Months of fiery protest, the over­throw of a pres­i­dent, a Russ­ian inva­sion and even a war.

    But despite a cease-fire that’s in effect, there’s no sign that things are set­tling down. On Tues­day, some activists of the extrem­ist pro-Ukrain­ian par­ty Avtomaid­an threw a Ukrain­ian par­lia­ment mem­ber in a met­al trash can, doused him with an unknown liq­uid and threat­ened to light him on fire. It was all part of a demon­stra­tion out­side par­lia­ment in which hun­dreds of mem­bers of the far-right par­ties of Ukraine—Right Sec­tor, Avtomaid­an and Volya—demanded the pas­sage of law on some­thing called “lus­tra­tion.”

    Lus­tra­tion in Ukraine means cleans­ing the gov­ern­ment from its past by screen­ing offi­cials and often pun­ish­ing them for involve­ment in a past regime. Pun­ish­ments can include stigma­ti­za­tion or removal from office. The point of lus­tra­tion for many Ukraini­ans is to ensure the cor­rup­tion that was so preva­lent in the regime of Vik­tor Yanukovich, who was forced from office ear­li­er this year, is erad­i­cat­ed. (The law passed, but it’s unclear what the net effect will be for mem­bers of par­lia­ment.)

    The YouTube video shows Vitaliy Stanislavovich Zhu­ravskiy, a Ukrain­ian MP since 1998 with no par­ty affil­i­a­tion, lying in a dump­ster while a pro­test­er force­ful­ly holds his head down. Demon­stra­tors push and shove the dump­ster in every direc­tion until the cops grab Zhuravskiy’s hands and pull him out. In the back­ground, demon­stra­tors are burn­ing tires and shov­ing police offi­cers.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 11, 2014, 11:44 am
  5. The new nor­mal for Ukraine’s democ­ra­cy: give the far right what it wants. Or else:

    Asso­ci­at­ed Press
    Ukraine’s par­lia­ment in Kiev

    By PETER LEONARD 10/14/2014

    KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Clash­es broke out Tues­day between demon­stra­tors and police in front of Ukraine’s par­lia­ment in Kiev as deputies inside repeat­ed­ly vot­ed down pro­pos­als to rec­og­nize a con­tentious World War II-era Ukrain­ian par­ti­san group as nation­al heroes.

    Thou­sands of Svo­bo­da nation­al­ist par­ty sup­port­ers ral­lied ear­li­er in the cap­i­tal in cel­e­bra­tion of the Ukrain­ian Insur­gent Army, whose strug­gle for inde­pen­dence for Ukraine was taint­ed by its col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Nazis.

    Lat­er, masked men attacked and threw smoke grenades at lines of police out­side par­lia­ment as law­mak­ers met inside. The Inte­ri­or Min­istry said 36 peo­ple were detained by police.

    Mean­while, at least 14 peo­ple, includ­ing sev­en civil­ians and sev­en ser­vice­men, were killed in fight­ing between pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratists and gov­ern­ment forces in east­ern Ukraine. A cease-fire has been in place since ear­ly Sep­tem­ber but vio­la­tions are report­ed dai­ly.

    Svo­bo­da said its mem­bers were not respon­si­ble for the unrest in Kiev, which police said was orches­trat­ed by a small group of peo­ple at the ral­ly.

    The unrest over­shad­owed the pas­sage of laws the gov­ern­ment hopes will con­tain the gal­lop­ing cor­rup­tion that has long hin­dered Ukraine’s scle­rot­ic econ­o­my. Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko urged law­mak­ers to keep up the fight against cor­rup­tion, a prob­lem that he equat­ed with ter­ror­ism.

    One law backed by 278 out of the 303 reg­is­tered deputies cre­ates an anti-cor­rup­tion bureau to fight graft. Oth­er approved pro­vi­sions includ­ed laws to stem mon­ey-laun­der­ing and to increase cor­po­rate trans­paren­cy.

    Par­lia­ment also approved a new defense min­is­ter — for­mer Nation­al Guard head Stepan Poltorak — a press­ing pri­or­i­ty con­sid­er­ing the clash­es with pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratists in its indus­tri­al east­ern regions.

    ...

    Here’s a snap­shot of Ukraine’s new nor­mal

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 14, 2014, 11:49 am
  6. Cre­at­ing the kinds of con­di­tions where the peo­ple of Ukraine vol­un­tar­i­ly want to reunite was­n’t nev­er going to be easy once the fight­ing start­ed involv­ing civil­ian areas. And then there’s the clus­ter bomb­ing:

    The New York Times
    Ukraine Used Clus­ter Bombs, Evi­dence Indi­cates

    By ANDREW ROTHOCT. 20, 2014

    DONETSK, Ukraine — The Ukrain­ian Army appears to have fired clus­ter muni­tions on sev­er­al occa­sions into the heart of Donet­sk, unleash­ing a weapon banned in much of the world into a rebel-held city with a peace­time pop­u­la­tion of more than one mil­lion, accord­ing to phys­i­cal evi­dence at the scene and inter­views with wit­ness­es and vic­tims.

    Sites where rock­ets fell in the city on Oct. 2 and Oct. 5 showed clear signs that clus­ter muni­tions had been fired from the direc­tion of army-held ter­ri­to­ry, where mis­fired artillery rock­ets still con­tain­ing clus­ter bomblets were found by vil­lagers in farm fields.

    The two attacks wound­ed at least six peo­ple and killed a Swiss employ­ee of the Inter­na­tion­al Red Cross based in Donet­sk.

    If con­firmed, the use of clus­ter bombs by the pro-West­ern gov­ern­ment could com­pli­cate efforts to reunite the coun­try, as res­i­dents of the east have grown increas­ing­ly bit­ter over the Ukrain­ian Army’s tac­tics to oust pro-Russ­ian rebels.

    Fur­ther, in a report released late Mon­day, Human Rights Watch says the rebels have most like­ly used clus­ter weapons in the con­flict as well, a detail that The New York Times could not inde­pen­dent­ly ver­i­fy.

    The army’s use of clus­ter muni­tions, which show­er small bomblets around a large area, could also add cred­i­bil­i­ty to Moscow’s ver­sion of the con­flict, which is that the Ukrain­ian nation­al gov­ern­ment is engaged in a puni­tive war against its own cit­i­zens. The two Octo­ber strikes occurred near­ly a month after Pres­i­dent Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine signed a cease-fire agree­ment with rebel rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

    “It’s pret­ty clear that clus­ter muni­tions are being used indis­crim­i­nate­ly in pop­u­lat­ed areas, par­tic­u­lar­ly in attacks in ear­ly Octo­ber in Donet­sk city,” said Mark Hiz­nay, senior arms researcher at Human Rights Watch, in emailed com­ments after the report was com­plet­ed. “The mil­i­tary log­ic behind these attacks is not appar­ent, and these attacks should stop, because they put too many civil­ians at risk.”

    Press offi­cers for the Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary denied that their troops had used clus­ter weapons dur­ing the con­flict and said that the rock­et strikes against Donet­sk in ear­ly Octo­ber should be inves­ti­gat­ed once it was safe to do so. They also said that rebels in the area had access to pow­er­ful rock­et sys­tems from Rus­sia that could fire clus­ter muni­tions.

    How­ev­er, muni­tion frag­ments found in and around Donet­sk and inter­views with wit­ness­es indi­cate that the clus­ter muni­tions that struck Oct. 2 and Oct. 5 were most like­ly fired by Ukrain­ian troops sta­tioned south­west of the city, accord­ing to Human Rights Watch and a review by The Times. Wit­ness­es there report­ed see­ing rock­et launch­es from those troops’ posi­tions toward the city at times that coin­cide with the strikes.

    Human Rights Watch says in its report that clus­ter weapons have been used against pop­u­la­tion cen­ters in east­ern Ukraine at least 12 times, includ­ing the strikes on Donet­sk, dur­ing the con­flict, and pos­si­bly many more. The report said that both sides were prob­a­bly cul­pa­ble, in attacks that “may amount to war crimes” in a grind­ing con­flict that has claimed at least 3,700 lives, includ­ing those of many civil­ians.

    The report, which includ­ed inci­dents uncov­ered by The Times, says there is “par­tic­u­lar­ly strong evi­dence” that Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment troops car­ried out the two Octo­ber attacks against Donet­sk.

    An August clus­ter-muni­tions attack on the vil­lage of Starobe­sheve, which was in Ukrain­ian Army hands, was prob­a­bly car­ried out either by pro-Russ­ian rebels or by Russ­ian troops, the report says.

    Begin­ning in Octo­ber, a series of strikes against Donet­sk using cer­tain clus­ter weapons fired from Ura­gan rock­ets came from the south­west of the city. The tim­ing of at least two rock­et launch­es from the same loca­tion cor­re­spond­ed to clus­ter muni­tion strikes that hit Donet­sk from a south­west­er­ly tra­jec­to­ry, accord­ing to Human Rights Watch and The Times.

    Shelling of cities has been com­mon in the con­flict, and the cease-fire agree­ment has not end­ed the vio­lence. A chem­i­cal plant on the out­skirts of Donet­sk was struck Mon­day, and the result­ing shock wave shat­tered win­dows for miles around.

    ...

    In Donet­sk, doc­tors in a city hos­pi­tal and morgue said they had found clus­ter-muni­tions frag­ments in sev­er­al patients, includ­ing Mr. Melikhov, whose spine was nicked by one on Oct. 5. He was lucky not to have been par­a­lyzed, but the injury made it very painful to sit, stand or lie flat, he said.

    “I see it as the sense­less destruc­tion of the south­east,” he said of the attack. “There’s some­thing wrong in their head.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 20, 2014, 6:33 pm
  7. It would be nice if, some­day, the issues of the day did­n’t include top­ics like “Why Are Swastikas Hot In West Ukraine?”

    The Dai­ly Beast
    Why Are Swastikas Hot In West Ukraine?
    Cease­fires don’t erase his­to­ry: The hatreds left by Nazi and Sovi­et occu­pa­tions 70 and 80 years ago con­tin­ue to play out on Ukraine’s streets and bat­tle­fields.
    Anna Nemtso­va
    10.17.2014

    LVIV, Ukraine — Ostap Stakhiv, the leader of a polit­i­cal orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists, The Idea of the Nation, had been look­ing for pop­u­lar sup­port for many years with­out much suc­cess. Then the del­i­cate-seem­ing 28-year-old start­ed think­ing that maybe there was some­thing wrong with the insignia—a lion climb­ing up a steep hillside—printed on the group’s tracts and fliers. So Stakhiv chose anoth­er: the swasti­ka, slight­ly mod­i­fied, that Hitler adopt­ed as the emblem of the Nazi Par­ty in 1920 and that mil­lions of Euro­peans, includ­ing mil­lions of Ukraini­ans, asso­ciate with death.

    It worked. Ear­li­er this week, Stakhiv was busy set­ting up five tents around Lviv for this mon­th’s elec­tion cam­paign. He’s prepar­ing to run for the local par­lia­ment on Octo­ber 26th. The orga­ni­za­tion’s news­pa­per, with dou­ble swastikas on the front page, was being dis­trib­uted along with oth­er pro­pa­gan­da mate­ri­als, and Stakhiv and his aid, Yulia, mar­veled at the strength of the sym­bol. “A yel­low swasti­ka on a black field stands for pow­er and spir­it,” said Stakhiv.

    “The swasti­ka is a very strong sym­bol, and as soon as we adopt­ed it, we imme­di­ate­ly grew pop­u­lar among young peo­ple,” said Stakhiv. “Those who join us know exact­ly what they want, and they are ready to go to the very end.” Today, Idea of the Nation is rep­re­sent­ed in 14 regions of Ukraine and counts over 1,000 activists, its leader told The Dai­ly Beast.

    How to explain the grow­ing pop­u­lar­i­ty of Nazi sym­bols in Ukraine? They keep turn­ing up. Ukrain­ian sol­diers have been seen and pho­tographed wear­ing hel­mets with swastikas and the let­ters SS on their hel­mets.

    A spokes­men for the vol­un­teer Azov Bat­tal­ion, where the sym­bols are com­mon, even­tu­al­ly denied they are relat­ed to Hitler. He insist­ed that the bat­tal­ion insignia rem­i­nis­cent of the Nazi Wolf­san­gel, sym­bol of, among oth­ers, the 2nd SS Panz­er Divi­sion that fought the Rus­sians on the East­ern Front, was actu­al­ly noth­ing but the crossed let­ters “N.”

    In fact, most nation­al­ist and ultra-right youth orga­ni­za­tions in Ukraine today use sym­bols that mil­lions of Ukrain­ian cit­i­zens asso­ciate with the Nazi army that occu­pied and bru­tal­ized Ukraine dur­ing World War II. And one rea­son, cer­tain­ly, is that the much longer and very dead­ly occu­pa­tion by the Sovi­ets is also a huge part of the nation­al con­scious­ness. The 1933–34 famine known as the Holodomor—“extermination by hunger”—took the lives of some 4 mil­lion peo­ple.

    On Mon­day night, a few dozen rev­o­lu­tion­ary nation­al­ists from anoth­er move­ment, Autonomous Resis­tance, marched around the streets of Lviv with the red and black flags of the Ukrain­ian Insur­gent Army, or UIA. These were Ukrain­ian rebels fight­ing in the woods of west­ern Ukraine, some­times in alliance with Nazi forces against Sovi­et sol­diers and some­times against the Ger­man army occu­py­ing Ukraine.

    The activists chant­ed “Free­dom to the peo­ple! Glo­ry to Ukraine!” on the way to the mon­u­ment in Lviv to Stepan Ban­dera, the UIA leader. To mil­lions of eth­nic Rus­sians liv­ing in east­ern Ukraine, Ban­dera, who allied him­self with Adolf Hitler at times, sym­bol­ized eth­nic cleans­ing in the worst years of the Sec­ond World War. But to many nation­al­ists he is a hero who tried to pro­tect the inter­ests of his peo­ple.

    “Just as our grand­fa­thers demand­ed free­dom for Ukraine from for­eign empires we demand free­dom from Russ­ian occu­piers today,” said one of the move­men­t’s lead­ers, Yari­na Voloshin, wear­ing a red dress and car­ry­ing a black purse.

    On the same day, thou­sands of nation­al­ists marched to Ukraine’s par­lia­ment in Kiev, led by ultra-right Svo­bo­da par­ty lead­ers. The nation­al­ists, who clashed with police, demand­ed the UIA be rec­og­nized as Ukraine’s nation­al heroes. Dozens of peo­ple, includ­ing 15 police­men, were injured in those melees, and police detained 50 nation­al­ists who tried to break through rows of secu­ri­ty to get into the par­lia­ment.

    ...

    But in Lviv, which is con­sid­ered the heart of the coun­try’s nation­al­ist move­ments, leg­is­la­tors and the local admin­is­tra­tion insist the Nazi sym­bols are not dan­ger­ous for the coun­try. “I don’t care what flags or sym­bols they use for as long as they fight for Ukraine’s free­dom,” Vice Gov­er­nor Vladimir Kharchuk told The Dai­ly Beast. To peo­ple in west­ern Ukraine, where thou­sands relat­ed to vic­tims of com­mu­nist repres­sion, the ham­mer and sick­le did not look any less evil than the swasti­ka, yet sev­er­al orga­ni­za­tions still had that insignia on their offi­cial doc­u­ments. “I per­son­al­ly pre­fer the Ukrain­ian offi­cial flag, and the emblem of Lviv—a kind look­ing lion—to a Swasti­ka.”

    But as oth­ers have dis­cov­ered in these times of enor­mous pas­sions, kind­ly sym­bols don’t attract crowds.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 21, 2014, 8:22 am
  8. Right Sec­tor just attacked the a for­mer Part of Regions office cur­rent­ly used by an Oppo­si­tion Bloc mem­ber of par­lia­ment. Why? They were appar­ent­ly out­side the office protest­ing the Oppo­si­tion Bloc’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the elec­tion. And, accord­ing to Right Sec­tor, they were fired on from some­one with­in the build­ing. At that point, over 50 Right Sec­tor mem­bers attacked the build­ing:

    Radio free Europe
    Radio Lib­er­ty

    Oppo­si­tion Par­ty Office In Kharkiv Attacked

    August 03, 2015

    At least 50 young men, many in bal­a­clavas, have attacked the for­mer office of the Par­ty of Regions in Ukraine’s east­ern city of Kharkiv.

    The office is cur­rent­ly used by Ukrain­ian law­mak­er Mykhay­lo Dobkin, who rep­re­sents the Oppo­si­tion Bloc in par­lia­ment.

    The attack­ers destroyed a minibus parked near the office and smashed the build­ing’s win­dows with stones on August 3.

    The attack­ers said they were rep­re­sent­ing the Ukrain­ian right-wing nation­al­ist group Right Sec­tor and an orga­ni­za­tion called Pub­lic Guard.

    They said they gath­ered at the site to protest against the Oppo­si­tion Bloc’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in local elec­tions in Octo­ber and attacked the build­ing after Dobkin’s peo­ple start­ed shoot­ing at them with firearms, wound­ing one activist.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 4, 2015, 9:23 am
  9. The Coun­cil of Europe just issued its assess­ment of Ukraine’s inves­ti­ga­tion into the Odessa fire. It was­n’t a very pos­i­tive review:

    Bloomberg Busi­ness
    Ukraine Fail­ing to Probe Pro-Rus­sia Pro­test­er Deaths, Pan­el Says

    Dary­na Kras­no­lut­ska
    Katery­na Choursi­na
    Novem­ber 4, 2015 — 2:15 AM CST

    * Killings occurred in May 2014 in Black Sea port of Odessa
    * No charges brought after 18-month inves­ti­ga­tion, report finds

    Ukrain­ian author­i­ties are fail­ing to ade­quate­ly inves­ti­gate 48 deaths, includ­ing of 42 pro-Russ­ian pro­test­ers, in the Black Sea port of Odessa in May 2014, accord­ing to an inter­na­tion­al pan­el set up by the Coun­cil of Europe.

    The demon­stra­tors clashed with foot­ball fans and par­tic­i­pants in a pro-gov­ern­ment ral­ly as the mil­i­tary con­flict in Ukraine’s east­ern­most regions erupt­ed fol­low­ing Russia’s annex­a­tion of near­by Crimea. Most of the deaths occurred after a build­ing in which the pro­test­ers had bar­ri­cad­ed them­selves was set on fire.

    “Despite the lapse of some 18 months after the events, not a sin­gle charge has been brought in respect of the deaths,” the pan­el said Wednes­day in an e‑mailed report. The body is track­ing the inves­ti­ga­tion to check it meets the require­ments of the Euro­pean Con­ven­tion on Human Rights and the Euro­pean Court of Human Rights.

    The report is anoth­er blow to Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko and his gov­ern­ment as the U.S, the Euro­pean Union and Ukraine’s own cit­i­zens demand more progress on promis­es of reform and a crack­down on cor­rup­tion. Ukraine’s rulers have also failed to con­vict those respon­si­ble for more than 100 killings in the Kiev street protests that swept them to pow­er a year and a half ago.

    There’s evi­dence “reveal­ing a com­pa­ra­ble lack of con­fi­dence in the ade­qua­cy of the inves­ti­ga­tions and in the abil­i­ty of the author­i­ties to bring to jus­tice those respon­si­ble for caus­ing or con­tribut­ing to the many deaths and injuries” in Odessa, said the pan­el. The inves­ti­ga­tion in Odessa, like the probe in Kiev, has “seri­ous defi­cien­cies in inde­pen­dence and effec­tive­ness,” it said.

    “Despite the lapse of some 18 months after the events, not a sin­gle charge has been brought in respect of the deaths”

    Also note that when you read, “The inves­ti­ga­tion in Odessa, like the probe in Kiev, has “seri­ous defi­cien­cies in inde­pen­dence and effec­tive­ness,” the probe in Kiev is a ref­er­ence to the inves­ti­ga­tion in the Maid­an rev­o­lu­tion sniper attacks. And as indi­cate by the Coun­cil’s com­ments, the review of that inves­ti­ga­tion was­n’t very pos­i­tive either.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 4, 2015, 10:35 am
  10. While it would be dif­fi­cult to expect any­thing approach­ing remorse from the far-right groups respon­si­ble for the Odessa mas­sacre two years ago, Ukraine’s neo-Nazis have found a new way to demon­strate how unre­morse­ful they are: by threat­en to take the head of Odessa’s may­or if he does­n’t can­cel the May upcom­ing two year anniver­sary cer­e­mo­ny:

    Con­sor­tium News

    Ukraine’s Right­ists Return to Odessa

    Nico­lai Petro
    April 28, 2016

    For two years, Ukraine’s U.S.-backed regime has balked at inves­ti­gat­ing dozens of arson deaths in Odessa and now is doing lit­tle as far-right nation­al­ists ral­ly for anoth­er con­fronta­tion, writes Nico­lai N. Petro.

    By Nico­lai N. Petro

    May 2 will mark the sec­ond anniver­sary of one of the most hor­rif­ic, polit­i­cal­ly inspired tragedies in mod­ern Euro­pean his­to­ry — the fire in the Odessa trade union build­ing that killed 48 peo­ple and wound­ed anoth­er 200.

    Numer­ous pleas by the Unit­ed Nations and the Euro­pean Union for an objec­tive inves­ti­ga­tion into the caus­es of this tragedy have gone unan­swered. Mul­ti­ple gov­ern­ment com­mis­sions, both local and nation­al, have been unable to move the case for­ward, part­ly because some of the evi­dence has been marked secret.

    Last Novem­ber, the Inter­na­tion­al Con­sult­ing Group, set up by the Coun­cil of Europe, issued a scathing report about this lack of progress, and the government’s appar­ent dis­in­ter­est in bring­ing those respon­si­ble to tri­al.

    Now, as we approach the sec­ond anniver­sary of these trag­ic deaths, and the com­mem­o­ra­tion of Sovi­et vic­to­ry in the Sec­ond World War on May 9, some of the same groups involved in the first tragedy are open­ly prepar­ing for a sec­ond round.

    To this end, the lead­ing nation­al­ist spokesman, Dmitro Yarosh, the for­mer leader of the Right Sec­tor, was recent­ly invit­ed to Odessa. There he explained his cre­do to his fol­low­ers: “I am just not a demo­c­rat. My world­view is that of a Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist. I believe that pop­u­lar nation­al gov­ern­ment is very good, but only when democ­ra­cy does not threat­en the very exis­tence of the state. We some­times play at democ­ra­cy with the likes of Kival­ov [a mem­ber of par­lia­ment from Odessa — NP], with [Odessa’s may­or] Trukhanov . . . but in war time this is nev­er good” he said, adding “the ene­my needs to be dealt with as he is always deal with in wartime–neutralized.”

    Lat­er, local Euro­maid­an activist Arsen Grig­o­ryan gave author­i­ties just one week to pre­vent any com­mem­o­ra­tive gath­er­ings from tak­ing place on May 2, espe­cial­ly ones that might include gov­ern­ment offi­cials, or “fake par­lia­men­tar­i­ans from Europe.” If the author­i­ties refuse to heed these warn­ings, he said, the con­se­quences will be on the head of Odessa’s may­or, Gen­nady Trukhanov.

    The event that has inspired this sud­den con­cern among rad­i­cal nation­al­ists seems to have been the groundswell of par­tic­i­pa­tion dur­ing this year’s com­mem­o­ra­tion of the lib­er­a­tion of Odessa from Nazi occu­pa­tion on April 10. Tra­di­tion­al­ly, this is a rather low-key event, that con­cludes with a cer­e­mo­ni­al wreath-lay­ing at the mon­u­ment to the Unknown Sailor in Shevchenko Park.

    This year, how­ev­er, sev­er­al thou­sand peo­ple joined the wreath-lay­ing cer­e­mo­ny, some of whom even added Russ­ian col­ors to the wreaths. This out­rage caught the atten­tion of vig­i­lant nation­al­ists, who then moved to dis­rupt the cer­e­mo­ny. In an unex­pect­ed twist, how­ev­er, local police inter­vened to defend the par­tic­i­pants against the now cus­tom­ary assault by rad­i­cals.

    The nation­al­ists blamed state pros­e­cu­tor, Geor­gy Stoy­anov, for this deba­cle and pro­ceed­ed to block entry to the state procu­ra­cy build­ing until he was removed. After suc­ceed­ing in this effort, they prompt­ly moved their protest to Odessa’s City Hall, where they are now seek­ing the res­ig­na­tion of the pop­u­lar­ly elect­ed may­or, Gen­nady Trukhanov.

    Unchar­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly, the region’s appoint­ed gov­er­nor, Mikheil Saakashvili, (the for­mer pres­i­dent of Geor­gia) has yet to voice his opin­ion on this con­fronta­tion. On the one hand, he stands to gain con­sid­er­able polit­i­cal clout if he can shift the blame for these dis­tur­bances to May­or Trukhanov, whom he bit­ter­ly resents for osten­si­bly thwart­ing his reform efforts.

    On the oth­er hand, how­ev­er, he sure­ly knows that the rad­i­cal nation­al­ists view him as just anoth­er by-prod­uct of the cor­rupt and treach­er­ous Poroshenko regime; more­over, one whose only loy­al­ty is to his own polit­i­cal ambi­tions. Per­haps most unfor­giv­ably, for rad­i­cal nation­al­ists, he is also a for­eign­er.

    All sides are now mobi­liz­ing in what is shap­ing up to be a deci­sive test of wills between gov­ern­ment author­i­ty and the rad­i­cal nation­al­ists. The city is being flood­ed by rad­i­cal activists, while the Min­istry of Inter­nal Affairs is telling Odessans to pre­pare for “hot May hol­i­days.” The stage is near­ly set for the next bloody con­fronta­tion between the “patri­ots” and the “fas­cists.”

    This time, how­ev­er, the West need not stand by help­less­ly and watch. There is still a chance of avert­ing anoth­er tragedy, if the West­ern media draws time­ly atten­tion to the cur­rent prepa­ra­tions for it. A sig­nif­i­cant West­ern media pres­ence on the ground dur­ing the crit­i­cal week from May 2 to May 9, could con­ceiv­ably lead the rad­i­cal nation­al­ists to recon­sid­er their vio­lent strat­e­gy.

    ...

    “To this end, the lead­ing nation­al­ist spokesman, Dmitro Yarosh, the for­mer leader of the Right Sec­tor, was recent­ly invit­ed to Odessa. There he explained his cre­do to his fol­low­ers: “I am just not a demo­c­rat. My world­view is that of a Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist. I believe that pop­u­lar nation­al gov­ern­ment is very good, but only when democ­ra­cy does not threat­en the very exis­tence of the state. We some­times play at democ­ra­cy with the likes of Kival­ov [a mem­ber of par­lia­ment from Odessa — NP], with [Odessa’s may­or] Trukhanov . . . but in war time this is nev­er good” he said, adding “the ene­my needs to be dealt with as he is always deal with in wartime–neutralized.””
    So it sounds like Yarosh and his fel­low far-right­ists have decid­ed that Ukraine’s democ­ra­cy is a nice lux­u­ry that should be thrown out if they per­ceive it as “threat­en­ing the exis­tence of the state” and since it’s cur­rent­ly a time of war the neo-Nazis out­fits like Right Sec­tor feel free to now “neu­tral­ize” those they per­ceive as ene­mies. And that ene­mies list appears to include the peo­ple plan­ning on attend­ing the annu­al two year anniver­sary of the Odessa mas­sacre on May 2. Why? Because some peo­ple placed Russ­ian-col­ored wreathes at an April 10 cer­e­mo­ny com­mem­o­rat­ing the lib­er­a­tion of Odessa from the Nazis:

    ...

    Lat­er, local Euro­maid­an activist Arsen Grig­o­ryan gave author­i­ties just one week to pre­vent any com­mem­o­ra­tive gath­er­ings from tak­ing place on May 2, espe­cial­ly ones that might include gov­ern­ment offi­cials, or “fake par­lia­men­tar­i­ans from Europe.” If the author­i­ties refuse to heed these warn­ings, he said, the con­se­quences will be on the head of Odessa’s may­or, Gen­nady Trukhanov.

    The event that has inspired this sud­den con­cern among rad­i­cal nation­al­ists seems to have been the groundswell of par­tic­i­pa­tion dur­ing this year’s com­mem­o­ra­tion of the lib­er­a­tion of Odessa from Nazi occu­pa­tion on April 10. Tra­di­tion­al­ly, this is a rather low-key event, that con­cludes with a cer­e­mo­ni­al wreath-lay­ing at the mon­u­ment to the Unknown Sailor in Shevchenko Park.

    This year, how­ev­er, sev­er­al thou­sand peo­ple joined the wreath-lay­ing cer­e­mo­ny, some of whom even added Russ­ian col­ors to the wreaths. This out­rage caught the atten­tion of vig­i­lant nation­al­ists, who then moved to dis­rupt the cer­e­mo­ny. In an unex­pect­ed twist, how­ev­er, local police inter­vened to defend the par­tic­i­pants against the now cus­tom­ary assault by rad­i­cals.

    The nation­al­ists blamed state pros­e­cu­tor, Geor­gy Stoy­anov, for this deba­cle and pro­ceed­ed to block entry to the state procu­ra­cy build­ing until he was removed. After suc­ceed­ing in this effort, they prompt­ly moved their protest to Odessa’s City Hall, where they are now seek­ing the res­ig­na­tion of the pop­u­lar­ly elect­ed may­or, Gen­nady Trukhanov.

    ...

    So the neo-Nazi ene­mies list includes peo­ple who will be com­mem­o­rat­ing the vic­tims of the neo-Nazi mas­sacre at Odessa two years ago, and if the cer­e­mo­ny isn’t can­celed they’ll behead the may­or of Odessa or some­thing along those lines. And the ral­ly­ing cry for this new round of threats was the Russ­ian-col­ored wreathes used in a cer­e­mo­ny com­mem­o­rat­ing the defeat of the Nazis and fact that the local police unchar­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly inter­vened to pro­tect the par­tic­i­pants. While neo-Naz­i’s like Yarosh might view democ­ra­cy as a play­thing that should­n’t be cod­dled, it’s worth not­ing that they’re actu­al­ly demon­strat­ing to the world of the oppo­site les­son: democ­ra­cies REALLY want to avoid cod­dling Nazis, espe­cial­ly dur­ing times of war. This real­ly should­n’t need to be said since it’s kind of obvi­ous, but here we are. There’s prob­a­bly a les­son tucked away in there.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 28, 2016, 2:21 pm
  11. Author­i­ties request­ed addi­tion­al secu­ri­ty ser­vices for Odessa with ten­sions run­ning high on the sec­ond anniver­sary of the Odessa mas­sacre and the poten­tial for clash­es between the neo-Nazi Right Sec­tor and those mourn­ing the May 2 deaths. And they did indeed received addi­tion­al secu­ri­ty ser­vices: the Azov Bat­tal­ion:

    The Guardian

    Ten­sions run high in Odessa on anniver­sary of dead­ly clash­es

    Huge police and secu­ri­ty pres­ence in Ukrain­ian city two years after unrest left 48 dead and hun­dreds injured

    Shaun Walk­er in Odessa

    Mon­day 2 May 2016 12.45 EDT

    A huge police and secu­ri­ty oper­a­tion has been launched to keep the calm in Odessa on Mon­day, the sec­ond anniver­sary of one of the blood­i­est days in Ukraine’s recent his­to­ry.

    Two years ago, clash­es left 48 dead and hun­dreds injured in the Black Sea city. Most of the dead were pro-Rus­sia pro­test­ers who died in a fire at the trade union build­ing.

    Polit­i­cal and social ten­sions con­tin­ue to bub­ble under the sur­face. On Mon­day author­i­ties cor­doned off the area around the trade union build­ing, sur­round­ing it with police and Nation­al Guard forces and keep­ing out those who had come to pay their respects. More than 1,000 peo­ple gath­ered out­side the police cor­don, furi­ous at not being allowed in.

    The Odessa gov­er­nor, Mikheil Saakashvili, said police had received infor­ma­tion about “provo­ca­tions” planned for the anniver­sary. Author­i­ties said there had been an anony­mous bomb threat ear­ly in the morn­ing and the area had been closed off for a search. Those out­side were cer­tain the bomb threat was a pre­text to pre­vent them from gath­er­ing, and no offi­cials made any attempt to keep the crowds informed about when or whether they would be let in.

    There were shouts of “Shame!” and “Fas­cists!” as the crowd became angri­er. Many peo­ple left flow­ers out­side the perime­ter and went home. At one point, a bus arrived car­ry­ing a the moth­ers of some of those who died. A group of Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists shout­ed: “Glo­ry to Ukraine!” as they dis­em­barked from the bus, leav­ing the women vis­i­bly shak­en.

    The events in Odessa were one of the most con­tro­ver­sial chap­ters of the peri­od that began with the Maid­an protests in Kiev in Feb­ru­ary 2014 and end­ed with a sep­a­ratist upris­ing in parts of east Ukraine that received Russ­ian mil­i­tary and finan­cial back­ing.

    On 2 May 2014, as pro-Russ­ian protests were grow­ing in many of the cities in south and east Ukraine, street clash­es between pro-Rus­sians and Ukraini­ans nation­al­ists end­ed with the pro-Rus­sians blocked into the five-storey Trade Unions build­ing, which was then set on fire. Dozens burned to death inside.

    The deaths were por­trayed as a “fas­cist mas­sacre” by Russ­ian media, and act­ed as a recruit­ing sergeant for the sep­a­ratist cause in east Ukraine. In Kiev, Russ­ian media and secu­ri­ty agen­cies were accused of stir­ring up and manip­u­lat­ing local dis­con­tent, furi­ous at the pro-west­ern turn Ukraine’s post-Maid­an gov­ern­ment want­ed to take.

    After events in Donet­sk and Luhan­sk regions led to a war and thou­sands of deaths, some have claimed the Odessa events marked a “vic­to­ry” over pro-Russ­ian sen­ti­ment in the city. Nation­al­ist MP Ihor Mosiy­chuk wrote on Face­book that 2 May should be a “great nation­al hol­i­day”, as it was the day in which sep­a­ratist sen­ti­ment was crushed in Odessa.

    In the run-up to the sec­ond anniver­sary, Saakashvili had plead­ed with Kiev to send rein­force­ments into the city, fear­ing “provo­ca­tions” from Rus­sia or local sep­a­ratist groups. About 300 mem­bers of Azov, for­mer­ly a vol­un­teer bat­tal­ion with many far-right mem­bers and now part of the offi­cial Nation­al Guard, were dis­patched to Odessa.

    By the ear­ly evening, the day appeared to have passed more or less peace­ful­ly, though police report­ed 14 arrests for pub­lic order offences.

    Yuri Tkachev, who runs a news web­site many believe is sym­pa­thet­ic to the sep­a­ratist cause, said the “pro-Russ­ian” move­ment in the city was actu­al­ly not pro-Moscow but more anti-Kiev and against the Maid­an protest move­ment. “Of course there are peo­ple who would cheer if Putin came, but they are not the major­i­ty,” he said.

    Odessa remains a divid­ed city, said Tkachev, but with the lead­ers of the sep­a­ratist move­ment either fled or jailed, there “are no achiev­able goals or any under­stand­ing of how to act” among their sup­port­ers.

    An inves­ti­ga­tion into the events has stalled. While 20 pro-Russ­ian activists are stand­ing tri­al for the riots that took place ear­li­er in the day, nobody has been charged with the events in the Trade Unions build­ing that led to most of the deaths.

    Ear­li­er in the day, a small­er group of pro-Ukraini­ans came to pay their respects at the site in the city cen­tre where the first death occurred, a Ukrain­ian activist shot in the city cen­tre. They sang the Ukrain­ian nation­al anthem and laid flow­ers at the spot.

    ...

    “In the run-up to the sec­ond anniver­sary, Saakashvili had plead­ed with Kiev to send rein­force­ments into the city, fear­ing “provo­ca­tions” from Rus­sia or local sep­a­ratist groups. About 300 mem­bers of Azov, for­mer­ly a vol­un­teer bat­tal­ion with many far-right mem­bers and now part of the offi­cial Nation­al Guard, were dis­patched to Odessa.”
    So we had the dec­la­ra­tion by neo-Nazi MP Ihor Mosiy­chuk that May 2 should be declared a “great nation­al hol­i­day”, a clas­sic act of adding insult to injury. And we have the selec­tion of the neo-Nazi Azov Bat­tal­ion as the “peace­keep­ing” force, a clear act of adding insult to that which is intend­ed to pro­tect you from injury. Ukraine’s offi­cial neo-Nazi trolling sure was in rare form today.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 2, 2016, 2:17 pm
  12. Secu­ri­ty forces report­ed­ly dis­cov­ered three grenades near the spot where the dozens of Ukraini­ans were burned to death in a build­ing two years ago. So anoth­er act of domes­tic ter­ror­ist and intim­i­da­tion by Ukraine’s far-right was most like­ly pre­vent­ed. It’s the kind of dis­cov­ery that makes the lack of offi­cial dis­cov­ery in who was behind the 2014 mas­sacre all the more ter­ri­fy­ing:

    EurAc­tiv

    EU urges Ukraine to inves­ti­gate 2014 Odessa deaths

    By EurActiv.com with AFP

    May 3, 2016 0:15 (updat­ed: 1:21)

    Ukraine’s tense Odessa marked yes­ter­day (2 May) two years since clash­es killed 48 anti-Maid­an pro­test­ers dur­ing a con­fronta­tion with pro-Ukrain­ian uni­ty pro­test­ers at the Trade Unions House in cen­tral Odessa. The EU urged Kyiv to inves­ti­gate the tragedy.

    Ukrain­ian police in the tense south­ern city of Odessa yes­ter­day dis­cov­ered grenades near the site of com­mem­o­ra­tions mark­ing two years since the car­nage took place.

    Street bat­tles between armed back­ers of the pro-West­ern gov­ern­ment in Kyiv and the Krem­lin in the his­toric Black Sea port killed six peo­ple and cul­mi­nat­ed in a build­ing infer­no in which 42 pro-Rus­sians died.

    The vio­lence erupt­ed at the height of Ukraine’s pro-Russ­ian east­ern insur­gency and sparked fears in Kyiv that Moscow was prepar­ing an all-out inva­sion of the for­mer Sovi­et state.

    That assault nev­er came but the blood­shed ratch­eted up the ten­sions and Rus­sia lat­er accused Ukraine of cov­er­ing up an inves­ti­ga­tion into who was ulti­mate­ly respon­si­ble for the deaths.

    The Office of the UN High Com­mis­sion­er for Human Rights said the fatal chain of events was sparked when a group of pro-Rus­sians armed with base­ball bats and guns “pro­voked” the par­tic­i­pants of the pro-Ukraine ral­ly.

    A Ukrain­ian court is so far only look­ing into the case of 20 sus­pects accused of shoot­ing dead six peo­ple dur­ing the pro-Kyiv march.

    The results of a probe into who was respon­si­ble for torch­ing the build­ing in which the pro-Rus­sians took shel­ter when chased by armed Kyiv sup­port­ers have not been sub­mit­ted to court.

    “I urge the gov­ern­ment of Ukraine to fol­low up on the rec­om­men­da­tions of the Coun­cil of Europe Inter­na­tion­al Advi­so­ry Pan­el and to car­ry out an inde­pen­dent and trans­par­ent inves­ti­ga­tion,” Kyiv’s EU Ambas­sador Jan Tombin­s­ki said in a state­ment mark­ing the anniver­sary.

    ...

    Around 1,000 peo­ple car­ry­ing flow­ers and ban­ners with pic­tures of the vic­tims massed on Mon­day out­side met­al detec­tors set up around the square at which the worst car­nage occurred.

    “We will nev­er for­give or for­get,” a group of sev­er­al dozen pro-Rus­sians chant­ed while wait­ing for police to allow them into the com­mem­o­ra­tion site.

    Vic­tims’ rel­a­tives even­tu­al­ly sent black bal­loons and white doves into the bright blue sky as it became clear that the riot-geared offi­cers would not let them approach the build­ing in which their sons and daugh­ters died from the flames and tox­ic fumes.

    Sev­er­al also plunged to their deaths after being unable to with­stand the heat of the rag­ing blaze — made worse by the Molo­tov cock­tails being hurled at the build­ing by some far-right Ukraini­ans.

    Guns and base­ball bats

    About 3,000 mem­bers of the secu­ri­ty forces were called into Odessa as a pre­cau­tion to pre­vent a repeat of the vio­lence.

    Those troops helped find three grenades hid­den near Kulykove Pole – the square where the Trade Union House in which the pro-Rus­sians took refuge was torched.

    Police also report­ed mak­ing a hand­ful of arrests but no seri­ous alter­ca­tions between two groups with dia­met­ri­cal­ly opposed views of who was to blame for what hap­pened in 2014.

    “The results of a probe into who was respon­si­ble for torch­ing the build­ing in which the pro-Rus­sians took shel­ter when chased by armed Kyiv sup­port­ers have not been sub­mit­ted to court.”
    Giv­en the con­se­quence-free ter­ror­iz­ing of Ukrain­ian soci­ety that groups like Right Sec­tor have enjoyed over the past cou­ple of years, you have to won­der to what extent the gov­ern­men­t’s refusal to pur­sue the find­ings of those gov­ern­ment probes is due to those in charge gen­uine­ly not want­i­ng to see those find­ings pur­sued by a court or if it’s because those in a posi­tion to make such a call are, them­selves, already ter­ror­ized into sub­mis­sion by the far-right. It’s a reminder that when a gov­ern­ment will­ing­ly tol­er­ates ter­ror­ists in order to wage a divide-and-con­quer strat­e­gy to deal with a domes­tic cri­sis, it make not take too long before that tol­er­ance is no longer vol­un­tary.

    It also does­n’t help when the new speak­er of the par­lia­ment is a neo-Nazi like Andre Paru­biy, who him­self is poten­tial­ly impli­cat­ed in the Maid­an square sniper attacks. It’s a gen­er­al sit­u­a­tion that does­n’t bode well for gov­ern­ment inves­ti­ga­tions into far-right vio­lence and rais­es the chill­ing pos­si­bil­i­ty that groups like Right Sec­tor are only going to get more pro­tec­tion from pros­e­cu­tions when they ter­ror­ize Ukraine’s eth­nic Russ­ian com­mu­ni­ties. So while we should real­ly hope the expla­na­tion for the lack of an inves­ti­ga­tion into the Odessa mas­sacre isn’t due to the far-right intim­i­da­tion of gov­ern­ment offi­cials, it’s worth keep­ing in mind that it could be worse. And might be.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 3, 2016, 6:47 pm
  13. Where there’s smoke, there’s prob­a­bly fire. Or maybe tor­ture:

    UN tor­ture pre­ven­tion body sus­pends Ukraine vis­it cit­ing obstruc­tion

    GENEVA (25 May 2016) – The Unit­ed Nations Sub­com­mit­tee on Pre­ven­tion of Tor­ture (SPT) has sus­pend­ed its vis­it to Ukraine after being denied access to places in sev­er­al parts of the coun­try where it sus­pects peo­ple are being deprived of their lib­er­ty by the Secu­ri­ty Ser­vice of Ukraine, the SBU.

    “This denial of access is in breach of Ukraine’s oblig­a­tions as a State par­ty to the Option­al Pro­to­col to the Con­ven­tion against Tor­ture. It has meant that we have not been able to vis­it some places where we have heard numer­ous and seri­ous alle­ga­tions that peo­ple have been detained and where tor­ture or ill-treat­ment may have occurred,” said Sir Mal­colm Evans, head of the four-mem­ber del­e­ga­tion.

    The del­e­ga­tion con­clud­ed that the integri­ty of the vis­it, which began on 19 May and was due to end on 26 May, had been com­pro­mised to such an extent that it had to be sus­pend­ed as the SPT man­date could not be ful­ly car­ried out.

    Under the Option­al Pro­to­col (OPCAT), the SPT is man­dat­ed to vis­it all States par­ties and can make unan­nounced vis­its to any places of deten­tion. This is only the sec­ond time the SPT has halt­ed a mis­sion – such sus­pen­sions are made in cas­es where a lack of coop­er­a­tion by the State par­ty pre­vents the SPT from ful­fill­ing its OPCAT-man­dat­ed duties.

    “The SPT expects Ukraine to abide by its inter­na­tion­al oblig­a­tions under the Option­al Pro­to­col, which it rat­i­fied in 2006. We also hope that the Gov­ern­ment of Ukraine will enter into a con­struc­tive dia­logue with us to enable the SPT to resume its vis­it in the near future and so work togeth­er to estab­lish effec­tive safe­guards against the risk of tor­ture and ill-treat­ment in places where peo­ple are deprived of their lib­er­ty,” said Sir Mal­colm.

    The focus of the SPT’s vis­it was to eval­u­ate how its rec­om­men­da­tions made after its first vis­it in 2011 had been imple­ment­ed. The work of the SPT, which is com­posed of inde­pen­dent experts, is guid­ed by the prin­ci­ples of con­fi­den­tial­i­ty and coop­er­a­tion.

    ...

    “This denial of access is in breach of Ukraine’s oblig­a­tions as a State par­ty to the Option­al Pro­to­col to the Con­ven­tion against Tor­ture. It has meant that we have not been able to vis­it some places where we have heard numer­ous and seri­ous alle­ga­tions that peo­ple have been detained and where tor­ture or ill-treat­ment may have occurred”
    While the con­tent of report is deeply dis­turb­ing, the tim­ing was pret­ty fab­u­lous.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 25, 2016, 2:52 pm

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