Today Ukraine marks the sixth anniversary of the tragedy in Odessa. On May 2, 2014, there were clashes in the city between supporters of the Maidan and Anti-Maidan, during which there were victims from both sides. And then the Maidanites burned dozens of their opponents, throwing Molotov cocktails at the House of Trade Unions.

The case was not investigated under Poroshenko. And there was some hope that this would be changed under Zelenskiy.

«Strana» recalls the tragic events of that day and what has changed in relation to the tragedy under the new president.

Mass murder and investigation

May 2014 was very alarming in Ukraine — the war was already going on in Donbass, Crimea finally went under Russia, the last weeks of the presidential race were running out. And the southeast of the controlled territory of the country rebelled against the Maidan, which won in Kiev.

The epicenter of this confrontation was at that time in Odessa. On May 2, anti-Maidan supporters and supporters of the new government clashed here.

The result of the clashes is known — the opponents of the Maidan, who closed themselves in the house of trade unions on the Kulikovo field, burned alive — they were pelted with Molotov cocktails by radicals and nationalists. With the tacit connivance of the authorities. And it is possible that with their blessing.The conflict developed like this. On May 2, many football fans arrived in Odessa from Kharkov — Metalist was supposed to play in the city with the local team Chernomorets.

It was a «nationalist landing» that disembarkated in Odessa — most of the fans were ultra-right. Apparently, that is why local supporters of the Maidan have planned their march «For a United Ukraine» for this very day.

They were going to walk along Deribasovskaya street to the Chernomorets stadium and to the Shevchenko park.At the same time, on the Kulikovo field there was an anti-Maidan tent camp, which the city decided to remove in preparation for the Victory Day.

Opponents of the new government decided that the march «For a United Ukraine» would be a convenient pretext for the demolition of the camp — and decided to gather for their rally, occupying Aleksandrovsky Prospekt near the monument to the killed policemen.

In the area of Grecheskaya Street, clashes occurred — even then the first shots were heard, smoke bombs, firecrackers, and boulders flew. Despite the fact that the police were able to divide the opponents, six people managed to get fatal wounds.

It was afternoon. In the evening, radicals attacked the Anti-Maidan camp near the House of Trade Unions. The activists took refuge there and began to erect a barricade at the entrance. Maidanites tried to storm, but to no avail. Then they set fire to the building with Molotov cocktails.

Gasping for breath, anti-Maidan members tried to get out of the house through the windows, but they opened fire on them. For example, this was done by the «centurion» of self-defense Nikolai Volkov, who had already died.

Another Maidanist, Vsevolod Goncharevsky, beat those who jumped out of the window with a stick.

Neither the police nor the firefighters intervened in the matter. As a result, 42 people died — in fact, another «Heavenly Hundred», which in Ukraine the authorities do not glorify and generally do not mention in any way: as if there was no massacre in the center of Odessa.

However, there are also similarities: neither the one nor the other murders in Ukraine have actually been investigated. First, law enforcement officers detained the participants in the clashes. Then one part of them — the Maidanites — was released. And 19 opponents of the new government began to prepare for accusations.

It is true, not on the topic of the House of Trade Unions, but for the riots a few hours earlier. Burning people in general remained outside the interests of the investigation.

Nevertheless, in 2017, the court released all the accused. And immediately after that, the SBU detained two released — Sergei Dolzhenkov and Yevgeny Mefedov. They were charged with infringement of territorial integrity. Later, already under Zelensky, they were sent for an exchange.

Of the “Euromaidanists” who participated in the clashes, the most serious charges were brought against Sergei Khodiyak — murder and grievous bodily harm to a law enforcement officer. But on May 20, 2014 he was released, although his case then wandered from court to court for several years — until it died out.

Cases against regional officials were also stopped, many of them have now fled from Ukraine. That is, the investigation on all issues has completely died out — despite the calls of the relatives of the deceased and human rights organizations.

As a result, only anti-Maidan supporters received sentences: Maxim Misevsky, Vasily Kondratenko and Oleg Tkachuk. The trial continues on six, 13 people are on the wanted list.

Also, the court is still hearing the case of Maydan’s Khodiyaka. He is accused of the murder of anti-Maidan activist Yevgeny Losinsky, the wounding of the editor-in-chief of the Internet edition «Dumskaya» Oleg Konstantinov and a police officer.

What has changed under Zelensky

Shortly before the fifth anniversary of the burning of people in Ukraine, the president changed — Vladimir Zelensky became him. The investigation of high-profile criminal cases, which were blocked under Poroshenko, was associated with his coming. 

Including the cases of May 2.

Note that the new president himself never commented on this tragedy of his own free will — he was more willing to speak on the topics of the murder of Gandzyuk and Sheremet: people shaking hands in the Maidan get-together. The new president said almost nothing about the activists burnt in Odessa or the murdered journalist Oles Buzin.

However, in September, something got off the ground — the State Bureau of Investigations of Ukraine, at the request of lawyer Andrei Portnov, opened a case in which the former speaker of the Rada Andriy Parubiy appeared.

Talk about his involvement in this story has been going on for a long time.

Back in 2018, a film was released in Israel about the events of May 2 in Odessa, in which a citizen of Georgia, Caesari Badzhalidze, said that, by agreement with the speaker of the Rada, Andrei Parubiy, he entered the group of the so-called. «Mercenaries» who staged a massacre and a fire in the House of Trade Unions.

According to him, Parubiy formed groups of activists to suppress separatist actions in different regions of Ukraine. True, the speaker then called these accusations manipulative. 

Data on participation in those events Parubia also published «Strana». We wrote that in the spring of 2014, Parubiy was in charge of the so-called “third sector” — power groups conditionally loyal to the authorities. Some of them were created in the regions, but most were formed on the basis of the self-defense of Euromaidan. In March-April 2014, the power groups of the Maidanites were actively deployed to the regions of Ukraine, including Odessa.

The overwhelming majority of the activists who took part in the events of May 2, «closed» on Parubiy. The so-called «Odessa Defense Council» worked with him, the 7th and 14th hundreds of «Self-Defense of the Maidan» also reported to him. Another detachment of about 50 people, led by Nikolai Volkov (the famous «centurion Mikola»), arrived in Odessa literally on the eve of the events — on April 29.

In the same period, Parubiy personally arrives in Odessa, who bypasses the checkpoints and presents them to the «garrisons» with body armor. There is a video where he gives a bulletproof vest to the centurion Mikola Volkov, who shot the House of Trade Unions. In this bulletproof vest, Volkov fired at the windows of the trade union house (he himself died of illness in February 2015 — Ed.).

This happened when there were no announcements about the gathering of Kulikov Pole activists on Aleksandrovsky Prospekt, and everything that was planned in Odessa (according to the official version) was «a peaceful march of football fans and patriots of Ukraine.»

And now, after four and a half years, the State Bureau of Investigations of Ukraine, according to Portnov’s statement, began to investigate the role of ex-speaker Parubiy in the Odessa tragedy. Production was opened on the fact of the creation and coordination of armed groups by Parubiy «with the aim of committing riots on May 2, 2014 in the city of Odessa.»

A photo of the letter from the State Bureau of Investigations of Ukraine to the Verkhovna Rada Office was published by Parubiy himself, saying that he was not surprised and announcing it was Russia’s intrigues.

There was a lot of fuss about it then. Almost the entire Maidan party came to the defense of the ex-speaker and announced revenge.

But more than six months have passed and the former speaker has not become a suspect in this case..

Nothing is heard about whether an investigation is underway at all. At least Parubiy himself has not been summoned for interrogations in recent months and has not been disturbed at all. According to Strana’s sources, the case has been put on hold.

The story with an attempt to create a temporary commission of inquiry (TCI) in the Rada is also very indicative..  

In October, the Rada was offered to create the TCI, which would investigate the circumstances of the tragedy on May 2, 2014 in Odessa. After all, law enforcement officers are silent on this score. This proposal was made by the «Opposition Platform — For Life».

But the vote was failed by the Servant of the People faction. Only 32 of its deputies voted in favor. We have published a list of those who voted.

After they did not support the creation of the TCI, a scuffle arose in parliament between members of the «Opposition Platform — For Life» and representatives of the Servant of the People faction ..

At the same time, the «servants of the people» stated that they were actually for the commission, but not led by a representative of the «Opposition Platform — For Life» and «not on its terms.»

This was reported by the deputy of the Servant of the People faction Alexander Tkachenko. But, judging from his words, the «correct» commission should investigate the activities of … Anti-Maidan.

“We will certainly initiate the creation of such a commission. However, the investigation will be not only about the specific fact of the death of people in Odessa, but also about the one who allowed and promoted calls for separatism, the invitation of Russian troops to Ukraine, supporters of the «Russian world» — something that actually provoked tragic events not only in Odessa, but also in other cities of Ukraine, ”he wrote on Facebook.

In fact, as «Strana» wrote, then the «servants of the people» really considered the possibility of creating an investigative commission headed by People’s Deputy Alexei Leonov. Moreover, the goal was purely political technology — it was then planned to nominate Leonov for the election of the mayor of Odessa from the «Servant of the People» and the TCI was considered as a platform for his PR.

But soon, Leonov’s candidacy «flew» from the list of potential candidates for the post of mayor, after which the «servants» no longer remembered the creation of the commission of inquiry.

As for the official investigation, nothing changes in it. The burning of the trade union house has not been investigated. Moreover, the Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) , which was personally controlled by Zelensky this year, on the eve of the sixth anniversary of the tragedy, began to threaten the participants of the Kulikov field with criminal cases.

The activists of the Kulikovo Pole organization were searched, after which the SBU presented “evidence” in the best traditions of Poroshenko’s times: leaflets “Odessa is a Russian city” and the issue of the newspaper “Novorossiya”. These materials were supposed to be scattered across Odessa on May 2.

The message is clear — the authorities show which side they are on in this story. This means that the May 2 case will most likely add to the list of unsolved crimes under Zelensky.

Victoria Wenk, «Strana»

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