Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

On the Situation in Odessa, Ukraine



Below is a message that I will share on Friday night at the Ukraine Teach-In to be held in Bath, Maine.  It comes from a person in Odessa who I know. This person wishes to remain anonymous due to the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) current round-up of thousands of peaceful activists in Odessa.  The SBU headquarters building in Kiev has an American flag hanging outside the doorway indicating which nation is really running things these days inside of Ukraine.

SBU headquarters in Kiev, Ukraine - we see who really runs Ukraine these days

Message from Odessa

Odessa region of Ukraine is extremely important for the Kiev authorities. Several lucrative ports with the flow of goods in transit, a strategically advantageous position in the area of ​​the Danube mouth, the economically active population, the infrastructure which is not fully destroyed during the years of independence - this is not a complete list of the region’s benefits.

Known to everybody Odessa tolerance and multiculturalism, that had always been its hallmark, became an obstacle to the total Ukrainization of the region. Odessa resisted the Maidan nationalism so strongly, that the so-called "patriots" have developed and implemented a bloody campaign of intimidation on May 2, 2014 [Odessa Trades Hall massacre where more than 50 were killed by neo-Nazis.]. Having survived the shock, the city and the region have moved to active resistance to the "new order", expressed in constant actions of resistance which has reached its climax in the period May 2-9, 2015. In these days tens of thousands of people came out into the streets of the city under the newly prohibited red flags, and Poroshenko showed the world a million of fake smiles on the Walk of Fame in Odessa under a thunderous cry "Fascism will not pass!".

Under these conditions, Poroshenko recovered the move which is traditional to Ukrainian presidents – he appointed his godfather as the governor of the trouble-making Odessa region. But this time the choice was approved even by the international curators of the Maidan power, for it was Mikheil Saakashvili [former president of Georgia and a favorite US CIA operative who is now wanted for crimes in Georgia but Ukraine refuses to send him back to his country] who was appointed the governor, and who is one of the most rabid Russophobes of our days and in the same time doesn’t have the reputation of Bandera-nationalist and who is not directly related to the May 2 mayhem.

By all accounts, the Kiev government has assigned for Saakashvili two tasks - an obvious one and quite probable one. As to the first, everyone agrees, then Poroshenko demanded to capture and redirect the financial flows, and above all, the proceeds from the customs and trading port, as well as pave the way for the privatization of the region's largest asset - Portside Plant. As to the probable objective, many analysts mention an escalation of tensions on the border with Transnistria. With this Saakashvili should cause the greatest possible damage to Russia, and the rest we'll see.

The new governor immediately developed a rigorous activity, strengthening his already robust reputation of a populist and a windbag. An objective observer analyzing the situation cannot ignore the following facts.

Firstly, the active process of the property redistribution is at full speed in Odessa and its region. The press has already published numerous stories about the people in camouflage uniforms who appeared on various enterprises, captured them and did not let the owners in. Usually, these people represent themselves as "Pravi sector", "Automaydan" and other Bandera-nationalist brands. The great thing is that they really are those.

Creating and pumping the atmosphere of fear and terror, the nationalists literally beat political opponents with impunity and pay no attention to any laws of the country or to the statements of the liberal leaders of the region. Only recently the militants brutally beat unarmed protesters who were protesting against holding in prison Artyom Buzilov - Bessarabian progressive journalist. They have repeatedly destroyed the humble and touching makeshift memorial erected by Odessans on the Kulikovo Field in memory of those unarmed citizens who were killed on May 2. They also constantly terrorize the participants of weekly meeting-requiem on the Kulikovo field, many of whom are elderly people.

The peak of cynicism of nationalist gangs is the bullying of mothers who lost their children on May 2. On July 13, 2015, the hearing on the case of Sergei Hodiyaka in Odessa Primorsky court was appointed. This euromaidan activist is accused of the murder of Yevgeny Losinskogo (Article 115 of the Ukraine Criminal Code), as well as of the attempted murder of several other people. The relatives of the victims, their friends and Odessans who wanted to support the mothers whose sons were apparently killed by Hodiyak during the May tragedy last year came to the hearing.

What happened later in the hall cannot be named other than coven and lawlessness. Relatives of the victims were insulted, pushed out from the benches. Despite all their appeals to the judge and to the prosecutor, they were taken [photos] on mobile phones and cameras, and were threatened to be burned next time ...

No action on the part of judges and prosecutors to protect the relatives of the victims had been taken. After the abolition of the court session, as the judges again recused themselves, the "patriots" have built a "corridor of shame" through which all the mothers of the victims  and all those who came to support them had to go through. At the same time they were abused, pushed, beaten, kicked in the legs, they spitted at. The police, who could stop this abuse, were absent in the the court room. 

Looking at all these manifestations of painful social schizophrenia that is not suppressed by the authorities, Odessans cannot believe in the good intentions of the new governor Saakashvili. 

Changing the signs does not change anything in substance - that is the main conclusion of Odessa citizens. Moreover, a growing concern has the steps of the new governor, that can only be described as a rejection of sovereignty. How else can we assess the fact of the regional administration officials being paid their salaries by the US government? Or the upcoming transfer the control of the South (Odessa) customs office to an American corporation? [There has been at least one article speculating that the US wants to use Odessa to port its Navy warships deployed in the Black Sea.]

And only the nationalists and their henchmen do not get tired to extol all the steps of the new governor. This causes vague doubts among ordinary Odessa residents – the patriots of what state are those home-grown radical nationalists been taken. 

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