From the Fire in Odessa
IT was a classic bit of BBC news filtering. While we were able to see a mob storming the Odessa trade union building and what looked like some frighteningly effective incendiary devices being hurled, the newsreader in the studio told us that it was not known what caused the fires to break out, in which some 36 or more people were killed.
Then the woman correspondent on the Odessa street said nationalists attacking the building had thrown petrol bombs, and police were now making arrests.
Back to the studio where the man now said once again that it was "not known" what had caused the fires to break out, but added that "both sides" had thrown petrol bombs.
This was what the BBC calls "balance", and on its News 24 channel which is not the worst of sources
for UK news coverage. I wonder how balanced the Beeb would be if the people who died had been British, or if the scene of what happened had been Oldham or Orpington, instead of Odessa.
Fortunately these days we do not have to rely on corporate media for all our news and information, and here, forwarded by a friend, is a report from one of the left-wing groups in Ukraine, Borotba. I don't know much about this group nor how reliable its version of events is. I gather that in Ukraine as anywhere else the Left has its differences. But as against the kind of coverage we're getting on the Beeb and other Western media, I'd say this has enough fact and ring of truth as to be worth reading.
Sad Footnote:More from the council of ‘Borotba’ union, May 3, 2014:
On May 2, under the pretext of the so-called march ‘For unity of Ukraine’ (that was dated to football match ‘Chernomorets’ – ‘Metallist’) – the paramilitary squads of Ukrainian nationalist were brought together to Odessa from all over the country. They arrived by buses and by trains. From the very beginning – when they just started to gather on ‘Sobornaya’ square – among ordinary ultra-right fans too many well-equipped paramilitaries could be seen. They had shields, helmets, bats, traumatic and service weapons. Mostly - men about 30-40 years old who were evidently not football fans. Some of them had shields where it was written: ’14-th hundred of Maidan self-guard’. And these nationalist paramilitaries became the main striking force of bloody massacre of Odessa residents on ‘Kulikovo pole’ square.
In total there were more than thousand of nationalists that participated in the march and the slaughter that followed it. Local residents of Odessa were the minority among them, while the majority – far-right paramilitaries that were brought together there. They could be identified in particular by dialect (not typical for Odessa region), however many of them openly acknowledged and told where they came from. Local Odessa fans of ‘Chernomorets’ team have left the march at the moment when clashes started – they came just for traditional march to the stadium and when they realized that ‘visitors’ and provocateurs led them to beat local people – the majority of ‘Chernomorets’ fans (identified by black-blue scarves of Odessa club) – immediately left the so-called ‘peaceful’ march.
At the same time ‘guest-militants’ were not going to the stadium. Their aim was to terrorize the city-residents and to unleash violence against the activists of the movements opposed to Kiev junta. The action of nationalists from the very beginning had not a peaceful nature, since they were preparing to start a massacre.
There were just a few policemen, although the personnel of only local Odessa police was able to control a crowd of a thousand people and, therefore, prevent pogroms and murders. As it turned out, the majority of police officers were ordered to guard the building of Internal Affairs Department. Thus, the whole city was delivered into the hands of neo-Nazi paramilitaries. Although, it is not surprising given the fact that the current Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov has long and close connections to neo-Nazi groups, that are included into the ‘Right Sector’.
When the column of nationalists marched along Grecheskaya street - a few (some 200-250 people) activists of local Odessa militia tried to stop them. But soon the opponents of nationalists were pelted with stones, bottles and stun grenades. There were heard gunshots. The activist of "Borotba" Ivan has got a gunshot wound into the belly from a military weapon. Then activists and members of Odessa militia tried to escape in the shopping centre "Athena" in the ‘Greek’ square. A crowd of far-right nationalists demanded to start a carnage against them. The far-right paramilitaries started immediately to prepare Molotovs on the square in order to set fire to the shopping center with barricaded Odessa militia members inside it. Police officers managed to save the lives of activists as they drove police cars directly to the entrance of the shopping centre.
Then the crowd of nationalist headed to the square ‘Kulikovo Pole’, where there was a camp of opponents to Kiev junta. Activists of ‘Borotba’, along with other activists and ordinary Odessa residents, were on duty that day in the protest camp. In total there were some 200 people in the camp and half of them - women and elderly men.
Neo-Nazis began to pelt the tent camp with Molotovs and set it ablaze. Activists from the protest camp were forced to retreat to the nearby building of ‘House of Trade Unions’.
When trying to kill Odessa residents, ultrarights set ablaze the ground floor of the ‘House of Trade-Unions. And the fire spread rather quickly over the building.
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. Over 40 activists were burnt alive, poisoned by smoke or were murdered by the Nazis while trying to escape from a burning building. Fortunately, most of our comrades managed to escape alive. 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.
The massacre in Odessa was organized by Kiev junta so that to intimidate the population that is discontent with the new regime, and so that to eliminate the active fighters against new regime. The evidence of it is the fact that far-right militants were brought together and well-equipped. Moreover, the police inaction as well as the fact that attack of ultra-rightists in Odessa was synchronized with the "anti-terrorist operation" in Slavyansk – are also the evidence of it.
Kiev junta has openly set a course toward violence and carnage against their political opponents. And the tools of this brutal violence are neo-Nazi militants – those who act closely with the secret police, who are well-armed and being financed by the oligarchy.
The massacre in Odessa reveals that Kiev regime of nationalists and oligarchs is rapidly grows into the outright terrorist dictatorship of the fascist style.
More then 40 people were killed yesterday in the evening in the house of Trade unions. Nazis burn it and many antimaidan activists died there. Among them son of our comrade Elena Radzihovskaya. Her son was activist of "Borotba".