By Ivan Katchanovski, posted to his Facebook page, May 2, 2015
My analysis of the Odessa massacre will be included along with specific sources in my paper prepared for presentation at the upcoming Canadian Association of Slavists conference in Ottawa [May 30-June1]. This analysis uses various sources, such as a special parliamentary commission report, May 2 group reports, videos and recordings of live broadcasts and calls to firefighters, leaked medical examinations, media reports, and interviews by participants and eyewitnesses from both sides and by the police commanders. The main results of this analysis are as follows:
The Ukrainian and regional government officials planned to use radical Maidan activists to supress the separatist [sic] movement in the Odessa region and to disperse the opposition anti-Maidan camp near the Trade Union building before May 9, 2014. The march, led by the Right Sector and football ultras on May 2, 2014, was used to implement this plan, but it is not certain if the mass killing was planned in advance.
Odeska druzhyna, a small separatist organization led by an ex-policeman, tried to counter and attack this march. They wore red tape labels and were not Right Sector agent provocateurs, as it was sometime suggested. Use of the same red tape by some of policemen in a police cordon took place later during the clashes. It was not an organized collusion with the separatists [sic], as the Ukrainian government and the media claimed.
Groups of numerically superior activists of the Right Sector from Odessa and Kharkiv, where this far right organization was led by the neo-Nazi Social National Assembly/Patriot of Ukraine, football ultras with far right political orientations and Maidan Self-Defence units from Odessa and other regions attacked Odeska druzhyna activists. The pro-separatist [sic] activists took cover behind the police cordon, and some of them started to shoot at the direction of attackers. A small mobile group of separatists arrived at that time in the area of the clashes to provide reinforcement. One of its members was filmed shooting at the direction of the attackers with an AK-74 type assault rifle or its hunting derivative. The first victim was a Right Sector activist killed about the same time and place in his chest with a 5.45mm caliber bullet. This suggests a strong possibility that he was killed by this mobile group member. But other possibilities cannot be excluded, since the investigation and videos provide no exact time, place, position of the first killing and shooting and no results of bullet, ballistic and weapons expertise are publicly released. Recently leaked medical expert report concludes that the second Maidan victim killed shortly afterwards in the same area during the clashes was shot by a hunting bullet which was deformed as a result of a ricochet or hitting something. He was often misrepresented as been killed by the Kalashnikov shooter. Like in the first case, the investigation and videos provide no exact time, place, position of the second killing and shooting and no results of bullet, ballistic and weapons expertise are made public.
In the clashes that followed nearby, four anti-Maidan activists were killed and many other anti-Maidan protesters and policemen and at least one local journalist were wounded with hunting ammunition. The recently leaked medical expert report concluded that these four victims were shot by pellets and hunting bullets. A Maidan activist was filmed shooting with a hunting rifle at the direction of the anti-Maidan protesters and the police cordon. But the information about these killings and photos and videos of the shooting were deliberately supressed by the Ukrainian officials and the media. A Maidan activist seen in these videos was later identified and arrested and charged with the shooting, but the suspected killer was soon released. Most of the Odeska druzhyna activists who took part in these clashes took cover in a shopping mall and were later arrested by the police.
Following the calls from the local Maidan leaders, the mob of the Right Sector activists, football ultras and the Maidan Self-defence members attacked and burned a tent camp of various anti-Maidan organizations, whose activists and supporters then escaped to the nearby Trade Union building and tried to barricade the main entrance doors.
Some groups of the attackers threw Molotov cocktails and burning tires into the Main entrance and set the entrance doors and the make-shift barricade there on fire, while other groups blocked other exists. Forty two people perished as a result of fire, smoke and trying to jump from the upper floors. Trade Union House victims were unarmed, and included mainly pro-separatist supporters and several employees who were at the building at the time. Six women and one minor were killed during the fire. Police and firefighters were ordered by superiors to stand by and not interfere, and a special plan to deal with mass disturbances launched by the Odessa regional police was not registered at the orders from the top, likely the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Similarly, police officials were ordered to attend a meeting during the start of the clashes.
The official investigation has been deliberately falsified and stonewalled to cover up the involvement of the government officials, the Right Sector, and the Maidan Self-defence in the massacre. The highest government officials, including then-acting president Turchynov, the new president Poroshenko, Prime Minister Yatseniuk, deliberately misrepresented the massacre for the same reasons. These and other government leaders and officials in charge of the investigation falsely claimed that the massacre was conducted by Russian agents, that the fire resulted from the Molotov cocktails thrown by separatists from the top of the building and that that the police colluded with the separatists. Before the first anniversary of the massacre, the official investigation and May 2 group created by the Odessa governor stated that the deadly fire started at the main entrance when both sides were throwing Molotov cocktails even though there is no evidence of the Molotov cocktails been thrown there by separatists at the time of the start of the fire. In contrast, videos, recorded calls to the firefighters, and admissions posted on the Right Sector, SNA, and another neo-Nazi websites and social media sites, eyewitness reports show that the fire started after the Molotov cocktails and tires were thrown by the attackers. But this evidence is deliberately omitted, or the mass murder is justified, by the first killing of Right Sector activists or a likely separatist takeover of the Odessa Region. Only anti-Maidan activists are among those currently arrested.
The various evidence indicates involvement of the far right and the Fatherland [Party] leaders in the Odessa massacre, but the specific nature of involvement of specific leaders remains unclear. The same organizations were involved in the Maidan massacre [of February 20, 2014]. The Western governments, media and even many scholars accept each new Ukrainian government account of the massacre for granted. The use of the Ukraine conflict to advance geopolitical interests of the US government and US government backing of Fatherland leaders during and after the Euromaidan can explain otherwise puzzling US policy concerning both the Odessa and Maidan massacres. The same factors can account for the failure of US government to disclose its intelligence and other information concerning both Odessa and Maidan massacres.