In the wake of the Maidan Revolution that overthrew Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014, and which claimed some 100 lives at the hands of police snipers in central Kyiv, a series of lethal episodes ensued that further shocked the world. One was the shooting down in June of a Ukrainian cargo plane, killing all 49 people on board, in the skies above the separatist “Lugansk People’s Republic.” Another was the infamous shooting down in July of the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 (Flight MH17), killing all 298 people on board. But before these two events was the Odessa massacre in the southern Ukrainian port city of Odessa on 2 May 2014, where clashes erupted in the city center between pro-Ukrainian forces and those favoring unification with Russia.
The occasion was a match between the football teams of Odessa (Chornomorets) and Kharkiv (Metalist), and despite enjoying a fierce rivalry in the Ukrainian soccer league, the fans from the respective teams decided to hold a joint march to show unity and solidarity with the forces of Ukrainian sovereignty. They were met by an armed mob of pro-Russian activists, and a fight ensued. Despite being armed with clubs, knives, shields and even guns, the pro-Russian belligerents were overcome and fled into the Odessa House of Trade Unions. There they were consumed by a fire that spread throughout the building. Over 40 people were killed, and images appeared in the media of a smoke-blackened building and the charred corpses of victims trapped inside.
Russian media immediately portrayed the incident as an example of Ukrainian ultra-nationalist, sadistic fanatics mercilessly murdering Russia-sympathetic locals. The sluggish West – in this case led by the EU – announced that it wanted an investigation into the incident. The Kremlin and its sympathizers pointed the finger at Ukrainian football fans as neo-Nazis and fascists looking to commit lethal violence. But a closer look at the affair reveals several strange features. The charred corpses found inside the House of Trade Unions building were often found sitting or lying in relaxed positions on stairwell landings, suggesting they had not died from incineration, but had perhaps (as the following opinion speculates) been gassed beforehand. Victims were found on the lower floors of a multi-storey building, leading to speculation as to why they had not fled upwards, away from the conflagration.
As more details emerge, it is increasingly clear that the Odessa massacre resembles a planned operation. Some of the images captured of the events suggest that participants in the clashes outside the building belonged to the same group as those spotted inside or on the roof. Speculating as to who may have benefited, suspicion naturally falls on the Russian security services, led by the Federal Security Service (FSB) – the successor to the Soviet-era KGB – and the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), the intelligence arm of the Russian military. As the post-Maidan Ukrainian government consolidated power in Kyiv, Russia – through its security services – was trying to foment separatism by sparking violence and chaos in areas thought to be more sympathetic to Moscow than Kyiv. These areas included traditionally Russian-speaking regions such as Odessa, Kharkiv and Dniproetrovsk, all of which witnessed some form of organized violence following the Maidan revolution.
The following analysis alleges that the Odessa massacre was an operation carried out on the orders of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and speculates that he will pay for the crime in a court of international law.
28 May 2014
The slaughterhouse in Odessa was organized by the Russian FSB and GRU on Putin’s orders. The purpose of the special operation was to create the desired image and social backdrop for an armed invasion of Ukraine. The Odessa separatists were used “blindly.” The pro-Russian militants faced the task of provoking mass slaughter with football fans who adopted an active pro-Ukrainian stance in Ukraine. The fighting force of the Russian activists initially consisted of fewer fans, but these people were assured that immediately after the assault reinforcements would arrive, and that the police would be on their side. The police were initially on the side of the separatists, but then the situation changed dramatically.
The provocateurs disappeared, and people were lured and locked into the building of the Odessa House of Trade Unions. People did not understand that they were being used simply as cannon fodder for television images, lured into a trap and simply set on fire. Odessans themselves rescued the Russian attackers. If it had not been for the help of ordinary people, there would have been even more victims.
Members of the team of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych financed the operation. Senior police officials of the Odessa region and mid-level police units participated in the organization of the massacre, receiving a cash reward. The people who shot at peaceful Ukrainian demonstrators are already on the territory of Russia. Vladimir Putin did not previously express condolences to Ukraine after the execution of innocent people on the Maidan, but very promptly attended to and offered his condolences to the bereaved families in Odessa.
Today the Ukrainian security services arrested three Russian citizens who participated in the organization of this provocation. There is Yevgeny Igorievich Mefedov, born in 1983, a native of the city of Yoshkar-Ola. According to him, his father works in the Emergency Situations Ministry of the Russian Federation. The other two detainees are Russian citizen Andrei Vladimirovich Krasilnikov, born in 1966 and a resident of the city of Nizhny Novgorod, and Russian citizen Alexander Alexandrovich Zolotashko, born in 1976. According to him, his father is a functionary of the Interior Ministry Security Forces of the Russian Federation serving in the Kharp area of Tyumen District and living in Nizhny Novgorod.
In the opinion of expert Irina Tikhomirova: it is quite obvious that the corpses in the House of Trade Unions in Odessa were the handiwork of the GRU. This was done to escalate tensions and opportunities for manipulating the consciousness of the broad popular herd. The fire (in the confusion it was impossible to establish who lit the fire) appeared on the 2nd and 3rd floors. The House of Trade Unions is a multi-storey building. The people inside the burning building could have ascended to the upper floors and survived until the fire had been put out and they had been rescued by the firefighters. Or they could have jumped out of a window on one of the lower floors, where out of altruism and better judgment their “ideological opponents” would have caught and saved them.
But (for some reason???) all died sacrificially, preferring to wait for death on the lower floors. And, I am pointing out to the dupes and forensic experts – not one corpse among the dead was in the “boxer pose” typical for a fire (the arms and legs of even the charred victims were in the unbent position). Some victims are passively sitting or lying on the stairs, not even trying to get out of the fire. It is unlikely that traces of the “bullet in the back of the head” would be found on the corpses of the victims (this is too sloppy for the GRU). I would have asked forensic chemists and biochemists: What kind of GAS (nerve) led to the deaths of the already passive victims? For an excursion into history (a hint): “Nord-Ost,” “Lame Horse.” The GRU leaves no witnesses.
There is also another opinion, that these people were not poisoned with gas, but that they lost consciousness without feeling prior symptoms. It is totally possible for carbon monoxide to act in this way. But the suspicion that people were lured specially into the house and incinerated remains more than real.
Putin and his team are rushing at cruising speed to an international tribunal. And the Odessa episode will be one of the biggest along with Beslan, Nord Ost, the apartment bombings in Moscow, the murder of Alexander Litvinenko and other crimes of Putin. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to hold the trial in the Ukrainian city of Sevastopol.