May 2nd Tragedy in Odessa. Reconstruction. Part 4: Denouement

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


The previous parts can be read here:

Why did people in the Trade Unions Building die?

The question about the causes of death of 42 people in the Trade Unions Building is one of the most sensitive. According to the official version of events, also supported by members of “Groups of May 2″, all who died (in one way or another) became the victims of fire: some received considerable burns of to body and airways, some were poisoned by carbon monoxide or by-products of burning, and others sustained fatal damage as a result of falling from a large height.

At the same time, among activists of Kulikovo field and those who sympathize with them the belief is widespread that at least a part of the dead in the Trade Unions Building became the victims of murders committed by activists of “Euromaidan” in the building and near it. Thus, the episode captured on video when the activist of “Euromaidan” Vsevolod Goncharevsky finishes off a person who jumped out of the building with a stick is well-known.

Many speak also about murders allegedly committed by “euromaidan protesters” at the time when the fire was localized, and also about the people who allegedly received fatal wounds during the defense of the building.

But today it is impossinble to confirm unambiguously or quash rumors about murders in the Trade Unions Building due to the fact that law enforcement bodies categorically refuse to publish the protocols of autopsy reports of the bodies of the dead. That’s why currently we can operate only with indirect testimonies.

The fact of finishing off those who jumped out of windows (at least, one of them) as we already said above, is documented. However law enforcement bodies didn’t find a corpus delicti in Vsevolod Goncharevsky’s actions: allegedly, it isn’t established who exactly he was finishing off. Meanwhile the person who jumped out of a window and subsequently died in hospital Andrey Brazhevsky, before his the death managed to tell doctors that they tried to finish him off already after he fell. However, in the official conclusion about the cause of death it is mentioned that he received a fatal injury as a result of falling from a height — and there is no mention of being finished off. The same thing also concerns the other seven people who died after falling from the windows of the Trade Unions Building.

According to the information of sources in law enforcement bodies, the number of protocols of autopsy of the bodies of the people who jumped out of the building’s windows contains a mention of injuries that could happen as a result of a blow with a blunt object. The only question is what were these objects: someone’s bludgeons or simply terrain and parts of the building? And which of these injuries became the real cause of death? These questions, according to the available information, weren’t put before experts, and of course, they weren’t studied by them. Is it worth being surprised that law enforcement bodies didn’t find the possible victims of Goncharevsky and other potential finishers — in fact, they didn’t look for them!

One of the versions of events “acquitting” Goncharevsky is the affirmation that he finished off already the dead and dying people, i.e. those who anyway would have died, even without his “help”. Legally speaking this argument has no substance: even if Goncharevsky and his comrades (they are on video although it isn’t seen that they beat somebody) would’ve beat those already dead, in the language of jurisprudence this is called “attempted murder” and is punished like any other attempt at murder.

And what happened to the people who died in the building?

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According to the official version of events, 11 people died from burns to the body and airways, 9 from poisoning from carbon monoxide, and 14 from poisoning from by-products of burning. According to the expert-toxicologist of “Groups of May 2” Vladimir Sargsyan, 18 people died from poisoning from carbon monoxide, 15 people as a result of a burn trauma, and the cause of death of one person is not established. Probably the case that wasn’t established is 55-year-old Irina Yakovenko found in office No. 330 in the central part of the Trade Unions Building. The photo of this woman lying on a table in a strange and unnatural pose flew around the Internet, generating rumours that this woman was killed — strangled by a wire.

It is necessary to say that not only Sargsyan, but also official forensic scientists found it difficult to define the cause of death of Irina Yakovenko. At the same time the version of events involving strangulation using a telephone wire our sources in law enforcement bodies refute: in particular, on the neck of the dead there wasn’t a characteristic strangulation mark. So how did this woman die? It is possible that we will never know: Yakovenko, like other victims whose causes of death aren’t definitely clear, was recorded as being poisoned by the by-products of burning, not especially “bothering” to define the real cause of death.

There are also other cases that look strange and suspicious: in particular, some of the bodies were found far outside the “death zone” on the stairway — in those parts of the building where, referring to the aforementioned model of development of the fire, in general it was quite possible to survive. Thus, one of the bodies (for moral and ethical reasons we won’t give the surname of the dead) was found in the room of the second floor of the building, far from the stairway — the people who were much closer to the ignition epicenter survived, so why did this person die? The official cause of death is the same — poisoning from by-products of burning. A more detailed character of injuries is a secrecy of the investigation.

Two more strange deaths — two men, whose bodies were found on the fourth floor in the right wing of the building (we also won’t give a surname). This is also very far from the epicenter. Moreover, it is known about other people who were in the same rooms, and who not only survived, but who even didn’t suffer especially serious injuries — in any case, they didn’t require hospitalization. By the way, one of them specified in a conversation with the author of these lines that they saw the bodies of two men in an unconscious state near the place where the corpses were found. According to him, one of them had a strong head injury — either from a bullet, from a stone, or other throwing projectile.

However, in the autopsy reports of both these victims, the same “poisoning from gases and evaporations” appears. Was physical damage found on their bodies and just how serious was it? It’s a secrecy of the investigation.

Of course, it is possible to assume that people, whose bodies found a great distance from the “death zone”, died not where they were found, but were transferred there either by rescuers, “Kulikovo members”, or “Maidan protesters” already after the fire. But this is only one of the versions of the answer, but not the answer itself.

On the other hand, concerning the 25 bodies found in the “death zone” (on the stairway and landings on floors and between them) special doubts don’t arise: these people, most likely, really became the victims of the fire. Being where they were, they had almost no chance of surviving.

Were people beaten after the fire in the Trade Unions Building?

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A number of participants of events specify that after examining the building after the fire, “euromaidan protesters” in many cases indeed beat those who they managed to find. The author of these lines knows, at least, of four such cases, and one of them became a victim by a severe craniocereberal injury, which, in general, posed a real threat to his life. Could someone from the “Kulikovo members” who was in the building receive similar injuries and succumb to them? Yes, they could. Did something similar take place? It is impossible to affirm — while symptoms of characteristic injuries aren’t found on the bodies of the victims or at least in the protocols of their autopsies.

On the other hand, many others who survived in the Trade Unions Building say only that the “euromaidan protesters”, examining the building, bodysearched them and showed them the door from the building (even, of course, in a not very polite manner) without any purposeful beatings and mockeries. As we also mentioned above, in a critical situation inside a big group of people there are very different scenarios of behavior.

Is it true that “euromaidan protesters” at a certain stage understood what they had done, and tried to correct it?

One more popular debatable question that it is necessary to answer, in general, positively. However, as always, the devil is in the details.

After the fire gained a frankly catastrophic character, many activists of “Euromaidan” indeed tried to rescue people who were in the burning building. Thus, the remaining objects of the scene of Kulikovo field was transferred near the windows so that people could extricate themselves down them like the stairway. Ropes were thrown to the windows on the second and third floors so that the people who are in the building could go down them. These are all indisputable facts confirmed by photos and videos, and also testimonies of eyewitnesses.

But it doesn’t negate the fact that at this same time other activists continued attempts to set the building on fire even more strongly, and also tried to finish off those who were rescued from the fire, beating them. There are also enough videos that captured these processes.

It is necessary to separately mention the fact that activists of “Euromaidan” stopped attempts to breakthrough to the building after the fire gained a catastrophic character. Apologists of “Euromaidan” interpret this fact in favor of activists (“they understood, they had an epiphany, they repented”), however it is obvious manipulation. The refusal of attempts to penetrate into the building, which before your very eyes other people try to get out from, even jumping out of windows, has no relation to humanism. It is banal common sense.

It is necessary to repeat once again: a big group, very different in their beliefs, a psychological structure, and the social functions of people, caught in a difficult situation, won’t behave as one entity. Among them there will always be both heroes and villains. And this applies also to “euromaidan protesters” who were on May 2nd on Kulikovo field, there were those who tried to rescue people from the fire, and those who sought to finish off those who had been rescued and had escaped.

However it is necessary to remember: if, before this, “euromaidan protesters” didn’t set (maliciously or through thoughtlessness!) the Trade Unions Building on fire, there wouldn’t be a need for all of this.

How did politicians react to the incident?

The reaction of the media and politicians on the air of these media agencies concerning these events is very indicative. Initially (about 19-20 hours after) this reaction had a triumphal and enthusiastic character. The “first city TV channel” under the control of Vladimir Nemirovsky commented on the events in such a spirit – it is precisely in this way that Aleksey Goncharenko in Kiev reported about “a victory over separatists”. Vladimir Nemirovsky himself also arrived on Kulikovo field.

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Apparently, these people still hoped that after the tragic events on Grecheskaya and in its vicinities the “Nikolaev scenario” will nevertheless enter into the planned course. The first reports about the destruction of the camp on Kulikovo field in general testified that it happened in this way.

The fact that in reality a tragedy, unprecedented in the history of Odessa, took place on Kulikovo field was understood only later. And if many were ready to report on the “defeat of separatists” like about their own achievement, nobody wanted to take the responsibility for the massacre. The first to realize this was Nemirovsky, who in a literal sense ran away from the place of the tragedy. It reached Goncharenko later, and he managed to get into the Trade Unions Building and be photographed against the background of dead bodies.

Instead of an epilog

Once again I will repeat: I don’t claim to have knowledge of the ultimate truth at all, and everything mentioned above is only a version — a theory demanding further verification with the facts. The case of May 2nd — a dark and intertwined story in which there are still more than questions than answers. Anyone who will try to untangle this ball of wool will be obliged to move into the sea of uncertainty, being guided only by rare beacons of indisputable facts — in the same way as the author of these lines is obliged to do.

Hundreds of questions to this day remain without an answer. Here are some examples of such questions.

What is the role of the people who (and this is confirmed by a significant quantity of video!) at various stages of the events on May 2nd took part in them either on one side or the other? Who are these people? What motivated them? What aims did they pursue?

Why was Botsman detained in the summer of 2014 in Moldova, wasn’t extradited to Ukraine, and soon was given freedom?

Who disconnected the water in the Trade Unions Building, and why?

Who was detained (evacuated?) by fighters of special troops of the SBU near the Trade Unions Building at around 20:30 on May 2nd?

Why, despite the existence in the Trade Unions Building of a considerable (no less than five people!) number of people armed with firearms, was a gunshot wound received by only one person?

Who gave the order for the police that was on duty near the Trade Unions Building to withdraw?

Who gave the order to detain activists of Kulikovo field rescued from the Trade Unions Building on the night of May 2nd into May 3rd?

Behind each of these questions there is a whole layer of information that, perhaps, can significantly add both to the above and to other theories concerning the events of the May massacre — and possibly to pick them to pieces, having put in the forefront of some other, completely new versions of events.

Even worse is the fact that years of concealment and half-words caused the case of May 2nd to be overgrown with an incredible amount of rumours and legends, which substituted facts and testimonies. Both one and the other side of the conflict drew for themselves a convenient version of events on May 2nd today and categorically don’t wish to somehow correct it the “unpleasant” way. However to understand what, how, and why events occurred in Odessa on that terrible day is our duty before the dead and their relatives.

A duty that would be simply despicable to neglect.

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