Ukraine’s Legacy: Victims of Odessa May 2nd Massacre Presented by Authority as Instigators

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



Having accused the Deputy Vyacheslav Markin, who also died here, for the death of people in the House of Trade Unions, the Prosecutor’s office has created all conditions to be able to at any time close this dangerous case.

Let’s be honest: law enforcement bodies of Ukraine have never had special enthusiasm for the investigation of the events of May 2nd, 2014. Just to put the brakes on this tragedy (as was done for the killing of people by nationalists on Rymarskaya Street in Kharkov), of course, wasn’t possible because of the international resonance. But at the same time, no one was going to investigate this case properly. It’s precisely for this reason from the very first days after the tragedy, the investigation was conducted, to put it mildly, very strangely.

Having neither the desire nor political will to investigate these events in full, to identify all participating parties, the relationship between them, and the relevant circumstances, the authorities preferred to “eat the elephant piece by piece”, highlighting its different parts into separate proceedings and ignoring the relationship between them.


Thus, the case about mass riots on Greek square, in the framework of which only the activists of Kulikovo field are accused, is a separate proceeding. The role of the “Euromaidan activists” in those events consciously is kept silent. However, it’s true that to bypass this issue was impossible because of the six victims in the center of Odessa, at least three were “Kulikovo activists”. This issue was resolved by cutting from this “piece” one more piece: it was allocated to a separate proceeding of the investigation concerning Sergei Khodiyak, who was shooting at “Kulikovo activists”. The case is currently in the air: almost two years after the completion of the pre-trial investigation and transfer to court of the indictment, not a single hearing on the merits still didn’t take place. The “inedible”-to-the-Ukrainian-authorities part of the “elephant” was thrown into the bin.

Also torn into separate “pieces” is the case about the actions (or inactions) of the official bodies: the police, state service of Ukraine for emergency situations, etc.

But the most “tasteless” piece of “elephant” for the authorities is, of course, the case about the events on Kulikovo field. No wonder over the past two and a half years the jurisdiction of the case has repeatedly changed: from the department of the Kiev Interior Ministry, to the Prosecutor’s office, and back to the Interior Ministry and so on. It was like that until Kiev invented, as it seemed to them, a win-win move having transferred the case for investigation to the Investigative Department of the Odessa police. It’s like: let the Odessa investigative body be the recipient of the discontent of authoritative international organizations such as the OSCE and the UN.

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And if the Odessa investigators, contrary to expectation, nevertheless will want to investigate the arson in the House of Trade Unions seriously, the Prosecutor’s office decided to play safe by withdrawing materials to be transferred to Odessa – several key pieces of evidence – for example, autopsy reports of the dead bodies, video surveillance cameras located in the building of “Arkada” bank, etc.

With these video recordings, by the way, it turned out to be quite ugly. For more than two years the fact itself of the existence of these video recordings was successfully ignored by all investigators  — even though in any other situation, of course, they would have been seized and attached to the materials of the case in the first place. It is precisely what Odessa investigators shortly after receiving the case materials decided to do. Having complied all the relevant documents, representatives of the Odessa police came to the bank office, where they were informed that the video recordings… a few days ago were seized by employees of the Prosecutor’s office.

The fact that a video recording of “Arkada” is indeed in Kiev, was confirmed by the Prosecutor General Yury Lutsenko during a recent visit to Odessa. To the question about what they’re doing there, while the case is being investigated in Odessa, a close ally of President Poroshenko replied that: the video recordings are encrypted, so Odessa investigators can’t do anything with them anyway. And, it’s as if: as soon  the video recordings will be decoded in the capital, they will just immediately transfer them back to Odessa, assured Lutsenko to journalists. However, the question about why the Prosecutor General’s office showed interest in the video recordings only after the Odessa police tried to seize them remains without an answer.

But, what is surprising is that despite all the obstacles that were placed before the Odessa investigators by the law enforcement officers, they managed to learn surprisingly a lot — nearly more than was learned  about the events on Kulikovo field for the past two years. Here I am obliged to avoid specific examples, because the secrecy of investigation in this case is not an excuse, however, the amount of information established in such a short time is really astonishing. Moreover, it is possible to say that Odessa investigators came close to beginning to form a coherent and consistent version of the events on Kulikovo field — in all their complexity and taking into account the entire range of actors, their motives, and factors.

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And it is especially this that allows the author of these lines in comments to a number of media in the late summer and early autumn of 2016 to express cautious optimism about the prospects of the investigation.

The emergence of this situation is absolutely delirious, contrary to the criminal procedure code, to the case materials and common sense statements about the suspicion against Vyacheslav Markin sounded like thunder from a clear sky. Coming from under the pen of the Prosecutor of Odessa region Zhuchenko, it is a huge step backwards in relation to the latest developments in the investigation: it is the same as if at a modern conference on astronomy someone decided to make a report about the diet of elephants who carry the weight of the Earth on their backs.

The decision to present Markin as the suspect is in serious contradiction with the case materials. Thus, according to the version of events of the Prosecutor’s office, it was Markin who allegedly beckoned “Kulikovo activists” into the House of Trade Unions, while the testimony of eyewitnesses says exactly the opposite: Markin (as, for example, Artem Davidchenko) urged inhabitants of Odessa to disperse to avoid any casualties. And only when it became clear that a significant number of “Kulikovo activists” will anyway try to hold defences inside the trade unions building, Markin decided to enter into the building, in order to not abandon his comrades.

A separate example of juridical idiocy is the procedure of handing over the notification about the suspicion of the deceased Deputy to his relatives. Such a procedure is not specified in Criminal Procedure Code: the notification shall be served personally and be accompanied with a signature. Well, the authors of the Criminal Procedure Code didn’t signify that its enforcers would hang resonant political cases on the dead!

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What is this idiocy needed for? The author of these lines has his own hypothesis.

The fact is that the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine stipulates very specific conditions for the termination of criminal proceedings. One of them is the death of a suspect. In other words, should the Prosecutor’s office suddenly “remember” that Markin has been dead for two and a half years, all the bases appear for them to close criminal proceedings — for example, by order of the regional Prosecutor or one of his deputies.

The right to close the case of the arson in the House of Trade Unions will be very handy for the Prosecutors — in case if during the course of the police investigation some facts will rise to the surface that are extremely inconvenient to the authorities, or at least when the possibility of the emergence of these facts will be created. For example, if the Odessa investigators will want to call for questioning any of the high-ranking participants in those events or something like that.

Why especially was Markin chosen among all the dead “Kulikovo activists”? Well, this is easy to understand: he was a Deputy of the regional Council, and also a representative of “Criminal Power” (Markin was elected from the Party of Regions), Markin better than all the other victims of the 2nd May suits the role of the organizer of the tragedy. However, the facts suggest otherwise, but who cares about facts in the going-to-Europe Ukraine?


And yet this situation, despite all its ugliness, gives the author of these lines some grounds for optimism. If, in order to sabotage the case of 2nd May, such unnatural means are needed, it is doomed to fail. It means that in the end it can be brought to an end — if malicious “political will” won’t interfere with it.

The author of these lines has no doubts that the bastards who organized the mass murders of Odessa people in the near future will be removed from power. And that means that we will know the truth about the events of May 2nd after all.

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