Archive for May 5th, 2014


Collusion or ineptitude? Take your pick – Odessa

May 5, 2014

Yesterday I wroteQuestions will no doubt be raised over the actions and inactions of the city administration and institutions. Some of it will be fair and some undeserved.”

Today’s entry is late.  I went to lay flowers at the scenes where people died both in the city centre and at Union House.  That people should die regardless of their visions of Odessa’s future due to orchestrated confrontations is a catastrophe for the city.

Prior to a few days ago, hardly a bloody nose had resulted from these different visions amongst the Odessa constituency over the past months.  To change that required an orchestrated incident – and it came.

Perhaps appropriately it rained quite heavily most of this afternoon.  It seemed appropriate to the melancholy mood of the majority of the city these past two days.

Today, Arseniy Yatseniuk came to Odessa, promising things like impartial and transparent investigations and court proceedings.  He also stated the Odessa police were responsible for the events of 2nd May and that the regional head had been removed and every officer was now under investigation.

That is a very shallow view – perhaps deliberately so.  The police are as politically controlled by Odessa’s grey cardinals today as they have always been.

No sooner had he left Odessa, did many of the supporters of separatism head from their gathering outside Union House to the police station at Zhukovskogo Preobrajenskaya demanding the release of 30 or so detainees taken into custody during the tragic events of 2nd May.

Without too much fuss, the police released them.  Possibly in an effort to prove Mr Yatseniuk right.   That said, such is the current governments penchant for granting amnesties for pretty much anybody who decides to do  pretty much anything on the political extremes these days, perhaps it was only a matter of time before these people would have been amnestied anyway.

Everybody would have grave doubts they would have received a fair trial considering the dire state of the judicial system if it gets/had ever got that far.   That would be true of detainees from either side too.

Mysteriously, at about the same time, the police also disappeared from Union House, and a huge Russian flag reappeared.  If they were called to act as reinforcements at Zhukovskogo, then they didn’t arrive.

As I tweeted at the time:

How else to describe it?  The separatists are back at Union House, Russian flag waving.  There are few, if any detainees from either side in police custody despite the violence and deaths.

But things have changed.

The position, effectiveness – and in some cases loyalties and biases one way or the other – of the police chain of command is now known.

Those who are alleged to be controlling the police response in Odessa are also known – but they have always been known, for they have always been the “go to” people if you had serious trouble with either the police or the courts in Odessa.

The interests, friendships, associations and alliances of these peoples are also well known to those from Odessa.

Those truly behind these events on both sides will be fairly confident nothing will happen to them as they will have watched events unfold on the Internet or TV screen. They were not there.  Plausible deniability exists.  They have immunity they have always used with impunity – and even without it they can buy any police investigation and/or court result.


Perhaps that deniability will soon no longer be necessary for the Odessa grey cardinals who always pull the law enforcement strings to their interests.  Then again, why change the system that has worked so well for years?

Whatever the case, the remnants of the rule of law suffered yet another body blow in Odessa today – and it is not just a police failing.

And that was – and is – being extremely charitable.

An attempt at what happened today was to be expected sooner or later.   It came sooner.


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