A (braided) witch hunt in Odessa or are the hounds on the right scent?

May 8, 2014

This entry will leave to one side questions about the individuals physically involved in the tragic events of 2nd May in Odessa.  Questions of where firearms came from or why there are so few in custody – or perhaps rather why there are so many still wandering about the city.  Those questions are for another day.

This entry will try and offer some light upon an issue of the city administration and institutional response – or lack or it.

Before delving into the administrative and institutional failures in Odessa that are a contributory factor in how events unfolded – it is perhaps wise to take a step backwards and follow the macro situation that leads to the micro.

It unfortunately means a few links to that which I have previously written, so those who have read such ruminations already – I apologise.

This post is also Yulia Tymoshenko-centric for reasons that will become apparent if the title of this entry is not clue enough for the reader.

As regularly readers will know – I am no fan of Yulia Tymoshenko.  For many years I have written that the Ukrainian voting constituency needed to consign her to the political history books together with Viktor Yanukovych.  It remains to be seen what becomes of her career.  That of Mr Yanukovych we already know.

I have often written that her party Batkivshchyna needed to control her, and not the other way around.  Easier said than done of course – it was after all created as a vehicle to propel her to power and thus has been an ideological void politically.  The ideology of the moment set by Ms Tymoshenko’s whim.  Ms Tymoshenko knows only autocratic and oligarchical politics. She knows seedy opaque deals. She understands zero sum, conflict and division.  She is a woman  that you either work for – or against.  She does not work with you.

Her party now controls and sits in the most important seats of power since Viktor Yanukovych left and Party Regions imploded – an implosion anticipated a few years ago.

Behind those in the Batkishchyna filled seats of power sits the party leader – Ms Tymoshenko.

Since her release, the new interim government has certainly made some serious errors of judgment.- from ill-conceived and ill timed language laws, to a national unity government that is nothing but a misnomer, to a completely pointless rebuke of democratic principle to name but a few.  They have got some things right too, but the wrongs have been large, divisive and reinforcing of all that that historically ailed Ukrainian politics.

As I wrote – “For certain, the politics of democracy with genuine power sharing, consensus, transparency, tolerance and inclusiveness, vertical and horizontal accountability are simply not for Yulia Tymsohenko – she doesn’t understand it.” – And that remains constant as will become apparent – despite now at times, it seems her party no longer always jumps to her whim with such enthusiasm.

Some describe Ms Tymoshenko as a top quality politician with democracy running through her veins – I on the other hand recognise her as the Queen of Rhetoric, dangerously populist, and thoroughly autocratic broker of grubby opaque deals.  She is not a top quality politician to my mind as numerous historical entries here ably display.

It takes far more than occasionally plagiarising Vaclav Havel from a prison cell or dropping names of leaders of democratic nations past and present as acquaintances to convince of democratic credentials.

Sooner or later should Batkivshchyna want to avoid the same fate of Party Regions, it will have to jettison Ms Tymoshenko.

Only yesterday did she state that if she does not become president then there will need to be a third revolution in Ukraine.

Perhaps she is right.  Perhaps things won’t change enough to content the masses under Petro Poroshenko.  France after all is on its 5th Republic.

However, if she didn’t exist, you would expect The Kremlin to have to create such a personality in Ukraine.  Looking at her time in politics, some may claim she has done more to destabilise Ukraine each and every year than anybody else over the past decade.

Having now set the national scene and the continuing dubious influence of Ms Tymoshenko, how does this manifest itself in Odessa and how did it effect the tragic events of 2nd May?

As expected after such a catastrophe as occurred in Odessa, some administrative and institutional heads have rolled – quit rightly – but not without implications.

As I wrote at the time “Questions 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.”  Something underlined almost immediately.

On 2nd May I tweeted:

But what has she to do with the catastrophe that occurred in Odessa – other than Ms Tymoshenko turning up immediately after it occurred?

Naturally it has to do with power structures now that her Batkivshchyna Party are almost exclusively running the nation and its institutions.

Some time ago whilst trying to “dead head” the Yanukovych power vertical it was agreed that former Traffic Police Chief from Transcarpathia , Mr Lutsyuk was to be installed  as acting Ministry of Interior chief for Odessa.

Acting Interior Minister Avakov, Yuri Lutsenko etc., all agreed he was the wrong man for the roll.  Thus a  current interim and previous Interior Minister saying “Wrong guy” – yet it happened nonetheless.

The reason?

Ms Tymoshenko caved to one of her MPs – Alexander Dubov – who decided that in return for his “continued loyalty” to her, this Batkivshchyna MP would install the acting Ministry of Interior Odessa Chief – and Mr Lutsyuk was his choice.  That he was thought to be the wrong man for the job by those around Ms Tymoshenko mattered not – power is everything and also zero sum where she is concerned and ever has it been thus.  She is fighting for her political life and every “loyal” MP to her counts – even those whose “loyalty” is bought.

Mr Dubov, readers should note, is a part of Ms Tymoshenko’s election campaign team in Odessa.

Mr Dubov’s nominee, Mr Lutsyuk,  it is rumoured immediately became part of the local crime syndicate – presumably Mr Dubov “getting his” from his generous support in getting Mr Lutsyuk the position – though this is unsubstantiated gossip amongst the criminal and political local circles, and the reader should treat it as such – or not – if they so choose.

Anyway, It seems Mr Lutsyuk and Odessa Police Chief Dmitry Fuchetzhi – another Dubov insitutional puppet – allowed three senior ranking police commanders to go on holiday abroad at the same time.   It is thus hardly surprising the police dressed in summer shirts and soft hats, despite actually doing as well as could be expected – had some considerable time to wait before appropriately dressed riot police arrived on 2nd May in numbers.  The actions – or not – thereafter of the riot police specifically, is rightly coming under some serious scrutiny.  Senior command and control was depleted to put it mildly.

Who could have foreseen a holiday weekend having the potential of producing violence – regardless of whether Chernomoretz where playing at home?  Why not have 3 senior police chiefs on holiday at the same time?

Well OK – who else other than every journalist, blogger, social media user and any individual with a modicum of common sense that have continually identified the holiday weekends of 1st, 9th and election day on 25th May as probable dates around which increased destabilisation and violence will occur?  Local social media has been full of such predictions for weeks.

It may now be prudent to add to that list of problematic dates Chernomoretz next home match, should retribution be sought for the events of 2nd May against the fans considering their involvement.

Coincidently/strangely/interestingly – Mr Fuchetzhi was initially sacked for corruption at the time of the terrible events that occurred in Odessa.

Mr Fuchetzhi has now – as of last night – been arrested for aiding the pro-separatists and mismanaging the riot police response – deliberately.  As he is nothing more than a mid-sized corrupt cog in the scheme of all things Odessa, if he is in any way guilty, questions arise as to who bought him, with whose money, and how robustly will any replacement be vetted this time?

Meanwhile Mr Dubov – Ms Tymoshenko’s “loyal” party member and election campaign manager – has been directly accused of being the mastermind of the events of 2nd May by a retired former head of Odessa Administration.  Perhaps true – perhaps not.

Being extremely charitable, behind all this mess, Ms Tymoshenko appears guilty of her normal style of  zero sum political shenanigans – again.  But does any of this make her directly involved in a far more sinister way in the orchestration and outcomes of 2 May?

Some will – and do – state that as she has so little chance of winning the presidential election, her interests – temporarily at least – align with those of The Kremlin in preventing elections taking place.  Inferences from that they draw.  Questions will rightly be raised about her direct association with, and unknown desire to keep Mr Dubov loyal at seemingly any cost.   What was said when she arrived in Odessa the night of 2nd May?   She must surely have become somewhat aware of the realities of the situation after coming down to try and limit the damage of her lackluster management team.  Just what was she made aware of and by whom?

Perhaps her visit the night of the tragedy had much more to do with political damage limitation considering the result of her terrible decisions in back-room power brokering deals – and in this case clearly against the better judgment of many of her allies.

However,  despite having bought the “loyalty” of one of her own party MPs, who in turn owned and appointed the “head boy” of the Odessa Ministry of Interior and a now arrested corrupt separatist police chief, it does not necessarily provide the absolute control police action – or inaction – as you may initially think.

Owning the “head boy”  and a lesser “prefect” may bring with it a percentage of the stolen pocket money from the school, but in Odessa that does not mean the “head boy” controls all the “senior prefects” within the police – unless of course those “senior prefects” all happen to have been conveniently granted holiday at the same time.

Other “senior prefects” have their own political associations with the long term local power players of the city and are not necessarily loyal to Messrs Lutsyuk, Fuchetzhi or Dubov.

It maybe something of a stretch to take Ms Tymoshenko’s usual opaque internal political party mismanagement – a system that had clear political and administrative repercussions in Odessa surrounding the official response events of 2nd May – to then via those poor appointments and mismanagement/incompetence understand it as by proxy, having knowingly or deliberately managed the actions/inactions of the riot police that day.

That the orders by commanders on the day were nefariously influenced is certainly within the realms of possibility – perhaps probability – but to lay any sort of “grand nefarious plan” at the door of Ms Tymoshenko may be little more than a (braided) witch hunt based upon nothing more than some circumstantial evidence and assuming guilt by association.

The again she is fiercely competitive, egotistical in the extreme, and many would not put anything past her in the pursuit of ultimate power.

As much as I dislike her personal style of politics, and as much as preventing the elections may serve both the purpose of The Kremlin and Ms Tymoshenko currently, it does not make the alleged actions of her lieutenants, actions carried out on her instruction – nor does it make her necessarily in cahoots with The Kremlin.

Many of the institutional commanders who are bought and paid for remain in post – with the obvious exception of Dmitry Fuchetzhi.

Yet whilst all seems to fit rather neatly – and perhaps rightly – around Mr Dubov, there are others also historically far more associated with controlling the police in Odessa that should not be discounted – simply on the basis that they are amongst the few capable.  A blinkered view is not helpful.

Of those others, there are three, possibly four, who could influence the actions – or inactions – of the police on 2nd May just as easily and on such a scale.

Two are public figures, and only one has any connection with family Tymoshenko – though that is a very discrete business arrangement.  The other public figure was/is closely allied to and was/is very friendly with Viktor Yanukovych.

The next is a very private individual to whom business interests alone guide his actions within the political and law enforcement/legal maneuvers.  His business interests being mostly “white collar” investment.

The last  comes from the underworld and is currently out of the country and has been for some time.  Despite Mr Lutsenko inferring his involvement somehow, he seems very unlikely to have been involved as far manipulating the police to this extent is concerned on 2nd May.  His interests naturally realised if complete breakdown of law and order occurs or further infiltration of police ranks avails itself.

If it proves to be Mr Dubov as the orchestrator  – was he doing it for Ms Tymoshenko or for somebody else?  If it wasn’t Mr Dubov, then which of the other local players was, and for whom?

Regardless of any direct and tangible evidence, this seems likely to become yet another very smelly incident that will be associated with Yulia Tymoshenko and her politics – and questionable levels of involvement will again surround her for years to come.




  1. looks like Fuchetzi has flown the coop

    Екс-начальник одеської міліції Фучеджи втік з України – Аваков


    • Not surprising – not a popular man before 2nd May. Now…….

  2. you might take a look at this video by Mustafa Nayem and Serhiy (Serge) Leshchenko, at about 16 minutes, in which they discuss Dubovoy, who appeared on stage directly behind Tymoshenko right after she was released from jail.

    And who, according to their report, lobbied for the police positions in Odesa. They label him as one of many “grey cardinals” in Ukraine with direct ties to Tymoshenko.

    Tymoshenko is waging her own war against Poroshenko. See the video.

    Ukraine is a goddamn sick place of puke, as far as the “political elite.”

    And, in my opinion, a large part of the blame can be assigned to the people, who not only let a corrupt system to flourish, but also to be entrenched.

    And that includes the systematic dismantling and disembowelment and gutting of Ukraine – with Russian oligarchs and agents inserted into all levels of government and economy in Ukraine, feasting like vultures in concert with Ukrainian bastards like Pinchuk, Firtash, Kernes, Dobkin, Akhmetov, Kuchma, and on and on.


    All of those annexationists who so pine for Vlad Dracul Putler need to take one look at Crimea, which is overnight a wasteland due to the handiwork of Putler and his little green men – tourist industry gone, empty grocery shelves, Tatars being persecuted, and worse.

    • I hadn’t seen the video by Mustafa and Serhiy which surprised me as normally I am as up to speed with them as they are me.
      I am relieved they say nothing contradictory to what I have.

      As for Ms Tymoshenko’s position vis a vis Poroshenko it has long been commented upon since her release.

      After all she needs somebody to be in a fight with or she has no purpose. Having an enemy distracts from the fact she is an average politician and gives her a foe against whom to use her outstanding rhetoric.

      It begin with Klitschko when she was still in prison and swapped to Poroshenko when it became clear he was streaking ahead in the polls – Neither would make any deals with Batkivshchyna that involved a place for her in the limelight.

      Her ego simply can’t stand such an outcome though I truly hope that not only is she defeated, but that Batkivshchyna jettison her from the party soon after the presidential elections.

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