Operation Liquidation II – Kuchma on OdessaOctober 16, 2014
Many people know of Georgy Zhukov – one of the Soviet Union’s most famous military commanders and rightly recognised as a major decision maker and facilitator in the direction and outcome of World War II/The Great Patriotic War from the Soviet perspective. Indeed he received numerous honours both from within the Soviet system and from numerous nations for his achievements in the war.
However, the interest of most people in Marshal Zhukov end when he is in Berlin and witnesses the signing of Nazi surrender. Let’s be honest, most people have far less interest in the reconstruction of Germany than the defeat of Nazism and Hitler.
However, on 10th April 1946, after a falling out with Stalin and “the party” Zhukov was sent to Odessa, arriving on 13th June. He remained in Odessa until January 1948. From here, following a heart attack he was then sent to The Urals.
Whilst in Odessa, commanding the Odessa Military District, he embarked upon “Operation Liquidation”.
Yesterday, former President Kuchma stated that Odessa will again be subjected to another Zhukov-esque “Operation Liquidation”. “Operation Liquidation II” presumably.
So what was “Operation Liquidation”?
It was the post war clean up of any Nazi sympathisers, the removal of major criminality and criminals – by “whatever means”. Whilst it was eventually somewhat successful, it did not occur seamlessly or without (numerous) incident.
That such a statement by Kuchma came upon the same day that several important European orientated (indeed insisted upon) laws were passed in the RADA relating to transparency, anti-corruption, electoral law and the major reform of the prosecutors office, would seem to be somewhat at odds with the day’s general rule of law theme by way of means in achieving the desired ends.
Certainly Odessa’s organised criminality still retains strong links with Moscow, Crimea, Transnistria, Turkey and several former Warsaw Pact nations. Indeed anything can be sourced in, and anything trafficked through Odessa if you know the right people. With 3 major ports, an international airport and a border with a quasi-State, nobody should be very surprised. It makes the place both colouful and cosmopolitan – as well as a crime hub.
But is Kuchma’s statement aimed at the pro-Kremlin/pro-separatist sympathisers, or at the organised crime/mafia for which Odessa is indeed infamous? Is it aimed at both sympathisers and criminals as Zhukov’s was?
If not, where to start? How to untangle to symbiotic relationships between politics, crime and any undersirable sympathies?
With the pro-Kremlin and crime affiliated Odessa mayor? With several currently serving pro-Kremlin and corrupt Odessa MPs? Igor Markov’s Rodina Party? His Timer, Otkat, and Info-Centre Odessa media outlets, or his Art TV channel? Those of Sergie Kivalov – Reporter, Academia TV etc? The Mayor’s Odessit media outlet?
A clean up aimed a lower stratas? The (far less vocal) pro-separatist agitators and their supporters that fall outside of the official political ranks? The mafia/organised crime bosses that also fall outside those political ranks?
Those within the regional institutions of State that fall into either category- or both? Those without too?
Which undesirable section of society within Odessa was that statement aimed at, and in calling for a repeat of such an operation, is it do be carried out “by whatever means” with little more than a tacit nod toward the rule of law, Zhukov style?
Is his fear one of criminality or one of a repeating of a “Donbas scenario” or both? In The Donbas there is certainly a smudged line for many participants.
Why invoke a historically Soviet solution particular to Odessa, to these issues on a day when the national legislature and legislation made some distinctly European decisions?
Regardless of the merits or the spirit behind the comment – there is perhaps a question over the appropriateness of the parallel – before even considering how the legal system would deliver justice without reform prior to engaging on such a purge.