Odessa’s Birthday – Unwelcome presents from unworthy sonsSeptember 2, 2016
The 2nd September is the (official) birthday of the City of Odessa.
It is a day where the constituents celebrate a long history of cultural glory, of communal heroic deeds and also of suffering, of its enduring and friendly cosmopolitan make-up, of historical influences, and generally of its deserved place in folklore earned throughout the centuries (including those noteworthy deeds that pre-date its official birthday).
Odessa Mama remains very much Odessa Mama and a point of pride – quite rightly.
Unfortunately the city no longer enjoys the leadership and/or vision of such enlightened souls as Armand Emmanuel Sophie Septimanie de Vignerot du Plessis, (5th) Duke of Richelieu, or Count Louis Alexandre Andrault de Langeron (both French), or Grigorios Maraslis (Greek) – but instead now suffers Gennady Trukhanov and a similarly odious and/or criminal and/or vision-less contemporary list of previous city leaders since 1991 and Ukrainian independence.
Indeed whilst it is possible to argue the true degree of luminary brilliance now enshrined in city history of (official) early leaders, there can be no doubt that not one of the leaders of the past 25 years (or those individuals surrounding them) will go down in the city’s history as anything other than feckless, corrupt. vision-less managers (to stretch the term to its elastic limitations). – and that is to be charitable.
Now to the present day – and yet another woeful display by the City (and perhaps oblast) elite.
For numerous months outside City Hall has been a permanent, clean, peaceful, lawful protest under the banner of “Anti-Trukhanov” – a protest regarding the current Mayor, his historical (and perhaps current) mafia/organised criminality, his alleged ties to Russian intelligence services and the holding of Russian passports, his misuse, abuse, manipulation and complete disregard of City institutions and ordnance etc.
All issues generally supported by the Oblast Governor who has repeated much of the same oratory in public as the protesters have.
However, as opined in a recent entry, something of an armistice between Governor and Mayor seems to have begun when the first official joint press conference in over 14 months occurred (with the aim of projecting the facade of political unity in order to host Eurovision 2017 in Odessa).
The 1st September witnessed the removal and demolition of this long standing, entirely lawful, “Anti-Trukhanov” protest encampment. Those that have consistently exercised their rights guaranteed by the Constitution for the past few months (no doubt to the ire of Mayor Trukhanov) suddenly found those lawful rights terminated and the protest camp destroyed – without a murmur from the Governor nor the police chief.
A reader will perhaps infer at the very least tacit approval by the Governor, who only a few weeks ago would have been energetically denouncing both Mayor Trukhanov and City Hall for such an act to anybody that would listen (both domestically and further afield).
City Hall, for the city’s birthday, for the first time in months therefore without the local constituency lawfully exercising its rights – this outcome perhaps far more aesthetically pleasing for those gazing upon, or from within City Hall, and certainly making for a happier Mayor Trukhanov – but undoubtedly an unquestionable affront to constitutionally guaranteed rights.
This is not entirely a birthday present to the constituency of Odessa worthy of the City’s history – even if a present entirely unsurprising considering the integrity-less political class – for it is a city history that is replete with instances of “giving the finger to the man” (regardless of whom that “man” be).
To add further insult, the birthday bash at City Hall witnessed a parade of past and present “dignitaries” – and dignitaries should be read as criminals, leaches, parasites, vision-less functionaries and scam artists that have bled the city ever since having access to power at the considerable expense of every city resident (and beyond). The likes of Messrs Bodelan, Kivalov, Rabinovich and Myraev standing where those than until 24 hours previously had been lawfully exercising their constitutional rights protesting against such very people, all they have done, what they stand for, and the odious and nefarious activities that some of that inglorious crowd attending City Hall’s birthday bash will continue to be involved in.
(In the above photograph, perhaps only Anatoli Urbansky (second left) can be said to be working daily for the benefit of Odessa – and he is the Oblast Rada Chairman and not a City official.)
The projection of a facade of political unity for Eurovision purposes aside, a reader may perhaps perceive that a long-running, entirely lawful exercising of constitutional rights by local constituents were simply ignored, struck down, and cast asunder for the sake of a photo session on the steps of City Hall on the city’s birthday.
With such principles both moral and legal left violated, such a birthday present from the current City elite to the citizenry that it is supposed to serve can hardly be the most welcome of gifts – whether a reader be “for” or “against” the specific protest illegally ended.
Odessa Mama must surely lament the illegitimate and integrity lacking actions of her current leading sons, for not one will find a comfortable or welcome place in the history of the city.
Indeed whilst monuments to historical city leaders worthy of their place in the city’s history continue to appear, that same city history may yet proclaim a date for the burning of effigies when it comes to remembering the city leadership 1991 – to date.