UKRAINE: Remember Odessa 2nd May 2014 Tragedy

– See pictures of the 5th anniversary at https://bit.ly/2PHoU6Y

– By Willy Fautré

– HRWF (02.05.2019) – Five years ago, on 2nd May 2014, 48 people died in two violent confrontations between pro-Maidan and anti-Maidan activists marching in the centre of Odessa and several hours later in Kulikovo Square (a few kilometres away).

Two weeks later I was in Odessa and I started my investigation about the tragic events. All narratives at that time as well as later on were biased on both sides in Ukraine. Putin and his friends in Ukraine instrumentalized the tragedy with their distorted narratives and their fake news to serve the political agenda of the Kreml. This propaganda presenting Ukraine as a state ruled by fascists is still alive today and was even perpetuated until last year through side-events at the European Parliament in Brussels.

Several investigation commissions in Ukraine, most of them lacking neutrality, published questionable reports and nobody was finally sentenced to a prison term. The main leaders of the deadly clashes in the centre of the city managed to flee to a “safe and friendly country”. Others in Kulikovo Square where most anti-Maidan activists died in the fire of the trade union building, were not prosecuted. The Council of Europe published the only official report that was reliable. Its findings corresponded to ours.

Today UNIAN, a Ukrainian press agency, published an article about a 13-page UN briefing note entitled “Accountability for Killings and Violent Deaths on 2 May 2014 in Odesa” and drafted by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) (https://bit.ly/2GLytO4).

Conclusions and Recommendations of the UN Mission

Five years after the events of 2 May 2014 in Odesa, HRMMU notes that no one has been held responsible for the acts that led to the killings and violent deaths of 48 people and injuries to an estimated 247 people. HRMMU is concerned that the challenges described pose a serious impediment to the provision of access to justice for victims and their families. Accountability for crimes and access to justice for all is essential to establish public trust in the judiciary and the rule of law, and may serve as a bedrock for reconciliation and social cohesion.

  1. Recommendations to the Government of Ukraine:

Office of the Prosecutor General

  1. Ensure effective, prompt, thorough and impartial investigations into the acts of killing and violent deaths perpetrated during the 2 May 2014 violence in Odesa and consider the possibility of transferring the lead investigative role from the Odesa Regional Police Department to the Main Investigation Unit of the National Police.

National Police

  1. Investigate effectively, promptly, thoroughly and impartially all acts of killing and violent deaths perpetrated during the 2 May 2014 violence in Odesa;
  2. Consider deploying senior investigators with relevant experience to the investigative team in charge of investigations;
  3. Ensure public order and provide security to all parties involved in the trials related to the 2 May 2014 violence in Odesa so that the cases of killings and violent deaths perpetrated in this context can be considered promptly, independently and impartially.

Presidents of courts of first instance

  1. Grant priority status to the trials in the cases of killings and violent deaths perpetrated in the context of the 2 May 2014 violence in Odesa to ensure consideration of the cases without undue delay.

High Council of Justice, High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine, President of Ukraine

  1. Ensure qualification re-assessment of existing judges and recruitment of new judges without undue delay.

 

51. Recommendations to the international community, including to the Russian Federation:

Ensure that extradition requests for all absconded suspects in criminal cases related to the 2 May violence in Odesa are processed in a timely manner;

Consider providing international legal assistance  in  investigations conducted by Ukrainian authorities against individuals in relation to 2 May 2014 violence, if the requests of their extradition cannot be processed.

See HRWF report  at https://hrwf.eu/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Odessa-2nd-May-2014-Tragedy.pdf

Act I

6 people killed by firearms in the centre of the city (allegedly 4 pro-Maidan and 2 anti-Maidan)

Anti-Maidan activists came armed to the city centre

Gunshots fired by pro-Russian aggressors; first person killed

Street fighting left six dead, more than 100 wounded

The role of the medical services

The role of the police

Act II

About 40 people died in Kulikovo Square

Anti-Maidan crowd flees to Trade Union building

Firefighters slow to respond

Bloodiest day in Odessa since 1918

Act III

Anti-Maidan activists attack a police station and release prisoners

ANNEX

List of the victims by name and their death conditions

HRWF is on the side of all the families who lost one of their members in this tragedy which could have been avoided.

UNIAN articles:

https://bit.ly/2VMFA2E

https://bit.ly/2VFNevu

https://bit.ly/2JaRc8D




UKRAINE: Presidential election – Latest poll (25.03)

– Interfax-Ukraine (25.03.2019) – https://bit.ly/2HSh7l1– If the presidential election had been held next Sunday, 17.3% of those polled would have voted for showman Volodymyr Zelensky, incumbent President Petro Poroshenko would have been supported by 13.9%, Civil Position Party leader Anatoliy Hrytsenko by 13.2% and Batkivschyna Party leader Yulia Tymoshenko by 13%.

Those are the results of a survey conducted by the Center for Social Engineering RAND presented at the Kyiv-based Interfax-Ukraine news agency on Monday. Some 8.5% of those polled said they would vote for Opposition Platform – For Life leader Yuriy Boiko, 3.6% for Opposition Bloc leader Oleksandr Vilkul, and 3.2% for Radical Party leader Oleh Liashko.

Among respondents who have made their choice and said they would definitely vote, Zelensky leads with 22.5% of votes, followed by Poroshenko with 18.1%, Hrytsenko with 17.1%, Tymoshenko with 16.9%, Boiko with 11%, Vilkul with 4.7%, and Liashko with 4.2%.

Some 8% of respondents said they still had not made up their minds, while 15.4% said they would not vote.

If Zelensky and Tymoshenko make it to the second round of elections, the former would win 30.6% to 16.5%. A Poroshenko versus Zelensky race would see the latter win 29.4% to 21.8%. Zelensky would also defeat Hrytsenko in the second round by a slight margin, 27.9% to 27.8%, according to survey results.

In a race between Hrytsenko and Poroshenko, the former would defeat the incumbent president 32.8% to 22.4%. Hrytsenko would also beat Tymoshenko, 32.4% to 21.1%.

Tymoshenko would defeat Poroshenko in the second round, 23.7% to 21.6%, according to the poll results.

The survey was conducted from March 16 to March 23. Some 1,800 respondents were polled in face-to-face interviews in all regions of Ukraine, except Russia-occupied Crimea and in Russia-occupied areas of Luhansk and Donetsk regions. The margin of error is not more than 2.5%.




UKRAINE: Textbook for Russian patriots. How to destruct ideological dissent?

– A screening of the feature-documentary “License for Crimes” is being planned in Kyiv for February 2019. According to the organizers of the project, Ukrainian non-governmental organization Cavalier, the documentary is dedicated to the history of religious extremism in the Russian Federation.

The director of the Brussels-based NGO Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF), Willy Fautre, will act as an expert in the project. This is not the first time that Cavalier and HRWF have worked together. In 2016, the NGOs released a documentary entitled “Protect your dignity”, which was dedicated to the protection from and prevention against manifestations of religious extremism in modern society.

One of the key elements of the “License for Crimes” documentary is a so-called ‘Russian Federation patriot instruction manual in pre-war period’. Interestingly, the textbook is dated in the year of 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea, a first step to the military conflict in eastern Ukraine. As a consequence, the Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) and the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) appeared on the map of Ukraine as separatist entities (although they are not recognized by the international community).

The textbook is said to originate from Russia. In accordance with the terms under which this textbook was shared with us, we have no right to publish the full version of this manual yet. However, we will provide a description of the key blocks of the textbook and use several of the most vivid pages to demonstrate the methodology.

According to the authors of the textbook, the Russian Federation has four types of enemies:
– Enemies of the State;
– Enemies of the Church;
– Enemies of the State policy;
– Enemies of the undeclared State policy.

The authors of the textbook call those falling under one of these four categories a “special contingent”, which must either have their activities terminated or be destroyed. Onward, there is a detailed description of three levels of training and methods to be used by Russian ‘patriots’; methods which strictly correspond to the way Jehovah’s Witnesses were eliminated from the map in Russia.

As for the authenticity of this textbook, the answer is obvious. Everything that is mentioned in the manual has been put into practice by Russia. What is very disturbing is that it gives instructions to ‘patriots’ for pre-war and war periods. Concerning the pre-war period, we see that Russia has implemented the recommendations of the handbook in Crimea and Donbass. If we look at what has happened in Crimea in the pre-war or pre-annexation period, we see that Russia had prepared the minds of the people in the peninsula, mobilizing them in one way or another to feel closer to Moscow than to Kyiv. They also prepared ‘the minds of people’ outside Crimea, asserting that it had historically been ruled by Moscow, under the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, and that it was normal to reintegrate its Russian-speaking population in the current Russian Federation. This was the first step of the pre-war period.

The next step was irregular warfare. Unidentifiable men in arms surprisingly took control of the TV station, and administrative and public buildings, including the local parliament of Crimea. A disturbing situation, as it was originally not understood as the first step of the conquest of Crimea.

We also saw the faithful implementation of the handbook for Russian ‘patriots’ in Donbass when Putin spread the idea that the Russian world was extending beyond the borders of the Russian Federation and included neighboring territories with Russian-speaking populations. Step by step, while denying any involvement, Russia created a protracted conflict in the Donbass that has made more 10 000 victims in last few years.

The manual for Russian ‘patriots’ describes strategies that were implemented before our eyes in the last few years. When it is made public, we expect that the FSB will deny association with it and say it is a provocation of Ukraine.

This textbook is unique and will present opportunities for expert discussions on national and international levels when it is revealed in its entirety.

The movie “License for Crimes” will be screened in Kyiv in February 2019. After this première, it will be shown in film festivals and in international forums, and open for discussion.

For more information about the screening of this film, contact Mr Konstantin Slobodyanyuk/ Слободянюк Константин slobodyanuk.kv@gmail.com




European Parliament: HRWF debate on child marriage on EU REPORTER TV

– Watch the video here:  https://youtu.be/wgOK0_XA6Vg

Panelists

Elisa Van Ruiten, a Gender Specialist at Human Rights Without Frontiers International;
Mohinder Watson, a researcher and activist against child marriage, who escaped a forced marriage of her own as a teenager;
Emilio Puccio, the Coordinator of the European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights, which is a cross-party and cross-national group comprising over 90 MEPs and 25 child-focused organizations.

The presenter was EU Reporter’s Jim Gibbons.

“Every day somewhere in the world, 39,000 young girls are married before they reach the age of majority; more than a third of them are younger than 15, according to the Council of Europe. We may be well into the 21st century but too many girls are still forced to live in a bygone age of male dominance. Human Rights Without Frontiers has just produced a report on women’s rights and the Abrahamic faiths o Christianity, Islam and Judaism.”

EU Reporter – https://bit.ly/2CTvNPh

Next Programme about North Korea (November) –

IF YOU WANT TO BE A PARTNER OF HUMAN RIGHTS WITHOUT FRONTIERS IN AN EU REPORTER TV PROGRAM OF YOUR CHOICE, SEND AN EMAIL TO

w.fautre@hrwf.org




Ukraine: 1030th anniversary of Christianization of Kievan Rus celebration by UOC/ Kyiv Patriarchate

HRWF (29.07.2018) – On 28 July, the UOC/ KP celebrated the anniversary of the Christianization of Ukraine which took place with the conversion of Prince Vladimir in 988. President Poroshenko participated in the ceremony with his wife. On the previous day, the UOC/MP had celebrated the same historical event under the name of “Baptism of Rus” in Kyiv and so had the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow.

Up to 150,000 take part in UOC – KP procession in Kyiv

Interfax Ukraine (28.07.2018) – From 65,000 to 150,000 believers have participated in a religious procession of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) dedicated to the 1030th anniversary of the Christianization of Kyivan Rus-Ukraine.

“About 65,000 people participated in the march as of 13.00. The situation is calm and controlled,” First Deputy Interior Minister Serhiy Yarovy said the Interior Ministry’s page on Facebook on Saturday.

According to him, bomb disposal experts and dog handlers checked the route along which the column of pilgrims moved in order to prevent terror attacks and provocations.
The safety of citizens was ensured by the police, the National Guard and the State Emergency Service.

The head of the information department of the UOC-KP, Archbishop Yevstratiy (Zoria), said that up to 150,000 parishioners had taken part in the events.

“‘The biggest religious procession in Ukraine’s history’ – this is what Patriarch Filaret said in his speech after a prayer service on Saint Volodymyr Hill. According to various estimates, from 65,000 to 150,000 believers or more gathered in the center of Kyiv for a prayer service,” Yevstratiy (Zoria) wrote on his Facebook page after the religious procession.

He noted that prior to this day “only the Maidan during the Revolution of Dignity brought together so many patriotic citizens who pray for the victory of truth and peace in Ukraine.”

Ukrinform: About 65,000 people participate in religious procession in Kyiv

Ukrinform (28.07.2018) – As of 13.00, about 65,000 people took part in a religious procession of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP).

The procession was guarded by 2,500 law enforcers, the press service of the Internal Ministry of Ukraine reported.

“As of 13:00, about 65,000 people participated in the religious procession. The situation was calm and controlled,” the deputy director of the Department of Communications of the Interior Ministry of Ukraine wrote on Facebook with reference to First Deputy Interior Minister Serhiy Yarovy.

The law enforcers continue to protect public order during the event.

As reported, on July 28, the ceremonial events on the occasion of the 1030th anniversary of the conversion of the Kyivan Rus-Ukraine to Christianity were held in Kyiv with the participation of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

President Poroshenko and his wife took part in the Cross Procession on the occasion of the 1030th anniversary of Christianization of Ukraine-Rus

RISU (28.07.2018) – https://bit.ly/2vfaQaV President Petro Poroshenko and his wife Maryna Poroshenko took part in the Cross Procession on the occasion of the 1030th anniversary of Christianization of Ukraine-Rus’.

Believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate, headed by Patriarch Filaret, and believers of the UAOC, headed by Metropolitan Macarius, passed to the garden square near the monument to St. Vladimir.

The Head of State together with his wife also took part in the prayer service for Ukraine and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.

The festive event was attended by representatives of the Government, members of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches, well-known public figures, volunteers, representatives of culture, science and education.




UKRAINE: 1030th anniversary of the ‘Baptism of Rus’ : the ROC and UOC/ Moscow Patriarchate narrative

Pictures: https://bit.ly/2LKUYHu

Heads, members of 10 local Orthodox Churches to celebrate 1030th anniversary of Baptism of Rus in Moscow
Moscow, July 27, Interfax – www.interfax-religion.com/ – Representatives of ten local Orthodox Churches from around the world will come to Moscow to attend celebrations marking the 1030th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus.

Delegations from the Orthodox Church of Alexandria, the Church of Antioch, the Church of Jerusalem, the Orthodox Church of Georgia, the Orthodox Church of Serbia, the Orthodox Church of Bulgaria, the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, the Orthodox Church of Albania, the Orthodox Church of Poland, and the Orthodox Church of Czech Lands and Slovakia are coming to the Russian capital, the Moscow Patriarchate told Interfax-Religion.

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia will meet Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria and All Africa and members of other church delegations on Friday.

“It is very significant that our brothers from all across the Orthodox world are now coming to Moscow and Kiev so that we together can express our unity on this date, which is so important for the Russian Orthodox Church,” the spokesman of the Russian patriarch, priest Alexander Volkov, told Interfax-Religion.

In turn, the deputy head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, described the Baptism of Rus as “an epoch-making event in Russian history.”

“Everything that happened before is lost in the dark and is known to us only in fragments. A new people and a new civilization were born in the Dnieper baptistery, and this event was accompanied by such a strong creative surge that the newly born Orthodox Rus expanded later to new territories, and we received from God a ‘sixth part of the Earth,’ where different people now live, and new state borders are drawn, but with its own history, its own culture, and its global vision united for many centuries to come,” the priest told Interfax-Religion.

“The Orthodox belief in Christ, the belief that St. Prince Vladimir chose, formed all of us, that is, the Russians, the Ukrainians, the Belarusians, the Moldovans, and all descendants of the Baptism of St. Vladimir, no matter what they call themselves now,” the patriarch’s spokesman said.

“The anniversary of our Baptism is an event of global significance,” and it is not accidental that all of the Orthodox Churches in the world deemed it fitting to attend it, “share their joy with us, sending their hierarchs both to Kiev and to Moscow,” the priest said.

The Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Theodore will be Russia’s main guest, Father Nikolay said, noting that he “is our long-standing and faithful friend, who wholeheartedly fell in love with the Russians after spending ten years of study and service in Odessa.”

“Let’s pray together, let’s share our joy and troubles, let’s think about how to build up the unity of our global Orthodox family,” the priest said.

The patriarchs of the Alexandrian and Russian Orthodox Churches, accompanied by members of other delegations, will lead a vigil service on Friday evening.

The Day of the Baptism of Rus was declared a state memorial date in Russia in 2010 at the Archbishop Council’s request.

Over 100,000 pilgrims to attend Kiev cross procession – Ukrainian Orthodox Church

Moscow, July 27, Interfax – The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is expecting even more believers to attend the Kiev cross procession marking the 1030th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus than attended last year.

“It is still early to make final assessments, but in any case, there will be more than 100,000 people. I have been on Vladimirskaya Gorka [Vladimir Hill] for more than an hour, waiting for a religious service, and there’s a nonstop flow of people coming here from three streets,” Ukrainian Orthodox Church spokesman Vasily Anisimov told Interfax-Religion.

He expressed hope that the festivities would not be marred by provocations. “God can never be cursed. Let’s hope that everything will be alright,” Anisimov said.

Dozens of buses from western Ukraine were stopped on the Zhitomir Highway leading to Kiev this morning because of they had supposedly been mined, he said.

There were reports of attempts to prevent believers from attending the cross procession in several Ukrainian regions on Thursday.

For instance, Ukrainian Security Service officers have stopped five buses in Zaporozhye for several hours under the pretext that they had been mined, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s press service said.

Cars full of armed people blocked another nine buses from Zaporozhye and Melitopol.

Attempts to keep people from the Kiev cross procession were also undertaken in the Zhitomir and Rovno regions, and obstacles were created for pilgrims from the Nezhin and Odessa dioceses.

Still, tens of thousands of people have come to Kiev, the church’s press service said.

The attempts to block the highway have backfired, Archpriest Viktor Zemlianoy of the Rovno Diocese said. “Even more people than expected came because of this resistance,” he said.

Kiev cross procession begins

Kiev, July 27, Interfax – A Ukrainian Orthodox Church cross procession marking the 1030th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus has begun in downtown Kiev.

After the prayer service on Vladimirskaya Gorka (Vladimir Hill), believers moved across European Square and along Grushevsky Street toward the Kiev Lavra of the Caves, an Interfax correspondent reported.

Clergymen carrying religious banners and icons are leading the column.

Law enforcement officers are providing security.

In attendance are the co-chairs of the Opposition Bloc faction in the Verkhovnaya Rada, Yury Boyko and Aleksander Vilkul, faction members Vadim Novinsky, Nestor Shufrich, Mikhail Dobkin, and Yury Pavlenko, and Vladimir Litvin, an independent MP.

The situation is calm in downtown Kiev. Due to the high humidity and temperature, some participants sometimes have felt dizzy in the crowd, but ambulances are on site providing aid.

About 250,000 attend cross procession in Kiev – organizers (1)

Moscow, July 27, Interfax – The cross procession held in Kiev on Friday afternoon to mark the 1030th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus brought together 250,000 believers from various Ukrainian regions and from other countries, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s press service said.

“Participants in today’s cross procession moved in a mighty flow toward the center of the capital for three hours. It was a marvelously joyful event,” church spokesperson Vasily Anisimov told Interfax-Religion.

A total of 100,000 people attended the celebration last year.

(1) HRWF Comment: No alternative reliable source confirms or denies these statistics. Noteworthy is the fact that the UOC/ Moscow Patriarchate in Kyiv and the ROC in Moscow name the event “the baptism of the Rus” and not “the christianization of the Kievan Rus”.