November 2 marks six months since the horrific massacre of at least 48 anti-fascist activists and trade unionists in Odessa, Ukraine.
On May 2, neo-Nazi gangs directed by the U.S.-backed Kiev junta attacked an Occupy-style protest encampment in the multinational port city of Odessa. After the fascists set fire to the camp on Kulikovo Field, activists fled to the nearby House of Trade Unions.
Pro-coup goons set fire to the building and shot at people through the windows. Many who fled from the burning building were beaten to death by the fascists.
Although the massacre was videoed and many of the culprits plainly identified, none have been brought to justice. Meek “official” inquiries have been stonewalled by the Ukrainian Interior Ministry and police agencies.
On the six-month anniversary, activists around the world will remember this crime and honor the victims with memorials, rallies, meetings and photo exhibits.
In New York, the International Action Center has called for a protest at the U.S. military recruiting station in Times Square on Sunday, Nov. 2, at 1 p.m., to remember the murdered anti-fascists. Participants will tell Washington, Kiev and the corporate media to stop the cover-up of those responsible for the massacre.
The demands of the protest include: an independent investigation of the massacre and those responsible; autonomy and self-determination for Odessa and all of southeast Ukraine; stop U.S. money and weapons to the Kiev dictatorship; stop the war against the people of Donetsk and Lugansk; end NATO expansion, military threats and sanctions against Russia; and freedom for Odessa activists Vlad Wojciechowski and Nikolai Popov and all political prisoners.
Odessa survivor remembers
Odessa Regional Council Deputy Alexei Albu is a survivor of the May 2 massacre. A member of socialist Union Borotba (Struggle), he now lives in exile in Crimea, where he was forced to flee under threat of arrest following the neo-Nazi attack. Albu is a co-founder of the Committee to Liberate Odessa and the investigative website 2May.org.
Albu recently spoke with the newspaper Mirror of Crimea about his experiences. He recalled: “I came to the Kulikovo Field an hour before the attack. There were about 200 people, among them many of the older generation. After some time, a small group returned from [a confrontation with the neo-Nazis on] Greek Street, including my friend Andrew Brazhevsky. That was the last time I saw him alive; he later jumped from a window of the burning House of Trade Unions and was killed by the fascists.
“When we were attacked,” said Albu, “the Kulikovo activists decided to take refuge in the building. … I was one of the last who went in, when the attackers started shooting. Inside, people built a barricade of furniture. Nobody expected that a massacre would begin. We thought there would be a fight, mayhem or something like that, but not mass burning and shooting.
“I was on the second floor above the entrance and felt a suffocating smell [from tear gas]. That’s the last time I saw 17-year-old communist youth Vadim Papura, who was killed after he came down from the second floor. He, too, was finished off by the Nazis on the ground. He did not die from the fall, as the officials say.”
Albu remembered: “From the first floor someone shouted that the fascists had already made their way into the building, which started a panic. Many ran upstairs. I had previously been in the House of Trade Unions and knew some of its corridors. I realized that the roof was a dead end, and if there was a large fire, it was unlikely we could escape from there.
“I called out to those who were close to me, and we ran to the right, going down the stairs. We saw that the door leading to the courtyard had almost been knocked down by the ultra-nationalists. We began to retreat to the second floor, encountering a few more of our people along the way.”
Albu continued: “Our people climbed out through a window. I tried to swing, to distract the Nazis to buy a little time for the others. When there were only three or four left, people could no longer wait for their turn on the ladder, so we just climbed out of the window past the air conditioners and jumped into the yard.
“We were led out into the street from the courtyard, conducted through a corridor of police. The fascists constantly broke through and bashed us with whatever was handy: chains, pipes, fittings, rods, barbed wire. I fell under the feet of the police and began crawling on all fours. Someone jumped on me and sank his teeth into my left leg.
“I’m sure there were a lot more killed than the official number,” said Albu. “The mother of one of my dead comrades told me that in the morgue she was shown more than 60 bodies.
“A week after the tragedy at the House of Trade Unions, I had to leave Odessa when it became known that my arrest had been ordered,” Albu stated.
“We are trying to conduct an independent investigation, but because the Security Service of Ukraine and Interior Ministry are completely secretive about it, we are forced to work with what is in the public domain and occasional leaks.
“All parliamentary inquiries into the case of May 2 have met with no response. This again suggests that the massacre in Odessa was organized with the help of Ukrainian law enforcement agencies and their senior management,” concluded Albu.