International Day Of Solidarity With People Of Odessa

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19 cities in 12 countries to participate on April 10

In response to the increasing political repression in the city of Odessa, Ukraine, by that country’s federal government, the U.S.-based Odessa Solidarity Campaign has called for an International Day of Solidarity with the People of Odessa, to take place on April 10, the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of Odessa from fascist occupation. The day will include activities in 19 cities in 12 countries.

In Washington, D.C., members of the Odessa Solidarity Campaign will visit the Ukrainian Embassy to the United States to deliver a letter calling on Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to release all political prisoners and end the current repression in Odessa against relatives of the at least 46 martyrs who were murdered at the House of Trade Unions fire on May 2, 2014.

The specific demands of the day are:

Free Alexander Kushnarev, Anatoly Slobodyanik & All Political Prisoners in Ukraine!
Stop the Repression Against Relatives & Supporters of Those Killed on May 2, 2014!
No to Fascism in Ukraine & All Over the World!

The letter to President Poroshenko will be delivered to Ukrainian embassies and consulates in the following cities: ENGLAND – London; FRANCE – Paris, Strasbourg; GERMANY – Berlin, Munich; GREECE – Athens; HUNGARY – Budapest; IRELAND – Dublin; ITALY – Milan, Rome, Venice; POLAND – Warsaw; SWEDEN – Stockholm; SWITZERLAND – Bern; UNITED STATES – Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. In addition, in Vancouver, Canada, where there is no Ukrainian embassy or consulate, there will be an online presence. In several cities, including Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Budapest, there will be protests in addition to the delivery of the letter.

A copy of the letter appears below.

April 10, 2017

President Petro Poroshenko
Presidential Administration of Ukraine
11 Bankova Street, Kyiv, Ukraine 01220

Dear Mr. President,

In recent years, international observers, human rights activists, independent journalists and members of the public have witnessed an unprecedented increase in violence in Ukraine. This country, whose people were traditionally considered friendly, hospitable, tolerant and cultured, has become an arena for bloody battles and civil conflicts.

One of the most revealing examples of this was the events in Odessa on May 2, 2014, when at least 46 people died as a result of clashes. National mourning was declared at the time, which led the world community to believe that Ukraine mourned all the victims of May 2.

However, three years after the Odessa tragedy, we clearly understand that the authorities have applied the country’s law in a one-sided manner. Everyone being prosecuted today is from the Anti-Maidan camp, while those associated with the Maidan camp – against whom there has been ample evidence of having committed crimes – remain at large, with no signs of them being brought to justice.

We especially want to bring attention to the fate of the relatives of those who died on May 2. For three years, they have been subjected to painful emotional suffering because the memory of their deceased is constantly exposed to defamation and desecration, both in the Ukrainian media and on the part of the so-called “patriots” who systematically and with sophisticated cruelty exert pressure on the elderly, vulnerable relatives, exacerbating their difficult psychological condition.

Most recently, Alexander Kushnaryov, the 65-year-old father of the deceased Gennady Kushnaryov, was arrested and imprisoned. The Ukrainian law enforcement agencies do not hide the fact that the retiree Kushnaryov, who had barely survived the death of his son and had lost faith that those responsible would receive their just punishment, was the victim of a sting operation. Taking advantage of his depressed state and decreased critical perception, Alexander Kushnaryov was dragged into a discussion of certain plans, after which the law enforcement agents staged his participation in the false kidnapping of the parliament member Alexei Goncharenko. Also arrested in connection with this alleged kidnapping was Anatoly Slobodyanik, 68, a retired military officer and the head of the Odessa Organization of Veterans of Armed Forces.

These facts, as well as the lack of humanity shown by the court in refusing to consider alternatives to pretrial confinement for these two elderly men, testifies to a biased and unfair attitude towards those around whom the authorities are trying to create a mythical image of “enemies of Ukraine.”

International bodies – the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the European Parliament, official representatives of the governments of the world’s largest states, in particular the U.S. State Department – have repeatedly urged the Ukrainian authorities to apply uniform standards of justice for all Ukrainian citizens. Failure to heed this advice will result in a general opinion in society that there is an absence of justice, which would be extremely dangerous in the conditions of modern Ukraine.

We call on the Ukrainian authorities to fulfill their direct duties to society and to prosecute those who personally and directly killed the Odessites on May 2, representing the side of the Euro-Maidan.

We demand they release Alexander Kushnaryov and Anatoly Slobodyanik and stop the provocations against relatives of the victims of 2 May in Odessa.

We appeal to the Ukrainian authorities to create the necessary conditions for the peaceful development of the country. Do not divide society by providing patronage and direct protection to one of the opposing sides that has arbitrarily appropriated the title of “patriots of Ukraine.” These people have no right to violence. We draw the attention of the Ukrainian authorities to the fact that the fulfillment of all these requirements is the duty of any civilized state and is not subject to discussion or hesitation.

Unless these duties are fulfilled, Ukraine risks remaining outside the civilized world.


The Odessa Solidarity Campaign