A call for solidarity

The power of silence is overwhelming.
This is the sound of guns falling silent on the Western front 1918.

On the 100th anniversary of the Peace after the First World War 11h of November, we call for action to stop the present escalation that is increasing the risk of a war in the world. We do this by calling for joint solidarity actions on May 2, 2019 in connection with the 5-year memory of the escalation of the Ukrainian conflict, the focal point of our day in a conflict between the West and the East.

May 2, 2014, a mob attacked a trade union house in Odessa, Ukraine. As a result, at least 42 people were killed among those who sought shelter in the building. The event became crucial for the escalation of the Ukrainian conflict.

We urge all those who want to stand up for solidarity and detente to sign our international call for action on May 2, 2019. Those who have been exposed to one of the most violent attacks on civilians in Europe outside war zones since World War II need our support. The silence about what happened in Odessa must be broken to take steps forward for peace.

Note! To sign this call; leave a comment below or e-mail aktivisterforfred@gmail.com with you name, title, town and country.


The international call:

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A CALL FOR INTERNATIONAL ACTIONS ON THE 5th MEMORIAL DAY OF THE ATTACK ON THE HOUSE OF TRADE UNIONS IN ODESSA, UKRAINE 

May 2, 2019, will mark five years since a right-wing mob attack on the House of Trade Unions in Odessa, Ukraine, a tragedy that resulted in the deaths of at least 42 people and more than 100 injured. Today there still is no justice in sight for the mourners of the victims.

Those deaths on May 2, 2014, came just months after the democratically elected president was forced out of office by politicians, mass protests and violent right-wing organizations. This resulted in growing tensions in Odessa over several weeks, which culminated with street clashes and the mob attack on the House of Trade Unions.

Many cellphone videos of the attack have been posted on the Internet, clearly showing people setting the union building on fire with Molotov cocktails. People can be seen jumping from the burning windows and dying when falling to the ground. People laying on the asphalt and those trying to escape were severely beaten with bats and other weapons. To date, not one of the perpetrators of these murderous actions has been brought to justice.

At the same time, survivors from the arson as well as several of their sympathizers were arrested and many of them are still in prison, many never having been charged with a crime. Family members, friends and supporters of the victims and survivors have repeatedly held memorials at the site of the killings, demanding an international investigation leading to prosecution of those responsible.

Each year on May 2, thousands of Odessans gather there, despite repeated threats by extreme right-wing organizations to attack the mourners. The organizations listed below call on all those who value justice to hold local events on May 2 in solidarity with the people of Odessa and in support of their demand for an international investigation.

We further call for an end to the harassment and legal repression of survivors of the May 2 tragedy, of their relatives and supporters, and of journalists attempting to investigate the situation.

This Call has been initiated by the Odessa Solidarity Campaign (USA) and Prague Spring 2 (Europe). It has been endorsed by the following organizations and individuals:

Organizations:
  • Aktivister för fred (Activists for peace, Sweden)
  • United National Antiwar Coalition (USA)
  • Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice and Equality (USA)

Individuals:

  • Phil Wilayto, Editor of The Virginia Defender newspaper; Richmond, USA
  • Tord Björk, Prague Spring 2 Network against Right Wing Extremism and Populism; Kristianstad, Sweden
  • Matyas Benyik, Chairman of ATTAC Hungary, President of MEBAL (Hungarian United Left Association); Budapest, Hungary
  • Mikael Böök, peace activist; Lovisa, Finland
  • Leo Gabriel, International Council of the World Social Forum; Vienna, Austria
  • Igor Gotlib, social activist; Са́нкт-Петербу́рг/Saint Petersburg, Russia
  • Divina Levrini, Artist and Ship to Gaza activist; Malmö/Malmoe, Sweden
  • Adriana Matalonga, ECOMUNIDADES, Red Ecologista de la Cuenca de México, México
  • Presley, peace activist; Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Mirek Prokes, Defence for Children International/Czech section; Praha/Prague, Czechia
  • Bo Sundbäck, Activists for Peace; Åmotfors, Sweden
  • Marko Ulvila, Environmental activist; Tammerfors/Tampere, Finland
  • Miguel Valencia, ECOMUNIDADES, Red Ecologista de la Cuenca de México, México
  • Thomas Wallgren, professor of philosophy, Helsinki, Finland

 

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Solidarity with Odessa from Sweden

Solidarity with Odessa from Gävle, Sweden

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In the background Österbågen, a famous circulation site in Gävle ornated with wheels from an old steam locomotive and rails, are visible. The rails are a donation from Sweden’s national museum for railway history which is located nearby. The roundabout is designed by Maria Granqvist.

Railways are related to Odessa. The first railway to be built in the Ukrainian part of the Russian Empire was a track from Odessa to Balta. In 1865 agricultural regions of the northern part of today’s Odessa Oblast was connected with Odessa, the sea port on the Black Sea, by a 213 km railway. In 1870, Kiev was connected to Balta and Odessa. Two years earlier, Kiev was connected to Dnieper by the Struve Railroad Bridge and the same year Kiev was also connected to the rest of the Russian Empire’s railroad system by a track from Kiev to Kursk.

The city of Odessa was founded in 1794 by a decree of the Russian Empire’s Catherine the Great. From 1819 to 1858, Odessa was a free port and during the Soviet period it was the most important port of trade in the Soviet Union and a Soviet naval base. On 1 January 2000, the Quarantine Pier at Odessa Commercial Sea Port was declared a free port and free economic zone for a period of 25 years. During the 19th century, Odessa was the fourth largest city of Imperial Russia, after Moscow, St Petersburg and Warsaw.

Odessa is a busy town and region. Odessa railways account for about 20% of freight and more than 16% of passenger traffic of Railways of Ukraine. Large sea and river ports ensures a high traffic load.

However, since 2015 all train traffic between Crimea, where the first railway was built by British forces during the Crimea war in 1855 and where the first public railway (connecting Sevastopol with Kharkov and ultimately via Kursk to Moscow) was opened in 1869, and Ukraine has been suspended.

This rail, which also connects to Odessa via Kherson and Mykolayiv, is today similar to that at the roundabout in Gävle. It is rusting and for about three years no trains have run on the rail which is covered with leaves…

 

 

Alexander Kuchnarev remembers his son Gennady Kuchnarev and everyone who was killed in the Odessa massacre – Show your solidarity too

In my hometown, a protest movement was created against the actions of the Ukrainian authorities. Antifascists gathered at the Kulikovo Field. On May 2, 2014, the fascists staged a massacre in Odessa.

The people who stood up for the defense of their values ​​and their city varied, but all of them were anti-fascists. They were of different ages – from the youngest 17-year-old Vadim Papura to my co-worker; the gray-haired colonel Alexander Sadovnichy.

All of them were united by having taken action in their life. On May, 2 they were gone.

Among the dead was my son.

We will always remember them!

Alexander Kushnarev

If we let, the brave voices demanding justice for Odessa to be silenced, Ukraine will succeed in it’s efforts to take steps towards an undemocratic police state which co-operates with murderous right-wing groups.

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You can also show you solidarity with Odessa.

Take a photo of a red carnation flower with a more or less well-known view visible in the background and send it in to our call for Solidarity with Odessa.

For more information, read the blog: https://solidaritywithodessa.wordpress.com


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Gennady and Alexander Kuchnarev.
Photo: Private

On May, 2 2014 Verkhovna Rada Deputy Alexei Goncharenko from the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko and who earlier made a rapid political career in the Party of regions, went inside the burned out Trade Union House with a camera. All was broadcasted live on Ukrainan Television. Goncharenko reported from what he called a “victory of the separatists” and was met by applauds from the studio.

A photo that has been widely spread is Goncharenko photographed inside the Trade Union Building next to the dead body of Gennady Kushnarev. Gennady’s father, Alexander Kushnarev, who is a deputy of the regional council in Limansk has – like survivors and other relatives of the victims of the Odessa massacre – been harassed and also arrested for standing up for justice for his son.

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Photo from a court hearing against Alexander Kushnarev and Anatolij Slobodyanik, March, 10 2017.
Photo: Таймер

February, 23 2017, Alexander Kushnarev was – together with Anatoloij Slobodyanik – arrested by agents of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). Odessa’s head prosecutor Oleg Zhuchenko accused him for organising a disputed kidnapping of Goncharenko. Charges were also made concerning incitement of ethnic hatred and separatism.

After the arrest, the Ukrainian police searched his home, but also the homes of relatives and others. Early on talks began to appear that the authorities planed to seize more relatives and others who support the victims of the massacre in Odessa on May 2, 2014. The aim is claimed to be to enforce “confessions” of plans for violent actions against the Ukrainian government. The United Nations has repeatedly reported the existence of enforced “confessions” in Ukrainian prisons including in Odessa.

Alexander Kushnarev, like the other relatives of the dead, is a major obstacle to the Ukrainian government, which is trying to cover up the massacre that occurred on May 2, 2014, in Odessa.

The accusations against Kuncharev was met with criticism form several sources including politicians and ex-diplomats.

When it comes to Goncharenko, he was in fact missing for a short period of time, After the arrest of Kushnarev, Goncharenko quickly reappeared and was interviewed on Ukrainian TV. During this interview, Goncharenko stated that his abduction had been staged by law enforcement officers.

In parallell, the opposition block – where Kushnarev is a member – made a statement and an international call for Kushnarev’s release was initiated.

On April, 10 2017 – on the memorial day for Odessa’s liberation from the Axis’ ockupation – a letter was handed over to Ukrainian embassies and consulates in at least 19 cities of 12 countries around the world.

The letter called for immediately release of all political prisoners in Ukraine as well as a call for an end to repression against relatives and supporters of the victims of the fascist-led massacre at Odessa’s House of Trade Unions on May 2, 2014. It also said no to fascism in Ukraine and all over the world.

Help Alexander Kushnarev and everyone who demands justice for Odessa by showing your solidarity with Odessa. The call for action is valid through May 2018.

In connection to the fourth memorial day of the Odessa massacre, Kushnarev says:

In my hometown, a protest movement was created against the actions of the Ukrainian authorities. Antifascists gathered at the Kulikovo Field. On May 2, 2014, the fascists staged a massacre in Odessa.

The people who stood up for the defense of their values ​​and their city varied, but all of them were anti-fascists. They were of different ages – from the youngest 17-year-old Vadim Papura to my co-worker; the gray-haired colonel Alexander Sadovnichy.

All of them were united by having taken action in their life. On May, 2 they were gone.

Among the dead was my son.

We will always remember them!

Alexander Kushnarev

Source for Kuchnarev’s quotaion

Комсомольской правды: “Трагедия в Одессе: Закладной камень станет основанием памятника жертвам Одесской Хатыни“, May, 3 2018.

Solidarity with Odessa from Sweden

Solidarity with Odessa from Norrköping, Sweden.

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Norrköping is a city in the province of Östergötland in eastern Sweden and the seat of Norrköping Municipality, Östergötland County, about 160 km southwest of the national capital Stockholm. The city has a population of 95,618 inhabitants in 2016, out of a municipal total of 130,050, making it Sweden’s tenth largest city and eighth largest municipality.

The city is situated by the mouth of the river Motala ström, at Bråviken, an inlet of the Baltic Sea. Water power from the Motala ström and – like in Odessa – the good harbour were factors that facilitated the rapid growth of this once industrial city, known for its textile industry.

It has several nicknames such as: “Sweden’s Manchester”, “Peking” (English: Bejing) and “Surbullestan”. Surbulle (English: Sour bun) was a local nickname for the textile workers, and stan is short for Staden, which means The City or The Town in Swedish.