Prepared by the Odessa Solidarity Campaign of the Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality
Eight years after the Odessa Massacre, a new wave of repression has been unleashed on the people of that city in southern Ukraine.
According to the mainstream Odessa Journal, the Department of Strategic Investigations of the National Police is claiming that Russian operatives are planning to incite riots in Odessa on May 2 with the goal of overthrowing the government.
May 2 is the anniversary of the massacre in 2014 in which a fascist-led mob murdered at least 42 progressives at Odessa’s House of Trade Unions. This took place just a few months after the U.S.-backed, right-wing coup that brought an anti-Russian, pro-NATO government to power with the open support of neo-Nazi organizations.
Every year on May 2, thousands of Odessans gather at the site of the massacre to peacefully remember their dead and demand justice for the victims. This year, In anticipation of these “riots,” the regional military administration is imposing a curfew on May 2 for the entire city. All public transportation will be shut down. Mass arrests are already being carried out.
Obviously, the authorities are afraid that the people of Odessa will once again gather in a memorial that exposes the government’s tolerance of and collaboration with openly fascist organizations – not the narrative being promoted by Washington and the mainstream Western media.
If the people of Odessa are unable to speak, we must raise our voices in solidarity with them and their demand for justice.
The Odessa Solidarity Campaign
The Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice and Equality is a multi-issue, all-volunteer activist organization based in Richmond, Virginia, USA. In addition to our 20 years of community struggles, we’ve always been involved in opposing U.S. wars. And we know very well that Washington lies about those wars. It lied about Vietnam, it lied about Iraq and it’s lying today about Ukraine.
In 2016 we traveled to Odessa to stand in solidarity with the people of that city as they commemorated the second anniversary of what has been called the worst civil conflict in Europe since World War II. After returning to Richmond, we founded the Odessa Solidarity Campaign to support the anti-fascist people of Odessa and their demand for an international investigation into the massacre, something the Ukrainian government has never allowed. Each year we have encouraged local actions to remember the massacre and support the demand of the people of Odessa for justice.
Who’s responsible for today’s war in Ukraine?
Today Ukraine is involved in a terrible war. We do not support the Russian attack on Ukraine, but we are trying to explain what made it inevitable: the steady expansion of NATO to the very borders of Russia and U.S. support for the right-wing coup of February 2014 that set the stage for the Odessa massacre and everything else that followed.
It’s vitally important to understand the role that the U.S. government is playing in the current war.
According to The New York TImes of April 30, President Biden is asking Congress to authorize $33 billion more in aid to Ukraine: “The request represented an extraordinary escalation in American investment in the war, more than tripling the total emergency expenditures and putting the United States on track to spend as much this year helping the Ukrainians as it did on average each year fighting its own war in Afghanistan, or more.”
This “aid” is in addition to the ongoing training of Ukrainian soldiers, sending thousands of additional U.S. troops to Europe and providing intelligence to the Ukrainian military.
It is inconceivable that Washington is doing all this without at the same time telling Ukraine how to conduct the war. This is not a war between Russia and Ukraine, it’s a proxy war by the U.S. against Russia, a war that has been long in the making.
It’s an old truism that the first casualty of war is truth. But no matter how many times we’ve been lied to about Washington’s wars, people still tend to give the warmakers the benefit of the doubt, especially when virtually all the news media is repeating the official line.
What can we do?
- We can educate ourselves. This packet of information is meant to try and counter the lies we’re being told about Ukraine, the war and who is responsible for the current tragedy. Please take the time to educate yourself about this war that has the potential to ignite a much broader conflict, one in which there will be no winners.
- We can raise our voices in solidarity with the anti-fascist people of Odessa and all of Ukraine. Gather a few of your friends and co-workers, hold up signs saying “We remember the Odessa Massacre and Demand Justice for the Victims!” Take a photo and post it on social media. Then send us the photo, with the name of the city and sponsoring organization. We’ll compile and promote the photos and make sure the world knows that people do remember, and do care.
So far we know of actions planned for May 2 in Richmond, Baltimore, Vancouver, Berlin and Moscow, as well as webinars planned by the International Action Center and jointly by the Odessa Solidarity Campaign, the Coop Antiwar Cafe in Berlin and the Union of Political Emigrants and Political Prisoners of Ukraine.
- And finally, let us know if you’d like to stay in touch and work together to support justice in Ukraine.
For a World of Justice & Peace for All,
Coordinator, Odessa Solidarity Campaign
PO Box 23202, Richmond, VA 23223
Phone / Text: 1.804.644.5834
Kat McNeil – Member, Antiwar Committee of the Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality
Phil Wilayto – Editor, The Virginia Defender newspaper, and coordinator, Odessa Solidarity Campaign, speaking on what led up to the present situation: the steady eastward expansion of NATO and U.S. support for the right-wing coup of 2014.
Leonid Ilderkin – Member, Coordination Council of the Union of Political Emigrants and Political Prisoners of Ukraine, speaking ON the current wave of repression against all dissidents in Ukraine.
Heinrich Buecker – Founder, Coop Anti-War Cafe Bar, a meeting place for local and international peace activists in Berlin, Germany, reporting on the reactions in Europe to the situation in Ukraine by the various governments and by the peace movement.
Reckoning with Ukraine’s armed Nazi militias – International Action Center
Leonid Ilderkin – Ukrainian communist in exile; member, coordination council, Union of Political Refugees and Political Prisoners of Ukraine
Phil Wilayto – Author and activist; coordinator, Odessa Solidarity Campaign
Alexey – A survivor of the Odessa House of Trade Unions massacre currently living in Luhansk
Sara Flounders & Teddie Kelly – International Action Center
May 2 Appeal for International Solidarity with the People of Odessa – Odessa Solidarity Campaign; Union of Political Emigrants and Political Prisoners of Ukraine; Coop Antiwar Cafe (Berlin)
Statement on the Present Crisis in Ukraine – Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality; Odessa Solidarity Campaign; The Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice – Feb. 28, 2022
Russia, Ukraine & the U.S. – The background they’re not telling you – The Virginia Defender – Spring 2022
Political Repression in Ukraine – The Virginia Defender – 3/28/22
US Activist: West Carrying Out Massive Propaganda to Portray Russia as Enemy – Sputnik International – 1/3/22
US Activists Protest Against NATO Expansion in Eastern Europe – Telesur – 1/3/22
US activist: Americans should learn about NATO expansion to understand Ukraine – almayadeen.net – 3/17/22
Media Silence about Ukrainian Political Repression – OSC coordinator Phil Wilayto on Sputnik’s “By Any Means Necessary”
The fascist roots of Ukrainian nationalism – from “Ukraine on Fire” (Oliver Stone): Available on Amazon