Curfew for Anniversary of Odessa Massacre That Sparked Rebellion

Odessa has imposed a two-day curfew on the anniversary of the burning alive of anti-Maidan protestors on May 2, 2014, reports Joe Lauria. 

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

Authorities in the Ukrainian port city of Odessa have set a 24-hour curfew from May 1-3 to prevent protests commemorating the burning alive on May 2, 2014 of 48 people who had rejected the U.S.-backed coup in Kiev earlier that year. 

The city, which is  “(under the control of Ukrainian troops) announced the introduction of a ‘curfew’ in the city from 22-00 on May 1 to 5-00 on May 3. For the duration of the ‘curfew’ Odessans are not allowed to leave their homes,” said the group Repression of the Left and Dissenters in Ukraine in a Telegram post. “Obviously, this decision of the authorities is due to the fact that May 2 is a very important date for the inhabitants of Odessa.”

On that day eight years ago hooligans and far-right groups deliberately set fire to a labor union building where protestors against the coup had taken refuge.  Police did not intervene. Video footage shows at least one police officer and others firing their guns into the building. The crowd is cheering as many of the people trapped inside jumped to their deaths.

The events of that day “have not yet been investigated by law enforcement agencies of Ukraine,” the group said. Pleas at the time from the United Nations and the European Union for Ukraine to investigate were ignored. Three Ukrainian local government probes were stymied by the withholding of secret documents.

A report on the incident from the European Council (EC) at the time makes clear it did not conduct its own investigation but relied on local probes, especially by the Verkhovna Rada’s Temporary Investigation Commission. The EC complains in its reports that it too was barred from viewing classified information. Relying on the local inquiries, the EC reports that  pro-Russian, or pro-federalist, protestors attacked a pro-unity march in the afternoon, prompting street battles. Then:

“At around 6.50 p.m. pro-federalists broke down the door [of the trade union building] and brought inside various materials, including boxes containing Molotov cocktails and the products needed to make them. Using wooden pallets which had supported tents in the square, they blocked the entrances to the building from the inside and erected barricades. When they arrived at the square at around 7.20 p.m., the pro-unity protesters destroyed and set fire to the tents of the Anti-Maidan camp. The remaining pro-federalism protesters entered the Trade Union Building, from where they exchanged shots and Molotov cocktails with their opponents outside. …

At about 7.45 p.m. a fire broke out in the Trade Union Building. Forensic examinations subsequently indicated that the fire had started in five places, namely the lobby, on the staircases to the left and right of the building between the ground and first floors, in a room on the first floor and on the landing between the second and third floors. Other than the fire in the lobby, the fires could only have been started by the acts of those inside the building. The forensic reports did not find any evidence to suggest that the fire had been preplanned. The closed doors and the chimney effect caused by the stairwell resulted in the fire’s rapid spread to the upper floors and a fast and extreme rise in the temperature inside the building.”

The local investigation thus blamed the anti-Maidan protestors for starting the fire throughout the building. But this video, which shows events on that day leading to the fire, depicts the main blaze in the lobby. It shows Right Sector extremists lobbing Molotov cocktails into the building and a policeman firing his gun at it. It does not show any cocktails thrown from the building. It doesn’t show clashes earlier in the day, though one pro-unity protestor says they were attacked at Cathedral Square and they’ve come to burn the anti-Maidan protestors in the building for revenge:


The New York Times buried the first news of the massacre in a May 2, 2014 story, saying “dozens of people died in a fire related to clashes that broke out between protesters holding a march for Ukrainian unity and pro-Russian activists.”

The Times then published a video report that said dozens were killed in a fire, “and others were shot dead when fighting between pro- and anti-Russian groups broke out on the streets of Odessa.” The video narrator says “crowds did their best to save lives.” It quotes Ukrainian police saying a “pro-Kiev march was ambushed … petrol bombs were thrown” and gun battles erupted on the streets.

The late Robert Parry, who founded Consortium News, reported on Aug. 10, 2014:

The brutality of these neo-Nazis surfaced again on May 2 when right-wing toughs in Odessa attacked an encampment of ethnic Russian protesters driving them into a trade union building which was then set on fire with Molotov cocktails. As the building was engulfed in flames, some people who tried to flee were chased and beaten, while those trapped inside heard the Ukrainian nationalists liken them to black-and-red-striped potato beetles called Colorados, because those colors are used in pro-Russian ribbons.

‘Burn, Colorado, burn’ went the chant.

As the fire worsened, those dying inside were serenaded with the taunting singing of the Ukrainian national anthem. The building also was spray-painted with Swastika-like symbols and graffiti reading ‘Galician SS,’ a reference to the Ukrainian nationalist army that fought alongside the German Nazi SS in World War II, killing Russians on the eastern front.”

“Every year on May 2, residents of Odessa come to the House of Trade Unions, where the tragedy occurred, to honor the memory of the victims,” the Ukrainian leftist group said. “But also every year on this day they are attacked by representatives of ultra-right groups with the inaction of the police.”

“This year,” the group said, “the authorities decided to prevent any gathering on May 2nd. Everyone who leaves their home on May 2 will be detained under the terms of the ‘curfew.'”

Sparked Donbass Rebellion

This event became the trigger for the uprising in the Donbass,” Repression of the Left and Dissenters in Ukraine said. Eight days after the Odessa massacre, coup resisters in the far eastern provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk, bordering on Russia, voted in a referendum to become independent from Ukraine. 

The U.S.-backed coup government then launched a military attack against the breakaway provinces, which continued for nearly eight years, killing thousands of people before prompting Russian intervention in the civil conflict.  Russia says it has proof that the Ukrainian military, which had amassed 60,000 of its troops at the line of contact, were on the verge of an offensive to retake the provinces. OSCE maps showed a dramatic increase of shelling from the government side into the rebel areas in the last week of February.

On Feb. 24 Russia invaded Ukraine with the stated purpose of “de-Nazifying” and “de-militarizing” Ukraine to protect Russian-speakers and the people of Donbass. In a televised address three days before the invasion, Russian President Vladimir Putin mentioned the events of May 2, 2014 in Odessa.

“One shudders at the memories of the terrible tragedy in Odessa, where peaceful protesters were brutally murdered, burned alive in the House of Trade Unions,” he said. “The criminals who committed that atrocity have never been punished, and no one is even looking for them. But we know their names and we will do everything to punish them, find them and bring them to justice.”

The demonstrators in Odessa that day were protesting the violent overthrow on Feb. 21, 2014 of the democratically-elected President Viktor Yanukovych. U.S. involvement in the coup is revealed in a leaked telephone conversation between Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine at the time. 

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times.  He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe  


27 comments for “Curfew for Anniversary of Odessa Massacre That Sparked Rebellion

  1. Kay Weir
    May 1, 2022 at 18:11

    Yes, thanks very much Joe for this excellent article. I’ve sent it out to several people, especially pertinent with the curfew May 1- 3 this month in Odessa preventing people from meeting to commemorate this horrible atrocity. This highlights the grotesque situation in Ukraine where truth is constantly stifled.
    One of the commenters on your articles says there’s no records of the coup, but there are many, in a BBC article still online, and links to a recording of Nuland saying “Fuck the EU.,”as she wanted a more virulent person to lead the anti-Russia regime America set up to replace the democratically elected govt.

    On another note, John Helmer is an Australian journalist who’s reported on Russia for many years. Here’s an illuminating article by a Russian journalist which Helmer has translated. hxxp:// It has details on the horrid use of civilians as shields by the Ukraine army and Azov battalion and terrible things done to civilians.
    AND, It looks like American and NATO chickens are roosting in the Azovstal bunker. They have been messing up Ukraine for years. But mainstream western media and people are in the dark, thanks to BBC, Reuters and American doublespeak.

  2. May 1, 2022 at 17:54

    Thank you for reporting on this I hope more realize the truth of what is happening, and push our leaders to stop using Ukraine as a pawn for their power addiction

  3. John C
    April 30, 2022 at 22:14

    Question: What exactly did the US do to cause the coup in 2014, beyond diplomacy?

    All I can find in the “leaks” of US calls and correspondence from the coup are references to meetings with group leaders and other diplomacy.
    – No references to payments or money.
    – No references to arms and arms shipments.
    – No references to the US organizing protest groups or strategizing protests.
    This does not sound like a US-sponsored or US-lead coup. More like the US offering advice.

    What am I missing?

      May 1, 2022 at 09:31

      They are speaking of “midwifing” an unconstitutional change of government and deciding who should make up the coup government.

    • Jonathan
      May 1, 2022 at 12:01


    • Rob Roy
      May 1, 2022 at 19:36

      I heard Victoria Nuland say “We spent five million dollars” on the coup to take out democratically elected Victor Yanukovich, the still legitimate president. Then an American woman was made head of Ukraine finance. Hillary thought if she could take out Yanukovich in Ukraine, she could take out Putin in Russia after she bombed Iran (another planned long war). I read all this in her infamous emails. Bill Clinton always planned to put the aggressive NATO in Ukraine: “We’ll shove NATO down the throats of the Russians.” The Monroe-Doctrine, Wolfowitz-Doctrine is continuing full force. The means the US must own all the resources in the world and control all the leaders. If you don’t bow to the “exceptional” United States, you will be sorry.

    • Picyphic Hytes
      May 1, 2022 at 20:14

      The other evidence (that is now missing) were the $billions in grants from the National Endowment for Democracy for pro-Neoliberal propaganda campaigns & organizing, and the social media campaigns that prompted so many people to show up at Maidan. The U.S. and the EU were trying to sell to Ukraine the same Neoliberal/austerity/trickle-down economics that broke Russia in the early 1990s, and that was crushing Greece in 2014, and is breaking the U.S. today.

      In addition, the people that Victoria Nuland & Geoffrey Pyatt had picked for various positions inside & outside of the post-coup government went straight to those positions after the coup.

    • I Stevenson
      May 2, 2022 at 18:42

      This is what you missed John. The Parliament of Ukraine voted for an association with the EU which the President , Viktor Yanukovvch, tried to over rule. He then wanted to join the Eurasia Economic Union, which is not what most Ukrainians wanted. Do you wnder it led to a change of government?
      I seriously doubt the CIA could have manipulated the Ukrainians to do something they didn’t want to do. Putin put pressure on Yanukovych.


  4. Irina
    April 30, 2022 at 21:24

    I go to Yahoo News to see what the headlines are. Suddenly, as of today, there are numerous
    articles about The War with the byline ‘Ukrayinska Pravda’. One of them talks about Odessa
    in terms of Russian special services using criminals to create chaos in Odessa :


    There are So Many of these stories, plus a few with the byline “New Voice of Ukraine”. Weird.
    Ukrayinska Pravda stories even come accompanied with a gmail web address. Super weird.

    The prior Consortium News article on Zelensky notes the connections between Z and Ukraine
    Media, which has been consolidated into something called “Ukrinform”. I hope someone is
    able to look further into this new development of Ukrayinska Pravda articles showing up en
    masse on Yahoo news feeds and let us know what is going on.

    • irina
      May 1, 2022 at 14:18

      Link to a Yahoo News article today attributed to the “New Voice of Ukraine”
      which predicts that Ukrainian troops will be marching in Red Square :


      Curiously, the article is clearly written in first person but there is absolutely no inkling of who authored it.

  5. Aaron
    April 30, 2022 at 19:50

    ““Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive”. ” – Sir Walter Scott
    Our leaders and their partners in the Zionist media like the NYT successfully deceive American citizens, and this war that they have now engaged us in is spinning out of control and we won’t be able to extricate ourselves from this horrible disaster.

  6. Jeff Harrison
    April 30, 2022 at 18:53

    Thank you, Joe. I imagine that the majority of Americans are clueless about this. After all, if you run against the narrative you get banned from twitter, facebook , et al. I personally think that social media should be banned from putting “news” up on their web pages.

  7. Ray Knowles
    April 30, 2022 at 17:38

    This article should be sent to all 100 members of the U.S. Senate and to the 400 plus member of the House of Representatives. They should be asked if they still will vote for the $30 billions Biden wants to give Ukraine.

  8. Humwawa
    April 30, 2022 at 17:35

    The whole of Europe is in the grip of total madness. I don’t believe that 1914 or 1939 were anything as bad. Young people today look down in condescension on the generation that fell prey to the Nazi propaganda of the 20th century without realizing that they are about to fall for an even bigger lie. People are so full of themselves, believing they have all the information in the digital networks at their fingertips. They don’t realize that the digital networks serve to manipulate them by a subtle mix of disinformation. Goebbels would have been so proud of the propagandists of the 21st century.

    Europe is prepared to sacrifice its peace and prosperity together with its future generation to defend the illusionary sovereign rights of the Maidan Republic that’s been born from a fascist coup engineered by US imperialists. After killing more than 20 million Russians during WWII, the German government is once again arming Nazis in Ukraine for killing even more Russians. The German chancellor went to Kyiv to offer his respect at the memorial for the “Order of the Heaven’s Hundred Heroes” commemorating those killed on the Maidan in 2014. The Maidan Republic prosecuted police officers who defended the institutions of the state for allegedly shooting demonstrators while the fascist snipers from the Right Sector who killed demonstrators and police officers were given a general amnesty by the prosecutor general in Kyiv from the far-right Svoboda party, who was given the job in recompense for Svoboda’s role in the coup and to cover up what really happened on the Maidan.

    The corporate empire is busily deleting all the inconvenient facts from the Internet. Dissidents and their records are disappeared from the digital world. It’s generally assumed that any folly we utter in the social media will be there for all eternity, yet the corporate censors have been very efficient at deleting incriminating videos and documents that don’t support the mainstream narrative.

    Ultimately we need to make hard copies of all the documents so history is not rewritten. We have to guard the truth like the apple of our eye. It’s the most precious thing we have. Don’t forget the massacre of Odessa.

  9. John V. Walsh
    April 30, 2022 at 15:45

    It is time for progressives and those who really oppose war and empire to STOP condemning Russia.
    It is time for “US proxy war on Russia to the last Ukrainian” to become standard fare.
    There should be no more capitulation to the phony narrative that Russia is responsible for this – or that Russia fired the first shot, ignoring the 14000 dead due to seven years of shelling the Ukraine.
    Time to tell the truth instead of trying to gain “credibility” by caving to the Big Lie.
    Let us put the blame squarely where it belongs – on our own government here in the US.

  10. April 30, 2022 at 14:58

    I watched the whole Part 6 video “Roses Have Thorns.” It is disgusting. I was working abroad in South America when the Maidan coup first happened, and I was still working abroad when the Odessa Massacre took place. Surprisingly, the news coverage was very good and a lot of what was shown in the video was aired (uncut) on the TV. I was shocked when I went to the internet to see how the Western news sites were covering this event and found that at best they distorted news, or even worse, there no, or little news at all.
    This seems to be the modus operandi by the Western MSM today; either lie or ignore the truth if it doesn’t fit the official narrative. When I returned home, I was also surprised that many people that I considered to be at least nominally progressive, told me that what I saw in SA were lies and propaganda. I was not aware of this video, though I found other pieces of videos that supported the Donbass narrative. Sometimes I feel like I am living in the Twilight Zone.

  11. Carstie Clausen
    April 30, 2022 at 14:53

    Unfortunately, the media-mesmerized morons making up the majority of American sub-urbanites (heavy on college and university mis-educated boobtoob addicts) have been hermetically sealed in their own states of near terminal delusion and being cognitively dissonant, adamantly refuse to become anything other than “comfortably numb”.

    To clarify a bit, the majority of Americans live in sub-urbs. To quote Gertrude Stein: “There is no there there”. No sense of community in middle-middle class burbs, but a well developed herd instinct. This mindset is specifically sub-urban. Many folks in purely urban communities at least possess street-sense. Rural folks, though usually no longer having retained their get up and go types, retain considerable levels of common-sense…a most rare commodity in the Burbs.

  12. Francis Lee
    April 30, 2022 at 14:13

    I witnessed this barbarism Odessa the first time around in 2014, and I have never been able to watch it again. I think that every western politician and journalist should be made to sit and watch this outrage instead of hiding behind their media blackouts. Using the British playwright Harold Pinter’s Nobel Prize winning speech of 2005, describing a similar American backed mass murder in Latin America, a similar heinous episode in some benighted Latin American state he averred

    ”It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a benign hegemon.’

  13. Gregor Sirotof
    April 30, 2022 at 14:13

    Thank you, Joe Lauria, for retelling the horrific events that happened in Odessa on May 2nd, 2014. The mainstream corporate owned media intentionally ignores and pretends these events never happened. Most, even people thought of as highly educated, Americans are apparently not even aware that these events ever happened. They give you that blank stare as if you were talking about the invasion of the Earth by alien creatures from outer space, that I’m sure many readers of Consortium News are familiar with. That speaks to the insidious pervasiveness of the corporate media lie. They accuse us of exaggerating and distorting the NAZI threat by pointing to the fact that the Ukrainian President { puppet of the US State Department } is Jewish and the fact that the NAZI type parties received only a small percentage of the vote. The crucial point they conveniently leave out of their narrative is that if this supposedly small percentage of the population has its own army that can act independent of the so called elected government and threaten and take the lives of anyone, including the Jewish president, they clearly have power in Ukraine, which this history of what happened in Odessa proves, all with the backing, planning, training, and financing by the Obama, Trump and Biden regimes at the behest of the American Oligarchs.

    • April 30, 2022 at 17:31

      The Biden administration has just announced the creation of a new Disinformation Governance Board, to be part of the Homeland Security Department. Critics have compared it to the ‘Ministry of Truth’ in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. The justification is to expose Russian disinformation according to the Biden White House. And who did Biden choose to head this new Orwellian ‘Department of Truth?” Nina Jankowicz, who previously worked as an advisor to the Ukrainian government. Jankowicz managed democracy assistance programs for Russia and Belarus at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. She holds an MA in Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.
      She recently wrote that “Today, Western policymakers seem to finally recognize not only that the Kremlin instigated and continues the war in Ukraine, but that the Kremlin treats the information ecosystem as an active front in any conflict…” Considering the subject of this story about the Azvo Nazis in Odessa, and the Donbass, I wonder where she would stand in relation to the truthfulness of this story. Really, is this what America has come to; a department of truth to sheild US lies.

  14. wullu
    April 30, 2022 at 14:04

    For those wondering, “Repression of the Left and Dissenters in Ukraine” is a telegram channel reporting on the repression, not an official organ of Ukraine performing it (I had to check).

      April 30, 2022 at 15:09

      Do you really think an official organ of the Ukrainian state would be so bold as to give that name to one of its Telegram channels?

  15. April 30, 2022 at 13:53

    Inconvenient truths, conveniently erased. Harbingers and their progeny.

  16. Drew Hunkins
    April 30, 2022 at 13:24

    These are the Russophobic fascists I want brought to justice, pronto. If there’s any semblance of justice left in this world, these odious cretins somehow eventually wind up on a death row.

    • charles
      April 30, 2022 at 15:04

      We need to hold Victoria Nuland totally responisble for this act of horror. These criminals were bought and paid for by our government. A complete clean out of the state department and redirect our efforts to control these monsters. Nuland=Albright.

  17. JonnyJames
    April 30, 2022 at 12:06

    I clearly remember Robert Parry being one of the first journalists in the English-speaking world to cover this in detail and expose the far-right, Nazi murders in Ukraine. Thanks to Joe Lauria for covering this as well, CN is doing a great job.

    I also remember speaking with Mr. Parry on the phone on a live interview with Dennis Bernstein on KPFA radio. We talked about the situation in Ukraine and the deliberate distortions and omissions of the monolithic corporate/oligarchy “media”. It was such a breath of fresh air to hear such intelligent discourse from Dennis and Bob live on the air! The fresh air was amid a sea of choking miasma.

  18. Henry Smith
    April 30, 2022 at 11:20

    Western supported Nazis enjoying a good ‘Kristalnacht’. This is what western support of Ukraine actually entails.
    I hope the Russians take Odessa and stop these animals from polluting the Black Sea.

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