Odessa: Ode to Joy Flash Mob v. confused pro-Russian demonstrators
The delightful flash mob at an Odessa market on Sunday was intended as an affirmation of Ukraine’s unity, and certainly united the audience in applause. The performance of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy from the 9th Symphony (EU Hymn) is best watched:
Participants in another - pro-Russian - demonstration, also in Odessa, seem considerably less clear of what it is they’re fighting for, or who they’re fighting against. Several thousand pro-Russian protesters with red Soviet and Russian flags gathered outside the Polish consulate in Odessa to condemn the moves toward EU integration and to call on Poles to condemn what they follow Russian propaganda in calling "Ukrainian fascism".
At the same time they chanted: "Poles, remember the Katyń massacre!" and held placards with this menacing, or just baffling title. Katyń refers to one of Stalin’s crimes when 22 thousand Polish officers and others were murdered by the NKVD in April 1940. Some of the imprisoned officers were murdered in other camps, but the crime is usually referred to by the name of the forest near Smolensk in Russia where the largest common grave was found by the Nazis in 1943. The Soviets always denied responsibility and the Russian authorities, particularly under Vladimir Putin, have also hindered, rather than facilitated, attempts to establish the full truth about a terrible crime against humanity which many Poles consider an act of genocide.
If the protesters thought they were warning Poles of the dangers of "fascism", their knowledge of history or level of communist brainwashing was truly incredible. If they were threatening Poles, then any pretence of an ideological component was absurd.
Despite fears there were no major disturbances at the demonstrations throughout Ukraine on Sunday, both those in support of Ukrainian unity and those with pro-Russian and pro-Yanukovych banners. Many of those at the latter rallies had communist party flags. This might seem especially strange in the light of the obscene opulence which Yanukovych and his cronies have been proved to have lived in - at the Ukrainian people’s expense. On the other hand, it would be hard to call it unexpected given the fact that Yanukovych’s Party of the Region was able to gain a majority in parliament which obediently passed every law he demanded by enlisting the communists, as well as a number of turncoats.