Aug. 3, 2015, by Allison Quinn, Kyiv Post combined with Georgia Today
|pro-Ukraine activists in today’s clash. – photo credit: Kyiv Post|
Special forces were deployed along with police negotiators on Aug. 3 when a rally in Kharkiv erupted into violent clashes, with pro-Ukrainian activists driving supporters of the Opposition Bloc into a building in a scene frighteningly reminiscent of the May 2 Odesa massacre.
The events started out peacefully on July 30, with local residents staging a protest in support of the Opposition Bloc registering for local elections. Another rally was held by pro-Ukrainian activists to protest the party’s registration, according to international monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which observed the two separate rallies.
The Opposition Bloc brings together political parties that did not support the 2014 Euromaidan Revolution and have a decidedly pro-Russian slant.
Tensions hit a fever pitch at the same rally held on Aug. 3, when members of the ultranationalist group Right Sector and other pro-Ukrainian activists clashed with supporters of the Opposition Bloc.
After the two rallies had wrapped up and Opposition Bloc lawmaker Mikhail Dobkin went back to his office, unknown masked men began throwing stones and smashing up Dobkin’s vehicle, a blue minibus.
A video of the incident shows dozens of masked men destroying the vehicle while being taunted by a separate group of men across the street, apparently supporters of the Opposition Bloc. After a brief period of calm, shots were fired as masked men threw stones the building where the rival group was located.
Police were quickly forced to cordon off the entire area. Dobkin and his aides were driven back into the building, where they barricaded themselves until police negotiators arrived to talk them out. By mid-afternoon, police vans had arrived to take away those detained for the violence, though it was not immediately clear how many people had been taken into custody.
While various media reports placed the blame for the violence on Right Sector, the group’s spokesman, Artyom Skoropadsky, said members of the group had only been present at the rally to “support the locals who were against the Opposition Bloc.”
“Then clashes broke out when provocateurs started firing at random. So, of course, Right Sector responded, because how can they not respond when they’re being shot at?” he said.
“These are the people responsible for killing people on Maidan,” Skoropadsky said of the Opposition Bloc, explaining why the group was against the party registering for local elections in Kharkiv.
Dobkin, in comments to Ukrinform, denied that his supporters had initiated the clashes, saying pro-Ukrainian activists had blocked the road to the local justice ministry building in the morning, preventing him from being able to submit the necessary documents for local elections.
In a separate statement issued after the incident, Dobkin described the events as a “violation of all democratic values, rights and freedom,” and said he believed local authorities had set the whole thing up to prevent him from being able to register for elections.
GT: Kharkiv has been the scene of numerous violent protests pitting pro-Russians against pro-Ukrainians throughout the conflict in Ukraine, with one such rally culminating in a shootout in March 2014. According to the Security Service of Ukraine, the city is also one of the main flashpoints for pro-Russian subversives seeking to destabilize the political situation, and there is an active separatist underground.
They broke windows in the building, throwing smoke bombs, according to users in social networks.
Witnesses say that the hijackers herded into the building a few dozen men (according to the media – supporters of “opposition bloc”), which is locked in the building. Gunfire was heard. In addition, the raiders attacked a minivan parked in front of the building – broken glass in it (the bus, according to preliminary data, belongs to “the opposition bloc”).
As the correspondent of STATUS QUO, ul.Skrypnika currently blocked, the office building is located near the police and rescuers. Near the scene – a few dozen people in balaclavas.
The building, broken windows, broken glass of the front door.
Editor’s note by J. Flores: In Kharkov, violence erupted as pro-Novorossiya demonstrators clash with Ukraine’s ultra-Nationalists. In several reports on Syncretic Studies and two podcasts on the Plane Truth, going back to at least last Spring, I forecasted a specific way that Kharkov would be a very important piece in the Novorossiya project. At that time, I also indicated in response to questions about whether the DPR or LPR armies would liberate Kharkov – I said that it would not, not overtly. We would see in Kharkov a transformation similarly to what we should expect later in Mariupol and even Odessa: these will be initiated by at-first-peaceful protests, building occupations, and only later supported by ‘organic’ home-grown people’s militias, which in fact may include some little green men and friendly stranger elements. But that is only one scenario in which Poroshenko needs to be pressured in that way.
At the same time, events in Kiev including pressure upon Poroshenko can render the above expectation redundant.
The strategies must conform to changing realities, the tactics change in real-time. This means that sometimes the Novorossiya project is highlighted as something that must grow, sometimes it is not. Novorossiyan leadership as well as Russian leadership realize that there needs to be regime change in Kiev, whether this includes Poroshenko or not. As we recall, Yatsenyuk, Turchinov, and Klitschko were the US’s dream team favored to provoke an overt Russian response which could then be blamed for Ukraine’s collapsed economy, justify increased intervention and NATO activity against Russia, and so on, pulling Russia further into a primarily military course that would cause for it dwindling respect and tolerance in Europe and the ‘international community’.
This only partially materialized, as Russia was able to mitigate this US move by responding in an unorthodox manner. Poroshenko really was the compromise candidate, but one that the US had long included in its Ukrainian Network (according to Wiki-leaks, which still may be a limited hangout), but whom the EU and Russia saw as a better alternative to the ‘dream team’.
All of this means that the Donbass is important for it is the center of various plans and contingencies.
There are no absolutes except for the real desired ‘positions’ of the US, Russia, and EU. Everything else is subject to change in the tug of war. Strategies and real-time tactics are not written in stone, but are subordinate, flexible, to changes in the real world.
Today’s events in Kharkov are not by themselves either confirmation of or against my numbered theses on the war, but they do serve as yet another piece of corroborating evidence. Because of Voentorg, ‘north winds’, and other matters too sensitive to disclose on Fort Russ, the role of Russia in helping to determine the outcome of struggles such as those in Kharkov should not be understated.