Kyiv was not the only city that faced tragedy and loss in the wake of the Euromaidan protests of 2013-2014. Precisely three years ago, during the ‘Russian Spring’, in which the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk broke away as self-proclaimed republics and Crimea was illegally annexed by Russia, the port city of Odessa experienced a tragedy of its own.
On May 2nd 2014, after a string of armed confrontations between the Euromaidan and Antimaidan protesters, a fire broke out in the Trade Union House, trapping pro-Russian protesters inside. 42 people died as a result of the fire, either from carbon monoxide poisoning or from jumping from the windows of the burning building. A further 6 people died from gunshot wounds in the conflict that preceded the fire.
The ‘Odesa massacre’ has been heavily exploited by Russian propagandists as warning against the Ukrainian ‘fascist junta’, claiming that the fire was started by a molotov cocktaila thrown by pro-Ukrainian protesters. However, three years on, no one has been held accountable for the escalations and the investigations are still ongoing.
The ‘May 2 Group’ is an initiative set up in the aftermath of the ‘Odesa massacre’, comprising of journalists, experts and Odesans who are committed to dispelling the myths around these tragic events. In their documentary, ‘The Odesa Tragedy: Bloody Trail of the ‘Russian Spring’, expert witnesses, eyewitnesses and participants offer their insight into what really happened on that day.