Blue and yellow flags over Odessa
The views of the author do not represent the official position of the Foundation; the expressed opinions are subjective and are those of the author. The Foundation consistently opposes Putin‘s confrontational policy and recognises Ukraine’s right to territorial integrity.
Odessa, 21st April 2014
Blue and yellow flags are flying prominently all over the city: at the City Council building, the “Odessa" hotel, the Marine Station and the Odessa central railway station. On Dumskaya Ploshchad (Duma Square), in front of the City Councils seat, someone has painted a blue and yellow flag on the fence.
At the Marine Station, there is a Ukrainian border station. Excursion ships from Odessa to Sevastopol sail under the Ukrainian flag. Two Ukrainian militsiya men are on duty in front of the Internal Affairs Office on Preobrazhenskaya Street. A blue and yellow flag is also flying at the neighbouring building of the fire service.
At the same time, we can read on townhouse walls: GLORY OF RUSSIA, "Do you want to know why we do not wish to live in your Ukraine? – Because of you!".
At about 7 p.m., at the top of Potemkin Stairs, I encounter a group of over 20 people with Ukrainian flags, accompanied by TV camera operators. These are members of the EuroMaidan of Odessa. They gather daily at 6 p.m. by the Duke de Richelieu monument. Today, they are taking part in a live "Telemost" (TV bridge) programme which is broadcast every Monday between 6 and 8 p.m. on Channel 1 of Odessa Municipal Television. Questions asked by “residents” are answered by the head of the oblast (district), Vladimir Nemirovsky. The “residents” are representatives of the two antagonist groups, the EuroMaidan and AntiMaidan.
The AntiMaidan in Odessa, organised following the Kiyv Maidan model, expresses the aspirations and concerns of the Russian-speaking population. It attracts many times more people than the EuroMaidan. The tent city is erected on Kulikove Pole, near the Odessa central railway station. The meetings are held daily at 6 p.m. but women and men with black and orange Georgievskaya Lentas are there all day long.
AntiMaidan representatives join the “Telemost” on a par with EuroMaidan. The programme editors make sure that each of the parties has the same amount of air time.