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Persecution of Odessa historian E. Radzihovskaya

Witchhunt on dissenters

10. July 2016

On June 28, the holiday that marks the signing of the Ukrainian Constitution, a peaceful demonstration was held in Odessa to protest violations of this basic law of the country. Authorities were informed on event in accordance with a law on rallies. During this event, there was a conflict between the head of the Odessa Right Sector, Sergei Sternenko, and a member of the Council of Mothers of May 2, Elena Alexandrovna Radzikhovskaya. Later, the Rector of Odessa University received a statement from Sternenko alleging Radzikhovskaya had engaged in anti-Ukrainian activities.

Sergey Sternenko also accused Radzikhovskaya, a leading specialist with the university’s Faculty of History, of using foul language in a public place and demanded the university administration dismiss her. In response, the Rector officially said that university authorities condemned Radzikhovskaya’s alleged actions and were launching an internal investigation, reflecting a lack of respect for the Constitution of Ukraine and the teacher, Elena Alexandrovna Radzikhovskaya.

The Council of Mothers of May 2 declared that Sergei Sternenko in his letter had made allegations and attacks defaming the honor and dignity of Elena Radzikhovskaya. Available video proves that the statements of Elena Alexandrovna did not contain anything that would justify Sternenko’s accusations.

Elena Radzikhovskaya is now preparing a lawsuit in court to defend her honor, dignity and business reputation, in which the defendant will serve S.Sternenko.

Ukraine has begun a new round of the persecution of dissidents. This time it is using the notorious “employment ban,” condemned by the international community as anti-democratic and unconstitutional. It is ironic that this technique is presented as defending the Ukrainian Constitution.

Sergey Sternenko is the leader of Right Sector of Odessa. He personally participated in the siege of Odessa’s House of Trade Unions on May 2, 2014, which resulted in the deaths of dozens of Odessa residents. Currently Sternenko is a figure in several criminal cases, the most serious of which concerns the kidnapping and torture of an individual. All this did not prevent him from testifying in the case of Yevgeny Mefedov and from giving statements that the defense has every reason to consider false. The Ukrainian court found Sternenko to be a respectable member of society, and on the basis of his evidence left Mefedov behind bars.

Elena Radzikhovskaya is an Associate Professor in the Department of Ancient History and Middle Ages at the University of Odessa. She has worked for 25 years in the university’s History Department. Elena is a leading authority on the history of the Middle Ages and has taught several generations of Odessa historians. Elena’s son, Andrew Brazhevsky, died on May 2, 2014, during the storming of the House of Trade Unions. There is evidence that he was finished off with a stick after jumping from the windows of the building to escape the fire. To date there has not been a real investigation into the deaths of the dozens of Odessa residents during the siege of the House of Trade Unions. Elena Radzikhovskaya, together with other mothers and relatives of those who died, is a courageous fighter for justice. She has testified about the siege at hearings held by presigious international organizations.