Today I have a juicy cat-fight for you. In its most simplistic form I pose it as Gennady Trukhanov on one side of the cat-ring; versus Mikheil Saakashvili on the other. And I will go on to explain who these men are (to those who don’t know), and what is their beef against one another.
So, here is the lede, along with yesterday’s dramatic development: Odessa’s eccentric Governor-General, Mikheil Saakashvili appeared on TV with a call to bring in troops to restore order to the city and region which he rules with an iron hand. But where he is constantly thwarted by the city’s disloyal Mayor, Gennady Trukhanov.
Here is the piece, which contains an accompanying video. I am just a little suspicious of the author of that piece, who calls himself Levan Saloidze, which I suspect is a pseudonym.
And here is also the same video on youtube:
Fans of Saakashvili know that he is a man who is easily panicked. Like a one-man herd of baby gazelles, he is easily stampeded. Unlike, say, the Duke of Wellington, Misha does not possess a cold and rational mind, implacably logical in the heat of combat. Those who follow Misha’s leadership must be prepared to dive off the nearest cliff, like lemmings, upon the first scent of gunpowder.
Saakashvili starts his television address to the citizenry with the following words:
“Tonight a dozen or so Titushki have beaten up people who were protesting at the Mayor’s office. This incident occurred under cover of darkness, with the collusion of the city’s Mayor, who earlier had shut off all the external cameras to the scene.”
The PolitNavigator piece helpfully includes this link to the earlier story, which provides the background as to that, of which Misha speaks. That piece was written by a journalist named Olga Kozachenko, from Kiev.
Down With Trukhanov!
I am trying to break down the backstory as accuraely as possible, because this is a man-bites-dog kind of story, so I want to make sure I get it clear who is the man, and who is the dog. Or, if you will, a cat versus cat story.
So, the Mayor of Odessa is a man named Gennady Trukhanov. As can be seen from his photo at the right, in this politically divided society, Trukhanov attempts to please everyone and remain neutral: On his lapel he wears a Ukrainian ribbon and also a St. George Ribbon.
Opposing Trukhanov, whom they consider to be too pro-Russian, are the “Pro-Ukrainian” Auto-Maidan gang. Leader of this gang is a man named Evgeny Rezvushkin. Rezvushkin is constantly in trouble with the law and has been jailed several times. In Odessa, the law is Trukhanov, and when you fight the law, the law usually wins. Unless you are Auto-Maidan, in which case you often get a second chance.
Rezvushkin doesn’t like Trukhanov one bit, so he led his gang of professional “protesters” to the Mayor’s office. Photos in the linked piece show the Maidanites leaving their signature calling card: Piled up tires in front the Mayor’s office. Their aim was to do their usual Maidan stuff, block the work of the Mayor’s office, maybe take over the building. So they set up their usual “Maidan” camp there, along with soup kitchens, sleeping bags and home-made barricades.
Autos vs Titushki
But Trukhanov is no sitting duck, and sometimes even ducks fight back. Around 4:00 AM in the morning of (I believe) April 26, a bus arrived at the scene. The bus disgorged its passengers. Which consisted of titushki. The titushki proceeded to bloody some noses of the Auto-Maidanites. Who resisted and continued to block the doors to the Mayor’s office.
As this stand-off continues, this is when Governor Misha decided to jump into the fray. Saakashvili is allied with the Auto-Maidan crowd and was very upset when his friends were attacked by the titushki.
In his television address, Saakashvili went on to describe the state of unrest which has gripped the city of Odessa:
- Titushki attacking law-abiding Auto-Maidan at the Mayor’s office
- A bank was shot up in the center of town
- Separatists and other unsavory elements working feverishly to discredit the Saakashvili regime
- Enemies are gearing up for the May 2 anniversary
- All the signs of governmental collapse are there for anyone to see
- Saakashvili demands that his friend David Sakvarelidze be restored to his Prosecutor’s job, from which he was fired
- Saak also demands that additional National Guard forces be brought into the city to restore order
- And also demands that the police and security agencies investigate the treasonous activities of the Mayor, Trukhanov
“They allowed the titushki in, and Kiev is silent,” Saak complains. “We need to act immediately. We shall restore law and order.”