Facebook Status Update of Yuriy Butusov, Kyiv, contributing editor at Tsenzor.net, April 28, 2014 (Translated from Russian by William Risch, Georgia College):
Whatever we thought about Kernes, the attempt on his life was directly connected to changes in his political position. For me, Kernes was a symbol of the chaos organized crime had brought to the revolution, and his role in it simply cannot be ignored. And it’s a shame that he was appointed mayor of Kharkiv.
But after threats of Russian intervention surfaced, he changed his position dramatically. It was Kernes who, after talking with Dnipropetrovsk governor Ihor Kolomoisky, cancelled a congress of the First Ukrainian Front, an organization that the Kremlin was using to legitimate splitting up Ukraine. He and his friend, former Kharkiv governor Mykhailo Dobkin, were key figures in the Kremlin’s strategy, and Kernes by leaving it did great damage to Russia’s influence over events. Kernes should have become one of the regime’s representatives in a pro-Ukrainian movement spanning the regions of South-East Ukraine from Kharkiv to Odesa.
These were the motives for assassinating Kernes:
- Weaken opposition to separatist movements in Kharkiv and in Ukraine in general.
- Through organized terror of individuals, frighten leaders of south-eastern regions before Kolomoisky’s announcement to establish a council of South-East governors and regional leaders.
- Make a personal threat toward Ihor Kolomoisky.
- Organize a campaign on behalf of a marionette “people’s mayor” in Kharkiv.
I think that the attempt on Kernes’ life is an act of political terror. And pro-Russian separatist organizations ordered it. Kernes represented no political threat to Kyiv. Kernes has not been a fighter for Ukraine, but he definitely hasn’t been part of Putin’s script.
According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), he was shot from a car. According to Yuriy Sapronov, he was shot by a Dragunov sniper rifle in the woods.
The situation in Kharkiv could get considerably worse, and this is very frightening to think about.