Saturday, August 27, 2016


Oksana Makar's Horrific Death Gives Ukraine Reason To Reflect

Ukrainian medical staff assist Oksana Makar, the victim of a vicious attack in the southern town of Mykolayiv, as she is brought for treatment to a hospital in Donetsk. She died of her injuries nearly three weeks later.
Ukrainian medical staff assist Oksana Makar, the victim of a vicious attack in the southern town of Mykolayiv, as she is brought for treatment to a hospital in Donetsk. She died of her injuries nearly three weeks later.
"She’s just a loose girl,” responded my Kyiv colleague when I asked her about how Ukrainian media were covering the tragic story of Oksana Makar, an 18-year-old girl from the southern city of Mykolayiv who had been gang-raped, strangled, dumped in a pit, and set ablaze.

On the day of our conversation, Oksana was fighting for her life. Her kidneys were severely damaged, one of her arms had been amputated, her lungs were in danger, and 55 percent of her body was burned.

I frankly didn’t know how to respond to such a value judgment from an intelligent and, by all previous indications, seemingly compassionate woman.

Sadly, her response mirrored that of many other people in the Ukrainian world of web forums, tabloid talk shows, and newspapers.

Oksana’s horrible story laid open the hardness and heartlessness that is part and parcel of today’s Ukrainian society.

People wrote that she was a slut, that she would pick up men in bars, that she had been detained for soliciting, that she got what was coming to her, that her mother was a chronic alcoholic who was using funds donated for her daughter’s medical care for her own use.

They also wrote that her alleged attackers were animals and should be killed, that this crime was indicative of a sick, debauched society whose corrupt government cares little for its people and their troubles.

And then the spin began.

Oksana Makar: "We Remember. We Love. We're Angry."Oksana Makar: "We Remember. We Love. We're Angry."
Oksana Makar: "We Remember. We Love. We're Angry."
Oksana Makar: "We Remember. We Love. We're Angry."
A video appeared mysteriously; it was apparently leaked by the authorities. In the video, one of the suspects, handcuffed, recalls the events of the evening to a police interrogator.

Dispassionately, calmly, he describes the rape, the strangling, and the dumping of the body.

The authorities promptly began investigating the leak, only to later admit that they had released the video intentionally.

Another disturbing video appeared shortly thereafter of Oksana herself, speaking from her hospital bed. The video was shot by her mother, Tetyana Surovitska. 

In excruciating pain, Oksana says that her attackers should be castrated and imprisoned. 

Oksana’s mother was accused of exploiting her daughter’s tragic situation.

Several sites ran stories about letters from "criminal authorities" being sent to the Mykolayiv prison, where the suspects were held, with instructions to inmates about how to deal with them accordingly.

The news even made it to Russia, where a talk show on the country’s first state channel focused on how the perpetrators should be punished. As one panelist proposed, their genitalia should be cut off, dried, put on a string, and given to Oksana so she knows that they can never do to anyone else what they did to her.

Ukraine’s female protesters from the Femen group, whose trademark is to protest topless, stormed the state prosecutor’s office holding signs reading “Death to sadists” and “The country demands revenge.” They were quickly bundled off by the police, but not before the cameras had their fill.

Everybody cynically got in on the game while Oksana clung to life.

Humanity Emerges

The young woman’s tragedy, however, also brought out the best in a people who have become used to being downtrodden, abused, and exploited.

Let’s start with the willingness to help.

Thousands of people sent money to assist with Oksana's medical care. They gave blood and reached out to her mother. Sympathy and support poured in. People were shocked by the event and appalled by the authorities' reaction.

When two of the three suspects in the case were released because they allegedly had connections to influential people in the area, there was a public outcry. People protested and demanded justice; the authorities had no choice but to rearrest the suspects.

Several prosecutors lost their jobs and the prosecutor-general took control of the case.

People prayed, held vigils, and searched for reasons and explanations.

And then Oksana died. After clinging to life for more than two weeks, her heart gave out.

After her death, all three suspects were charged with premeditated murder, in addition to rape.

Oksana’s mother announced that she would use the collected funds to buy Oksana a suitable gravestone and that she would donate the rest for the medical care of another victim of sexual assault who is in a coma in a local hospital.

She would bury her daughter in a wedding dress, she said, as her attackers “deprived her of the possibility of marriage.”

So ends the story of a “loose girl.” A girl who never had a chance.

-- Irena Chalupa
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: Jack from: US
March 30, 2012 20:15
this story is worthy of a country aspiring to join the crowd of NATO minions. Ukraine fits right in, alongside Moldova and Romania.
In Response

by: Camel Anaturk from: Kurdistan
March 31, 2012 22:20
This is where 95 years of `communism` have led the Ukraine to.The first to be castrated,if they ,of course have not already done it themselves are kaka kakod Jack and Eugenio from `Austria`
In Response

by: Rick from: Milan
April 01, 2012 12:03
or 22 years of wild capitalism ?
and the 3 bastards
didn't even know
what was communism
In Response

by: junko from: romania
April 02, 2012 14:42
u.s. is full of crimes. even more tragic ones. but there are so many that the media can't spread all of them. moreover this could have happened in any other country...if you are so eager to generalize everything than i have the right to assume that you're the typical american racist. yeah i know romania or moldova are not countries to be praised but still they should not be compared with ukraine..for your trivia romania was never entirely assimilated by another country (as ukraine was by russia)..the communism in romania was a "personalised"one thus different from the communism in ukraine where russia had an primary influence...etc etc

by: Nadia from: Canada
March 30, 2012 21:31
Rage Ukraine Rage.
In Response

by: Inka Lanser-Liebe from: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
March 30, 2012 23:12
Yes, Nadia, you are right. Only the rage of the people can change the system in Ukraine.

This is a very good and compassinate article by Irena Chalupa.

by: Darren from: Australia
March 30, 2012 22:51
What made these men believe that they could do what they want
Or how are these women treated in this Ukraine surely the police did not release these men.
I fel sorry for this poor girl and now her mother to live through this event every single minute of every day this is a crime of the worst type it may indicate the fabric of a small group of people whom may think they are above the law
This is the second tragic story in a very short time the second was not published
The mother needs special care to understand not all people are out to

by: C. Thompson from: Nevada, US
March 30, 2012 23:10
This story touched a nerve. How cruel the world is. How life is so disposable. She was 19 years old. All the English language news seems to get that wrong. It also gave me hope in citizenry. How people in Ukraine united in seeking justice. You judge a society on how it treats the weakest members of society. Ukraine came through with flying colors. This could be anyone's daughter or sister.

by: Ray F. from: Lawrence, KS
March 31, 2012 03:08
What a sad, tragic and sick story. Will this type of journalism help to prevent such future crimes? I seriously doubt it. New media does a great job into transforming such awful felonies into entertainment. Perhaps RFE should be more judicious.

by: Chris from: Singapore
March 31, 2012 10:33
Some say she is a "loose girl or slut", so what!!! No person deserves such treatment.

RIP Oksana! Here can be a cruel world!

by: robert from: usa
March 31, 2012 11:10
The men that did this are animals. I don't care what the politics of a country is, or isn't, behavior such as this requires justice to be served. If it is proven to be pre-meditated the death penalty should not be taken out of consideration.
In Response

by: Inka from: Calgary, Canada
March 31, 2012 15:24
I would not call them animals, animals do not murder, they kill for food. I think they are sadistic devils who do not have a heart or soul.
RIP Oksana
In Response

by: Cas from: Australia
April 01, 2012 06:05
This dear innocent girl had her life robbed from her , in the prime of her life her hopes dashed.
Torment for her family that will go on for years.

Kindest thoughts to her family and may their loved Oksana be remembered by many.
RIP Oksana.
In Response

by: Larry from: USA
April 01, 2012 14:52
These men treated this poor sweet girl like she was only their food or entertainment for the night!! She was killed to hide waht they had done to her or with her. Just like she was a pizza they were done with....go throw that out with the trash....I'm done with it!!

by: Catherine Fitzpatrick from: New York
April 01, 2012 00:21
This is the kind of story that happens and will happen again in a country where the Holodomor, where more than 6 million died due to a deliberate starvation, and yet no one was ever tried for this crime against humanity and there isn't even a truth commission.
In Response

by: rick from: Milan
April 01, 2012 12:10
Holodomor ....

only in Ukraine people died of famine in those years ?

Do you know what is more shameful?

Is that somebody think that is necessary to exploit the dead
in the past

for justifying their present .

useless recriminations

used for political speculation
In Response

by: Trent from: Kyiv, Ukraine
April 01, 2012 12:16
Are you for real? Deliberate starvation was commissioned Stalin during the CCCP - not really something Ukrainians had control over - do it or die; like to see how you would have gone with that ultimatum (talk about self-righteous!).

As for "This is the kind of story that happens and will happen again in a country..." - sorry but I have to stop you right there. New York is 100% safe is it? No gang rapes, no murders, no abuse? I'm fairly sure the multitude and magnitude of horrific crimes in New York outnumbers that of Ukraine by many times (will check this).

Seriously - this happens in EVERY country around the world. Ukraine is a beautiful country with some of the most friendly, generous and modest people I've ever met.

How about the millions of deaths in America that could be resolved by having a free, accessible health care system - this is deliberate killing of people too - pretty sure the number of people who have died due to not having the money to pay for medications, or treatments well exceeds the 2.4 millions starved out by Stalin.

What happened to Oksana was horrible, but just because it's in Ukraine - somehow it makes it worse for you? You need to leave America and travel. Learn more about the world - not just what you read on the internet.
In Response

by: Jack from: US
April 01, 2012 14:08
the species who engineered Holodomor are protected by US government. Do not even dream of any trial. Criminals like Berezovsky, Gusinsky, and similar are enjoying full protection by US government and its NATO minions

by: Anna from: US
April 01, 2012 11:58
how terribleeeeee..... R.I.P Oksana

by: Larry Wilosn from: USA
April 01, 2012 14:33
This is not the only time these men have killed someone. I know they have done this before. It will happen so many more times if there is nothing done to this three. It rings of the same thing that has happened there many time now. This poor girl was killed because they wanted to get their kicks and knew they will get away with her rape and murder just because they are from an important family and this was ONLY a no-body girl. It's time to make an example and not just say...She was a nothing person anyway. They should have killed her?? She was a lovely young lady...And I repeat....LADY!!! not a toy to be used and burnt
Comments page of 2

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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