Who shot the macho mayor?

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 1, 2014

Mystery still surrounds the identity of the attackers who shot and severely wounded the Jewish mayor of Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv.

On Monday night, Gennadiy Kernes was flown to Israel, where his condition was stabilised after surgery in Haifa’s Elisha hospital.

Mr Kernes was a supporter of the former government of deposed President Viktor Yanukovich. He was accused by some of those who spearheaded the revolution in Kiev two months ago of recruiting the militia members who tried to violently put down the protests.

However, since the revolution and the ensuing hostility between the new government in Kiev and the Russian government and its supporters, he has pledged his allegiance to Kiev.

A flamboyant and controversial figure in Ukrainian politics, the wealthy Mr Kernes has a penchant for posting online photos of himself topless and in the company of wild animals.

While he has not been deeply involved in Jewish communal life, when he ran for Kharkiv mayor in 2009 an antisemitic campaign was launched against him by political opponents.

Last updated: 7:45pm, May 1 2014