Monday, May 5, 2014

Ukraine and Self Determination, a Socialist Position

The terms 'Pro Russian' and 'Pro Kremlin' are propaganda labels for the people of the east Ukraine used by the pro imperialist western chauvinist governments and press and their far right representatives in Kiev. These eastern resisting people, however, are caught in a pincer movement between two chauvinisms, that of the west, already mentioned, and Russia, its close neighbor.

Both seek to expand or re-expand their domain of exploitation. But as this conflict becomes nearer to civil war, we socialists can hardly just stick with repeating the "universal right to self determination" and the "fraternal union of all nations" as slogans. They become empty phrases. It is clear to many that the initial meddling in Ukraine's current affairs is the same on this occasion as it was in the dismantling of the Soviet Union, i.e. the western ruling class powers. It is not just plain meddling though, they have resorted to the support of outright Nazi elements in the west of Ukraine to achieve this, and this adds another dimension.

To oppose such moves, as we must, does this mean we should therefore side with the Russian imperialist objectives of its ruling class?

No, of course not, this would repudiate all of our internationalism.

But at the same time, no comrade can refrain from supporting proper moves to federal independence for Ukraine.  But such calls have only been heard in the east. The far right Banderist calls for independence are fake, their 'radicalism' is solely to separate Ukraine from Russia's sphere of influence and then for its exploitation under the thumb of different foreigners, such as the EU and by proxy, the U.S..

And, no communist can or will forget the last world war and where fascism led us.

In this case, we are in a strange position, since we must support the current resistance to Kiev as it currently stands, but not its 'Pro Russian' elements as far as they really exist.

It is our contention, however, that this claim - that they all exist there as infiltrating terrorists - is mainly propaganda, not forgetting that it would be highly unlikely if both sides did not have clandestine forces involved on the ground at this stage.

We can see that, here, the Russian position is the underdog capitalist, faced with the combined economic might of both the EU and the USA. But we cannot sympathize with it, since its support of corruption and capitalism has been venal and rampant. The new forces in power in Kiev have done very little to correct this, merely replacing corrupt capitalist Russians with corrupt capitalist pro westerners.

But we should not support one set of masters for the other, and we must be clear about this. At the same time however, knowing what the capitalists of the west are offering for Ukraine, and knowing what happened in WWII, there must be no appeasement of fascism.

Which all means that anyone socialist should support the east insofar as it resists this fascism and calls for an independent federal Ukraine.

It is a shame, in this sense, that all the flags and paraphernalia of the resisting forces automatically use Russian symbols and refer back to the last war, which makes them seem like traitors to the idea of a united Ukraine and even against socialist internationalism and self determination. Of course the western media that is servile to its capitalists laps this up with some glee. But a revolt always needs to use the symbols that are to hand, borrow them and, as it were, 'upgrade them' with another significance. They are not walking PR companies after all and are in the midst of very difficult times.

The entire struggle also suggests that the revolution of the Maidan was initially and in its passions a real one, counter to the capitalist corruption in both Ukraine and more broadly in Russia, but some expert interventionism by the west and probably also by Russia has diverted this onto better channels for them, which means less progressive. A significantly powerful section of the global bourgeoisie sees war as a way to hide their crisis as well as impose emergency conditions to defend their stashes of capital, and to make money in the process.


By developing our revolution we shall influence the oppressed people. Propaganda among the oppressed mass must follow only this line.
Any Russian socialist who does not recognise Finland’s and Ukraine’s right to freedom will degenerate into a chauvinist. And no sophisms or references to his “method” will ever help him to justify himself.

Readers may have noticed that in Ukraine, the Right Sector Nazi faction that holds a lot of sway in the new Kiev regime and is involved in the new national guard, sees in the figure of Lenin a real enemy of its 'independence struggle' and pulls down his statues with great vigor. For them there is obviously no real interest in reality.


V. I. Lenin

The Seventh (April) All-Russia Conference of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.)
APRIL 24–29, 1917-18

Speech on the National Question April 29 (May 12)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Imagine Meddling in Ukraine

Imagine, due to the corruption in Ukraine, an uprising was expected, and imagine that, in order to redirect this uprising onto safer channels for capital, this uprising was diverted, using money, skills and weapons, by the west, towards the far right nationalists. 

Imagine, after much violence, that this is successful in bringing down the president and changing the government. That is all it is wanted to achieve: the struggle is artificially limited to getting the favorites of the western powers back in government, so in that respect it is not a real revolution, politically it is backward.

Imagine that Russia then enters the fray in Crimea, on another nationalist pretext, due to the aggression of the EuroMaidan protesters and the Nazi elements installed by the new government. All this quashes and confuses the original anger against the corruption and substitutes nationalist and separatist ideology mired in the competitive struggle for markets between the two rival blocks. The original passion is now encompassed canalized and diminished and capital is once again in charge.

There are two sources that I refer to as sites where meddling has happened, the direct training paying and leading of Maidan protesters in urban guerilla warfare by 'ex' soldiers (one apparent Israeli has explained this)

and the following: -
German Green MP Hans-Christian Ströbele has released a statement revealing that the German government advised Viktor Yankovych’s government on domestic security matters between 2009 and 2013, Guardian Berlin correspondent Philip Oltermann (@philipoltermann) reports:
As part of this exchange, regular meetings were set up between the German Federal Criminal Police Office and the Ukrainian secret service SBU. Berkut staff attended training seminars in Germany and were supplied with light body armour and protective helmets.
The latter would give an excellent basis for double dealing at the focus of the weak point in Ukraine's state apparatus. One only has to wonder how strangely naive Yanu must have been to think Germany would not use this opportunity to expand the EU again.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Ukraine Live Updates

Latest at Bottom

At the other side of the facing yachting marina, Vladimir, a watchman, declared: “What we need in Crimea now is a Stalin. You’ll laugh at me for saying this, but we need someone like him to save us from those fascists in Kiev.”
His second choice was Pyotr Wrangel, the brutal White Russian commander who had based himself here while fighting the Bolsheviks – “Russians make strong leaders,” he says.

“There were policemen getting killed, but you did not see any of that on TV. When we eventually fired back, after all this provocation, we were made to be the devils. We have left behind colleagues who are badly wounded, paralysed. This was named a city of heroes because of the way we fought against the Germans. Now if these new Nazis from the Maidan come we shall fight them as well.”

On Wednesday, the little-known International Assembly of Russian Compatriots, which lobbies for the Russian diaspora, said Ukrainian leaders who "constantly declare their commitment to European values" are "violating the basic norms of EU legislation".

Feb 26 (Reuters) - Ukraine has slashed gas imports from Russiathis month because of mild weather and stretched statefinances, acting energy minister Eduard Stavytsky was quoted as saying by Russia's Itar-Tass news agency on Wednesday.

Capital Controls

Ukraine is weighing measures to stem cash withdrawals after as much as 7 percent of deposits were taken from banks during last week’s bloody uprising, underscoring the need for action to fend off a default.
“Ukraine’s economy needs rescue and that adds pressure on the revolutionary political forces to create a truly national unity government,” said Lilit Gevorgyan, senior economist at IHS Global Insight in London, said by e-mail. “The large bailout plan that Ukraine currently seeks won’t be handed out by international donors to a weak and non-inclusive government.”
The new government should be largely technocratic and should avoid “political quotas,” said Oleksiy Haran, a member of the Maidan Council, which represents the protesters whose three-month campaign toppled Yanukovych.
The Maidan Council called a rally for 7 p.m. today, where activists will discuss proposals for potential government members.
Lawmakers moved quickly to appoint Kubiv, the ex-chairman of Lviv-based VAT Kredobank, to head the central bank after voting out Ihor Sorkin. Kubiv plans to invite an IMF mission, the Unian news service reported, without giving details. The central bank imposed capital controls this month to stem the hryvnia’s slide.

"The greatest challenge facing Ukraine today is not taking revenge, but saving the Ukrainian economy and public finances," Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk told reporters in Bialystok, eastern Poland. "If the revolution is to bear good fruit, then it can't be based on the idea of revenge," Tusk said, adding that Kiev would have to be well prepared to absorb any aid package from the West. "It can't be the case that those resources would be squandered by a corrupt government, or by oligarchs." - See more at:,Ukraine-should-put-economy-before-revenge#sthash.QOBVH8KW.dpuf

It will be extremely problematic for Ukraine to find international creditors under the current circumstances; it will have to hold profound economic reforms first, head of the European Parliament's EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee Knut Fleckenstein told Kommersant in an interview.

Lenders set similar requirements for Ukraine and borrowers within the EU, the parliamentarian explained.

In the frenetic moves Ukraine’s new leaders are making to shed the country’s recent past, they are demonstrating regrettable continuity in style and mentality with their predecessors.  This is particularly seen in their unwillingness to separate the judiciary and legislative branches of power, with the same political motivation and manipulation of legal norms emerging.  Moves are likely on Feb 25 to remove Human Rights Ombudsperson, Valeria Lutkovska.  Others have already been taken to oust the Constitutional Court judges who voted to return the 1996 Constitution. 

Lviv Flash Mob

Residents in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv are holding a flash mob on Wednesday, speaking only Russian in a show of solidarity with the country's eastern and southern regions.
After Ukraine's parliament downgraded the status of the Russian language on Sunday, an activist in Lviv — a predominantly Ukrainian-speaking city — posted an appeal on Facebook, asking fellow residents to demonstrate national unity.
"We stood together on the barricades, we join you in mourning for the dead, and we want to join you in building a new Ukraine," activist Volodymyr Beglov said in his Russian-language post early Wednesday morning.
Within hours, the flash-mob pledge starting with the words "On Feb. 26, I, a resident of Lviv, will be communicating in Russian," received more than 3,000 Facebook "likes."
The European Union's ambassador to Russia, Vygaudas Usackas, said in an interview published in Moskovsky Komsomolets on Wednesday that the status of the Russian language in Ukraine should be determined by all interested parties.

Each of us is ready to put our hand on a bible to prove that we did not kill, did not shoot into people. That’s why I’ll repeat, when it was about murder we returned directly from there. (Crowd yells, “You returned after the deaths,” and “When did you return, yesterday?”). He replies, “We arrived before that, before the shootings. The proof of that is that I stood on this stage together with Yuriy Vitalyovych. I thank you for your attention, please understand us and forgive us. Forgive us for all those who created that evil.” (And the crowd starts yelling, “Who beat up the [AutoMaidan] cars?”
An announcer takes the microphone and asks for Self-Defense to open a human corridor for the Berkut men to leave through, and reminds the crowd not to touch them, that this is a civilized city).


Breaking: President Vladimir Putin orders test of combat readiness of troops in central and western Russia

Appropriate, really, as it it’s from 2004′s Orange Revolution. Incidentally, the big number is 500,000, the number which gathered in 2004. Yet, even if that wasn’t reached, and it’s almost certain it was far from reached, this is a long way from the Orange Revolution. Whereas that was a peaceful protest movement by a nation uprising, this has been a spectacularly virulent, violent affair. If all the talk of the past few days had been of police brutality, pictures emerged on Sunday of some of the treatment being meted out to the Ukrainian police themselves 

Yet, there is a darker side to Svoboda’s politics than the stage-managed spectacles. In the corridor of Kiev Cinema House, the venue of the Congress which saw Tyahnybok re-elected party chairman as a formality (a position he has held since 2004), vendors could be seen selling Nazi symbols. The swastika badges being sold were small, yet clearly displayed by the concessions, as both Svoboda grassroots and elected members browsed the stalls. How deep the Svoboda Nazi connection runs may be surprising in a party which boasted the record of 48% of its voters holding a certificate of higher education.
Member of Svoboda’s Lviv City Council Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn maintains a blog called nachtigal88, the nachtigall a reference to the Nazi battalion formed in Ukraine, with the 88 seeming to represent a binary version of “Heil Hitler”. On the blog, Mykhalchyshyn has translated a long text of Nazi propaganda chief Josef Goebbels (described as ‘a pioneer in the field of public relations, the greatest theoretician and practitioner of agitation and propaganda work in the twentieth century’), entitled Little ABC of National Socialists. In doing so, Mykhalchyshyn would appear to be drawing parallels with the situation in Germany in the 1930s, according to Goebbels, and the current Ukrainian climate. Goebbels’ text, which espouses virulent anti-Semitism and single-nation society sentiment, resonates with Mykhalchyshyn’s much-reported statement: “We are against diversity. Ukraine is for Ukrainians.”
Another race-related Svoboda controversy was when senior member Yuriy Syrotiuk declared he was unhappy about black singer Gaitana representing Ukraine in the Eurovision song contest, citing that she “is not an organic representative of the Ukrainian culture.” Syrotiuk was also involved in an altercation at the recent gay rights march in Kiev, on the same day as Svoboda’s Congress, which saw five Svoboda members take active steps to break up proceedings, apparently assaulting peaceful attendees. In the official press release, Svoboda depicted their five arrested members as heroes, going so far as to link homosexuality with anti-Ukrainianism, and describing the march participants variously as ‘deviants’ and ‘perverts’.
There exists concern that Svoboda’s real strategy is essentially to orchestrate trouble, and then attempt to thrive in the ensuing chaos. 

Video of Berkut riot police - Maidan - razor blade baseball bat novelty, EuroMaidan snipers, etc

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ukraine Updates

Ukraine Coup: Latest at Bottom

Opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko has announced he will run for presidency in the Ukraine elections.

Boxer - ex debt collector's henchman, based in Germany, head of rightist UDAR (Strike or Punch) party.
Turchinov told Ashton on Monday that Ukraine and the EU should immediately revisit the closer ties that Yanukovych abandoned in November in favor of a $15 billion bailout loan from Russia 
But of course as we understand it this would be linked to 'reforms' - neoliberal austerity for Ukraine? Will the far rightists like that?

The parliament sacked some of Yanukovych's lieutenants and named their replacement, but it has yet to appoint the new premier and fill all remaining government posts.

It is not in the character of the far right to want a parliament, only a single leader with a cult of personality. Unless they change their spots I guess.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a top figure in the protests, suggested that Yanukvoych should be tried in the Hague, Netherlands.

He of the Nuland call, a few steps from being 'glued' in. Or maybe Klitschko.

Protesters, meanwhile, removed a Soviet star from the top of the Ukrainian parliament building, the Verkhovna Rada. "The star on top of the Verkhovna Rada is no longer there," said Oleh Tyahnybok, head of the nationalist Svoboda party, which has been a strong force in the protest movement.

Outline of Svoboda (Nazis) here: -

Seems we are almost back to 1939.

The Verkhovna Rada is the country’s parliament, it announced a snap presidential election for May 25

Ukraine needs up to $112 mln for presidential elections - Electoral Commission

Rehn: I'd support a donors' conference for Ukraine
Rehn added that he would support the idea of a ‘donors’ conference’ for Ukraine, where EU member states with the most resources could agree contributions to help Ukraine.

Ukraine not to get the money from EU after all that?

MOSCOW -- Ukraine’s acting president said Tuesday that it would be at least two more days before an interim government is in place as further negotiations are needed to ensure that a genuine “coalition of national faith” agrees to see the divided country through to May 25 elections.,0,6327795.story#ixzz2uLfeda00

What's a national faith? Nationalism as a religion?
In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin assembled his national security team for a Kremlin caucus on the turmoil in Ukraine, a former Soviet republic that Moscow has dominated for centuries. Rossiya-24 television showed top Cabinet ministers and Russian security advisors gathering in an ornate hall but gave no report on their discussions or decisions.,0,6327795.story#ixzz2uLgK6SPs
Pravda's take -
The statement runs that Ukraine now "stamps" the laws violating the right of national minorities, including Russians. The Rada tries to ban the Russian language, non-loyal parties and media outlets, propagandizing Nazi values. All this is being down with reference to revolutionary reforms.
The ministry reminded that Ukraine threatens Russian-speaking individuals and conducts a struggle against monuments of Russian culture.
Earlier, the foreign ministry has expressed concerns about the desecration of monuments in Ukraine, pointing out the demolition of the monument to Kutuzov in the town of Brody on February 25th and the desecration of memorials to Soviet warriors.

Kutuzov is credited most with his leadership during the French invasion of Russia. Under Kutuzov's command, the Russian army faced the Grande Armée at the Battle of Borodino and later counter-attacked once Napoleon retreated from Moscow, pushing the French out of the Russian homeland.[3] Operation Kutuzov was a major military offensive operation conducted in July of 1943 by the Red Army against Army Group Center of the German Wehrmacht. The operation was named after General Mikhail Kutuzov - Wikipedia

Economic interests: -
The expert believes that Russia should intervene in the situation in Ukraine. "If the Americans intervene, if London intervenes, if Berlin intervenes, why Russia, having a common border with Ukraine, should not interfere? On the Russian side, this is not intervention - this is help. From the side of the West - this is nothing but intervention," the expert believes.
Gazprom shares are very volatile because of the events on the Maidan," said the expert. There is a feeling that someone is trying very hard to change the very structure of the market, displacing Gazprom. "Here it is not so much about taking away the ownership from Gazprom for nothing, although this issue can also be discussed. It is more about the destruction of the profits that Gazprom receives as a mediator, as a gas trader, and not as a supplier or as a transporter of gas passing through the huge transport network in Ukraine."h
 "There is a lot of money because there is more at stake than the $15 billion promised by Vladimir Putin," Gafurov said. "This is about the so-called "Third Energy Package" of the European Union that entered into force in 2011. This document refers to the separation of the owners of pipeline systems and the owner of the gas itself. 

"In many countries in Western, Central and Eastern Europe, Gazprom is now forced to provide access to their "pipe" to third parties, i.e., other vendors that wish to supply gas to Europe. If such third parties do not exist, then a part of the gas transmission capacities should still remain in reserve. That is, Gazprom cannot say that its pipes are filled with its own gas, and suggest waiting until there is room. It must pump gas of foreign firms at low rates from a large number of liquefied natural gas stations created on the coast of Western Europe," Gafurov explained.
What's the Bandera?: -
Stepan Andriyovych Bandera (Ukrainian: Степан Андрійович Бандера) (1 January 1909 – 15 October 1959) was a Ukrainianrevolutionary politician and one of the leaders of Ukrainian national movement in Western Ukraine (Galicia), who headed theOrganization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). The son of a clerical family, Bandera was an activist, a scout, and eventually the leader of the Ukrainian nationalist movement which fought for Ukrainian independence from Soviet and against all perceived enemies of a free Ukrainian state.
Some members thought that they had found a new powerful ally in Nazi Germany to aid them in their struggle against the Soviet Union. However, just days after the proclamation and the Nazi invasion of Lviv, the leadership of the newly formed government was arrested and sent to concentration camps in Germany, and on July 6, 1941[1] for his refusal to rescind the declaration, Bandera was arrested and imprisoned by the Nazis and not released until September 1944. Also, within two years of the declaration, the Nazis had imprisoned or killed 80% of OUN-B leadership.[2][3][4] Soviet authorities authorised the KGB to assassinate Bandera in Munich, West Germany, on 15 October 1959.
Assessments of his work have ranged from totally apologetic to sharply negative.[5]
... Prior to Operation Barbarossa, according to the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and other sources, Bandera held meetings with the heads of Germany's intelligence, regarding the formation of "Nachtigall" and "Roland" Battalions. In spring the OUN received 2.5 million marks for subversive activities inside the USSR.[21][24][25]
Statement by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the events in Ukraine

Monday, February 24, 2014

Ukraine Dangers (Images)

Svoboda supporters, far right, EuroMaidan protests

Armed protester iwith rifle n EuroMaidan 2014 upsising - Wikimedia