Ukraine: three years after the US-backed coup

Maidan revolution

The term ‘revolution’ has perhaps never been misused as frequently in the mainstream media as over the past few years. No longer does it refer to a vast social upheaval of the oppressed and exploited masses against a (usually US-backed) oppressive regime. Instead it is now used routinely to describe movements funded by US government agencies to replace governments which have fallen into disfavour with US puppets. The so-called Maidan revolution (deriving its name from the central square in Kiev where its supporters held their rallies) fits the bill perfectly. Although the Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich had been democratically elected, he suffered from a fatal flaw. His wing of the bourgeoisie tried to perform a balancing act between Russia and the European Union (EU), while the opposition was intent on bringing Ukraine firmly into the orbit of the EU – and of the US, including NATO membership if possible. Neither this reality, nor the involvement of the fascist Svoboda party, did anything to dim the enthusiasm of petit bourgeois leftists in Western Europe for this odious enterprise – even as the US National Endowment Fund for Democracy (sic) poured funds into it.

 

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Solidarity with Anti-fascist Resistance in Ukraine

William Hague met with National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine Andriy Parubiy

SARU (Solidarity with Anti-fascist Resistance in Ukraine) organised a protest against Ukrainian fascist Andriy Parubiy who was in Britain to meet the Minister for Europe David Lidington, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport John Wittingdale and an inter-party group on relations with Ukraine in the British Parliament chaired by the extreme right-wing racist and homophobe Sir Gerald Howarth. The racist imperialist British government has no qualms about meeting with fascist politicians.

On Friday 23 October, Parubiy visited the Ukraine Cultural Centre in Holland Park where he was met with a protest organised by SARU, attended by the Revolutionary Communist Group (Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!) and the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist).

 

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Ukraine and Russia: edging towards disaster

In the year since the February 2014 coup against President Yanukovych over 6,000 Ukrainians have been killed in battle, 15,000 wounded and more than one million people displaced. The second Minsk ceasefire agreement between Ukraine’s government and its opponents in the south east of the country came into effect on 14 February 2015. However, the US and NATO continue to provoke conflict and are using Ukraine to target the Russian state. Trevor Rayne reports.

 

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Ukraine War and crisis

To justify the ongoing expensive and bloody war on the Donbass (south east Ukraine) and aggression towards Russia, the Ukrainian ruling class and its imperialist backers have taken to rewriting history. On New Year’s Day almost 4,000 people rallied in Kiev to celebrate Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera as a ‘national hero’; in his 8 January speech in Berlin, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk recast Nazi Germany as the victim of ‘Soviet invasion’ in the Second World War. So too do they fictionalise the present. Rejecting a Russian plan for the removal of heavy artillery from eastern Ukraine, at 6am on 18 January Kiev’s pretences to a ‘ceasefire’ collapsed, as it resumed massive shelling of the People’s Republic of Donetsk. Kiev’s strategy has cost more than 5,000 lives and involved the use of cluster bombs, missiles and aerial bombs on towns and villages in the Donbass. Justification is sought in an ‘anti-terror operation’ against alleged ‘Russian aggression’, yet after a year of conflict there remains no solid evidence for Russian military operations whatsoever. The imperialist countries remain silent on Kiev’s atrocities, instead offering it financial and military support. In view of such behaviour, Russian President Putin is correct to describe Kiev’s troops as a ‘NATO legion’.

 

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Ukraine: Tightening the screw

On 2 November millions of voters in eastern Ukraine took to the polls, electing new MPs and Prime Ministers to the People’s Republics of Donetsk (DNR) and Lugansk (LNR). With more than 300 international observers present, and not a single violation reported, turnout in the war-torn region was almost unprecedented. In Lugansk 62% of the electorate lined the streets to vote, while in Donetsk mobile polling stations almost ran out of early ballots; polling stations set up in the refugee camps near the Russian border saw similar scenes, with turnout at Belgorod reaching 70%.

The contrasts with the snap parliamentary election called by the Kiev government on 26 October could not be greater. Virtually boycotted in the east, official accounts placed turnout at 52%, a historic low, for an election marked by ballot stuffing, voter intimidation and violent repression of opposition groups. The result was a predictable victory for the oligarchy, as Prime Minister Yatsenyuk’s People’s Front party gained 22.14% of the vote and the President’s Petro Poroshenko Block took 21.82%; four of the five other parties meeting the 5% threshold to enter the Rada (parliament) are openly fascist.

 

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Ukraine - Contradictions sharpen despite ceasefire

EU and neo-Nazi flags fly toguether in Kiev

The announcement of a ceasefire between the Ukrainian military and the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) on 5 September 2014 (extended on 19 September), is a reflection of the utter failure of the Kiev government to crush opposition in the country’s east in a war that has left more than 3,000 people dead, 6,000 wounded and over a million displaced. Russian President Vladimir Putin, vilified as a belligerent warmonger by the imperialist press, has played a leading role in organising the ceasefire, his seven point peace plan forming the basis of negotiations between Kiev and the DNR and LNR. The imperialists and their Ukrainian allies are now forced to reconsider their tactical approach. Jack Edwards reports.

 

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Ukraine - terror and tragedy

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 240 August/September 2014

Events following the tragic crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine have exposed the cynical depths to which the US and its allies will sink to exploit disaster for political ends. Within hours, without evidence, US President Obama blamed the tragedy on soldiers of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), who allegedly downed the plane with a missile using equipment and training from Russia. These claims have resonated most loudly in Washington, London, Canberra and Kiev. They are an exercise in political speculation familiar to the bellicose US and British ruling classes; thus The Independent (21 July 2014) proclaims an ‘increasingly compelling’ case against the DNR, citing heavily-edited, unverified and contradictory footage from right-wing bloggers and Kiev’s secret service, as though they were proven fact. Jack Edwards reports.

 

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Ukraine: The descent into chaos

Ukraine is being pushed into chaos by the interim government and its NATO commanders. Dozens of US CIA and FBI agents have been installed in Kiev to advise the interim government and direct its forces. The police and army have proved unreliable when directed to attack opposition forces in eastern Ukraine and so fascist gangs have been recruited to the National Guard and put in government uniforms. They helped perpetrate a massacre in Odessa. Private security contractors, previously deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, have been hired. Death squads have been formed. TREVOR RAYNE reports.

 

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Ukraine: the threat of war

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 238 April/May 2014

Crimea

By incorporating Crimea and Sevastopol into the Russian Federation, Russia’s rulers have demonstrated that they intend to halt US encroachment into the territories of the former Soviet Union. A referendum was held in Crimea on 16 March to decide on the region’s future. 82% of those eligible to vote took part; of these over 96% voted for unification with Russia. British Foreign Secretary William Hague described the vote as ‘a mockery of democracy’. Hague accused Russia of acting without respect for international law and of conducting a ‘land grab’ in Crimea. How could he justify British possession of the Falkland/ Malvinas Islands and Gibraltar? The states that accuse Russia of occupying Crimea intend to take over Ukraine. TREVOR RAYNE reports.

 

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Ukraine - war clouds gather

Neo-Nazis and extreme-right protesters in Ukraine

Lenin said that imperialism ushers in an era of wars and revolution - this now has substance – menacingly so. The deployment of Russian troops in Crimea and battleships off Crimea’s coast signals that the Russian ruling class views the 23 February coup in the Ukraine to be a strategic threat. The US funded and backed the coup. US strategy is to weaken Russia’s central state and fragment Russia. More immediately, in Ukraine the US wants to remove Russia’s naval base from Sevastopol in Crimea, break Russian military ties to industries in eastern Ukraine, bring Ukraine into the European Union and eventually into NATO, and station NATO missiles on Ukrainian territory. When the Russian parliament voted unanimously on 1 March 2014 to deploy Russian troops in Ukraine, Russia’s rulers showed their intention to resist and reverse the US encroachment into the territories of the former Soviet Union, which they consider their sphere of influence.

 

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Storm breaks over Ukraine

US Secretary of State Powell, British Foreign Secretary Straw and European Commission President Barroso swiftly took the side of the demonstrators in Kiev, protesting at the declaration of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych as winner of Ukraine’s 21 November presidential elections. Powell said the US did not accept the results of the election and warned of the consequences if the Ukrainian government did not act quickly. Russian president Putin congratulated Yanukovych before the results were announced. Powell visited the Ukraine during the election campaign and Putin visited twice to support Yanukovych. Writing in The Guardian (25 November 2004) Timothy Garton Ash declared for the demonstrators and said that Ukraine was on ‘the front line of the forward march of freedom’. As we go to press the Supreme Court has suspended the result of the election.

Powell, Straw and Barroso support opposition leader Viktor Yuschenko. Yuschenko is a former head of the National Bank of Ukraine and his associates include those who benefited from the privatisation of Ukraine’s industry. Yuschenko wants closer ties with the European Union (EU) and an open market economy. He said he wants Ukraine’s troops withdrawn from Iraq. Yanukovych seeks closer relations with Russia and received strong support from Ukraine’s Russian population, located mainly in the east of the country. The industrial workers and miners of the east see in the former German Democratic Republic what Yuschenko’s programme offers them: unemployment and poverty.

 

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Russia and Ukraine - Regional tensions

Russia stopped supplying gas to Ukraine on 1 January and a week later stopped all supplies to Europe passing through Ukraine. Russia accused Ukraine of stealing gas intended for other European countries. Supplies resumed on 20 January when the Ukrainian government agreed to pay a higher price for the energy.

About one fifth of the European Union’s gas supplies are piped from Russia across the Ukraine. Bulgaria receives 80% of its gas from Russia, Austria 70%, Germany 30% and Italy 17%. In the midst of freezing temperatures Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Hungary, Macedonia, Serbia and Greece were particularly hit by the shut down. Slovakia declared a state of ‘energy emergency’ and the French Peugeot-Citroen car factory was closed. There were demonstrations against Russia in several countries. British Prime Minister Brown declared: ‘No nation can be allowed to exert an energy stranglehold over Europe.’ Mighty fine words, but Britain does not import gas from Russia and so bombast was a luxury he could afford.

 

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