War against the left in Ukraine

May 20 — Following the massacre of nearly 50 anti-fascists in the Ukrainian port city of Odessa on May 2, the U.S.-supported junta in Kiev has declared war on the socialist left in the rebellious southeastern region and throughout the country.

Not only do the government, its neo-Nazi foot soldiers and the wealthy oligarchs behind them want to crush the most revolutionary forces in the resistance movement and those who symbolize the history of the socialist Soviet Union. But they are also employing “carrot-and-stick” methods against the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk and the overall Southeast movement.

National Guard troops and mercenaries have been deployed to attack civilians in these regions, where voters overwhelmingly chose independence from Kiev in a referendum May 11. At the same time, the junta is trying to lure moderate forces into negotiations pending the May 25 presidential elections.

Washington is deeply embedded in all these schemes. As reported May 4 by the German newspaper Bund am Sonntag, FBI and CIA agents are entrenched in Kiev as “advisors” to the coup regime on how best to crush the anti-fascist movement. The U.S. is also wielding its own “stick” in the form of NATO war games, missile cruisers and ground forces provocatively aimed at southeast Ukraine and neighboring Russia.

So far all these attempts to split the anti-fascist movement have met with little success. In Lugansk, people’s militias have begun to occupy big business concerns such as mining companies, while the people’s government in Donetsk declared May 20 that it was prepared to begin nationalizing properties owned by counterrevolutionary oligarchs like Rinat Akhmetov, who organized a “strike” of his own employees and violent attacks on buildings held by the resistance.

Communists banned from Rada

On May 5, Svoboda and Fatherland — two fascist parties that dominate the illegal coup government — banned elected members of the Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU) from participating in the Rada, or parliament, after KPU leader Peter Simonenko denounced the Odessa massacre on the floor.

Previously, Svoboda members have physically attacked KPU representatives in the Rada.

Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov followed that by again threatening an outright ban of the KPU. In fact, this is already the case in those areas of the country not under the control of the anti-fascist movement.

Before May 9 — the holiday traditionally celebrated to mark the surrender of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Red Army — revolutionary socialists of the Union Borotba (Struggle) learned that leading members had been targeted for arrest at Victory Day parades and protests.

Alexei Albu, the anti-fascist candidate for Odessa mayor and local Borotba coordinator, had been questioned by the State Security Police after surviving the massacre at the House of Trade Unions on May 2. He and other comrades were forced to flee the city.

Borotba issued a statement alerting its members and supporters to the new situation and urging them to go underground if possible.

The junta was so certain of its plan to sweep up Borotba leaders that a Kiev radio station reported the capture of national coordinator Sergei Kirichuk on the morning of May 9. However, unknown to the regime, Kirichuk was safely out of the country in Athens, Greece, where he was scheduled to speak at an anti-fascist conference organized by the Communist Party of Greece.

For now, Kirichuk is unable to return to Ukraine. He told Workers World that he plans to travel throughout Europe speaking about the situation and organizing solidarity for the anti-fascist resistance.

In Kharkov, a fragile balance of forces has allowed Borotba organizers to continue some above-ground organizing, even after the group’s office was trashed and its banners and flags stolen by police and neo-Nazis.

Borotba members continue to lead nightly anti-fascist meetings/rallies at the Lenin monument in Freedom Square.

On May 17, Borotba activists joined with hundreds of others to protest a so-called “roundtable discussion” in Kharkov hosted by the coup regime, allegedly to “negotiate” with representatives of the resistance movement.

“No representatives of Borotba, representatives of the movement of the southeast, nor any other protest leaders are present at the roundtable,” said organizer Denis Levin. “The bloody junta came to power fraudulently, just as it now fabricates negotiations with the protesters.” (Borotba statement, May 17)

‘Boycott bloody elections’

Communist Party leader Peter Simonenko survived an assassination attempt May 16. A group of 30 neo-Nazis tried to ambush Simonenko as he left a television debate in Kiev. The fascists threw Molotov cocktails at his car as he escaped.

Simonenko had just announced his withdrawal from the May 25 presidential elections in the wake of the Odessa massacre, military attacks on Donetsk and Lugansk, and the illegal ban on Communist participation in parliament.

“It is impossible to hold elections in conditions of war,” he said.

Alexei Albu, Borotba leader from Odessa, surfaced May 19 in Simferopol, Crimea, where he gave a news conference announcing his withdrawal from the mayoral election.

“The junta unceremoniously eliminates all democratic rights, complementing the repressive actions of the police with the street terror of neo-Nazis. In these circumstances, we cannot conduct an election campaign or legal political work,” Albu declared. (Borotba website, May 19)

“Moreover, the so-called elections to be held on May 25 will be neither free nor democratic. It is impossible to hold free elections at the gunpoint of Right Sector fascists.

“To participate in such elections is to play along with the junta, providing a semblance of democracy, which in fact has long been destroyed,” explained Albu.

“In these circumstances, I decided to withdraw from the mayoral election. I urge all my supporters and all honest people, all those who will not tolerate the revival of fascism in our land, to boycott these blood-soaked elections.

“We are facing a number of problems: the consolidation and coordination of disparate pockets of resistance, disrupting the elections, and undermining the economic basis of the junta by conducting a Ukrainian political strike, which we will begin to prepare soon.

“The junta will be broken, we will win!”