Ukraine: Democracy of the minority

Victor Shapinov of the Marxist organization Union Borotba (Struggle) analyzes the forces at work behind President Petro Poroshenko’s announcement officially ending the Kiev junta’s ceasefire with the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics of the Donbass region. The article originally appeared on the website and was translated by Workers World contributing editor Greg Butterfield.

By Victor Shapinov, Union Borotba (Struggle)

June 30 — Yesterday’s bloodthirsty rally on the Maidan, where thousands of people demanded the resumption of hostilities in the Donbass, shows the sad realities of the political system established after the victory of Euromaidan. In this system, a radical nationalist minority can effectively impose its political will on the majority.

It is obvious that by voting for Petro Poroshenko, voters in central and western Ukraine cast their ballots for him as a moderate leader of the Maidan, hoping for a political settlement and peace. In contrast, support for nationalist politicians who advocate extreme methods — Oleg Lyashko, Oleg Tyagnybok, Dmitry Yarosh — was not great.

Trying, apparently, to be moderate — and certainly he does not want to go down in history as Peter the Bloody — Poroshenko is held hostage by an extremist minority, well-organized and well-funded. He cannot conduct actual negotiations, as even a fake truce immediately causes an uproar from the nationalist crowd and open accusations of betrayal.

All this makes the political system of the new Kiev regime extremely unstable. Small in relation to the multimillion population of Kiev, the crowd outside the Russian Embassy can impose its desire for a pogrom on ministers and deputies. Small in relation to the population that voted for Poroshenko, Maidan can put pressure on the president and push him to continue the insane war in the Donbass.

Those who say of the Maidan, “This is democracy,” completely misunderstand the political reality. It’s not a democracy, and not only because the regime suppressed its political opponents in the southeast with police and military methods. It’s not a democracy because it deprives its own moderate supporters of a voice, making them hostages to the madness of the fascists.

To paraphrase a famous quote, democracy is only for them – not the power of the people, and not even the notorious “democratic procedures.” Democracy for the Maidan is “unrestricted by any laws. It does not anguish over rules. The power of the Democrats rests directly on violence.”

In fact, this political system is much more authoritarian compared to the rather bland [former Ukraine President Viktor] Yanukovych regime, and even more so than those regimes that the West regards as dictatorial.

The danger of such a hypertrophied right-wing minority having influence over Kiev lies also in the fact that this minority is very easy to manipulate. And not only by [appointed Dnipopetrovsk Gov. Igor] Kolomoiskiy or certain circles of Western imperialism, but, if you consider it, also by Russia. Don’t they provide excellent reasons for intervention by the Russian Federation when they destroy diplomatic missions and the property of diplomats? Don’t they create an image the Kiev government would prefer to avoid before international public opinion?

But there is no way to get away from them. Without this nationalist minority, the Maidan movement would have failed to overthrow Yanukovych. The Kiev junta is not strong enough to arrange its own “Night of the Long Knives,” modeled on the one that Hitler gave his more radical “storm troopers.” Yes, Poroshenko simply has no armed force capable of resisting armed right-wing pressure.

The neo-Nazis are armed, and getting combat experience. And who does Poroshenko have? Demoralized police? A decaying army, which must be driven to the slaughter? The SBU [political police], which in its best years was engaged mainly in the racketeering business?

Probably some “moderate” politicians from Maidan believe that the most hard-bitten nationalists will fall in the fields of Donbass. But in fact, we see that many of them are not in a hurry to go to the front, preferring to monitor the political situation “in the rear.” And this is modern warfare — it’s still not World War II with its millions of victims. Most of the Nazis remain alive and will return, gaining combat experience, accustomed to death and violence.

Overall, the prospects for the development of the political situation give little cause for optimism. The radical Nazi minority has felt its power and will use it, because in Kiev there is no force capable of resisting the Nazi troops. Those forces are in the Donbass, in the southeast. But for the inhabitants of these regions, the line between moderate “Maidan activists” and Nazi goons is erased. They will overthrow the post-Maidan government in general, making no distinction between Poroshenko and Yarosh. And the inhabitants of the southeast are right, because Poroshenko’s administration would not exist without the fascists. Their differences are all formal. They strengthen and reinforce each other.