Donbass militias evaluate cease-fire

The popular militias united in the Novorossian Armed Forces of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics are composed of workers of many nationalities living throughout the Donbass mining region, formerly part of southeastern Ukraine. Both rank and file and leaders are speaking out on the future direction of their struggle against fascism and imperialism. Here is some of what they say:

Alexey Mozgovoi, commander of the “Ghost” Brigade in Lugansk People’s Republic:

In my opinion, right now, we are witnessing another attempt, by means of negotiations, to stop the resistance and to prevent the destruction of the oligarchic power in Ukraine. …

The transfer of power from the oligarchy to the people — right now this is the so-called international community’s nightmare. It became clear to everyone long ago that the world is ruled by the likes of [Kiev President Petro Poroshenko], Chubais [Anatoly Chubais, politician responsible for Russian privatization in the 1990s] and the Rockefellers. For these, removal from power is akin to death. …

Only Kiev’s capitulation can resolve the current situation. Only a separation of business interests from government can offer the chance to build a state with a human face. And only the prosecution of those who hold power, of the world “elite,” can enable the people to regain their dignity. Otherwise it was all for naught — all the slogans and all the victims. …

We did not take up arms just to stop halfway.

Translated by Gleb Bazov

“Artem,” wounded militia fighter in the Joint Army of the South-East and member of Union Borotba (Struggle):

The militias not only fight on the front lines, they also have a responsibility to protect the civilian population as much as possible during the shelling, even at the cost of their own lives.   Without the people’s support, nothing would have happened. People no longer want to live in the old way. People really want peace and tranquility, but all of them are starting to realize that the Ukrainian government will offer nothing but terror and poverty.

If you look at the chronology of the conflict from the very beginning, you’ll see how the militias grew and got stronger. However, the forces are unequal so far. But we have one more ally, no less important and dangerous to the enemy. Bolsheviks understand the importance of this.

This ally is agitation against the war among Ukrainian soldiers. The Bolsheviks campaigned this way against the imperialist war exactly 100 years ago. If more and more Ukrainians, who are fighting for the interests of the Ukrainian and Western capitalists, refuse to fight or organize their soldiers’ committees against the war, the case will be decided. And this trend is already apparent.

You see, peace is no longer possible in Donbass under the rule of the junta. If the militia is defeated, a period of reaction will begin, with direct genocide and terror against the population. … If the executioners controlled Donbass, they would have to constantly keep military units here and sleep with their guns. Because this is not a war of the Russians against the Ukrainians. This is civil war, where the junta is fighting against anti-fascists.

There are many militia fighters who consider themselves communists and internationalists. I also note the role of the Workers’ Front of Lugansk — formerly the regional committee of the Communist Party — whose members refused to obey the “official leadership” of the Party and openly supported the People’s Republic. Therefore, they were renamed. There are anarcho-communists who were upset that their “brothers” in Kiev colluded with neo-Nazis and excitedly began to help them kill our compatriots.

Many of these fighters are not in organizations, but simply position themselves as communists and internationalists. Here, no one even thinks of what each person’s organization is – you are a Communist and that’s it.

The recent statement of “Communist militiamen” … I think, reflects the opinions of the majority of militia fighters. … “If we raise the red banner, we will win this war.” And, I might add, help our Ukrainian brothers strangle the fascist vermin, by giving them inspiration to build a Ukraine without fascism.

Interview by Victor Shapinov; translated by Greg Butterfield

Alexander “Communist,” militia fighter and representative of Red Guards of Donbass, co-author of letter from ordinary militia to leaders of Donetsk and Lugansk:

The militia formed was formed by volunteers to protect their homeland without too much thought about the bigger issues. A process of questions and answers eventually led us to a class understanding of the events taking place on our soil. We identified the forces that we oppose – tycoons and oligarchs of all stripes: Russian, Ukrainian, international, whatever.

Once, a very long time ago, it was said there are only two classes: proletariat and bourgeoisie. No matter how long it has been, only external things have changed; the essence remains the same. We who are taking part in the events unfolding at such a rapid pace, we poor militia, have posed the question of raising the red flag, which is now being discussed by commanders. …

Militia leaders who came to the fore in the field, earned the trust and respect of fighters, are now forced to sit on the sidelines [of negotiations]. Their struggle is an unenviable one. Arms and uniforms require money. We are preparing for protracted war ahead of the cold rains of autumn, then winter.

On the other hand, the commanders cannot ignore the views of those who report to them, and unconditionally trust them. The commanders will have to make a decision if their efforts are on the side of Donbass labor or on the side of those who fund the opposite interests.

In our land … [there are] forces which are capable and ready to defend our class interests.  We went through enough political parties and politicians and structures and finally set up our own red, anti-fascist headquarters, which helped us to eventually join forces with other piecemeal, anti-fascist, anti-oligarchic formations throughout the territory of the former Ukraine, Donetsk, and the Russian Federation. In fact it is one fight, under the banner of common cause. But the problem lay in the fact that for 23 years [since the collapse of the USSR] we were scattered, we lived our ambitions small and severed by contradictions, often artificial, that kept us at a certain distance apart. …

Life pushes us to unite in the interests of the working class. Our fate is in our hands. At the present moment it is a matter of survival.

Interview by Red TV; translated by Greg Butterfield