Terror campaign targets opposition as U.S. troops arrive in Ukraine

April 20 — In just four days in mid-April, three well-known critics of the U.S.-backed Ukrainian junta were murdered in the capital city Kiev. These deaths followed more than a dozen other suspicious deaths and alleged suicides of regime opponents.

The three killed were former parliamentary deputy Oleg Kalashnikov and journalists Sergei Sukhobok and Oles Buzina.

Immediately after Buzina’s death near his home in Kiev on April 16, Ukrainian Interior Ministry advisor and parliamentary deputy Anton Gerashchenko posted on his Facebook page: “Everyone who was involved in the organization and financing of Antimaidan or other unlawful acts against Maidan and feels a threat to their life, please contact the law enforcement agencies, so as not to follow the path of Kalashnikov and Buzina.” (mk.ru) In other words: Turn yourself in or be killed.

Maidan was the pro-imperialist, anti-communist movement that carried out an illegal coup against the elected government of Ukraine in February 2014. Antimaidan was the name given to the anti-fascist resistance which arose throughout the country after the coup. In the primarily Russian-speaking southeastern region, Antimaidan gave birth to a struggle for independence.

The murders occurred shortly after a Ukrainian website called Mirotvorets (“The Peacekeeper”) published extensive personal information on the targets. The website, which calls itself a “resource for Ukrainian law enforcement,” maintains an extensive hit list of figures considered enemies by the junta.

An investigative report published at politrussia.com says: “The website The Peacekeeper is being used as a ‘bulletin board’ for imminent death notices against those who dare to speak the truth about what is really going on in Kiev. Keep in mind that the website is actively supported by the advisor to the Interior Minister of Ukraine, Anton Gerashchenko.”

An analysis of the website found that it was registered in Texas under a bogus name, and is connected to NATO’s main web domain. The full report, with relevant screenshots, is available in English at the website slavyangrad.org.

Meanwhile, an April 17 report in the Kyiv Post, an English-language mouthpiece of the far-right government, said a group taking its name from the Ukrainian Insurgent Army had claimed responsibility for the assassinations of Kalashnikov and Buzina, along with several others over the past month.

Repression mounts

The assassination campaign takes place in the context of three key political developments: The April 10 ban on communist propaganda, symbols and “glorification of Soviet history” enacted by the Verkhovna Rada, or parliament; a law passed the same day enshrining as “freedom fighters” ultraright Ukrainian nationalist groups that collaborated with Nazi German occupation during World War II and the CIA during the Cold War; and the arrival of U.S. troops on Ukrainian soil.

Some 290 commandos of the U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne Division arrived April 17 in Lvov, western Ukraine, after what Russian media called a military parade of hundreds of kilometers from Italy through Eastern Europe.

Along with British, Canadian and Polish commandos, these U.S. troops are to provide training to the Ukrainian National Guard, a body created after the Maidan coup to incorporate fascist gangs into the state apparatus.

U.S. forces are to drill with the Azov Battalion, which is dominated by the neo-Nazi Right Sector movement. The battalion has been accused of numerous human rights violations in the junta’s brutal war against the independent Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics of the Donbass mining region.

Denis Pushilin, chief negotiator for Donetsk, said of the U.S. troops’ arrival: “This is a conscious policy. In combination with the moving up of military equipment [Kiev’s buildup of heavy weapons in violation of the Minsk II ceasefire], this is meant to escalate the conflict.” (Novorossia Today, April 17)

The Azov Battalion has embraced its new official relationship with Washington. Korrespondent.net published photos on April 16, obtained from the Associated Press, of Azov forces near the occupied city of Mariupol in the Donetsk People’s Republic. They are shown flying the U.S. flag alongside those of Ukraine and the Right Sector.

When Right Sector forces destroyed a monument of Soviet leader V.I. Lenin in occupied Kramatorsk on April 17, amateur video showed the fascists flying the U.S. flag.

Right Sector and other Nazi groups marched through the center of Odessa, a multinational port city in southeastern Ukraine, on April 17 chanting, “Great Ukraine is for the white man,” “One race, one nation” and “Hang the communists,” according to Odessa’s dumskaya.net. The march was escorted by the police.

The same day, at a protest against utility rate hikes and pension cuts, 53 opposition activists were arrested and detained by police, aided by Right Sector and Maidan goons. (rusvena.su, April 17)

One year ago, on May 2, 2014, neo-Nazis, including members of the Azov battalion, massacred at least 48 antifascists at the House of Trade Unions.

Communists declare: ‘It’s time to act’

The revolutionary communist organization Union Borotba (Struggle), in an April 19 statement on the assassinations, said: “We appeal to everyone to … realize that fascism has come to our house.

“The ruling elite, which unleashed a fratricidal war, which pushed the people into poverty, misery and injustice, cannot rely on the support of the majority of people. To preserve their political power, the ruling group has to rely on terror. Any attempt at dissent is suppressed in the most brutal manner.

“The collapse of the economy, mass impoverishment and widespread injustice necessarily lead to social upheaval. And the junta has decided to take preventive measures, knowing that a wave of popular protests could sweep it away.”

Borotba declared further: “We can say with certainty that these killings signal the beginning of a new phase of the civil war in Ukraine. If the earlier confrontation followed the line of junta [and] supporters against the people of the southeast, now the representatives of yesterday’s elite have been unwittingly drawn in. …

“The cruelty of the authorities will only increase. And anyone who is not satisfied with what is happening in the country must understand that it is impossible to remain silent. It’s time to act.

“We encourage everyone to prepare for the fight. We will have no freedom from the Nazis unless we free ourselves,” the statement concluded.

The full statement can be read in English at borotba.su.