In this article, Sergei Kirichuk evaluates the current situation in Ukraine as new President Peter Poroshenko continues a bloody “anti-terrorist operation” against the people of the Donbass mining and industrial region. Kirichuk is national coordinator of Union Borotba (Struggle), a revolutionary socialist organization in Ukraine that helped organize the anti-fascist movement in the southeast against the U.S.-backed Kiev junta. He is currently in exile in Germany,
Kirichuk also discusses the junta’s roots in the “Maidan,” an anti-government protest movement in Kiev taken over by neo-Nazi and other far-right elements. The new “Berkut,” or political police, is the fascist Right Sector itself.
The article originally appeared on the Ukrainian leftist website Liva.com.ua, and was translated by Workers World contributing editor Greg Butterfield.
Everything is decided by Kalashnikovs [automatic rifles]. The dictates of the politicians who took power rest precisely on the force of arms. Maidan initially positioned itself as a movement for democracy and received new impetus from protests against police violence after demonstrators were dispersed by the Kiev “Berkut.” However, the form it spawned is completely opposite the expectations of the democratically inclined part of its participants.
Of course, Maidan never put forward a clear anti-oligarchic program — but the removal of the richest people in the country from governance and the democratization of public life were implied by their slogans. But now the oligarchs — appointed governors of the eastern regions — give bloodthirsty speeches and wear blue and yellow ribbons to the applause of professional patriots. The media are rigidly edited and censored, and there is no longer any question of real freedom of speech.
Ukrainians are killing each other in the Donbass. Thousands of Ukrainian citizens have moved to Russia’s Rostov region or to other Ukrainian regions, fleeing the so-called “anti-terrorist operation.” Meanwhile, the Nazis from the Right Sector made the bravura statement of creating a private army for the president. The Right Sector’s representative said on a live radio show: “We have held talks with the president and now he has his own army.” On what legal basis these “negotiations” were held is anyone’s guess. “From tomorrow we will start to help the president in the process of dissolution of Parliament — it will be dissolved,” adds the representative of the Right Sector.
It is quite obvious that what is being discussed is building a new mechanism of rigid autocracy or dictatorship, in which parliamentary power and administrative power will be tied to a single person, based on his executive committee of billionaire partners. Of course, the Kiev junta cannot immediately abandon the formal attributes of democracy. But now it sees nothing wrong with prohibiting certain parties or just throwing out parliamentary deputies who do not go along with this new totalitarian understanding of democratic freedoms.
However, we can see the formation of the people’s alternative to the regime. Not only the eastern regions rise to fight — people in western Ukraine come into the streets and conduct protest rallies against the forced mobilization of their relatives. Residents of Lutsk and Rivne publish demands to stop the war. Of course, the “objective” media will not pay much attention to the rallies of soldiers’ mothers – you will not find an oligarch’s son in their ranks — but the poor Ukrainian families whose loved ones are forcibly kept in the army continue to protest and speak out.
It is believed that the natives of Galicia and Volyn should mindlessly go into battle, sacrificing their lives “for the sake of a unified Ukraine.” But these people do not want either to kill or be killed by their counterparts from the Donbass. From the front, there is little support for the bloodthirsty posts of Facebook authors demanding expansion of the military operation. Those who have to go to the slaughter try to escape from the army.
The paradigm of confrontation between East and West of the country, which was cultivated for many years in all forms by the regimes in Kiev, has resulted in the current civil war. Leftists for years talked about the dangers of this political tactic, splitting the lower classes and helping the oligarchs retain their dominance. But the ruling class brought this policy to its logical conclusion.
The only hope for the people of Ukraine today is that the war between the “West” and “East” becomes a united front of Ukrainians — from the Carpathians to Lugansk — against a handful of cynical thieves robbing our country and all its citizens, regardless of the language they speak.