The following article is a reasoned response to the crisis in the former Soviet Ukraine, created and to a considerable extent manipulated by the U.S. NAT0 bloc. As an introduction to the article, let me try to explain terms that Zyuganov uses which would be understood very differently, if at all, by both our readers and most Americans. The article obviously was written for Russian readers; it was sent before the signing of the recent cease fire agreement.
First, when Zyuganov speaks of the “Russian liberal camp,” who support the Ukrainian rightists, he does not mean what we call liberal in the U.S., namely pro social welfare, pro civil rights and civil liberties people in the left wing of the Democratic Party. He means instead anti-Soviet, anti-Communist champions of capitalism in Russia, similar in many ways to our right wing Republicans.
In Russia for example, the demagogic fascist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky has led the “Liberal Democratic Party” in the post Soviet period, calling for the expulsion of “non Russians,” from Russia, and engaging in extreme anti -Jewish demagoguery along with racist attacks on other groups. Interestingly enough, it has been shown that Zhirinovsky originally came from a Jewish Polish family, that some of his relatives who survived the fascist genocide settled in Israel. Even though Zhirinovsky, who was born in 1946, would not have been born if the forces he represents today had triumphed in WWII and the Red Army and Soviet people had not saved civilization from the fascist Axis powers, this “midget Hitler” or poor man’s Pat Buchanan, is an example of what liberal means in Russia today.
Stepan Bandera, whom Zyuganov deals with at length, was a kind of Zhirinovsky of WWII, a Ukrainian national chauvinist who, after the Hitlerite invasion of Poland in 1939, worked with the German forces to mobilize ethnic Ukrainians against the Polish army.
After the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Bandara’s forces, allied to the Wehrmacht, continued their war against the USSR However, Bandara established an “Independent” Ukraine as the Nazis seized Kiev in the mistaken belief that they would support him. Since there is no honor among either thieves of fascists, they arrested him instead and imprisoned him in a concentration camp for special political prisoners, who might be useful in the future.
As the Red Army decisively defeated the Wehrmacht and began the liberation of the Soviet Ukraine in 1944, Bandara and his associates were released by the Germans and set up in Berlin to revive their forces in Ukraine and carry out terror and murder behind the lines of the advancing Red Army against Soviet troops and citizens. Bandera’s followers involvement in the massacres of Poles and Jews during the war is a matter of record. After the war, Bandara’s services were picked up by the British MI-6. The services of his leading henchman who became his factional opponent, Mykola Lebed were picked up by the CIA.
Although Bandera was assassinated in Munich in 1959 (a German Court attributed this to Soviet agents) he is today a hero to Ukrainian ultra-rightists, who have supplied the shock troops and the storm troops for the Kiev government as Zyuganov rightly says. In the propaganda of today, as Zyuganov mentions, Bandara and his contemporary supporters are seen as part of a “national liberation” tradition in the Ukraine.
I wonder what Americans would think if there was a crisis in Germany and forces indentifying with the Nazi Werewolf organization established to carry out terror and murder after the German surrender in 1945 were involved, hailing Hitler as a leader of German “national liberation” and the U.S. media was covering it up. That is essentially what is happening concerning the Ukraine. One should also remember that those who support the Kiev government as representing some sort of “national liberation struggle” today represent the very forces which opposed the authentic national liberation struggles of the Chinese, Vietnamese, South African, and many other colonized and oppressed peoples in the cold war period,
Zyuganov understands that the same forces which have looted Russia in the post Soviet period, the “oligarchs,” what we would call Robber Baron capitalists, have been at work in the Ukraine. The private armies he speaks about resemble the Nazi Storm Troopers and their various imitators in the past, or for that matter the KKK in the U.S., which acted to support a racist power structure in the South.
The KKK used terror and murder and was accepted by segregationist politicians the way the Kiev government today accepts these fascist gangster groups, believing that they can control and use them But, as Zyuganov notes, these forces coming to power in Ukraine would represent a profound danger for everyone.
Zyuganov calls for a “fraternal alliance” between the Russian and Ukrainian peoples and a restoration of what he calls the “welfare state” practices of the Soviet period. Although welfare state means something very different in the U.S. and Europe (where it developed to a considerable extent as a substitute for and a response to Soviet Socialism) I trust Zyuganov means the social security and social guarantees that were destroyed for all Soviet citizens with the destruction of the USSR.
Zyuganov’s article deserves to be read widely. It is a call for both peace and a revival of economic and social policies that can bring about a foundation for peace. I would add only that we in the U.S. must demand an end of U.S. government support for these old and new fascist forces in Ukraine immediately and call also for the dissolution of NAT0, which, even for old cold warriors, has had no reason to exist in the post Soviet period, much less expand and become what it is today, a global military strike force.
Norman Markowitz, PA editorial board
For the past three months war has been raging in the vast territories of the Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics. For the first time since Ukraine’s liberation from the Nazis 70 years ago, civilian towns and villages are being shelled and bombed. The dead and wounded number in the thousands and there are tens of thousands of refugees. Entire residential neighborhoods, orphanages and schools, outpatient clinics and hospitals, along with power generators and water supply facilities, have been destroyed. A number of cities, where hundreds of thousands of people live, are being strangled by a blockade.
With the Banderists now in power in Kiev, their patrons in the West and the yes-men in the Russian liberal camp are openly hushing up the war crimes that are being committed in Novorossiya (New Russia). This is because the ongoing destruction of towns and villages is in direct violation of international norms and the rules of war. The 1949 Geneva Conventions specifically prohibit the use of artillery and combat aircraft against undefended populated areas. Meanwhile, the junta that seized power in a coup in Kiev is pursuing a vile and cowardly strategy relying on the use of right-wing death squads, although the Ukrainian army itself has been the invariable loser in direct combat with the Self-Defense Forces of Novorossiya/New Russia.
The private armies of the Ukrainian oligarchs are deliberately destroying the civilian population. The Russian-speaking population is being squeezed out of their historic homeland. This is ethnic cleansing and constitutes a grave crime against humanity.
The historical roots of recent developments
Russia’s attention is concentrated on the Ukrainian developments, and the anguish that we feel in connection with the war raging there is natural. Ukraine is not just a part of the Slavic world. The Ukrainian land and its people are an integral part of the Russian consciousness and Russian history. At issue in this conflict are the very deep spiritual and cultural bonds between our two peoples and their historical inalienability from each other. When attempts are made to set us at loggerheads for the sake of the interests of the West, it is like cutting us to the quick, causing a deep wound both to Russian society and to all the citizens of Ukraine, including those who are befuddled by anti-Russian propaganda. For it is only in alliance with Russia that Ukraine can reach the heights of prosperity, which many people in Ukraine have considered possible only in alliance with Europe – an alliance that has eternally brought about trouble.
It has always been so: Both in the 12th through the 14th centuries, when the Chermnaya (Red) Rus’ region around Lvov was severed from the historic core of Russia and torn to pieces by her western neighbors, and againin the 16th and 17th centuries, when the Polish gentry sought to destroy by fire and sword from Ukrainian soil the very spirit of freedom and Orthodox Christianity, along with the memory of the great all-Russian unity. It also happened in the 18th century, when a handful of traitors gathered around Mazepa (to whom Peter the Great seriously intended to award a twenty-eight pound “Medal of Judah” to wear on his neck as a reward for betrayal). At the beginning of the 20th century, during the Civil War, the local samostiitsy (Ukrainian separatists) relied on German bayonets. All this turned the Ukrainian land into a scene of gory battles. The rescue came solely with Russia’s help.
The current horrific developments have borne out V.I. Lenin’s statement that a free Ukraine was only possible if Great Russia’s and Ukraine’s proletarians joined in action, and that it was out of the question without such unity. It is appropriate to recall here that all of the major high-tech industries in Ukraine, not only in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, but also in the Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhe, and other regions, were built in the Soviet era at the expense of the Union budget, of which 70% came from Russia, i.e. from Russian people.
So a fraternal alliance with the Ukrainian people at this time of terrible trials is our common cause and our common duty.
It might seem that a civil war broke out in Ukraine overnight. Six months ago, the country was one of the many states experiencing difficult economic and social problems but preserving its political stability. The people’s discontent was accumulating, but there were no signs of heavy shocks coming. It would, however, be ill-advised to assume that a social explosion occurred all of a sudden, like a bolt from the blue.
The Russian leadership, admittedly, responded to this threat quite adequately by bringing the Crimea back into Russia in time for the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the peninsula from the Nazis and preventing, in fact, an outbreak of a major war.
To better comprehend the origins of the tragedy of Ukraine, it is necessary to see the historical roots in their development and the mechanisms of the severe crisis originating in this brotherly country. It is necessary to see the recent external symptoms of a bloody fratricidal war surfacing in Ukraine, as well as the deeper historical, economic, class, ethnic, cultural, religious and other prerequisites of these developments. Only an integrated analysis will enable correct identification of the driving forces in the crisis in Ukraine, prediction of the further course of events, and elaboration of strategies and tactics for the resolution of this dire conflict.
For us Communists, what is happening in the sister republic is not of mere theoretical interest. We are not political scientists who impassively watch any developments. We have an obligation to draw lessons from the severe social confrontation into which our neighboring country has plunged. It is therefore necessary to analyze the events in Ukraine, bearing in mind that similar events could also be repeated in one form or another in Russia.
Of course, our attention and sympathy focus primarily on Novorossiya, the New Russia which is emerging from this struggle. However, it is equally important to understand the sources and driving forces of the opposing side – the resurgent neo-Nazism. For this purpose it is necessary to analyze the historical origins and formation of the Bandera movement as a form of Ukrainian ethnic nationalism at its most extreme. It is necessary to understand on what ideological foundation the movement rests and in what way nationalism coupled with Russophobia is being fueled in Ukraine today.
The origins of radical nationalism
It is crucial to understand that Ukraine, with the exception of the Soviet period, never had its own statehood and no other periods in history that were identical for the entire Ukrainian people. Over the centuries, when the European powers were emerging, Ukraine was never once an independent state, nor a unified entity with the structure of other states. What is modern-day Ukrainian territory was always divided between different European powers. In the middle of the 17th century, as a result of a voluntary union with Russia, its eastern half found itself under Russia’s wing, wherein the history of Malorossiya or Rus’ Minor (Lesser Russia) began to take form, while the western Ukrainian territories were under the rule of Poland and then Austro-Hungary.
Poland’s policy towards the Ukrainian population was extremely cruel, often sadistic. Western Ukrainians, as a part of the Polish state population, were second-class citizens. That was the key reason why a radical Ukrainian nationalism began to emerge in western Ukraine; it was in part similar to the ideas of racial exclusiveness, enshrined in the “Third Reich.”
The then Bandera followers did not just enter into a strategic coalition with the German occupiers, but participated most actively in their punitive actions, including against the native Ukrainian population. They carried on the same practice in western Ukraine after the war upon going underground. Not only more than 25 thousand Soviet soldiers and security officers but also more than 30 thousand innocent Ukrainians were killed in the battles with Bandera followers, which lasted until the mid-1950s. Those clashes came at a high cost to the Banderists, too, who lost more than 60 thousand men over the years.
This Bandera-style nationalism did not evolve into a national liberation idea but into a totalitarian sect of crazed fanatics who killed primarily native Ukrainians. Characteristics of an analogous totalitarian sect are inherent in the West Ukrainian Uniate church, which is formally in communion with Rome. Aligned with it were the Bandera followers, who did not want to take into account the fact that the vast majority of Ukrainians embraced Eastern Orthodox Christianity. The ideology of the Uniates (Eastern Rite Roman Catholics) has in fact very little to do with Catholicism. It is rather an extreme, sectarian form of Protestantism mixed with Baptism. Not accidental are its relations to the sectarians among key figures in Kiev – the Baptist Turchinov and Yatseniuk, who is friends with Scientologists.
Every victory scored by these nationalist extremists has resulted from a deep crisis of the government, whose hostility society is increasingly aware of and reacting radically to its ugly manifestations. The only way for the forces at power to keep afloat is through an alliance with this radical nationalist ideology, thanks to which the former top heads are reportedly retaining their posts, already under new banners.
The new “elite” emerging from the previous series uses the followers of Bandera as “cannon fodder” in order to once again fool millions of people. As a result, the oligarchs have not only maintained but also strengthened their positions. They will now carry out the same or even more brutal economic policies under the Banderist banner in the same “alliance with the devil” against Moscow, which will bring no relief from Ukraine’s troubles and problems but certainly their aggravation.
An unbiased, scientific approach guides one to a conclusion that both the Western policy-makers and the current Kiev rulers, who are seeking to cut the age-old ties with Russia, have shunned in every way. This conclusion is that the people of Central and Eastern Ukraine are, in fact, connected with Russia in a much stronger way than with West Ukraine. Any attempts to steer Ukraine into a pro-Western, anti-Russia channel are directed not only against Russia, but against most of the Ukrainian people. They are inherently anti-Ukrainian, anti-national actions cloaked in nationalist demagogy.
Objectively this is the case, even though not all the residents of the central and western regions of Ukraine are yet aware of it.
The history of the Bandera movement has already revealed the tragic paradox, which is now being played out again through the fault of the new Banderists who have seized power. While allegedly upholding the interests of the Ukrainian people, these figures are infringing on the interests of the greater part of Ukrainians, interests which cannot be implemented outside of close ties with Russia. It is what Bandera and his associates did not want to understand and what Ukraine’s current “elite”, which is under the auspices of Washington, does not want to hear about.
Bandera-style nationalism as an extreme manifestation of Russophobia
The Ukrainian radical nationalists’ choice in favor of a fight against “Soviet occupation” was not a temporary tactical move. It was natural and inevitable, and for Ukrainian nationalists it still remains as such today. For them, the only possible choice is in favor of an anti-Russia alliance with any, even the worst enemy of Ukraine. Without such an unnatural union no “independent” Ukraine is possible in isolation from Russia.
Of course, in the past there occurred political and cultural imbalances in the actions of Russia’s central authorities in the Ukrainian territories as parts of the Russian Empire. But the original language and cultural closeness of our peoples, the similarity of their thinking, traditions and customs, mitigated that problem. It is impossible to describe that period of history as an occupation of Ukraine. Descriptions of this sort are rooted in ignorance. It is right to speak about a centuries-long common history of Russia, Eastern and Central Ukraine and say that, as a result of our union, a uniform political nation was formed.
But Bandera and his followers transferred their hatred of the former oppressors onto the Soviet regime after it began to assert itself in Western Ukraine. They did not want to see that the principles of Soviet government had nothing to do with the colonial order imposed by the Polish pans (lords). They did not want to see that within the structure of the Soviet state East and Central Ukraine were already receiving more de facto independence than in the Russian Empire and that the advent of the Soviet regime in the western part of Ukraine was not a sort of new colonization but liberation from colonization.
But why do the ideologues of Russophobia manage, even nowadays, to fool a large part of society? The explanation lies in the fact that many Ukrainians repeatedly see radical nationalism as a panacea for their ills, an alternative to what oppressed and humiliated them in the past. But their troubles and humiliation are now associated with a new reality. It is not tantamount to the violent Polish outrage of the past centuries. Now it is the tyranny of the oligarchs and highhandedness of gangster capitalists.
Arising from the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, a permanent economic and moral crisis arose in Ukraine, bringing along with it cases of deepening social injustice and inequality that became a catalyst for radical nationalist sentiments, which first erupted in 2004 and then again from 2013 to 2014. Without these factors, no sentiments of this kind would have found fertile soil in Ukraine, just as they lacked it during the heyday of the Soviet country, within whose structure the interests of the Ukrainians were being implemented to the maximum extent. Suffice it to say that for most of the second half of the twentieth century, the Soviet Union was led by figures who were closely linked with Ukraine: Nikita S. Khrushchev and Leonid I. Brezhnev.
However, the Russophobes in the West, the anti-Soviet liberals in Russia, and the new Ukrainian nationalism ideologues put forth a false thesis, insisting that even though the Soviet government gave more freedom to the Ukrainian people, it still was, in fact, an occupational force, as Ukraine remained under the control of an empire – this time the Soviet empire.
Consequently, the struggle of Bandera and his associates against the Soviet authorities was to them still the same struggle for liberation. Nowadays, in trying to finally break free from the Russian influence, the new Ukrainian nationalists allegedly follow the same principles of a struggle for independence and are driven by a desire to consolidate independence within the framework of a Ukraine that has achieved statehood.
The fundamental falsity of this thesis is made clear by history and today’s developments, in which history is largely repeated. The fact is that radical nationalists have never acted as an independent national political force. Liberation of Western Ukraine from Polish oppression was not an achievement of theirs, but of the Soviet government. The struggle against it guided the Ukrainian nationalists straight to a direct alliance with the Nazi occupiers.
But as soon as the idea of Ukrainian statehood was paired with an orientation to the West and estrangement from Russia, that sort of statehood turned out to be a fiction and the shaky unity begot unrest. The reason for this is that Ukraine has had little experience of independent statehood. Nowadays, it is simply unable to exist outside the area of influence of more powerful states.
Meanwhile, in an anti-Russia alliance with Ukraine’s outright enemies, who are capable of concealing their true hostile intentions only for a short while, the Ukrainian people have no chance of true independence. The “National Movement” in Ukraine is a path leading not to liberation but in the opposite direction. It is an anti-nation path.
This is felt today by millions of Ukrainians, many of whom have risen up in arms against the new Bandera-style nationalism. Their struggle is a genuine national resistance movement because they gave a resounding “no” to the intention to break the age-old ties with Russia and the Russian people. In response, they got aerial bombings and artillery shelling of residential neighborhoods. The Banderists acted similarly in the 1930-1950 period against Ukrainians who had become aware of the destructive nature of their “nationalism”. Those who are moved by a truly national idea and really care for their people cannot deal with their compatriots in this way.
The immediate causes of the coup in Ukraine
The watershed that split Ukraine’s contemporary history came with President Yanukovich’s decision last autumn to give up associate membership in the European Union and move in the direction of the Customs Union with Russia and other countries. The decision was quite justified from an economic point of view. The Russian negotiators with the Ukrainian side argued for many months but failed to convince their partners in Kiev that the drive toward the West is fraught with the danger of a complete breakdown of the Ukrainian economy, which is still closely linked with the Russian economy.
However, the ruling circles in Kiev kept sticking to a purely pro-Western ideological course. It was only at the last moment, when the final decision was to be determined, that the Ukrainian leadership recognized the economic realities and announced their intention to join the Customs Union. By that time public opinion had, through the efforts of numerous “social organizations” and media outlets created by the West and under its control, already been steered in a pro-European direction. The people did not have reliable information about the inevitable harsh consequences of a second-class membership in the European Union. But the dream of “reunification with Europe” had long been befuddling the brains of intellectuals and ordinary people who passionately and fondly hoped that associate membership in the EU would automatically take the Ukrainians to the European level of well-being.
The decision to join the Customs Union with Russia, semi-despicable in the eyes of the “zapadenskoi” (West Ukrainian intelligentsia), was seen by many in Ukraine as shattering their pro-Western dreams. Mass irritation spilled out on the streets of the capital, which had long fallen under the influence of vociferous activists from West Ukraine.
However, the Maidan that flared up last November wilted gradually. By January of this year, two or three hundred fanatics and homeless tramps were still there in scattered groups, having found a way of self-expression and a source of a free mess of pottage in the center of the capital. Meanwhile, any reduction in the level of opposition heat was clearly not in the plans of those who actually ran the developments in Ukraine. Western politicians and agents of intelligence services began to hurl sizable amounts of combustible material into the fading fire of public discontent and create an incendiary mix for flares of radicalism, skilfully directed against Russia. But it would be wrong to see the situation from a narrow angle as resulting only from the machinations of Western politicians and intelligence agencies. Mr. Yanukovich and his team must take a considerable sharet of the blame for the fire breaking out. Upon rising to power that “team”, or rather the family of the former president, began aggressively to convert political power into money. The greed of the “Donetskites”, as they were nicknamed by many people, had no limits. A huge number of small and large businesses were squeezed for tributes. Business take-overs became commonplace. Thus popular discontent over the steadily worsening economic situation merged with sharp resentment on the part of a very active segment of the population – small and medium-sized businesses – in connection with the “grabilovka” (plundering) by Yanukovich’s friends and relatives.
Meanwhile Mr. Yanukovich, for tactical purposes, diligently portrayed himself as a supporter of rapprochement with Russia, although his real stance was openly pro-Western. In public opinion Yanukovich was therefore, associated with Russia. Hence the Maidan anti-Russian overtones. But do we have the moral right to condemn the Ukrainian people for its majority lacking the awareness of the need to revive a fraternal union with Russia? We might have such a right, if the Russian Federation (RF) was setting an example of a social welfare state, if it had eradicated oligarchy, total corruption, and the principles of gangster capitalism. If that was the case, then the Ukrainian people would have stood up without hesitation under the same banners with Russia – the banners that had led to salvation in the past.
The incendiary mix which led to a social explosion in Ukraine included several basic elements: the legitimate grievances of the bulk of the people due to the steady deterioration of their financial position; resentment of small and medium-sized businesses over the raids by Yanukovich’s team; and the desire of “zapadenskiye” (Western Ukrainian) intellectuals to ride public opinion still harder, along with the intrigues of pro-American politicians and secret services aimed at enhancing the split between Ukraine and Russia
Meanwhile, Russia’s ruling group saw and still sees Ukraine primarily as a territory in which a natural gas pipeline is laid. Therefore, the policy of the upper-level RF authorities focused almost exclusively on ensuring a smooth flow of gas to Europe. Public sentiment in Ukraine was completely ignored by the Russian “elite” as a factor which was completely irrelevant – against the backdrop of intrigue around the gas pipeline among the top authorities of the two countries – and for this reason the peoples of the fraternal republics have subsequently had to pay a heavy price.
The coup and its aftermath
The attempts of the Ukrainian leadership to restore basic order in the streets of the capital, including through negotiations, met with fierce resistance from the well-trained fighters who had been recruited in the western regions. In mid-February, the American technology of pseudo-popular revolutions began to be used in Kiev, including the seizure of power by street crowds with massive external support, tested during the coups in Yugoslavia, Georgia, Ukraine (2004), and Libya, as well as during the “Arab Spring” events in a number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
Simultaneously, the Ukrainian leadership became the object of outright pressure from the West. The European Union threatened the creation of a “black list” of officials, against whom a variety of sanctions would be imposed. The Yanukovich clan members were thinking primarily about their own accounts in Western banks and offshore funds. That made the Ukrainian leadership particularly vulnerable to the West’s blackmail. The head of state’s faintness resulted in a paralysis of the law enforcement agencies and betrayal by the political elite, who failed to fulfill their constitutional obligations.
Meanwhile, representatives of the opposition, supposedly fighting for democracy against an authoritarian regime and for a bright future for Ukraine under the auspices of the European Union, demonstrated, in fact, the habits of their Banderist fascist predecessors. “Peaceful” protesters seized government buildings and attacked police forces, pelting them with Molotov cocktails. President Yanukovich kept shying away from decisive action and was handing power, step by step, to the neo-Nazi elements. The process culminated in a coup d’état. Genuine battles with the use of firearms began on the streets of Kiev on February 18. In three days the death toll had reached 100 and more than 600 were hospitalized. On February 23, Yanukovich fled from Kiev.
The heirs of the Nazi henchman Bandera seized power and immediately launched a campaign of suppression against their political opponents and the Russian-speaking population. The intimidated deputies of the Verkhovna Rada passed a decision repealing the law allowing the use of Russian as the second state language in a number of regions of Ukraine. Pogroms started against the premises of the Communist Party of Ukraine, and the Communist Party was banned in some regions. Members of Parliament from the Communist Party and the Party of Regions were physically abused along with the policemen who remained faithful to their oath.
The Banderists started attacks on historical memory with widespread destruction of monuments to Lenin and the Soviet soldiers who fell during the liberation of Ukraine from Nazi occupation. By toppling monuments to Lenin, the rioters were destroying not only the historical heritage, but also the symbols of Ukrainian statehood, because the decree for the establishment of the Ukrainian Republic was signed by Lenin himself. That orgy of destruction resulted in the rise of the resistance movement in the south-east of the country and, ultimately, in civil war.
The class-related nature of the conflict in Ukraine
The inherent nature of the events in Ukraine is difficult to understand without an analysis of the alignment of its class forces. It must first of all be noted that as a result of the 1990 – 2000 wild, destructive privatization of the economy of Ukraine in the interests of the oligarchs and the newly-minted deindustrialization in the interests of Western competitors, the numbers of the industrial proletariat declined sharply. Accordingly, the level of its organization was reduced. With the destruction of collective and state farms the rural proletariat was virtually eradicated. This changed the balance of class forces.
However, the pro-Western top authorities of Ukraine failed to completely destroy the working class, especially in the most industrialized south-east regions. It is therefore no accident that the Bandera-style junta received its most powerful rebuff in those regions. The industrial proletarians of Novorossiya are well aware of the fact that the cutting of historical ties with Russia, to which the products of their enterprises were oriented, must inevitably lead to mass unemployment and poverty. Not only the national feelings, but also the class consciousness of millions of people in Novorossiya formed the basis for resistance to oligarchic usurpation of power.
An important feature of the popular revolutionary actions in south-east Ukraine, and earlier in Crimea, is that they were directed against the neo-fascist usurpers of power in Kiev, who were closely related to global transnational capital, and also against the “Donetsk” oligarchic clan, which established their political and economic dictatorship in these regions. Incidentally, the “early” independence Maidan (November – December 2013) was, in this sense, not so much anti-Russia as anti-oligarchy in character.
However, as the protest sentiments of the masses did not have a class character, they were exploited in the battle of the two clans of the big-time bourgeoisie. That clash was won by the group which had brought together the pro-Western, nationalist and extreme right-wing forces, who benefited from the people’s discontent in the coup.
Usually big capital controls countries through their hired servants , the state officials. In Russia in the 1990s, oligarchs initially dominated the bureaucrats. Then the top government officials took precedence, but later the higher bureaucracy and oligarchy merged.
In Ukraine, too, there was a struggle between two related class groups – the state bureaucracy and the oligarchy. And here, as in Russia, there emerged a symbiosis of these two class groups. But after the February 2014 revolution, the oligarchs effected the subjugation of the bureaucrats. Faced with the tough resistance of the people in Crimea, Lugansk, Donetsk, Kharkov, Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk and other cities, the ruling elite in Kiev went straight to the introduction of a big-time capitalist dictatorship.
Oligarchs, previously hiding in the shadow of hired politicians from various “bat’kivshchinas”, “udars” and “regions” were appointed governors of several regions. Then the direct roguish dictatorship of the oligarchy, not cloaked with any “democratic” trinkets, came to reign supreme in Ukraine.
The billionaires Poroshenko, Kolomoysky, and their ilk did not only immediately take over the governing functions, but also created their own private armies and secret police forces engaged in kidnapping and torturing people. Ukraine was becoming an “in war as in war” banana republic, ruled not by law but by the complete arbitrariness of a politically temporary “president” relying on death squads, as well as on political and military support from the United States. The peoples of Latin America shed their banana republic labels as a result of persistent struggle. Unfortunately, that kind of “state governance” came to reign in Ukraine.
The class character of the new government in Ukraine was attested to, in particular, by I. Kolomoysky providing funds, according to press reports, to the pro-fascist, anti-Semitic “Svoboda” party. That fact confirms the global oligarchy’s readiness, as has happened many times in European history, to rely on the most diehard Nazis to suppress the people’s desire for social justice.
A very active role was played at Maidan by the petty bourgeoisie, who were particularly affected by the excesses of the Yanukovych clan outrages, and by the lumpen elements which appeared in Ukraine in large numbers as a result of the impoverishment caused by the economic policies of the bourgeois regime.
Let us remember that, historically, the petty bourgeoisie and the “lumpen-proletariat” represent the most mobile part of society. History shows that, under certain circumstances, namely like those that recently developed in Ukraine, the petty bourgeoisie and the lumpen elements can become a key mass support of fascism. So it was in Germany in the 30s of the last century, and could happen again in Ukraine at the beginning of this century. The lumpen elements recently formed the basis of a variety of private armies of Bandera-style oligarchs.
The attack on the Communists as a sign of the revival of Nazism
The class-related content of the present-day government is confirmed by the fact that the Communist Party of Ukraine was selected as the first target for persecution. The Communists were blamed for the participation of CPU members in protest actions in the south-eastern regions. It was also alleged that the leadership of the Communist Party was engaged in discrediting Ukraine within the country’s borders and abroad through Russian media outlets. On that basis, the demand was put forward to ban the Communist Party as allegedly posing a national security threat. It was particularly striking that the charges of violating the Constitution came from the mouths of those who had seized power in a coup d’état. By this same token, the government accusing the Communist Party of violation of the current legislation is, by all measures, illegitimate.
There is no reason whatever to ban one of the oldest political parties in Ukraine. The program of the Communist Party contains no provisions aimed at violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. The Communist Party is not involved in any attempts to seize power. No one has provided data on its financing by foreign countries. The CPU is a parliamentary party voted in by about three million voters. Party representatives were part of the government. Its members are involved in the work of international parliamentary associations. Therefore attempts to represent the Communist Party as an extremist organization are unlikely to be understood by the world community.
In fact, the purpose of the efforts to ban the Communist Party is to ensure the suppression of dissent in Ukraine, for the CPU is the only political force which openly declared its opposition to the rigid policy drive of the current ruling group. The preparations for ousting the Communist Party are nothing else but an attempt to deprive Ukrainian citizens of their constitutional right to enjoy freedom of speech, demonstrations, and meetings. Behind these moves is the intention to silence any political and social forces that do not agree with the political course of the ruling group. It dramatically complicates the possibility of an all-Ukraine dialogue, which is the only way to pull out of the crisis and restore peace and harmony.
The ban on one of the oldest and most influential political organizations in Ukraine can only mark a step towards the strengthening of totalitarianism. Any ban on a Communist Party in Europe’s history has always witnessed the coming of fascism.
There is no doubt that the crisis that caused the civil war in Ukraine had been largely provoked by the United States and its allies. Western policy towards Ukraine has had the character of blatant interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state ever since “Maidan-1″(2004). That policy has since changed not much at all – only in the direction of more arrogance. A few months ago, the United States Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, said in a burst of candor – or rather in a desire to show off the real strength of American influence – that the United States spent no less than five billion dollars on creating Ukrainian domestic support for US political moves in Ukraine.
Those enormous (by any measure) amounts of money went to set up a powerful system of “social organizations” and “independent” media outlets. According to some estimates, the system created by the American authorities for public opinion manipulations involves about 150 thousand people, who – in one way or another -receive Western grants and allowances.
There is no doubt that the aggressive policy of the Bandera-style authorities enjoys the full support of the United States. The current junta has become a direct tool of America, seeking to break the centuries-old ties between our peoples and to draw Ukraine into its military-political orbit.
The main objective of the foreign puppeteers is not to make Ukraine democratic and prosperous, but to capture its natural resources: coal, iron ore, and newly-discovered shale gas deposits, as well as getting control of its markets. A “revolution” in Ukraine was vital for the United States. America’s colossal debt of $17 trillion is pressing its leaders ever harder to search for a way out of their disastrous economic situation. The leadership of the United States sees a way out through either conquering European markets or fueling a new war, for which the conflict in Ukraine can serve as a sort of fuse wire. It is clear that this kind of policy will result in the eventual collapse of the Ukrainian economy. It has already triggered an outflow of nearly one million refugees. Ukraine will cease to be a state friendly to Russia and get squeezed into the NATO orbit, bringing its missile defense installations and first-strike weapons much closer to Russia’s borders.
The hypocrisy of the West is made clear in that, on the one hand, it forcibly detached the Serbian districts of Kosovo and Metohija through direct aggression and ethnic cleansing from Serbia as a whole. On the other hand, it is cynical in not recognizing the expression of the will of the citizens of Crimea and Novorossiya to reunite with Russia. Indeed, the West has stubbornly turned a blind eye to the atrocious war crimes committed by the Kiev junta’s gangs who have destroyed cities and towns by artillery fire. According to the United Nations, they have killed over 2,200 civilians in Novorossiya. In actual fact, the number of victims is much higher. But Western “humanists” and the media controlled by them stubbornly try to conceal the humanitarian disaster in these once prospering areas.
It is significant that the outburst of indignation in the West after the crash of the Malaysian Airlines plane with hundreds of passengers on board faded away very quickly, when news began to break that the plane had been obviously shot down by Ukraine’s air defenses. The crash investigation was curtailed under the pretext of danger to the lives of the experts sent to investigate the crash. Everything was done in order to leave unscathed the true culprits, who are likely to be found in Washington and Kiev.
America’s foreign policy is still dominated by the so-called neo-conservatives, who, while completely ignoring the new realities in the world, seek the achievement of global domination for the United States. They have not been stopped by either American foreign policy’s heavy failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, or the failure of US policy in Syria. Meanwhile, it would be wrong not to notice some obvious differences in the Western camp on the “Ukrainian issue”. Europe, already in the grip of a deepening political and economic crisis, takes a much less active stand on Ukraine than the United States.
Moreover, Western politicians and businessmen opposed the imposition of sanctions against Russia, knowing that they were a double-edged sword and that sanctions, particularly economic, could have a very negative impact on the economic health of Europe, which has already been suffering from chronic deterioration.
There are people in Europe who also understand that the Americans are not averse to driving their European partners and rivals into another crisis, as was the case in the Balkans in the 1990s, in order to weaken the European Union and to preserve the EU’s dependence on America. Hence, the EU has a more realistic policy with regard to Ukraine. On the other hand, we must not delude ourselves into thinking that the conflict of interests between the United States and the EU will result in a weakening of the anti-Russia policies of the West. Ultimately, the world oligarchs will make European politicians comply with America’s most aggressive ambitions.
The CPRF and the Russian policy
The coup d’état in Ukraine and the subsequent punitive operations against the population of Novorossiya are serious signals for Russia’s foreign policy-makers. The CPRF has long been pointing out that making relations with the West a priority, at the expense of the development of relations with the fraternal peoples of the former USSR, contradicts Russia’s long-term interests. The Russian Federation’s policies with regard to Ukraine have for many years been aimed solely at ensuring the transit of natural gas to Europe. The Communist Party has repeatedly warned the government about the dangers of having Ukraine on the periphery of our foreign policy concerns and about appointing Mr. Zurabov, who previously failed in his Russian ministerial post, as Russia’s ambassador there.
The developments in Crimea and Novorossiya are a specific example of how a neo-liberal economic course is disastrous for Russia. With the public sector reduced to a mere ten percent of the whole in the wake of the total privatization drive, our country has found it extremely difficult to counter current challenges. Its economic potential, for example, is hardly sufficient for integrating the Crimea. Dominance of private capital in the financial sector leaves the country without the necessary funds, at the very moment when it is necessary to mobilize resources. The Russian government has had to take money from private pension funds, and it takes great efforts to form the adequate armed response required under the current circumstances, because the army has been reduced almost to paralysis by the neo-liberals in charge of the government. When one hears about the problems that arose with the ferry crossings to the Crimea during the 2014 holiday season, it is sad to recall, for example, the mighty Soviet-era army construction units, which were almost fully written off as unnecessary by the government liberals. But we, the Communists, were for years not just warning about the costs that the neo-liberal breaking up of everything would entail, but also put forward our concrete and multilateral program of urgent measures to strengthen the power of the state. The authorities’ indifference and even hostility towards our proposals largely predetermined the range of today’s troubles.
Recently, the Russian federal leadership has taken a position that is much more consistent with the country’s strategic national interests. The foundation was laid by a much firmer stand in response to the events in Syria, where Russia did not let the NATO member-countries intervene and overthrow the friendly Bashar al-Assad government. The next step was Moscow’s decisive action on the issue of the reintegration of Crimea into Russia. The Communist Party supported all these actions.
We believe that the hard repulse of Western economic sanctions is an important sign that the Russian leadership continues to follow the course of realism, the course of protecting the country’s national interests. Of course, we know that this is counteracted by the liberals who control the economic bloc in the government. But the threats emanating from the West are so strong and obvious that the country’s top leaders simply have to follow the course which the Communist Party has been strongly advising for many years. For example, the authorities have finally realized how dangerous the situation is in which 60% of the Russian food market has been taken over by imported products. And they have also started saying that discontinuing agricultural produce supplies from the European Union will benefit domestic producers, as they alone are capable of feeding the country under the external sanctions.
We proceed from the fact that the developments in Ukraine pose an objective threat to the security of the Russian Federation. One cannot passively watch the way a neo-Nazi regime with a Russophobic and anti-Semitic ideology is being formed with the support of the West close to our borders. Even in the United States, knowledgeable analysts like Steve Cohen and Katrina van den Heuvel, both well-known in our country, are today warning from the pages of the respected American magazine, “The Nation”, that things unthinkable can now happen quickly in Ukraine: not just a new “cold war “, which has already begun, but a real war between the NATO forces, led by the United States, and Russia.”
What is needed is a drastic revision of Russia’s Ukraine policy, one which acknowledges the complex character of our relations with a fraternal people and strengthens cooperation in the fields of economy, science, culture, and education.
The present situation requires stronger support of the political forces and non-governmental associations which advocate the historical friendship between our peoples. We must give the green light to all endeavors to support our compatriots in Ukraine. Communists from the outset have helped and will continue to help Novorossiya in its struggle. To date, we have sent there more than 1,200 tons of humanitarian aid goods alone. And this is just the beginning. The Communist party of the Russian Federation is also actively involved in political and diplomatic work. We are doing our best to draw the attention of European governments to the threat of a new world war. I warned about the threat, in particular, in a letter to the leaders of France, Germany and Italy – the nations most affected by the horrors of fascism and World War II.
The CPRF is actively supporting the idea of holding a meeting of the heads of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine in Minsk. This step is very significant on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Great Victory that seemingly buried fascism forever.
The Communist Party of the Russian Federation expresses solidarity with all participants in the popular resistance – Russians, Ukrainians, and people of all nationalities – who are bravely and vigorously opposing the neo-Nazi Banderists. We express solidarity with the Communists of Ukraine who are subjected to violence by extremists.
One of the most important features of the Ukrainian citizens is their unwillingness to put up with the thieving authorities, their constant internal focus on protest, and their willingness to throw off the pedestal leaders who have lost their trust. These features of the Ukrainian people have made it much easier for the puppeteers to organize “maidans” and “orange revolutions”, i.e. fictitious protest actions pursuing other objectives than those inscribed in slogans and declared in meetings.
But these features of the Ukrainians also suggest that the current regime upheld by Kiev will not be long-lived and that the fierce resistance to it from the Donbas area and Lugansk will spread to most of Ukraine and lead to its downfall. However, there is a danger that as a result of the “parliamentary elections” in October of this year the present-day Ukrainian “elite” will be displaced by even more radical elements professing Nazism and overt Russophobia. Then a Bandera-style nationalism will be established in Ukraine as a ruling ideology, and Ukrainian society, eventually split into irreconcilable camps, will plunge into an even more violent civil conflict than at present.
A complete change in the socioeconomic system in Ukraine and a return to the principles of a socialist state – under which Ukraine achieved prosperity in Soviet times – is the sole salvation-bringing alternative to the current situation. We are convinced that the healthy forces in Ukrainian society will prevail and drive Bandera’s successors back into the caves out of which they have crawled.
Gennady Zyuganov is Secretary General of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF).
Photo: “Ultra-nationalists” in Ukraine Global Research