Protests in Ukraine

341 posts / 0 new
Last post
jonthom's picture
jonthom
Offline
Joined: 25-11-10
Dec 2 2013 06:57
Protests in Ukraine

So, yeah. Things seem to be happening:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_Ukraine_pro-European_Union_protests

Quote:
The 2013 Ukraine pro-European Union protests or EuroMaidan[27] (Ukrainian: Євромайдан)[28] protests in Ukraine began on the night of 21 November, 2013, when Ukrainian citizens started spontaneous protests in the capital of Kiev. On the previous day, on 21 November 2013, the Ukrainian government suspended preparations for signing an Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the European Union.[29] The protests are ongoing despite a heavy police presence, and an increasing number of university students are joining the protests.[30][31][32][33] Law enforcement agencies, namely Berkut (a special unit of the Ministry of Internal Affairs), violently and without provocation attacked peacefully protesting students and journalists in the early morning of 30 November.[34][35] The escalating violence from government forces has caused the level of protests to rise, with 350-700,000 protesters demonstrating in Kiev at the movement's peak on December 1.[15]
Quote:
On December 1, Kiev District Administrative Court banned further protests in downtown Kyiv on both Independence Square and European Square, as well as in front of the Presidential Administration and Interior Ministry buildings, until 7 January 2014.[79] Opposition forces planned the rally on the 1st to take place at St. Michael's Square, which is not among the banned rally locations, with a march towards Independence Square.[80] During the December 1 rally, protesters followed through and defied the ban and marched form St. Michael's Square to re-take Independence Square. Protesters broke several windows in the city council building, followed by crowds spilling out of Independence Square to the Administration of President building at Bankova Street and the Cabinet building (Hrushevsky Street). People chanted "Out with the thugs" and sang the Ukrainian anthem. The opposition party Batkivshchyna claimed as much as 500,000 protesters turned out for the rallies, and opposition leader Petro Poroshenko claimed 350,000 were on Independence Square. Other news agencies reported over 100,000 in Independence Square alone.[81] Other reports indicated 300,000 to 700,000 demonstrators.[15]

At around 14:00, a group of protesters commandeered a bulldozer from Independence Square and attempted to pull down the fence surrounding the Presidential Administration building.[26] People threw bricks at Berkut guards. At least three people were injured outside of the presidential administration building, receiving head injuries from flying debris. AFP reporters saw security forces outside the Presidential Administration building fire dozens of stun grenades and smoke bombs at masked demonstrators who were pelting police with stones and Molotov cocktails.[26]

Footage from yesterday:

Generally this seems to be presented as a conflict between pro-Russia (largely conservative) and pro-EU (largely liberal) factions.

Some commentary (though can't vouch for its accuracy): Who is behind the Ukrainian protest? A letter from Lviv

akai
Offline
Joined: 29-09-06
Dec 2 2013 15:36

I find the article really idiotic. The idea that the EU is going to give Ukraine better education and medicine is fucking loony. Or human rights. I know this type of bullshit thinking of liberal kids from the middle class, who are part of the narrow group of people who might benefit, while the rest get privatization of education and health care and all sorts of stuff. Best yet are the benefits to the capitalists who will have an easier time moving jobs to Ukraine and out of other previously low cost locations. The biggest hypocrite of all is Kaczynski, who is always having problems with the EU but will say anything to be against Russia.

akai
Offline
Joined: 29-09-06
Dec 2 2013 15:36

Sorry, didn't explain that he is supportive of the protests.

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Offline
Joined: 5-10-07
Dec 2 2013 22:19

Yeah, I've heard two things about this recently:

1) A call for a national strike has gone out
2) Certain sections of the Ukrainian bourgeoisie have thrown their support behind a pro-EU line since the protests have developed.

I've also heard that up to 1 million people are holding a major public square. I also find it pretty hard to believe that the EU is enough of a driving force to bring out numbers like that (there's only 45 million people in the whole country), so if anyone knows what's really driving all this, I'd be curious to hear it.

akai
Offline
Joined: 29-09-06
Dec 2 2013 22:33

Of course it is the myth of the West. There is not much to analyse here except why people in country after country fall for this crap. The interests of the bourgeoisie and wannabe bourgeoisie account for much of the propaganda and attraction.

ludd's picture
ludd
Offline
Joined: 4-05-09
Dec 2 2013 22:56

akai, what about emigration and work in eurozone opportunities? Is that a factor in the protests?

boozemonarchy's picture
boozemonarchy
Offline
Joined: 28-12-06
Dec 2 2013 23:18

I'm I being naive for hoping that at least some of this is frustration at two completely shit options?

SeanP's picture
SeanP
Offline
Joined: 18-05-11
Dec 3 2013 04:58

Not surprisingly it looks like there is a strong nationalist and fascist element within the recent protests.

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/12/meet-the-brains-behind-ukraines-massive-protests/281978/

teh
Offline
Joined: 15-06-09
Dec 3 2013 07:21
jonthom wrote:

Generally this seems to be presented as a conflict between pro-Russia (largely conservative) and pro-EU (largely liberal) factions.

True in a way though out of the two pro-Russia parties the Communists are considered left and the Party of Regions does some left populist demagogy while out of the three pro-EU parties two are conservatives- they have funding ties with the German Christian Democrats- and the third Freedom are neo-fascist and want to expel the "Jewish-Moscow mafia" from the country, I find it interesting that Germany would ally itself with the far right in Ukraine so soon after WWII. There are a lot of red and black UPA flags among the protesters, in videos at least.

Edit: So it depends what liberal and conservative are used to mean.

boozemonarchy's picture
boozemonarchy
Offline
Joined: 28-12-06
Dec 4 2013 12:42

I've been getting increasingly less twitterpated with mass protests like this. They always seem vulnerable to authoritarian elements globbing on and 'running the show'. Maybe its daft of me to think they are horizontal with libertarian goals in the first place, and thus they are not even being manipulated into doing stupid shit like looking towards parliamentary or executive leadership. Historically they seem to lead towards the propping up of new, totally shit governments. Though I haven't seen much of it with this Ukraine stuff, I have seen plenty of tub-thumping for this sort of thing in the US ala Occupy which was really just liberals trying on a direct-action hat and then realizing that they looked stupid as fuck in it. As it turns out, the hat was a fedora anyway, oh gawd!

I don't think things like Occupy or big square protests have a great deal to do with engaging in the class struggle.. If I'm wrong, and they do have something to do with it, maybe they should be treated more "hands-off" by our organizations anyway. At least not jumping in with both feet and getting mired in their bullshit.

*Most of this is directed at US folk

rooieravotr
Offline
Joined: 28-10-09
Dec 3 2013 20:07

Did a bit of writing on it myself, here: http://libcom.org/blog/ukraine-whats-going-what-does-it-mean-03122013

SeanP's picture
SeanP
Offline
Joined: 18-05-11
Jan 14 2014 01:20

An update on what's become of the Euromaidan protests

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/oleksandr-feldman/ukraine-protests-nationalism-anti-semitism_b_4588507.html

confusionboats
Offline
Joined: 4-01-14
Jan 22 2014 04:04
iexist wrote:
Don't like the US government stuff. I'm sure the US government showed its support for 'democracy' (there's a term that means nothing) when it gave funds to the great progressive republic of Saudi Arabia as it repressed terrorist women who had the ungodly termity to drive. I'm trying to replace James butler as the lefts word smith

clever, take it if you want it

Uncreative's picture
Uncreative
Offline
Joined: 11-10-09
Jan 22 2014 17:52

So, on the RT livefeed, there are red and black flags in the bottom left corner at the moment (its a shot of the square where all the tents are). They're red on top, black on the bottom, and are bisected horizontally rather than diagonally. Do people who know more than me (ie anything) about Ukraine think theyre anarchos, or am i right in my vague recollection that some nationalist army nicked the red and black colours at some point, and these flags are a reference to them, rather than Makhno et al?

Video here: http://rt.com/on-air/ukraine-kiev-police-protesters/

EDIT: Never mind, looks like red and black are used by ukrainian nationalists, and thats most likely the flag of the "Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists."

confusionboats
Offline
Joined: 4-01-14
Jan 22 2014 20:31
bozemananarchy wrote:
I'm I being naive for hoping that at least some of this is frustration at two completely shit options?

this.
its unfortunate that their alternative seems to be 'third way'
what is the ukranian left's opinion on the protest?
Is there a ukranian left?
(the anti-portest laws seem like they'd be bad for them as well)
All I have seen are western news sources and stuff from RT
They did build a catapult, so I think we should give them at least some props for that

confusionboats
Offline
Joined: 4-01-14
Jan 22 2014 21:11

I was in occupy. The purpose of occupying the square was to create a space where an experiment in direct democracy was possible. It also served as PR. I don't think that anyone there really believed that they stood a chance at overthrowing the United States government. It probably could have turned into something had they not kicked us out in the springtime. It helped to radicalize a lot of young people and to give them some form of 'praxis'. It also opened up the lines of communication between what were formerly very isolated and insular radical communities. (you can debate as to whether or not this was a good or bad thing) I don't think we should reduce it to thought-terminating clichés like fedora-core or guy faux. A number of the Occupy pages were co-opted by conspiracy-type of stuff. What you see online or in the news wasn't really what happened there.

nattydread23
Offline
Joined: 31-12-13
Jan 23 2014 02:10

Is this protest all about joining the European Union or there are other motives? I was arguing in a thread in fb that there were other motives to the riot of these days but then I began to reasearch and I began to think I was wrong.

FatherXmas's picture
FatherXmas
Offline
Joined: 15-08-13
Jan 23 2014 02:30

There is a Ukrainian radical left but unfortunately it is small and isolated. See, http://avtonomia.net/

I found this article quite helpful in understanding what is going on in Ukraine:

http://revolution-news.com/ukrainian-euromaidan-solution-putin-just-another-fascist-political-coup/

meerov21
Offline
Joined: 14-08-13
Jan 23 2014 10:25

What about emigration and work in eurozone opportunities? Is that a factor in the protests?

One of. Millions of Ukrainians work in Europe, especially those originating from Western Ukraine. But we must not forget that part of Ukrainians working in Russia. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the majority of Ukrainians supported the European integration.

Also it is important to take account of the regional division of Ukraine. Culture of Western and Central Ukraine aspires to Union with Europe. East of Ukraine is focused more on Russia - this Russian language region and its residents fear of violent Ukrainization. Maidan represents primarily the Central and Western regions of Ukraine

...But now situation fundamentally different. It is no longer about Europe. On the Maidan went million Ukrainians, many of them have no interest to Europe. State kidnaps and kills the protesters. therefore, they cannot retreat.

Deep Causes of rebellion?

First and foremost, the economic situation of Ukraine. Economy is stagnating, prices rise, many Ukrainians are dissatisfied with all of that. The protesters, many students didn't expect anything good after graduation. Many construction of temporary workers came to Kyiv from all over the country in search of work and some of them takes part in Maidan. (Here is the principle difference from the movement of "white ribbons" in Russia. In Russia construction workers usually come from other countries, they are migrants, and they, unfortunately, are socially passive. So they did not partisipate in the protests. One of the reasons for this passive - they absolutely powerless position and russian police repressions against them). Many teachers, doctors, specialists, dissatisfied with the working conditions, salary and prices.

Another big layer of protesters is petty and average bourgeoisie, owners and managers of different companies. This layer is dissatisfied with the arbitrariness of bureaucracy, the police, the bureaucratic control, the need to pay bribes to officials. A vivid example - "AvtoMaidan" and "Road control". The leader of the last one Andrey Jinja is arrested in the present. This is movement of the car owners who are struggling against police harassment and bribes on the roads. Disgruntled many among journalists - strengthening of censorship under Yanukovich, threatens to deprive them of work.

Another important element of the movement - part of Ukrainian oligarchs. Elite of Ukraine has never been united. There are lots of ruling clans. This partly explains the more lively (in comparison with Russia and Belarus) political landscape. But in recent years the regime of Viktor Yanukovych attempted to change the situation. Using political pressure Yanukovych, his relatives and friends ("family") began to step in to grab all profitable businesses of Ukraine. Hence negative reaction on the part of the oligarchs, which Finance the three largest political parties in opposition (liberals and nationalists).

As you can see, Maidan is inter-class forum. It is the same as the Egyptian Tahrir. It has the same idea of democracy. They are similar to the early bourgeois revolution. The proletariat is involved in these activities together with the opposition bourgeois factions and clans who fight against absolutism or dictatorship.

Maidan gives to working class a big experience of self-organization and rebellion. But on the other hand, prevents the development of pure class socio-revolutionary slogans. Such is the dialectics of the situation.

nattydread23
Offline
Joined: 31-12-13
Jan 23 2014 14:26

Thanks for the other point of view, the person on fb told me there was no social motive behind these protest and riots. I found she was contradicting herself because the state was employing their "dogs" to control the situation, whenever this happens there gotta be some social benefit that the state dont want to happen. Yes they are many factions inside these riots but is something that happens in a society with various ideologys.

FatherXmas's picture
FatherXmas
Offline
Joined: 15-08-13
Jan 23 2014 17:26

meerov, much of what you write is true but is there not a danger for the working class and youth to be radicalized towards the far-right due to the strong presence of Svoboda and other fascist groups? I mean in certain parts of the west (i.e. Lviv) this has already occurred. While there are many "democratic" elements in Maidan, does not allying with fascists, or even tolerating their presence, seriously undermine any democratic aspirations?

confusionboats
Offline
Joined: 4-01-14
Jan 23 2014 21:07

The 'fascists' helped organize the 'revolution'. If there is to be an opposition they can't at this point be forced out. It isn't really question of whether or not the left 'wants' to work with them.

http://avtonomia.net/2014/01/23/awu-statement-current-political-situation/

"The ideology of the ruling regime is a mixture of Putin-style nationalism, conspiracy theories and conviction in their right, as elite, to rule over stupid populace. Groups of support to Berkut (the main riot police force) in social networks are full of anti-Semitic articles which claim that the opposition leaders are Jews and want to vitiate the people by legalizing same-sex marriages. This hardly differs from the rhetoric of Ukrainian right radicals."

The ruling class that the 'fascists' are fighting is also 'fascistic'
Libertarian proto-fascism is better than authoritarian crypto-fascism, no?
The Laws will become a serious problem for the left
They don't seem to have any choice but to be allied with the nationalists

plasmatelly's picture
plasmatelly
Offline
Joined: 16-05-11
Jan 23 2014 21:47

confusionboats wrote-

Quote:
Libertarian proto-fascism is better than authoritarian crypto-fascism, no?

Sounds like you'd settle for one over the other?

confusionboats
Offline
Joined: 4-01-14
Jan 23 2014 22:10

seems easier to combat than otherwise
anyways every Ukranian comment that I have seen about this claims that the fascists are a minority amongst the protestors
any popular uprising is bound to open the doors to a few provocateurs and street thugs
The coverage from both RT and the Western press have pieced together this story as if there is a US backed fascist uprising underway all from a few flags and statements made by a few right-wing radicals.
I'm not saying its impossible, I'm just trying to a kind of "ground truth" of the situation. It seems unfair to simply dismiss the protest as being 'reactionary incitement' when the laws in question do seem to be unjust

backspace
Offline
Joined: 12-07-13
Jan 23 2014 23:06

edit: just realised this was already posted (might as well leave the full google translate up)

Quote:
The laws which were passed on January 16th showed that the faction of the ruling class which now controls the government is ready to install a reactionary bourgeois dictatorship on the model of the Latin American regimes of the 1970s. The “dictatorship laws” criminalize any protest and limit the freedom of speech; also, they establish responsibility for “extremism”. Parliamentary mouthpieces of the class dictatorship of corrupted bureaucracy and monopolist bourgeoisie are the Party of Regions and the so called “Communist” Party of Ukraine which has long ago become a political force serving interests of capital.

The Ukrainian repressive system leans on the police apparatus and street gangs of pro-government stormtroopers. Sometimes such paramilitary structures are commanded by retired police officers. Death squads are also in action. According to confirmed information, two people were kidnapped from a hospital and tortured. One of them died in a forest. Special forces use pinpoint firing against protesters, and not only from traumatic guns. One of the killed, according to a photo of his body, was shot in his heart. According to all indications he was a victim of a sniper. In the morning of January 23 the number of the killed constituted from 5 to 7 persons. And we don’t know the real scale of violence.

The ideology of the ruling regime is a mixture of Putin-style nationalism, conspiracy theories and conviction in their right, as elite, to rule over stupid populace. Groups of support to Berkut (the main riot police force) in social networks are full of anti-Semitic articles which claim that the opposition leaders are Jews and want to vitiate the people by legalizing same-sex marriages. This hardly differs from the rhetoric of Ukrainian right radicals.

Over the last days not only the far right confront the government, but also people of more moderate views. And they constitute the majority of the protesters. Many of them are indifferent to nationalism or negatively predisposed to it. Many of them don’t support integration into the EU. People go into the streets to protest against police violence. And a significant part of them is unenthusiastic or even skeptical about the clashes in the Grushevskogo street. Often one can hear that right radicals are a “Trojan horse” of Yanukovych and special services, designed to discredit the protest. Certainly there would be many more Kievites participating in the protests if there was a way to take those idiots useful to the government out of the streets. Top of their demands is to give them jobs in the Security Service of Ukraine after the “victorious revolution”.

Anarchists ought to participate in demonstrations and pickets which are dedicated to defense of the rights and freedoms usurped by the laws of January 16th. It makes sense to take action at one’s workplace or neighborhood and to help sabotage the dictatorship’s decisions. There’s not much sense in participating in the activities in Grushevskogo street, which were meaningless from the very beginning. These activities only give the government pretty picture for television and enable it to identify radical elements by locating mobile phones and videotaping.

In the case of the opposition’s victory, as well as in the case of the government’s victory we’ll have to wage long and hard war against any of those regimes. This should be understood. We need to gather forces in order to start dictating our own libertarian and proletarian agenda in Ukrainian politics.

No gods, no masters! No nations, no borders!

Autonomous Workers’ Union*, Kiev local

January 23, 2014

* (it might actually be group not union ... possible bad translation ...)

meerov21
Offline
Joined: 14-08-13
Jan 23 2014 23:29

meerov, much of what you write is true but is there not a danger for the working class and youth to be radicalized towards the far-right due to the strong presence of Svoboda and other fascist groups? I mean in certain parts of the west (i.e. Lviv) this has already occurred. While there are many "democratic" elements in Maidan, does not allying with fascists, or even tolerating their presence, seriously undermine any democratic aspirations?

This this danger exists. It does not need to not exaggerate, nor understate.
But idea that "The ruling class that the 'fascists' are fighting is also 'fascistic"- is erroneous hypothesis.'

1) The idea of democratization prevails on the Maidan absolutely, as in Tahrir in Egypt.
2) The incredibly high level of self-organization of tens of thousands of people. Direct democracy and the system of horizontal interaction of thousands of groups and individuals.
Perfectly debugged system of defense, supply camp with all necessary. In the camp perfect order, all fed, clothed, people collect money for everything. http://zyalt.livejournal.com/
3) There is page of anarchist barricade in Maidan http://vk.com/vz.ukraine
4) One of the dead heroes of Maidan - armenian refugee http://vk.com/vz.ukraine?z=photo-39247395_319602234%2Falbum-39247395_00%2Frev

What is important and dangerous? People of Maidan tolerant to far-rightists and this far-rigts play an important role in clashes with police. This can be dangerous in the modern conditions, when the leaders of the liberal opposition is losing popularity (however, do you think liberalism is better then fascism?)

But actually, what did you expected?
This is not the libertarian socialist revolution. It is inter-class movement. And it was made by the hundreds of thousands of ordinary workers and employees who are infected with xenophobia and different other authoritarian ideas. So where will you take the other people?

This movement should be treated calmly and criticality. All you can do is to persuade the participants of the movement for class ideas and to maintain their self-organization and also critique xenophobia.

Workers of Ukraine learn self-organization, rebellion, decision-making on the basis of direct democracy and horizontal interaction. Such learn from legitimate trade Unions activities can't be accomplished. But let me remind you that even the Russian revolution ended with the victory of Bolshevism and massacre in which anarchists and revolutionary workers were killed.

confusionboats
Offline
Joined: 4-01-14
Jan 24 2014 00:14

yes I think that liberalism is better than fascism
bourgeois democratic revolutions are sometimes necessary to allow for 'genuine' socialist and/or anarchist revolutions to take place or to even be possible
The laws if I remember correctly include an anti-strike clause as well as up to 15 years in prison for simply participating in a political protest
It seems almost as if the libertarian socialists on here are going to wind up siding with the riot squads.
A check upon the reactionary violence needs to be placed internally.
and how is that hypothesis erroneous?
The protestors have (potentially ?) been slandered as 'fascists' when those that they are fighting hold similar sentiments - in a way it is a microcosm of the larger dispute
(I see nothing more agreeable in Slavic nationalism than I do in European Nationalism)
They deserve a third-option and one that is not 'third-way'
The AWU's position is the only Ukranian viewpoint that I have seen
It seems doubtful that the anarchists there would downplay the prevalence of the right in the protests when they themselves would be in direct conflict (but of course, they might)
The people there are protesting police brutality and political repression
It isn't so easy to simply get rid of The Right-Sector
It is necessary to be both skeptical and critical of what is happening there
but I saw this news link go from "protests in Ukraine" to "neo-nazis throwing firebombs" almost overnight
I'm not saying its not happening
just that we should be critical of almost all of the press on this issue

confusionboats
Offline
Joined: 4-01-14
Jan 24 2014 01:29

http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/ukraine-ukrainian-anarchist-dispels-myths-surrounding-euromaidan-protests-warns-of-fascist-influence/
well that sure changed fast

teh
Offline
Joined: 15-06-09
Jan 24 2014 02:31
iexist wrote:
confusionboats wrote:
seems easier to combat than otherwise
anyways every Ukranian comment that I have seen about this claims that the fascists are a minority amongst the protestors
any popular uprising is bound to open the doors to a few provocateurs and street thugs
The coverage from both RT and the Western press have pieced together this story as if there is a US backed fascist uprising underway all from a few flags and statements made by a few right-wing radicals.
I'm not saying its impossible, I'm just trying to a kind of "ground truth" of the situation. It seems unfair to simply dismiss the protest as being 'reactionary incitement' when the laws in question do seem to be unjust

"After hitler our turn!" Slogan of the KPD

Its funny that 50 million dead later it really did happen.

confusionboats
Offline
Joined: 4-01-14
Jan 24 2014 06:40

I retracted my standpoint after seeing further information from the AWU
--
should they set up separate protests then?
people might show up if they knew they had options..?

mattseo24
Offline
Joined: 31-08-11
Jan 24 2014 09:43

What about the police? What role they are doing in this protest?