Protests in Ukraine

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ocelot
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Mar 25 2014 13:26

BBC: Ukraine far-right leader Muzychko dies 'in police raid'

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Oleksandr Muzychko, better known as Sashko Bily, died in a shoot-out with police in a cafe in Rivne in western Ukraine, the interior ministry said.
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He was a leader of Right Sector, a far-right group which was prominent in the recent anti-government protests.
[...]
The shooting of Muzychko happened just hours after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had held talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Andriy Deshchytsia - their first meeting since Russia's move into Crimea triggered a diplomatic crisis.

Ukraine's Deputy Interior Minister Vladimir Yevdokimov said Muzychko died after opening fire at police and Sokol special forces, who had raided a cafe to arrest him and fellow ultra-nationalists. The authorities described Muzychko as a criminal gang-leader.

During the raid, Muzychko fired at police as he was trying to flee, wounding one of them. Police then returned fire and captured him and three others in his "criminal gang", Mr Yevdokimov said.

"He was still alive as they were arresting him - but then the paramedics, called to the scene, found that he had died," Mr Yevdokimov said. The three arrested gang members have been taken to Kiev for questioning.

The old "shot-while-trying-to-escape" gag.

Interesting.

I do have to protest at the BBC's seeming willingness to blacken the name of "Ordinary Decent Criminal" gang members by associating them with neo-nazis, though...

Mark.
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Mar 28 2014 18:58

Interview with an AWU member (in Spanish)

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Envía un mensaje a los lectores españoles y añade algún apunte que no haya sido comentado durante la entrevista.

Estamos muy alarmados debido a que una gran parte de la izquierda occidental ha caído bajo el encanto del llamado “anti-imperialismo”, y sólo condenan las acciones de los Estados Unidos y la Unión Europea. Ahora mismo, el imperialismo ruso es mucho más peligros para los trabajadores ucranianos que el americano. Y es hipócrita atribuir una “culpa igualitaria” para ambos lados del conflicto. Es cierto que el gobierno ucraniano es extremadamente asqueroso. Está compuesto por neoliberales que quieren implementar reformas de austeridad. También, hay fascistas en el país y ahora son más fuertes que antes. Pero el gobierno ucraniano ha mostrado consistentemente que no quiere una guerra. Y el régimen ruso es un obvio agresor, la fuerza más reaccionaria en la Europa de hoy. Nuestros camaradas rusos del movimiento anarquista lo entienden, pero no vemos mucha solidaridad desde Occidente. Creo que la posición de todas las fuerzas progesistas debería ser condenar la guerra y la invasión rusa, y mostrar solidaridad con los trabajadores ucranianos (¡por supuesto, condenando a los elementos ultraderechistas y neoliberales del nuevo gobierno!). Podemos probar y combatir a nuestros propios fascistas, pero necesitaremos ayuda si los fascistas rusos dividen este país junto a los fascistas ucranianos.

Briefly he isn't happy with the pro-Putin 'anti-imperialists' - tbf they're probably worse in Spain though they're easy enough to find here. See the urban75 thread on the Ukraine for example.

Mark.
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Apr 1 2014 15:35

Paul Mason visits Transnistria

iexist
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Apr 7 2014 21:15

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/04/07/ukraine-gunmen-seized-building/7410151/

Guerre de Classe
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Apr 8 2014 15:19

Read in French: http://oclibertaire.free.fr/spip.php?article1506

Very interesting text published by the OCL in France especially at the level of its materialist and non-idealist method that analyzes the movement, its process and its dynamics, then and only after it tackles its weaknesses, its lacks, the illusions of its protagonists, their ideologies, nationalism, the influence of far right, etc. I translate this text in English and it will be soon available on Libcom.org.

iexist
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Apr 8 2014 22:58

Possibly the weirdest thing to come out of this. Crimean minister of criminal justice becomes anime star. The internet

Mark.
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Apr 30 2014 19:59

http://avtonomia.net/2014/04/14/ukrainskie-shvedskie-i-polskie-sindikalisty-proveli-konferentsiyu-v-kieve/

Quote:

Ukrainian, Swedish and Polish syndicalists held a conference in Kyiv

An international conference “Class struggle and opposition the right-wing radicalism” was held in Kyiv on 12-13 April. The event, which was organized by the Kyiv branch of the Autonomous Workers’ Union, was attended by the secretary general and a representative of the international department of the Central Organisation of Workers of Sweden (SAC), as well as representatives of the National Commission of the Polish syndicate “Working Initiative” (Inicjatywa Pracownicza). A representative of the international initiative gongchao.org, which communicates with working class of China, also made a speech. The open part of the conference was also attended by representatives of other initiatives and independent activists from Ukraine and Belarus. The total turnout was about 40 people.

There were reports on situation of migrant workers in China, working conditions and the class struggle in Poland, syndicalist movement in Sweden, the prospects of workers’ self-organization in Ukraine. In their reports the representatives of various syndicates presented their organizations and shared experience of political work.

The second section was dedicated to right-wing radicalism in Europe and Ukraine. Swedish and Ukrainian comrades described the alarming trends of recent years at the same time noting positive changes: in both countries, the society reacted negatively to the growth of the far-right violence. Anti-fascist work at the enterprises – in addition to open confrontation in the public space, becomes particularly important for the syndicalists the new conditions.

In the closed part of the conference the delegates of SAC and IP described principles of Red and Black Coordination – international network of anarcho-syndicalist organizations. They invited AWU members to the next meeting this autumn. On their part, the AWU pronounced a desire to strengthen inter-organizational communication. Specific decisions regarding international cooperation are to be taken by the organization-wide referendum which the AWU intends to hold this April.

The video of the conference will appear shortly on the AWU website.

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ocelot
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May 1 2014 11:08

Oddly appropriate. Also, the cartoons probably have more power.

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May 3 2014 20:35

I don't know if this has already been posted and sorry for guardian link, haven't had a chance to find English language radical sources, but this is some awful and shocking news. Guardian report places it in nationalist terms but reports I've seen have placed it more in terms of a clash between pro russia supporters and left wing persons versus right sector supporters and hooligans earlier in the day. So corrections and clarification are welcome. It appears some members of Borotba and trade unionists are amongst the dead.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/02/ukraine-dead-odessa-building-fire

proletarian.
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May 3 2014 22:14

Someone posted on Facebook:

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Red Salute to Communist Martyr Andrew Brazhevsky, Murdered By U.S. Backed Fascists in Ukraine
"Andrew Brazhevsky was killed by neo-Nazis. Together with other comrades of Borotba, he defended the anti-fascist Campground at Kulikova Fields. Together with them, he retreated to the building of the House of Trade Unions under the onslaught of superior forces of neo-Nazis who attacked and burned the tents. Then the ultras torched the House of Trade Union with Molotov cocktails. During the fire, Andrew was on one of the upper floors. He had to jump out the window to escape the fire. On the ground, he was still alive. The neo-Nazi beasts finished him off with bats as he lay at their feet.
"Andrew was a staunch, courageous and disciplined comrade. He worked as a programmer, but his real vocation was militant political activity. Andrew was a staunch communist, who devoted a lot of time to self-education, read the Marxist classics and modern leftist authors. The Odessa left remembers that this modest, intelligent guy tried not to miss a single political action, and has always been at the forefront.
"When the neo-Nazi forces came to power in Ukraine, Andrew enrolled in Odessa militias to defend their city from the Nazis. Unfortunately, that day the superiority of the forces was not on the side of the defenders of Odessa.
"The life and death of Andrew showed the path of the fighter, a true communist.
"Andrew, your death will not remain unavenged. Neo-Nazis are not masters in our cities, in our streets. We promise to remember you and fight.
"Eternal memory to you, Andrew.
"Union Borotba"
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MJ
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May 4 2014 04:21

http://borotba.org/neo-nazi_terror_in_odessa-_more_than_40_killed-_hundreds_injured.html

this narrative seems to be corroborated by this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9AMjLBIliw

the interior ministry is saying that people from inside the building accidentally lit it on fire, and that the dead included 15 russians and 5 from transnistria.

the information war is terrifying to me, i think i'm kind of a liberal about truth

proletarian.
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May 4 2014 12:08
MJ wrote:
http://borotba.org/neo-nazi_terror_in_odessa-_more_than_40_killed-_hundreds_injured.html

this narrative seems to be corroborated by this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9AMjLBIliw

the interior ministry is saying that people from inside the building accidentally lit it on fire, and that the dead included 15 russians and 5 from transnistria.

the information war is terrifying to me, i think i'm kind of a liberal about truth

Thanks for highlighting the article and video. It is very sad news. The information war? You mean ruling class media, ignore it? What do you mean liberal about truth?

Spikymike
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May 4 2014 14:57

Much of what 'Barotba' say about the influence and provocations of the ultra-right Ukrainian nationalists and the role of the various western governments may well be true, but I detect in some other statements on their web site a strong element of Russian influenced left nationalism which should perhaps make people more cautious about relying on them for factual information on the underlying political influences in the events of either the western or eastern regions of the Ukraine, which are perhaps more complex than the language used by 'Barotba' would suggest?

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MJ
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May 4 2014 21:52

yeah proletarian. i mean the ruling class media, both out of 'moscow' and 'kiev,' but more to the point how many people i see adopting one or the other worldview. here in the states i hear a majority perspective of "russia is building up for a world war" with a minority that inverts it, seems to be watching RT etc, and is talking about the interim government as a fascist coup. spending time trying to get an accurate picture of what's happening in different parts of ukraine is difficult but in doing so i see mistruths propagated by both blocs, which i find terrifying because i still have a liberal attachment to an idea that there is a universal and inherent value in coming to consensus on the facts of events, and that without any faction trying to do that & both sides invested in instrumentalizing information down to a very small scale it seems like the conflict can only deepen.

does anyone see factors that could lead to the deescalation of the conflict on national terms?

teh
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May 5 2014 00:45
MJ wrote:

does anyone see factors that could lead to the deescalation of the conflict on national terms?

None. The US has gone too far to back down and Russia won't accept a hostile Ukraine on its border. Also with around a dozen military bases defecting to anti-government forces in Donbass and the massacre in Odessa, Ukraine is disintegrating to the borders of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (and it is no coincidence that these two latter countries hold the most adversarial EU position towards Russia in the conflict http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-mWfna7QjMCU/U05_wool9tI/AAAAAAAABJA/aTH7YjWzj2M/s1600/dh+scale+2.jpg ). This will be a violent process of course, as the Ukrainian government has no desire to become landlocked. Particularly concerning is talk of the Western Oblast of Zakarpattia rebelling after the 11th of May, as its surrounded by the strongholds of the Ukrainian Neo-Nazi and fascist movements and any massacres there will pull in if not the Hungarian government then at least Jobbik and other Hungarian fascist movements into the conflict because of the ethnic Hungarian minority population there.
As for Ukrainian workers, they've been debilitated by 25 years of liberalism and 75 years of Bolshevism so they can only assert their interests within each nationalist camp. (like the strikes in Donbass). This is reflected in the split between leftist groups in the country along nationalist lines.

Spikymike
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May 5 2014 17:01

proletarian, In relation to my comment above post 166 please also check out the other 'report from a visit in Kiev' post and the linked text from the AWU.

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May 5 2014 17:10

AWU-Kiev Statement on the Odessa Tragedy

Quote:
[...]
Members of AWU wish to express their deepest mourning for the victims. They fell prey to the interests of the forces that consistently try to instigate a civil war in Ukraine. Sadly, large parts of the working class are disoriented and serve as merely blind puppets in the hands of such forces, giving their lives for utterly stupid and meaningless things and ideas. The immediate effect of the escalation of this tragically pointless conflict is the split of the working class in Ukraine. While some workers are threatening with a political strike in support of the Antimaidan, several members of the (pro-Maidan) Confederation of Free Trade Unions are being kidnapped by Antimaidan forces. Instead of taking a united stance against the neoliberal policies of the government, proletarians are busy fighting each other for the interests of various bourgeois cliques.
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The final result of such policies will be a civil war in Ukraine, which will mean an ultimate catastrophe for the working class. We are not pacifists and will be at the side of the working class whenever it fights against the bourgeoisie, no matter what forms this fight takes — but this is not the case in Ukraine nowadays. The disoriented and weak proletariat will be busy engaging in self-destruction; the outcomes will be drastic fall of life standards, rise of unemployment and criminal activities, and loss of huge number of lives. All prospects of working-class self-organization and mobilization will be buried for some time.
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We can see that this scenario is being pushed forward by the alliance of various right-wing groups, nazis, conservatives and Stalinists. It is important to understand that Antimaidan cannot be considered a “working-class social protest”: the typical demands of this movement in various towns are dictated by the most reactionary clerical conservatives (abolition of electronic IDs because they include “the Number of the Beast”; banning of vaccination; etc.) and have little to do with the interests of workers.
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On the other hand, we are disgusted by the reaction of the right-liberal and patriotic general public which takes delight in the Odessa deaths. However wrong the killed people might have been, they shouldn’t have died in this brutish accident. As Ukrainian workers side with various warring right-wing movements, they are sliding further from socialism to barbarism. The cure is well-known: we should realize our own class interests, organize at workplaces and direct our rage against the real enemy, not at each other. In days like these global workers’ solidarity means very much. The global working class is doomed to eliminate itself: either in the process of social revolution and construction of a classless society or in the process of a barbaric all-out war.
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No gods, no masters, no nations, no borders!
baboon
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May 5 2014 17:55

I agree that Antimaidan is not a "working class social protest" but I don't think that Maidan was either - they are both two sides of an imperialist coin and the working class has not been strong enough to impose itself on either of these forces and I don't think that that's a surprise.

I tend to agree with teh on the perspectives. Ukraine is in a state of decomposition. It's riven by imperialist forces, bankrupt and its political leadership, which includes local warlords, is weak and at each others throats. It starkly demonstrates the perspectives of socialism or barbarism, being yet another example of the spread of the latter with the potential for more disasters and chaos. US troops are still crossing Russian territory for and from Afghanistan but tensions are obviously worse between the two. Russia could well move closer to China now with whom they held large-scale military manoeuvres just before this crisis broke out.

proletarian.
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May 5 2014 20:09

I find the anarchist AWU statement disgusting. They blame the people who were burnt alive, suffocated or beaten to death and then give their sincere condolences.

teh
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May 5 2014 20:38
ocelot wrote:
AWU-Kiev Statement on the Odessa Tragedy
Quote:
[...]

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On the other hand, we are disgusted by the reaction of the right-liberal and patriotic general public which takes delight in the Odessa deaths. However wrong the killed people might have been, they shouldn’t have died in this brutish accident.
..

This is what I was saying in the previous post about nationalist blocs. The Odessa 'deaths' were recorded (including live) by numerous people and witnessed by thousands in person, the people who took part bragged about it on their social media accounts, and even Ukrainian politicians with a posture of mainstream like Tymoshenko congratulated the perpetrators. Yet AWU wants to present the deaths as an "accident," which I take means that they are saying that the anti-maidan set themselves on fire- accidentally- and are themselves to blame for their deaths. This is in line with the AWU saying they provided protection to Kiev militias- which they themselves say consisted of conservative or far-right outfits- in hospitals during the government overthrow. Did they think that the new order of Svoboda occupying government buildings and squares in the capitol and being brought into an unelected government would have the same reaction in the Western oblasts, where they received 1/3 of the vote last election, or Kiev, where they got 17%, and a region like Lugansk where the Communist Party got 25% of the vote last election and Svoboda 1%? Their only reaction to anti-maidan is to call them "utterly stupid and meaningless" and "the alliance of various right-wing groups, nazis, conservatives and Stalinists" that are "push[ing] forward" the country to Civil War, and not the coalition in Kiev that is using the military for hit and run operations against the populations in Donbass and has organized a "National Guard" of oligarch militias from the West because it doesn't view the regular army as trustworthy. Which is understandable, but one can't talk about being for no nations while implicitly supporting those preserving of the territorial integrity of Ukraine against populations which don't particularly care for the central authority or even the Ukrainian state.

Just to give a sense of where Urkaine is right now, US Congress-run Radio Free Europe is publishing light humor pieces about exterminationist rhetoric by its faction:

Quote:
Now, with a current crop of "koloradi" to worry about, many Ukrainians have created their own Soviet-style campaigns, producing online posters alerting viewers to the current "distribution" of Colorado beetles in Crimea, Kharkiv, and Donetsk, and depicting the bugs happily nibbling on a leafy plant and proudly defending themselves as potato "self-defense" forces.

A current insecticide ad running on Channel 5, the station owned by Ukrainian presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko, has even raised chuckles among some Ukrainians with its promise to kill Colorado beetles "on the spot" -- although in this case, the enemy in question are the actual bugs, which remain an annual threat.

Other observers seem to be taking the "koloradi" nickname in their stride. Moscow-based analyst Grigory Trofimchuk chided Russian propagandists for using heavy-handed labels like "fascists."

He urged them to try "light irony" instead, suggesting that Ukraine's Right Sector nationalists, with their red-and-black insignia, bear more than a passing resemblance to another kind of a bug -- klop-soldatki, or firebugs, which he noted mischievously, "tend toward cannibalism."

This is the English Radio Free Europe, it's Ukrainian affiliate Radio Svoboda is posting pictures of easter eggs covered in fascist flags on its twitter account.

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May 6 2014 13:46

Not just after this statement it is quite evident that the syndicalists of the AWU are in direct complicity with the "Euromaidan" movement. If you read their translated texts regarding the situation in Ukraine closely it is clear that - despite all their distanciations which are nothing but hypocritical rhetoric - they are not equidistant towards the competing "movements" (Maidan/Antimaidan), rival factions of the Ukrainian ruling class, nationalisms and imperialisms in or outside the Ukrainian territory.

baboon
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May 6 2014 15:35

Germany has now stated that the situation in eastern and southern Ukraine is heading towards war and, on the face of it, events are spinning out of control. In order to keep up the destabilisation and unnerve Kiev, Russian imperialism doesn't have to do anything but move its troops around on its side of the border. As the threat increases and destabilisation deepens it's all the more necessary to be clear about groups like the anarcho-nationalist AWU and its support for the Maidan movement, the latter being a strong factor of the imperialist push of the west. It was a toxic movement for the working class to get involved in and it's getting more dangerous.

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May 6 2014 16:00

xref:

Libcom: Darkness in May: a socialist eye-witness in Odessa

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May 6 2014 16:01

A sort of knowingly naive question, but how do groups obtain weaponry capable of shooting down military helicopters?

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May 7 2014 16:58
Quote:
Germany has now stated that the situation in eastern and southern Ukraine is heading towards war and, on the face of it, events are spinning out of control. In order to keep up the destabilisation and unnerve Kiev, Russian imperialism doesn't have to do anything but move its troops around on its side of the border. As the threat increases and destabilisation deepens it's all the more necessary to be clear about groups like the anarcho-nationalist AWU and its support for the Maidan movement, the latter being a strong factor of the imperialist push of the west. It was a toxic movement for the working class to get involved in and it's getting more dangerous.

I agree on your comment except their characterisation as anarcho-nationalists. Under no circumstances their positions can be described as anarchist (or revolutionary) as they are just cryptonationalist syndicalists. As all stupid left populists this group did everything to diminish the totally reactionary and - regarding its class composition - petty bourgeois character of the Euromaidan protests, the "new" regime and the role of collective "Western" imperialism as the rival of Russian imperialism. So far these idiotic cretins did not say anything about the coming attacks on the working class in Ukraine except in very few negligible remarks.

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May 6 2014 16:10
Quote:
A sort of knowingly naive question, but how do groups obtain weaponry capable of shooting down military helicopters?

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union there are enough weapons circulating in the former republics - including Ukraine (and especially Crimea). > just one example: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/24/protesters-ukraine-weapons-cache-mine

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May 6 2014 16:17
Shorty wrote:
A sort of knowingly naive question, but how do groups obtain weaponry capable of shooting down military
helicopters?

Is this an "asking for a friend" type question? wink

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May 6 2014 16:41

Haha, no, more the external/internal flow of weaponry. It really does look like it's heading towards war.

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May 6 2014 16:35

Gah, I don't even know whom to trust anymore on these questions!

Is this a long-standing beef between AWU and Borotba, and if so, what was its source? Or did it only grow out of the current crisis?

It would be really nice to clarify what the correct working-class stance outside of Ukrainian and Russian nationalists should be, and if there is anybody in Ukraine who is currently representing that perspective.

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May 6 2014 16:59

AWU consciously refused to sign this internationalist declaration because it denounced the "new" oligarchy and the Euromaidan as well and was directed against all nationalisms involved in the conflict. Screw them!