This article traces the tragedy of the Ukrainian working class. It began in the late 1980s, as the Donbas miners struck en masse for a better life. After more than thirty years, the tragedy culminates with the barbaric destruction of life on a mass scale.
The text, available below as a 60-page PDF, examines events that occurred inbetween. Ukraine’s independence brought about the emergence of regional and sectoral “clans” within the capitalist class, some of which had close links to the economy of the Russian Federation. In politics, the competition of these clans took the form of vying for lucrative positions that allowed access to state resources. The national question – in part, for historical reasons – became part of this struggle and was used as an instrument of mobilization by the political projects of the oligarchs. While the power of the clans acted as a brake on economic development, their rivalry was the basis for political instability. The latter culminated in 2013–2014 with the Euromaidan, the emergence of self-proclaimed “republics” in the Donbas, as well as the beginning of a military conflict with Russia.