Ukraine

The antiwar meeting of leftists from Ukraine, Belarus and Russia in Minsk has been dubbed "the new Zimmerwald." In Zimmerwald, as you know, there was the anti-war Socialist Conference in 1915. But, as is known, the participants were divided into moderate and pacifist "Zimmerwald left" (Lenin, Zinoviev, Platten, Hoglund, Radek, Berzin, Borchardt, Nerman). 

The undersigned have decided to declare our position, which may be called the "Minsk left." The statement is open for signature.

The conference “Mutual Support and Solidarity of Post-Soviet Left in the Conditions of International and Interstate Conflicts” took place on 7-8 June in Minsk, where activists of communist and workers’ parties from Belarus, Ukraine and Russia took part.

Left forces from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus held a two-day antiwar conference near Minsk on June 7-8. The conference was organized by participants of the Internet-project “Prasvet” with a support of the webjournal Left.by 

The aim of the conference is to consolidate the coordination of internationalist Marxist left forces of three countries under circumstances of military-nationalist hysteria and the outburst of violence and repressions in Ukraine. The conference statement is open for signatures. These can be added in the online comments feature of the statement.

The right-wing regime in Kiev is using war hysteria to bolster its support within the country – at least in the west – but news has been emerging of Ukrainian soldiers refusing to fight in the east, of their mothers and wives demanding they be brought back home. Here we republish an article by Andriy Manchuk in which he reminds today’s Kiev regime of how Tsar Nicholas II’s regime ended after whipping up war hysteria.

Miners of the Donetsk region stopped work yesterday, starting an all-out strike in protest against the Ukrainian army’s continuing offensive and demanding an end to the “anti-terrorist operation” (ATO) in the region; several pits in the Donbas are taking part already and the strikes appears to be spreading to more mines. Meanwhile, spokesmen of the Kiev government and Ukrainian armed forces threaten escalation of the crackdown, with ATO press-secretary Alexei Dmitrashkovsky statingthat the operation will continue “until

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May 26 was the bloodiest day so far in Kiev’s “anti-terrorist” operation where Ukrainian forces used fighter jets and helicopter gunships to fight off rebels who had taken over the airport in Donetsk. This is the clear message the new president Poroshenko is sending to the Peoples’ Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.

The events that led to the holding of the latest Ukrainian presidential election started with a demand for EU-integration. So it is fitting that the election with the lowest participation (estimated at around 55% by the Ukrainian Electoral Commission) in Ukraine’s history was held on the same day as the EU elections, which had an even lower participation of 43%. The first round was won outright by oligarch Petro Poroshenko, scoring 54% with 80% of the votes counted. Yulia Tymoshenko was runner-up at a distant 13%, while fellow populist Oleh Lyashko took just over 8%.

We publish this article by Borotba leader Sergei Kirichuk which deals with the attacks against the Communist Party of Ukraine and calls for broad solidarity with all those suffering repression and right wing attacks.

Sergei Kirichuk is a leading member of the Ukrainian socialist movement "Borotba" (Struggle) For many years he fought against the oligarchic regime of Viktor Yanukovych. But today Kirichuk and his comrades are organizing resistance to the new authorities. In response to these they have been targeted by right-wing terror and police repression. Kiev propagandists have described Kirichuk as one of the leaders of the "separatists", and extreme right wing Ukranian nationalists have included ​​his name in the list of "enemies of the Ukrainian nation."

Yesterday, May 20 a paramilitary gang of armed fascists attempted to kidnap a number of Borotba activists in broad day light at the end of a protest against the Kiev authorities in Freedom Square, in the centre of Kharkov. The attack was repelled by the protesters and by passers by who were faced with the passivity or complicity of uniformed police present. (see Borotba statement here)

The holding of the referendums in eastern Ukraine represents a new and potentially dangerous twist in the Ukrainian crisis. The representatives of the people of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions say 89% and 96% respectively voted in favour of self-rule.

Two days from the May 11 referendum in Donetsk and Luhansk, the Kiev authorities, unable to crush the uprising in the Donbas, are stepping up the war hysteria, curtailing democratic rights and incorporating fascist paramilitaries into the state apparatus. Meanwhile there are signs of growing working class activity in the areas under the control of the rebels.

In a rare moment of candour, yesterday, Ukraine's acting President Turchynov admitted that his forces were "helpless" to quell the unrest in Eastern Ukraine, as the pro-Russian insurgency is on the rise. Furthermore he admitted that the Ukrainian security forces were not reliable and “some of these units either aid or co-operate with terrorist groups.” Now the goal would be to prevent the pro-Russian insurgency from spreading in the Kharkiv and Odessa regions. This amounts to a declaration of defeat.