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Eastern Europe

Behind the Kiev/NATO war on the people of eastern Ukraine

Market in Luhansk hit by Ukraine government shelling, August 2014.

The following is an edited version of a talk by Roger Annis on August 22, 2014, that was delivered to a session of the Peoples Social Forum that took place in Ottawa from August 21 to 25. Also on the panel was David Mandel, a professor of political science in Montreal and expert in the history of the working class movements in Russia and Ukraine. You can read Mandel's talk, titled "Understanding the civil war in Ukraine", HERE.

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published various left viewpointson the political situation in Ukraine. These do not necessarily represent the views of the publishers.

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David Mandel: Understanding the conflict in Ukraine

Ukraines' President Petro Poroshenko (second from left) greets US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published various left viewpoints on the political situation in Ukraine.

By David Mandel

August 24, 2014 -- The Bullet, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The Ukrainian conflict, like most political phenomena, is multi-dimensional and highly complex. As such, it calls for a holistic – dialectical, if you wish – approach.

But to judge by US and NATO spokespersons and by their mass media, there is only one really decisive factor that explains everything: Russia's imperialism, Vladimir Putin's determination to dominate and further dismember the Ukraine as part of his plan to restore the Soviet empire. In this simplistic view, Ukraine, with benevolent support from the West, would be quite capable of dealing with its problems and would soon be on its way to becoming a prosperous, Western-style democracy.

Comment: Prospects for an anti-war/solidarity movement in Ukraine and Russia

Anti-war protest in Chernivtsi, western Ukraine, July 23, 2014. Signs read, "Bring our children back!" and "Stop the bloodshed!"

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published various left viewpoints on the political situation in Ukraine. These do not necessarily represent the views of the publishers.

By Roger Annis

August 18, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In an article published on Left-East on August 10, Russian left-wing writer Ilya Budraitskis laments "there is no anti-war movement in Russia". His article is a rather bleak, despairing outlook on the prospects of organising against “war” in the border regions between Ukraine and Russia. He titles his article “Hope in a hopeless place”.

Boris Kagarlitsky: Eastern Ukraine people’s republics between militias and oligarchs

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published various left viewpoints from the region on the political situation in Ukraine. These do not necessarily represent the views of the publishers.

For more by Boris Kagarlitsky, click HERE.

By Boris Kagarlitsky, Moscow; translated by Renfrey Clarke

August 16, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The war between the Ukraine government and the republics of Novorossiya [New Russia] is gradually taking on the character of a positional stand-off. The resources of both sides are exhausted, and fighting reserves are at an end. For the people’s republics, defending themselves against the many times larger military forces of the Kiev regime, the well-known principle of “a government needs to win, but for an insurrection it is enough not to lose” operates with full force.

Ukraine: Proposed Communist Party ban threatens democratic rights

August 14, 2014 -- Real News Network -- Ukrainian sociologist Volodymyr Ishchenko discusses the attempt by the Kiev regime to outlaw the Communist Party and crackdown on opposition to the war in the east.

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Click HERE for more coverage of Ukraine.

By Dick Nichols

August 9, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- “This political force should be liquidated”, said Pavlo Petrenko, Ukraine’s justice minister, quoted in the July 9 edition of Capital (Kiev’s equivalent of the Australian Financial Review). Petrenko was referring to the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU). For a time in the 1990s, it was the most supported party in Ukraine and it still won 13% of the vote at the 2012 parliamentary poll.

Maybe Petrenko, a member of a government desperate to get Ukraine into the European Union and which has just signed an Agreement of Association with Brussels, has not yet had time to read Article 12 of the EU’s “Charter of Fundamental Rights”, which says: “Political parties at Union level contribute to expressing the political will of the citizens of the Union.”

Volodymyr Ishchenko on Kiev's attempts to ban the Communist Party: its meaning for democracy and the left

Confrontation between Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko (left) and parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Turchynov in May. Turchynov is working to have the CPU banned.

Read more on Ukraine HERE. More by Volodymyr Ishchenko.

By Volodymyr Ishchenko

August 4, 2014 -- LeftEast, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- On July 24 the speaker of the Ukrainian parliament Oleksandr Turchynov announced the disbanding of the parliamentary group of the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU) over a ridiculous technicality. The court trial over CPU’s ban as a political party started the same day with the next session of the court scheduled for mid-August.

Ukraine dominates discussion at Party of the European Left’s summer university

Read more on Ukraine HERE.

By Dick Nichols

August 4, 2014 – Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The main concern of ninth Summer University of the Party of the European Left (PEL), held outside Berlin from July 23 to July 27, was the armed conflict in Ukraine. Debate on the issue absorbed many sessions, including those not directly devoted to it, and the war in the country was a returning theme in often agitated informal discussion among the 1000 attendees from 31 countries.

‘No Afghanistan in Ukraine!’: Anti-war protests spread as Kyiv wages all-out war in the south east

Anti-war protest in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, July 25, 2014, blocking traffic bridge over Bug River. Sign reads: "We demand, save the 79th Regiment!"

Read more on the situation in Ukraine HERE.

By Roger Annis

July 31, 2014 -- A Socialist in Canada, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- A rising wave of anti-war and anti-conscription protests is taking place in cities and towns across western Ukraine. The protests are prompted by the announcement of Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko 10 days ago that a “third” military mobilisation is now required for the war that his governing regime began waging against the population of eastern Ukraine three months ago. Kyiv calls the war an "anti-terrorist operation".

The protests are paralleled by a rise in Ukraine army desertions and refusals of men and women to heed conscription orders.

Australia: Reject 'Cold War posturing' over MH17 tragedy: No troops to Ukraine!

Statement by the Socialist Alliance (Australia)

July 24, 2014 -- Socialist Alliance -- The Socialist Alliance conveys its condolences to the families of all its victims of the suspected shooting down to Malaysian Airlines flight 17 (MH17) over war-torn eastern Ukraine but it rejects the inflammatory Cold-War-style political posturing by both Liberal PM Tony Abbott and Labor Party opposition leader Bill Shorten.

Both these politicians have shamelessly sought to exploit this terrible tragedy to step up their pro-war and imperialist propaganda and they have been urged on by the capitalist media.

If the downing of MH17 was a deliberate shooting down of a civilian airliner, then who ever was responsible would be guilty of an atrocious crime against humanity and should be punished accordingly.

However, an independent and objective international investigation into the incident needs to be allowed to take place without provoking more war or leaping to conclusions about who may be responsible.

Instead the Australian government has flagged sending soldiers as part of an "international deployment" to eastern Ukraine under the guise of securing the crash site. This comes amid reports that the US was planning to send military advisers to assist the Ukranian regime in its war against rebels in the east.

Ukraine: MH17 tragedy shows need for peace, not warmongering

There needs to be a ceasefire and negotiated solution to the conflict.

Read more on the situation in Ukraine HERE.

Green Left Weekly editorial

July 19, 2014 -- The apparent shooting down of Malaysia Airlines passenger flight MH17 is an unspeakable tragedy and a criminal act that has sent shock waves around the world. Green Left Weekly offers our condolences to the families of all its victims.

Nobody yet knows who was responsible for this crime, despite Western media and governments pointing the finger at either the rebel forces in Ukraine's east, which the West accuses Russia of arming, or the Russian military itself.

Amid claims and counter claims by all sides, each force denies responsibility and there is no obvious motive for any force to deliberately carry out such an atrocity.

The United Nations Security Council has called for “a full, thorough and independent international investigation”. But, whether this has any hope of leading to clarity on the incident remains to be seen.

Yet many Western governments, with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott joining in, are exploiting this tragedy and using it to escalate rhetoric and tensions with Russia, raising the prospect of the war expanding.

Ukraine: Despite MH17 disaster, Kyiv regime escalates shelling of east

A villager surveys his home wrecked by shelling in Semyonovka, in Luhansk district. Image from BBC.

Read more on the situation in Ukraine HERE.

By Roger Annis

July 19, 2014 -- Rabble.ca, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- I learned of the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 when my plane landed in Montreal the same day, July 17, on my way home from Moscow. The Moscow-Munich leg of my flight departed one hour before the (delayed) departure of Flight MH17 from Amsterdam at 12:30 pm local time. I reckon the respective flight paths crossed each other somewhere just west of Ukraine.

'No to the war in eastern Ukraine!' Declarations of the Yalta anti-war conference

Ukraine army in Kramatorsk. Photo Ukraine government.

Read more on the situation in Ukraine HERE.

July 16, 2014 -- Text from A Socialist in Canada, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission

Declaration of the assembly of citizens of Ukraine and representatives of international solidarity networks, issued in Yalta, Crimea, July 7, 2014

A major human rights and humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in Ukraine. The government that took power in Kyiv in February 2014 is conducting a brutal military assault in the southeast of the country.

Slovenia: Radical left wins surprise fourth place in early election

Anti-privatisation protest during United Left Coalition's campaign.

By Gal Kirn

July 14, 2014 -- Transform! Network, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- We have broken the vicious circle of anti-communism in the post-Yugoslav context. As you imagine we are more than happy to present you with such an amazing election result! As all the commentators say, the United Left Coalition (ULC) was the biggest surprise. But the path was difficult, the ULC was from early on marginalised by the mainstream.

[The ULC was formed for the May 25, 2014, European elections. It is composed of the Party for Sustainable Development (TRS), the Democratic Labor Party (DSD) and the Initiative for Democratic Socialism (IDS).]

Ukraine’s fractures: Interview with Volodymyr Ishchenko in 'New Left Review'

Volodymyr Ishchenko.

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published several views from the left on developments in Ukraine HERE.

The following interview with Ukrainian socialist Volodymyr Ishchenko, founding editor in Ukraine of the journal Spilne (Commons), appeared in New Left Review #8, May-June 2014. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal in the interests of information and discussion.

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Introduction [by New Left Review]

Separatism or self-determination? Aleksandr Buzgalin on rebellion in east Ukraine

More on developments in Ukraine HERE.

July 2, 2014 -- Real News Network

Aleksandr Buzgalin is a professor of political economy at Moscow State University. He is also editor of the independent democratic left magazine Alternatives, and is a coordinator of the Russian social movement Alternatives, author of more then 20 books and hundreds of articles, translated into English, German and many other languages.

European Left Party on Ukraine: 'Ukraine: No more war, no more fascism'

July 1, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Party of the European Left (EL) is a political party at the European level that unites parties to the left of social democracy. It was formed in 2004. The EL is composed of 26 members parties and seven observer parties.

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We consider as the main factors in the Ukraine crisis the imperial atttitude towards the country, as shown by all major powers involved: the deliberately provocative and bellicose moves by USA, NATO and EU as well as the aggressive steps taken by Russia. This leads to a dangerous situation at our doorsteps, with reminiscence to the Cold War and even to the WWI outbreak in 1914.

We are against undemocratic represssion of communist party, left wing, and other democratic political forces.We demand the release of all political prisoners and people taken hostage.

Discussion: Fourth International needs to oppose the war and austerity drive against Ukrainian people

Far-right militia parade openly in Kyiv.

More on developments in Ukraine HERE.

By Roger Annis and Renfrey Clarke

June 27, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On June 7, the leadership bureau of the Fourth International adopted a statement on the crisis in Ukraine. It was adopted unanimously, with one abstention vote. The text was translated and published in English on June 16, and has also been published without comment in the weekly Presse-toi à gauche (Move Left!) online bulletin in Quebec.

Ceasefire in Ukraine? The battle of the ‘peacemakers’

A Ukrainian army shell explodes in eastern Ukraine.

By Viktor Shapinov, translated by Renfrey Clarke

"The only chance of peace remains federalisation of Ukraine and a broad degree of self-government, if only for the south-eastern regions. A reconciliation, at least of a sort, might be reached on this basis."

Discussion: The 'Russia is imperialist' thesis is wrong

See also Chris Slee's "Discussion: Are Russia and China imperialist powers?"

By Roger Annis

June 18, 2014 -- Truthout, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- The violent coming to power of a rightist regime in Kyiv, Ukraine in late February 2014 has opened an exceptionally dangerous political period in Europe. For the first time since World War II, a European government has representatives of fascist parties as ministers. These are the ministers of the armed forces, prosecution service and agriculture, and deputy ministers of national security (police), education and anti-corruption.

“Mainstream” parties alongside the fascists in government, including the elected president, are committed to an austerity project of economic association with Europe that will see much of the manufacturing base of the country further degraded or dismantled. The consequences for agricultural production are also likely to be dire.

Boris Kagarlitsky on Ukraine: A country that might have been

A statue of Lenin toppled by pro-EU protesters in Kiev.

By Boris Kagarlitsky, translated by Renfrey Clarke for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

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