Ukraine 2014: Frontline of the people’s struggle

(By J. Arnoldski, Toilers’ Struggle) 

Even such a titanic and tireless revolutionary as Lenin admitted amidst the ongoing Revolution of 1905 that “In a revolutionary period it is very difficult to keep abreast of events, which provide an astonishing amount of new material for an evaluation.”1 Needless to say, in such times as now when information and news circulate at seemingly the speed of light, it remains a demanding task for communists to carry out their duty of digesting, analyzing, and acting upon the astonishing amount of evernew material for evaluation provided by turbulent, revolutionary conflagrations.

The foremost commotion which has captivated and confounded communists the world over in recent months has been the “crisis,” as it has been so mildly called, which has gripped Ukraine since November, 2013. The original Maidan protests of November, the ensuing coup in February, and the resultant, ongoing civil war and disintegration of the country have kept observers on the edges of their seats in anxious anticipation as to each new development in what has been one of the most significant and defining struggles of the early 21st century.

In the heat of organizing protests against Western aggression in Ukraine and holding educationals on the nature of the new Ukrainian government and its relationship to Western imperialism, a distinct absence of genuine analytical summation has plagued communists’ work. While communists have worked out amongst themselves the basic slogans and theses rendered necessary by each new development, as far as is known to the present author, there is yet no work in circulation which has endeavored to provide a working, yet comprehensive – to the limited extent such is possible as events progress – dialectical and historical-materialist analysis of the profound changes in Ukraine, which Marx provided so paradigmatically and crucially for the events in France in 1851 in his The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte.

The following is presented as a sort of Eighteenth Brumaire for Ukraine, a history and analysis, for communists to use to inform their theory and practice. As the Ukrainian Civil War continues and the world imperialist powers escalate their aggression against Russia, and as new, more profound and world-significant questions of Marxist analysis are brought before communists by implication of the events in Ukraine, such an established chronicle and analysis will only become more relevant, necessary, and crucial.

Background to (counter) revolution

The counter-revolution which gripped Ukraine in early 2014 did not fall from nowhere out of the sky. Rather, it was the result of the arrangement and trajectory of class forces within the given material conditions of contemporary Ukraine. Reviewing and highlighting such conditions is indispensable to providing a coherent understanding and analysis of the events which, in a streak of rapid procession and ferocious tempestuousness characteristic of revolutionary times, shook the whole of Ukraine and brought the country to its present state of civil war.

The origin of the contradictions which recently exploded into a revolutionary shake-up lies in the conditions generated by the historic transformations of 1991 which fatefully impacted the development of Ukraine. The restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union, the resulting collapse of the Union, and the declared “independence” of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic as the Ukrainian Republic were three component parts of a counter-revolution which bore both class and national dimension. One the one hand, the overthrow of Soviet socialism in Ukraine, like in Russia, was the work of a bourgeoisie which arose as a symbiosis of corrupt bureaucrats, the bourgeoning bourgeoisie of the second or “shadow” economy, and the organized crime which emerged out of the wide-scale coordination of the second economy. This oligarchic bourgeoisie, among which titanic Soviet industries were privatized and auctioned at humiliating prices, possessed comprador and national aspects, and its counter-revolutionary rule devastated the country and brought horrendous poverty to Ukrainian working people. By all indices, Ukraine became a paradigm of post-Soviet tragedy in general terms such as economic performance with the return of the market and capitalism as well as in class terms with the disempowerment and impoverishment of the working class.

The restoration of capitalism and the swathe cut by the comprador bourgeoisie have undermined Ukraine’s economic independence. By 2012, as much as 40% of Ukraine’s bank assets were controlled by foreign, mostly Western entities2, and nearly 60% of Ukraine’s GDP has been made dependent on exports, particularly from heavy industry.3 Yet, in 2012, domestic heavy industry produced around only half of what it did in 1990, with steel production, Ukraine’s valued export, registering as low as only 34.2% of the 1990 level and oil at 62.2%.4 As a result of high death rates and emigration due to economic catastrophe, Ukraine’s population has declined by nearly six million, and in 2001, Ukraine recorded the lowest fertility rate “ever recorded in Europe for an independent country.”5 In 2008, Ukraine’s population decline was among the fastest in the world.

In addition, corruption has permeated every inch of Ukrainian society. The oligarch’s policies of ruin drove more and more of its bourgeois spawn into the realm of the shadow economy as government policies intended to compensate for the oligarchy’s plundering proved intolerably costly, a vicious cycle which only perpetuated economic crisis and corruption. In 2007, the shadow economy accounted for as much as 46.8% of Ukrainian GDP!6

The scourges of capitalism – unemployment, poverty, and alienation – have once again plagued the Ukrainian working class. The rights of working people formerly granted by socialism – the right to work, to healthcare, to education, to leisure, etc. – have all been discarded and trampled upon. In 2013, a full 25% of Ukraine’s citizens were in poverty7, and unemployment reached an all-time high in 2010 with 10.3% of Ukrainians out of work.8 As is typical of capitalism, this condition of life for the masses contrasts sharply with the fact that Ukraine’s 50 richest oligarchs possess the wealth equal to 85% of the country’s GDP.9 The fruits of the restoration of capitalism in Ukraine have been so rotten that Pew Research found in 2009 that among the former socialist countries, Ukrainians have the lowest approval rating of “democracy and capitalism” and the second highest number of people who claimed their lives were better under Soviet socialism.10

In essence, Ukraine has been driven down a dead-end road of rapacious bourgeois malice. What the comprador bourgeoisie did not claim for itself or sell to its Western friends of Ukraine’s wealth, the national bourgeoisie secured for itself in a spider web of corrupty oligarchical clans. For the masses of Ukrainian people, life became so intolerable and alienating that in 2012, 57% of Ukrainians had no faith in any political force, claimed no clear preference for either socialism or capitalism, and instead believed in the principle of “trust no one – to each his own safety.”11 Forty-two percent declared themselves ready at any time to pour into the streets and protest for change.12 The observation of Lenin that revolution is on the horizon when people – both the exploiters and the exploited – can no longer carry on living in the old way should come to mind. The oligarchy, in its squandering of the country’s resources, was taking the whole of Ukraine down a path of deterioration which threatened the very reproduction of capital to keep pace with the accumulation of the bourgeoisie’s wealth, i.e., the country would eventually suffer literal extinction as long as the current route was maintained. The horrific plight of the proletariat, needless to say, requires no further elaboration.

At once stemming from and compacting the havoc wreaked upon Ukraine by the restoration of capitalism and the country’s secession from the Soviet Union was the crisis of national identity which engulfed Ukrainian society. Such a nation as contemporary Ukraine had never existed in history before 1991, and the reader may find it useful to recapitulate the civilizational heritage of modern Ukraine which is largely unknown in the West.

The area that is now Ukraine was the birthplace of Russian-Eurasian civilization in the 9th century, and Kiev was the “mother of Russian cities.” Kievan Russia, or Kievan Rus, was characterized by the evolution of two competing poles, the Western principalities of Galicia and Volyn, and the Eastern principality of Vladimir, which would later develop into Muscovy and ultimately Russia. After the overthrow of the Tatar subjugation of Kievan Russia by Muscovy, the Orthodox Christian Eastern Slavs which inhabited the lands of Kievan Rus were divided and subjected to divergent fates. The Western principalities were subjected to Catholic Polish-Lithuanian rule, and eventually lost all traces of independence as they were absorbed by Poland-Lithuania, Austria, Hungary, and Romania. The rest of Ukraine, meanwhile, including Crimea after Russia drove the Turks across the Black Sea, developed as part of Russia itself. The very name “Ukraine” reflects Ukraine’s situation as Russia’s western extension, as the word is derived from the Old East Slavic oukraina, or “borderlands,” and resembles the East Slavic expression for “by the edge,” implying the edge of Russia.

Ukraine is a distinctly Eurasian country which does not fit the nation-state model of the West. In his Marxism and the National Question, Stalin pointed out the reality that “Whereas in the West nations developed into states, in the East multi-national states were formed.”13 As a Eurasian country, Ukraine is distinctly multinational, and has historically developed as part of an even larger multinational union of Eurasian states. While a discussion of the concept of Eurasianism and “Eurasian civilization” is beyond the scope of this article, it should be sufficient to recognize Ukraine’s existence as a multinational country as evidence of its Eurasian character and incompatibility with Western notions of the nation-state.

The State Statistics Service of Ukraine noted in 2001 that “The peculiarity of the national structure of the population of Ukraine is its multinational composition. According to the All-Ukrainian Population Census data, the representatives of more than 130 nationalities and ethnic groups lived on the territory of Ukraine.”14 The population of 21st century Ukraine comprises ethnic Ukrainians, Russians, Belarusians, and Tatars, and features consolidated communities of a variety of ethnic groups such as Poles, Jews, Romanians, Rusyns, Bulgarians, Hungarians, Romani, Germans, Greeks, Armenians, Georgians, Azerbaijanis, etc. Such ethnic groups are, in terms of distribution across Ukraine, distinctly segregated along linguistic and regional lines. Ethnic Russians, who only speak Russian, are concentrated in the Crimean peninsula the Eastern half of the country up to the Russian border. Ethnic Ukrainians, who speak Ukrainian as well as Russian15 and who make up the majority of the population, occupy the greater portion of the rest of the country except for significantly insulated counties of minorities such as Poles, Romanians, Bulgarians, and Hungarians in the Far West and Southwest. With such a diverse array of ethnic groups with varying national identities and linguistic preferences, governing Ukraine is significantly affected by the balancing act of handling regional and ethnic relations, a task which, after 1991, was now in the hands of a bourgeoisie ruling over, for the first time in history, an “independent Ukraine.”

The sudden divorce of Ukraine from its native Eurasian multinational union, at the time incarnated in the Soviet Union, and from its historically Russian heritage in particular, compelled the Ukrainian bourgeoisie, especially its most comprador elements, to legitimize its rule by drawing upon an historical mythology of an independent, Western, European Ukraine whose real heritage was that of the Western principalities. In order to justify the severing of Ukraine’s historical Russian-Eurasian heritage, the Ukrainian bourgeoisie had to construct its own imagined Ukraine which could distinguish itself from Russia. The making of a new, traditionally Western nation-state conception of Ukraine, however, especially by the bourgeoisie and not least of course the compradors, had profound implications for a fragile country of a multiplicity of identities, as the logical result of such would be none other than the tearing of the multinationality ingrained in Ukraine’s existence and the opening of fault lines of an ethnic nature. The depths of economic turmoil and the unavoidable severity of class antagonisms, accompanied by a profound crisis of national identity, would prove to provide fertile ground for the emergence of ethnic tensions and radical national illusions which would seek to direct people’s grievances and the sources of Ukraine’s problems towards ethnic, rather than class entities.

The Euromaidan

The contradictions and antagonisms accumulating within Ukrainian society were to at last find irreversible rupture and violent, revolutionary expression when the ruling bourgeoisie of Ukraine was faced with an historic choice in regards to the future of the country suffering under its heel. In November, 2013, Ukraine’s economy was in the mire of recession and some estimates predicted a 50% probability of default within the next five years.16 President Yanukovich was presented with two options: either proceed with the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement which had been the precious work of the comprador bourgeoisie of Ukraine (with Yanukovich’s tacit compliance) for almost a year, or accept Russia’s offer to buy $15 billion of Ukraine’s debt and cut the cost of Russian gas, a move which would move Ukraine closer to joining the Eurasian Customs Union.

To provide some background, Viktor Yanukovich was Ukraine’s Putin, a paradigmatic case of Bonapartist opportunism, the epitome of the post-Soviet bourgeois leader. He mediated between the two poles of the bourgeoisie, the comprador and the national, while pursuing his own opportunistic interests all and in between. To some he was nearly an imbecile raised as the representative of Ukraine’s corrupt bourgeois squander, while to others he was a clever, ruthless opportunist. His Party of Regions, which often collaborated with Putin’s United Russia, “led the politics of balance,”17 not only in bourgeois but in national/ethnic terms as well. Regional, local government was encouraged, and Russian was granted legal status as an official second language.

Some mistakenly labelled Yanukovich and the Party of Regions “pro-Russian,” but in reality his favor among Russians was precisely only because of his moderation, and the Party of Regions was at best “Eurosceptic.” Aleksandr Dugin observed correctly of Yanukovich:

He was not really pro-Russian but didn’t respond to all demands of the West either. He was not very lucky and effective, trying to trick Putin and Obama, disappointing both as well as Ukrainians of any side. He was an opportunist without a real integral strategy, which was almost impossible to develop in a society with a split personality and a split identity. He reacted more than acted.”18

Yanukovich’s moderation, as well as the fact that he hailed from and was popular in the east of Ukraine, put him in the targets of the comprador bourgeois, as well as, of course, the imperialist West, and often thrust him into the position of representing the national bourgeoisie. In 2004, Yanukovich was pitted in a fierce political showdown with two center-stage compradors, Yulia Timoshenko and Viktor Yushchenko, and would be deposed from his first potential presidency by the Western-funded and backed Orange Revolution. In 2004, Yanukovich was considered to be the “candidate of the East”19 on account of his biography and his stance that Ukraine would not join NATO, but pursue friendly relations with Russia as they “should be natural…between the Ukrainian people and Russian people.”20

When the standing government, favorable to Yanukovich, was accused of electoral fraud and Yanukovich was even accused of poisoning his opponent in a massive Western-backed media hype, the compradors called upon their supporters to protest in Kiev’s Independence Square, or the Maidan. Hundreds of thousands showed up to rally and blockade government buildings, including thousands who had been bussed or flown in from pro-Western countries in order to portray a strong “popular” show for Yushchenko. In one particularly telling instance, Timoshenko, in cooperation with pro-Western Georgian leader Saakashvili, arranged for 3,000 Georgians to be transported to Ukraine and distributed among polling stations, their intent being “to change the outcome of the elections and disrupt the vote,” and their excuse to border guards being that they were visiting Ukrainian girls they had met on social-media websites.21 The United States, through the medium of USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy and in cooperation with comprador politicians, pumped a known amount of $14 million22 along with unknown more millions23 into NGO’s in Ukraine in order to wage a campaign against Yanukovich and help coordinate the Orange Revolution. Under comprador and imperialist pressure, ethnic tensions were acute, and the country threatened to rip apart. As Yushchenko promised to rehabilitate as a Hero of Ukraine Stepan Bandera, the infamous Ukrainian Nazi-collaborator who led the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists in World War II in waging genocide against Jews, Poles, and especially Russians in Ukraine, the governors of the predominantly Russian regions of Donetsk and Lugansk met with the mayor of Moscow to discuss the urgent need for autonomy for the Russian parts of Ukraine.24 When the Ukrainian Supreme Court annulled the results and held a third round of elections which remain as controversial as the first two, Yushchenko won by 7.7%.25 Yanukovich personally admitted defeat out of fear of violent clashes and possible civil war: “I didn’t want mothers to lose their children and wives their husbands. I didn’t want dead bodies from Kiev to flow down the Dnipro. I didn’t want to assume power through bloodshed.”26 The underlying class reality: the national bourgeoisie found it necessary to retreat and regroup.

The Orange Revolution demonstrated the intensity of antagonisms in Ukraine, as well as the ferocious determination of the compradors and imperialism to crush even as moderate a figure as Yanukovich. The fruits of the Orange Revolution, however, were left without time to ripen. In 2010, Yanukovich would beat Timoshenko in fair elections, turn around and jail her on charges of corruption and abuse of power, and the compradors were forced into opposition. The significance of the experience and legacy of the Orange Revolution lies in the crucial lesson learned by the imperialists and their comprador lackeys in Ukraine, namely, that relying upon electoral democracy could not possibly guarantee success to their project of reigning Ukraine into the West, subjecting the multinational framework of the country to the model of a Galician Ukraine, and suppressing the national bourgeoisie. Instead of mere media campaigns and protests, a real battering ram, a genuinely violent force, would be needed to topple the national bourgeoisie and ensure the path to Ukraine’s semi-colonial Galician statehood.

In November, 2013, the stage was set for an Orange Revolution 2.0. Ukraine was on the edge of yet another steep fracture of trajectory as a ruined bourgeois state. Either integrate into the European Union and accept the profound implications, including IMF-prepared austerity packages, a substantial loss of trade with Russia, gas price hikes, significant loss of sovereignty, the demanded release of Timoshenko, etc., or take the Russian economic deal – such were the alternatives to default with which Yanukovich was confronted. On November 21, the pervading feeling of anxiety across Ukraine was broken when, in the 11th hour, the signing of the Ukraine-EU agreement was suspended, the Cabinet issued a decree that announced a pursual of further consolidated economic ties with Russia and the other CIS states, and the government proposed three-way negotiations between Russia, Ukraine, and the EU. The stated reasons of rejection of the EU deal were that the EU failed to provide sufficient financial guarantees, trade losses would be too devastating, and the IMF-demanded budget cuts and gas price hikes constituted “the last straw.”27 Bankruptcy and destabilization under EU diktat were not in the capital interests of the national bourgeoisie.

The compradors mobilized just as they had in the Orange Revolution. The prominent comprador Arseniy Yatsenyuk of Timoshenko’s Batkivshchyna, or Fatherland Party, called for protests on the Maidan, which he now dubbed the Euromaidan. Several thousand petty-bourgeois students were the first to come rally and express the basic comprador slogan: “Ukraine is Europe.” Next came the lumpen, especially the unemployed youth, of Western Ukraine who found their identities in the idea of a European Ukraine. On the 24th, an estimated 200,000 people showed up to wave Ukrainian and EU flags and demand the reconsideration of the EU agreement. Police and protesters clashed for the first time when protesters attempted to blockade the government building home to the Cabinet of Ministers. On November 25, Timoshenko, still in prison, went on hunger strike. The following day, the national bourgeoisie attempted to outmaneuver its targeting by promising that EU-Ukraine negotiations were not over, and that Ukraine’s inching towards “European standards is not stopping for a single day,”28 but protesters ignored the rhetoric and blockaded the government building while the Cabinet was in session.

Such early days of the Euromaidan were glossed with a veneer of the comprador bourgeoisie’s liberal slogans and facade, and the prevalence of petty-bourgeois students. Students danced to their illusions of a European Ukraine, young women urinated on portraits of Yanukovich, and famous artists entertained protestors. EU and Ukrainian flags adorned the protest’s demands for the government to either renege on its decision or resign, while a core of several thousand continued to occupy the Maidan 24/7.

The political forces and classes of the country were slowly yet unavoidably sucked into the fray. The comprador bourgeoisie, whose figureheads were Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Vitaliy Klichko, and the still-imprisoned Timoshenko, threw all its efforts into the Maidan in an attempt to channel popular dissatisfaction with Ukraine’s dead-end trajectory into a pro-European agenda, while the national bourgeoisie vacillated and tried at once to coax protesters with empty rhetoric while hoping to cling to power and its decision unscathed. The petty-bourgeoisie, attracted to the markets free of the national bourgeoisie’s corruption offered by the European Union, swung to the compradors and the Maidan. The working class, for years beaten down by economic hardship, in its greater part remained disunited and considerably inert, unsure of which force to follow and too wary of the costs of spontaneity. The Communist Party of Ukraine, while itself promoting the deal with Russia, demanded a referendum on the issue as the only solution which could hold the country together and express the voice of the vast majority of working people, and started organizing its own protests across the country to counter the Maidan, all along issuing the prescient warning that civil war was not so distant a possibility. The general, pervading sense of dissatisfaction with “ineffective and corrupt government, police and bureaucratic abuse of power, [and] unclear and dead-end policies of the President and the government”29 thus found expression in protests over Ukraine’s future orientation. The common desire of the people of Ukraine of all ethnicities for “positive changes in society, higher standards of living, [and] the rule of law and order”30 was absorbed by the question of Ukraine’s strategic alignment with either Eurasia or Europe, its civilizational future, a question which would be decided in class struggle.

On November 30, the national bourgeoisie mustered its forces and tried to suppress the protests before they could threaten another Orange Revolution. Berkut special police forces launched an offensive and dispersed the crowds with batons, stun grenades, and tear gas. Dozens were injured and detained. Unfortunately for the national bourgeoisie, the attack only awakened and provided the perfect entry-point for the comprador bourgeoisie’s battering-ram which had been long maturing since the Orange Revolution. EU flags were soon to be superseded by the flags of two menacing parties of ultra-reaction, Svoboda and Right Sector, and portraits of Stepan Bandera. The hegemony of Maidan was soon to pass hands to the armed wing of the comprador revolution, Ukrainian fascism.

Svoboda and Right Sector – the faces and origins of ascending Ukrainian fascism

The parties which eventually came to command the Euromaidan militarily and ideologically and overthrow the Yanukovich government alongside the comprador bourgeoisie were Svoboda, or the All-Ukrainian Union “Freedom,” formerly the Social-National Party of Ukraine, and Right Sector. Both are neo-Nazi fascist organizations with considerable paramilitary wings whose common idol is Stepan Bandera, the Ukrainian Nazi-collaborator of World War II who led the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, and whose visions and origins are the now the subject of our examination.

Ukrainian fascism shares the same fundamental philosophical principles as Nazi fascism: the nation is the highest value to which all else is subordinated; the nation is the total of individuals united in one race characterized by certain biological characteristics; thinking should be based on emotions rather than rationality; the will of the nation is revealed through a charismatic leader heading a nationally thinking elite united in a single party; and war and violence are manifestations of a nation’s strength.31 What concerns us here, however, are not the philosophical foundations of Ukrainian fascism but the relevance of Ukrainian fascism to the explosive crisis signalled by Euromaidan, the origin of its growth in Ukraine over the past decade, and the relationship of Ukrainian fascism to the comprador bourgeoisie.

The origin of the fertility of the soil of the Maidan for fascism lies in none other than the general nature of issues at stake. An ever-increasing number of thousands of Ukrainians were being led by the comprador bourgeoisie in protest against the Yanukovich government’s curtailment of EU integration, a harsh slap in the face to the comprador bourgeoisie’s material interests as well as to the vision of Ukrainian statehood which it had been crafting since 1991. While the comprador bourgeoisie had clear political slogans pertaining to the “need’ for Ukraine to join the European Union and for the government to resign if it stood in the way, the fascists offered an ideology as well as the physical force necessary for the success of the Euromaidan to achieve its (counter)revolutionary aims.

Svoboda and Right Sector provided an ideology which mobilized disillusioned people around their envisioned “national-liberation” of Ukraine. In the view of Ukrainian fascism, all problems of Ukraine are the fault of the “Russian occupiers,” just as all the problems of interwar Germany were posed by the Nazis to be the fault of the “Jewish parasites.” Such a theory is drawn by Svoboda and Right Sector from the works of Dmytro Dontsov (1883-1973), whose concept of “integral nationalism,” which he later admitted to be simply “Ukrainian fascism,”32 promoted the notion that the “collective ideal” of the “Ukrainian nation” was the “uncompromising fight with Russia.”33 To Dontsov and later Stepan Bandera, the real enemy of Ukraine is not only Russia but the Russian people in general, the Moskali, a derogatory term for Russians used as an equivalent to the racial slur “nigger” against African-Americans or “kike” for Jews. Bandera wrote: “Every Moscow state, whether it be tsar, democratic or Bolshevik, has always been cunning to Ukraine…Thus, the true enemy of Ukraine has been not only the current regime…but the Moscow nation itself.”34 The liberation of Ukraine as a nation, according Dontsov, has thus always been “Our centuries-old fight with chaos in the East, the defense of our own statehood and culture,” which has historically been “all culture of the West.”35

The historical mythology of Galician Ukraine and such profound Russophobia, embodied in the works of Dontsov and Bandera, form the founding principles of Ukrainian fascist thought. On the Euromaidan, such principles translated into the dissemination of the notions that Russia was “hindering Ukraine from its European development” and that those who had turned down the opportunity for EU integration were puppets of the Moskali. Anyone who defied such a “reality,” or broke ranks from the “Ukrainian National Revolution” was a lackey of the Moskali. In a famous instance, anyone who did not participate in jumping exercises to help keep the crowds of Euromaidan protesters warm during the winter was deemed a Moskal, an enemy of Ukrainian statehood.36 The fascist solution, therefore, to Ukraine’s problems was to overthrow the “Russian puppet government,” proceed to “liquidate the ruling Muscovite-Jewish mafia” as Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnibok said37, and begin to construct the truly European, Ukrainian race-nation which had been suppressed for centuries by the Russian occupiers.

Such a grotesque ideology of Ukrainian fascism found its place on the Euromaidan. It lent ideological, quasi-historical legitimacy to the compradors’ struggle and presented itself as an ideology of answers and action to a disillusioned people who thought EU integration might offer a way out of crisis for Ukraine. Moreover, as with any variant of fascism, it compelled people together in imposed ideological unity out of fear of being persecuted as a hated “enemy of Ukraine,” a lackey of the Moskali.

Hand in hand with the ideological alternative which Ukrainian fascism offered, Svoboda and Right Sector, most significantly, brought the brute violence, confrontation, and paramilitary organization which the comprador bourgeoisie needed to protect its revolution and overthrow Yanukovich. Svoboda, and Right Sector to a much greater extent, possessed armed and organized paramilitary units which promptly offered their services as the “Self-Defense Forces” of the Euromaidan and led offensives of protesters against police, government officials, and in rioting. Without the armed wing of the Euromaidan counter-revolution, it is unlikely that the protests would have survived further, more extensive attacks by Berkut and been able to launch and sustain what would culminate in the February coup. A brief history is now in order.

It is at this point that the history of the growth of Svoboda and Right Sector is of fundamental importance to an understanding of the dynamics of what has happened in Ukraine. Ukrainian fascism could have existed forever without assuming such a momentous and forefront role in revolutionary conflagration as it did. Svoboda and Right Sector never would have been able to show up to the Euromaidan with the forces and organization which they boasted had their capacity and resources not been nurtured so as to allow them to disseminate their ideology and steel their fighting forces in the run up to and in the midst of national crisis. The reality underlying the rise of Ukrainian fascism is the fact that Svoboda and Right Sector were the recipients of generous aid from imperialism which allowed them to expand to the scale and carve out the hegemony that they did.

Svoboda was the product of a merger of far-right organizations in 1991, which made a hysterical name for itself in 1993 when it declared the establishment of “national units” across the country whose job was to carry out sabotage and provoke revolution.38 Svoboda, then known as the Social-National Party, was known for its hooligans whose dress code featured the Wolfsangel (the logo of various German and Dutch Nazi SS divisions in World War II and reportedly the early draft of the symbol of Hitler’s Nazi Party) and who primarily operated among skinheads and football hooligans in Galicia, inciting violence against political opponents, particularly communists.39

In the mid 1990’s, many of Svoboda’s prominent figures, including its current leader Tyahnibok, went as volunteers to Chechnya to fight against Russian forces, where their savagery against captured Russian soldiers became notorious.40 It was in training for and fighting in Chechnya that Svoboda developed its first paramilitary capacity. In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, Tyahnibok led an initiative of “rebranding” the Social-National Party into what became contemporary Svoboda, a party with a primarily parliamentary appearance and occupation which nonetheless continued to possess, yet less noticeably, a paramilitary wing.

In the aftermath of the Orange Revolution, Svoboda flourished with its new hand-shakeable, parliamentary veneer and its generous new supporters in the imperialists and Ukrainian compradors who saw the lack of guarantees of success in relying upon mere electoral democracy in Ukraine. There are allegations and some evidence that the Party of Regions even gave Svoboda a leg-up in the political spotlight in order to pry the party away from the compradors and so as to woo an ally against the main comprador parties and Yulia Timoshenko – an example of pure opportunism by elements of the national bourgeoisie –41 but Svoboda’s increasing rise to power was also attributable in a great deal to the material aid from the United States. Oleh Tyahnibok emerged as one of the most successful competitors for President and in 2012 Svoboda surpassed the Communist Party in representation and resources as the fourth most powerful party in parliament, a gigantic leap from less than one percent of the vote in 2006.42 Such could not have been accomplished without considerable sponsoring from, most of all, the imperialists. The US ambassador in Kiev, Gregory Pyatt, was a self-declared fan of Svoboda43 and John McCain and Victoria Nuland have had regular collaboration with Tyahnibok. Svoboda became a prominent recipient of yet unknown portions of the $5 billion worth of funding from the United States44 invested in Ukrainian political groups through the medium of NGO’s which helped it run its party-building operations. From a party of football hooligans to one of the most powerful and influential political voices in Ukraine, Svoboda was catapulted into the political spotlight by the time of the Euromaidan, and was tenderly supported along the way.

Compared to contemporary Svoboda, Right Sector is a much smaller, but significantly more radical organization, as the leader of Right Sector, Dmytro Yarosh, claimed that Svoboda is “too liberal.”45 Unlike Svoboda, Right Sector is not a political party but a confederation of fascist paramilitary organizations, boasting a total of around 5,000 fighters46, which merged on the Euromaidan in November, 2013 and came to predominate the Euromaidan’s Self-Defense Forces. A brand new organization, Right Sector essentially came to be responsible for much of the violent, dirty work of the Euromaidan, with its leaders and paramilitary units being funded through the US embassy in Kiev, statistics of which we will quote later, and some of its military training being provided by the Western puppet of Poland.47

That fascists and a sector of the bourgeoisie committed to selling out the country work together intimately may at first glance seem absurdly contradictory. Yet, the relationship of Svoboda and Right Sector to the comprador bourgeoisie is explainable in the context of their rearing and the inherent tendencies of Ukrainian fascism. As the military wing and ideological guarantor of the comprador forces on the Euromaidan, and as the nurtured project of imperialism, the fascists form a natural ally of the comprador bourgeoisie. Right Sector in particular would act as the force liable for the violence of the Euromaidan which, if directly orchestrated by the compradors themselves, would dirty their hands and openly expose as hypocritical their talk of “democracy” and “freedom” which they direct against the national bourgeoisie and for which they praise the West as an example. The very ideological underpinnings of Ukrainian fascism’s view of Ukraine as a Western, European nation have historically rendered Ukrainian fascism a distinctly comprador force, whether in the case of Bandera’s allegiance to Nazi Germany or Svoboda and Right Sector’s fidelity to the their American and European patrons. In such a sense, it is crucial to recognize the particularity that fascism in Ukraine, unlike the fascism seen in Germany or Italy, is not so much an independent, nationalistic movement in the proper sense as a force for the undermining of Ukraine’s independence. After all, is it not the Ukrainian fascist view that Ukraine’s national statehood is precisely only realized once Ukraine is a part of the Europe to which it supposedly belongs? Those who have troubled themselves with the task of asserting that Ukrainian fascism, like any fascism, is a distinctly nationalistic force, meaning a force which seeks an independent, strong Ukraine, have again and again slapped up against the wall of impossibility of understanding how it is possible that such a virulently “Ukrainian” movement as Ukrainian fascism would dare act in tandem with compradors in subjugating Ukraine to Europe. The fundamental reality which cannot be ignored is that Svoboda and Right Sector are the “bad cop” partners of the Ukrainian comprador bourgeoisie, the beneficiaries of the same imperialist subsidies, and the loudest shouters and most brutal fighters against the real historical heritage of Ukraine. They are, by virtue of their founding ideological principles and civilizational proposal for Ukraine, a genuine comprador force in the Ukraine, distinguished from the main comprador political parties only by their considerably developed ideology and ruthless pursual of terror as a means to power. In dialectical fashion, the fascists reinforce as well as benefit from the comprador struggle to drag Ukraine to the depths of fratricide and servitude to the West. Whereas Bohdan Hmyelntiskii led the peoples of Ukraine to overthrow the yoke of Polish rule in 1648 and thereby reunited Ukraine with Russia following the Treaty of Pereyaslav in 1654, Svoboda and Right Sector would lead the way in bringing Ukraine back to its knees in front of imperialism and enforce their long-desired “return” of Ukraine to its glorious statehood as a semi-colony of the European Union in 2014.

From Euromaidan to the Orange-Brown Revolution

Within hours of the attempted dispersal of the Euromaidan by the Yanukovich government on November 30, Svoboda and Right Sector had moved into position. Svoboda, alongside the main comprador parties Fatherland and the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform (UDAR), set up “Headquarters of National Resistance” and coordinated the transport of tens of thousands of more protesters to Kiev. Whereas party banners and symbols were in the minority on the early Euromaidan, they now predominated, especially flags of Svoboda. Right Sector paramilitary groups formed the Self-Defense Forces of the Euromaidan and mobilized volunteer fighters with the slogan “Protect our kids.” Shouts of “Won’t forgive” and “Revolution” filled the Maidan as protesters regrouped and the opposition poured all of its available resources into filling the Maidan with as many protesters as possible, a number which reached around 700,000 by December 1.

The fascists led a counter-offensive on December 1. Tyahnibok announced a nationwide mobilization48 and Right Sector led protesters in an assault on police and Berkut officers which quickly culminated in rioting across downtown Kiev and the occupation of the City Hall and Trade Unions’ Building. Continuous clashes with police occurred as Right Sector distributed molotov cocktails and protesters stripped downed policemen of their weapons. The new, violent stage of the Euromaidan was thus inaugurated by the impetus of the fascists. The new face of Maidan was no longer the university student with a Ukrainian flag and painted face, but a paramilitary soldier with a Right Sector or Svoboda armband and full military wear who tried to arm and direct protestors as much as possible. The average protester could now boast a construction, police, or military helmet, a riot shield stolen from fallen law enforcement officers, and a vanguard paramilitary force leading their way. The left agitators who had been doing their own work among the protesters were now beaten and cast out as enemies.

The Euromaidan consolidated itself and ever steadily advanced. The Maidan square was turned into a verifiable fortress, the inside of which became a city in itself centered around a stage on which the the leading figures of Svoboda, Fatherland, and UDAR whipped up crowds with around-the-clock speeches and performances. Seeking time to consolidate the Euromaidan, the comprador bourgeoisie continued to put pressure on the government on the democratic front. The government, however, survived the opposition’s vote of no-confidence, an expected outcome which only further reinforced the comprador bourgeoisie’s efforts to prepare revolution by force.49

For the duration of December, the Euromaidan would continue to grow. The Euromaidan finally claimed a million protesters on December 8, as frantic efforts to transport thousands from across the country and from other countries, just as was done in the Orange Revolution, proved successful. Statues of Lenin were toppled by Svoboda accompanied by chants of “Yanukovich, you’re next,” as the Euromaidan swelled and claimed more territory, the fascists everywhere purging hostile elements and colonizing new ground and minds. Foreign politicians from the United States and across Europe visited the Maidan and gave speeches of solidarity as the protests carried on through the harsh winter. While protests did emerge in other cities around the country, the compradors and fascists insisted upon centralizing to Kiev, where protests’ influence was greater and revolution was more viable. A real dual power of the comprador-fascist forces was being constructed around the Maidan to counter that of the government.

Yanukovich, meanwhile, remained adamant and continued to pursue expanded relations with Russia.50 The national bourgeoisie, regrouping from failed sorties, was slow to react, and react was all it did at best. The country as a whole was definitively divided over attitude towards the Euromaidan. Nearly every poll taken in December of 2013 indicates an approximate 50%-50% split of popular opinion, with more than 80% of support for the Euromaidan coming, unsurprisingly, from the West of the country, and the inverse true for the East.51 Anti-Maidan protests emerged in the South and East of the country, but were slow to gain momentum, if they did at all, and often had to compete with already existing pro-Maidan rallies.

The fragmentation of the working class was acute. On the one hand, some workers found refuge in the dual power of the Maidan, where food, warmth, medical care, and the space to protest against the intolerable conditions of life in Ukraine were tremendously appealing opportunities. On the other hand, the Communist Party mobilized workers to join protests across the country against the Maidan and in favor of relations with Russia. The Communist Party condemned the comprador-fascist Maidan as an anti-democratic uprising, urged a democratic handling of issues through a referendum, and even put up its own vote of no-confidence in the parliament against the Yanukovich government alongside a proposal for a conciliatory interim government. The toppling of Lenin statues spurred the urgency of action on the part of the CP, as fascist forces increasingly encroached upon and threatened communists with violence, but the Communist Party remained determined to avoid bloodshed and pursue a middle-of-the-road democratic resolution. The Communist Party, besides staging routine protests, remained considerably inert outside of parliament, and it brought potential hundreds of thousands of workers with it into an illusory endeavor of opposing a progressing, Western-backed, fascist-propelled revolt through democratic moderation.

The toppling of statues of Lenin by the fascists occupies a significant point in the timeline of events in Ukraine. The destruction of symbols of Lenin provoked a step in the awakening of a primitive consciousness among the people, especially the working class, of the Russian population of Ukraine. The overwhelmingly Russian population of the East expressed outrage at what was interpreted as an assault upon not only a working-class hero but a titanic personality in Ukraine’s history as part of Eurasia in general, and the Soviet Union in particular. If the Euromaidan forces of Kiev were virulently Russophobic enough to mutilate the statue of a revolutionary who firmly believed in and fought for the right of self-determination and for Ukraine to exist as distinct country, its own Soviet Socialist Republic, within the Soviet Union, merely because he himself was Russian and a symbol of Ukraine’s history with Russia, then the Russian population of Ukraine was surely in trouble of persecution for its national allegiance as well as widely-held respect for Lenin and Soviet socialism. One can only imagine the shock and fear of an average working person in the poorer, more working-class, more plundered, Russian East of the country, ignorant of the details of the Euromaidan’s underlying and evolving political nature or the real programs of Svoboda and Right Sector, who has just been presented with an ominous and bold sign of the unfolding reality.

Moving into January, Yanukovich and the national bourgeoisie persisted to pair empty rhetoric of there being “no contradiction” between Ukraine’s inching towards the Eurasian Customs Union and prospective relations with the EU52 with more fruitless endeavors to contain the Euromaidan by force. Attacks on protest organizers by government-hired thugs were frequent, and the Euromaidan only radicalized further under fascist influence and in opposition to the national bourgeoisie’s last-ditch brutalities. On January 1, 15,000 marched in a fascistic, torchlight ritual to celebrate the 105th birthday of Stepan Bandera, whose portraits now pervaded Kiev’s protest sites. What would be the last effort of the government to repress the Euromaidan came in the form of the Anti-Protest Laws of January 16 which severely restricted rights to speech and assembly and featured heavy jail sentences for normal protest activities.

In line with precedent, the national bourgeois crackdown proved fruitless. As hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered to denounce the “Dictatorship Laws” and call for the final overthrow of the government, bloody clashes with police occurred and the Hrushevskoho Riots, marked by the particularly ruthless destructiveness and violence of Right Sector and literal police-protester war, ensued. Once again, parts of Kiev were in flames. As the riots drew attention to the capital, Right Sector coordinated the seizure of armories of police headquarters across Western Ukraine, accumulating thousands of firearms.53 The weapons were promptly transported to Kiev, where the Euromaidan could now back its numbers with Kalashnikovs. In the regions stormed by Euromaidan forces, regional councils were also seized, governors were forced to their knees and humiliated, and rump councils pushed through bans on the Communist Party and Party of Regions. The police, who were still unauthorized to use firearms of their own, suffered serious casualties, and the Cabinet was desperately considering martial law.

By the end of January, the government was reeling in retreat. On the 25th, Yanukovich offered constitutional amendments and prime ministerial and vice prime ministerial positions to Yatsenyuk and Klichko respectively, as well as amendments and some repeals in regards to the provisions of the Anti-Protest Law. The compradors, however, maintained their resilience while coaxing Yanukovich with public speeches about their “serious considerations” of his offers.

The steamroller of the Maidan, however, could not be stopped by mere gifts of political compromise. The compradors, the fascists, and the imperialist powers were too vested in the Euromaidan to surrender it for political reforms, however genuine. By that point, individual protesters on the Maidan were hired for 15-25 euros a day by the United States and European Union54, and funding for armed groups, such as Right Sector, was extensive:

According to numerous and repeatedly verified reports by the very participants in the Euromaidan, since it started every leader of a resistance group (like Parubiy’s Self-Defense and Yarosh’s Right Sector) was promised a compensation. US $200 a day for every active fighter and an additional US $500 if the group was over 10 people. Coordinators were promised about US $2000 a day of mass riots if the subordinate group implemented direct attacks against law enforcement officer and officials. It is reported that the money came through diplomatic channels to the US Embassy in Kiev and then to Svoboda and Batkivshchyna central offices (around US $20 million a week).

The money was used to support the Euromaidan (life support system, bribes for individual officials and law enforcement officers, media and propaganda) and to pay active fighters weekly. Protest leaders received the money via bank transfers to personal accounts. On the other hand, it was found out that the leaders of the right- wing structures, upon their request, were guaranteed help in an emergency to urgently evacuate them out of Ukraine and provide accommodation and money in any EU country to their liking.”55

American imperialist involvement in guiding the compradors and the Euromaidan was so unsurprisingly cunning that on February 7 a leaked phone call revealed US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and US ambassador to Kiev Gregory Pyatt discussing which oppositionists they wanted in a new Ukrainian government and how the United States would bolster the new government against Russia.56

The beginning of the end of the government came with the commencement of the final stage of counter-revolutionary coup d’etat on February 18. Protesters marching on Ukraine’s parliament engaged in firefights with police, and hundreds were injured with dozens killed. Yatsenyuk christened the irreversible beginning of a coup with the words “we really are on the threshold of the most dramatic page in the history of our country.”57 In a move indicative of the state of crisis, the Ministry of Internal Affairs finally authorized police to use live ammunition against armed protesters and the country was put in a state of emergency. On February 20th, unseen snipers fired upon the crowds of warring protesters and police, killing nearly a hundred. The compradors and fascists blamed the government and declared revolution, but it is now known, thanks to a leaked phone call between the Estonian Foreign Ministry and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, whose authenticity has been confirmed58, that the snipers were in fact Maidan forces, i.e., the massacre was a staged provocation.

The following day after the massacre, Yanukovich signed the Agreement on Settlement of the Crisis in Ukraine with UDAR, Fatherland, and Svoboda, which stipulated the restoration of the 2004 constitution and the establishment of a new government in snap elections. The agreement, however, did not stipulate an immediate resignation of Yanukovich, and thus the task of removing him fell into the hands of Right Sector, while Svoboda, UDAR, and Fatherland could maintain the image of consensual political agreement. On the night of February 22, Euromaidan military forces occupied a wing of the presidential palace and demanded Yanukovich’s abdication, who promptly fled the country. Timoshenko was subsequently released and addressed crowds on the Euromaidan from her wheelchair, calling them “heroes of Ukraine.” The same day, as the victory of the Euromaidan made itself clear, Ukrainian rabbis urged Jews to flee Kiev and the country as a whole if possible.59

With the 7th Maidan Self-Defense and Right Sector units occupying parliament, the 3rd and 19th Self-Defense units at the presidential palace and Cabinet building, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs under the control of the 15th, Commandant of the Euromaidan Andriy Parubiy triumphantly declared “Maidan today has fully taken Kiev under control.”60 The Orange-Brown Revolution, the comprador-fascist coup, the Europutsch, the “Ukrainian Revolution,” – by whatever name it will be christened in history – was victorious. Thus was sealed the triumph of the compradors and fascists, the “heroes of Ukraine,” and thus was inaugurated a new tragedy for the people of Ukraine.

The new Ukraine loses ground

The Euromaidan was now in power. An illegitimate government was formed as a coalition of Fatherland, UDAR, Svoboda, and Right Sector and announced on February 26. Yatsenyuk, the personal favorite of the West as revealed by Nuland and Pyatt’s leaked phone conversation, was Prime Minister. As for Svoboda, Parubiy became the top commander of the National Defense and Security Council, Ihor Tenyukh was appointed Minister of Defense, Oleksandr Sych became one of three vice prime ministers, Oleh Makhnitskiy was made Prosecutor General, and the party further claimed the ministries of ecology and agriculture. The leader of Right Sector, Yarosh, became Parubiy’s deputy, thus rendering him second in command of the National Defense and Security Council.61 The concentration of fascist power in military and security positions along with the coup-origins of the regime led many observing communists around the world to officially designate the new government a “semi-fascist junta.”

The new government’s first initiatives demonstrated its genuinely fascistic aspects. They included seeking to abolish the legal equality of languages and banning the official use of Russian (the “language of the occupiers”), rescinding the autonomy of Crimea, the predominantly Russian-populated peninsula in Ukraine’s south, and attempting to ban the Communist Party, whose offices in Kiev were targeted and destroyed by Svoboda and Right Sector thugs several days prior. Moreover, in an effort to secure the nascent power of the new regime and replace its coercive facets with its own troops, the Ministry of Internal Affairs ordered the disarmament of riot police. Berkut officers became objects of persecution in junta-controlled areas.

Resistance to the new regime emerged in areas where it was most vulnerable no sooner than when it ascended to power and began its first offensive political initiatives. On the day of the coup, a congress of deputies from the southern and eastern regions of Ukraine met and passed a resolution declaring that they were prepared to protect constitutionality in their regions against the illegal coup-government.62 In the Crimea, dozens of thousands protested in major cities and clashed with primarily Tatar pro-regime rallies. The consciousness of the masses in general and of the people of Crimea in particular at such a time was based completely and unsurprisingly on that of the national bourgeoisie. Political slogans only went so far as “Putin is our president,” “We are Slavs, not Europeans,” and “In Europe, we are slaves; in Russia, we are brothers.” In the Crimea, however, such was inevitable. The peninsula which only became part of Ukraine in 1954 when Khrushchev “gifted” it to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic on a whim among his many erratic and disastrous policies, and the problematic situation of the Crimea under the new government was an obvious case of contention and simple resolution. A virulently Russophobic regime had ascended to power, so the 60% Russian population of Crimea found due time and opportunity to fight for the return home to Russia where they would be safe from the Banderist junta in Kiev.

Absorbing the lessons of the Maidan, the increasing thousands of protesters formed self-defense forces, replaced Ukrainian flags with Russian ones as symbolic of their national allegiance, and moved to confront government establishments with sheer numbers and force. The protests were entirely spontaneous, yet demonstrated a notable degree of combined and uneven development in regards to the practical experience of the Euromaidan. Following the governor’s announcement that he would abide by the new regime’s laws, protesters besieged the parliament of Crimea, a fate which befell government buildings across the peninsula, and demanded ethnic Russian leaders and a referendum on independence from Ukraine. One by one, mayors and administrators were forced out and replaced with ethnic Russians favorable, at best sympathetic, to the protests. It was the masses of Russians in Crimea, however, who kept the momentum in their hands by dint of the sword of mass actions and self-organized paramilitaries. By February 27, military-style checkpoints throughout roads leading from the rest of Ukraine to major cities of the Crimea had been organized by self-defense forces who sought to prevent a deployment of forces from Kiev, an important tactic which proved its worth when Euromaidan radicals transporting 400 kilos of explosives and stockpiles of of arms from Kiev were successfully caught and stopped from entering the peninsula.63 Also on the 27th, heavily armed militiamen stormed the Council of Ministers and parliament of Crimea. The Russian flag was hoisted, and MP’s were “supervised” to vote to replace the existing Crimean government and resolve to hold a referendum on greater autonomy for the region. The successive targets of the militia were airports, and as protests and self-defense forces gained ground, so did their proclaimed savior awaken from its seeming slumber and move, nevertheless still cautiously, into action.

As events in the Crimea progressed, Russia decided to answer the pleas of its distressed compatriots. Under bilateral agreements between Ukraine and Russia in the 1997 Partition Treaty on the Black Sea Fleet, which the new regime did not annul, Russia was authorized to have up to 25,000 soldiers, 24 artillery systems, 132 armored vehicles, and 22 military planes at one time stationed in Crimea in addition to its standing naval fleet.64 Russia now found due opportunity to make use of such an agreement. On March 1st, the new Crimean Prime Minister appealed to Putin to “provide assistance in ensuring peace and tranquility on the territory of the Crimea,”65 a request which was satisfied when Putin was granted the extraordinary power to manipulate Russian military forces on the territory of Ukraine by the Russian Duma. Russian soldiers were deployed to reinforce self-defense forces in strategic positions, and welcoming locals waved Russian flags to passing convoys of their liberators.

Crimeans were already being issued Russian passports as Ukrainian troops in the area surrendered or defected. On March 6, the Supreme Council of Crimea affirmed March 16 as the date for a referendum on Ukraine’s secession from Ukraine and accession to the Russian Federation, and posters and billboards across the region presented the dilemma: either a Crimea under Ukrainian fascism, or a Crimea returned to Russia. On March 16, the voice of the people of Crimea was given expression: 96.7% of voters out of a record-breaking 83.1% turnout voted for Crimea to join Russia. As attested to by a polling study of Pew Research in May, the results were indeed representative of the genuine aspirations of the population, and 91% of respondents claimed that the referendum was “free and fair.”66

The successful referendum on Crimean accession to Russia, compared to what was yet to come in terms of resistance to the new Kiev regime, was relatively smooth and painless. With Russia militarily intervening on the people of Crimea’s behalf, the regime did not stand a chance, and even Right Sector admitted it would not dare to “participate in the settlement of the crisis.”67 Moreover, with the counter-revolution in Kiev and the resultant junta still nascent, the contention resembled little more than an ethnic clash fatefully hopeless for the aggressing minority. That the classes of the population of Crimea came out in overwhelming unity under national bourgeois slogans was indicative that the immediate, foremost contradiction between Crimea and Ukraine was one of national liberation. With Russia backing the national bourgeoisie of Crimea, the working class did not form its own independent organizations, and the rapid speed by which the struggle was accomplished thanks to the participation of Russia left no time for the development of different class camps of the national-liberation struggle. Another crucial factor to consider is that Kiev’s new IMF-imposed rounds of austerity had not yet hit the proletariat of Crimea and given impetus to an awakening of its class consciousness by the time the peninsula was already de facto outside of the political jurisdiction of Ukraine with disobedient leaders and weapon-backed autonomy. Thus, the first resistance and blow against the comprador-fascist state accomplished its national bourgeois program with little difficulty and tremendous speed: within three weeks, Crimeans had left capitalism and potential fascist genocide in Ukraine for capitalism in Russia. Such an experience, however, would not be duplicated, and would in turn form a stark contrast to what was to unfold in the second, currently ongoing wave of anti-fascist resistance in Ukraine.

The Eastern uprising

No sooner than several weeks into power had the new regime lost several million citizens and 10,000 square miles of territory. But, of course, the psychology of Ukrainian fascism, now predominant in the press, held that the secession of Crimea could not possibly be the fault of the Ukrainian junta’s fascistic drive to impose the Western model of a Ukrainian nation-state on a multinational country. No, the fault laid with the Moskali, the occupiers, and a sudden Russian invasion of Ukrainian territory. Such was the propagandistic cover which the Ukrainian press and international media trumpeted over and over in Goebbelsian fashion. No attention was given to the genuine mass movement for Crimea’s secession. Instead, Crimea was “snatched” from Ukraine by malicious bands of Russian agents and then the Russian military itself. Russia was once again “Waging a war on Ukraine.” If such propaganda was important in discrediting and distorting the events in the Crimea, then it became center-stage when a new wave of resistance emerged which threatened not only Ukraine’s hold on seven million citizens and 30% of its GDP, but also a movement of popular opposition which bears the potential to transcend ethnic divisions and unite a genuine, working-class anchored anti-fascist struggle.

Such a new wave of resistance came out of the eastern, predominantly Russian provinces (and cities of the same names) of Donetsk, Lugansk, and Kharkov, the former two of which make up the historic Donbass region. Drawing inspiration and example from the Crimea, anti-regime protesters assembled and besieged government buildings, forced administrative personnel changes in their favor, coordinated self-defense groups, and hoisted the Russian tricolor while chanting the same national bourgeois slogans heard in Crimea. Yet, while in their initial stages the protests of the East resembled and mimicked those of the Crimea, the class dynamics and material conditions out of which the protests sprang posed a trajectory which would differ vastly from the path of national bourgeois hegemony witnessed in the experience of Crimea. In the east of Ukraine, the working class would play a role far greater than that of populating protests.

The Donbass, or Donets Basin, is Ukraine’s most densely populated region, and its high degree of industrialization rendered it one of the centers of working class pride in the Soviet Union. The concentration of the working class in the Donbass is unparalleled in the rest of Ukraine. Known for its vast, profitable coal mines and painstaking history of the ruthless impoverishment and exploitation of the largely proletarian population, the Donbass has historically been the “other side of Ukraine” with a population characterized by a strong Russian-national and working-class consciousness.

In the spring of 2014, the consciousness of the Donbass working class was awakened to struggle by Kiev’s persistent crusade to mold Ukraine into Western image. On the one hand, the assault on ethnic Russians showed no signs of easing. The proposed ban on the public use of the Russian language was still on the table of legislation, Russian television channels were being forcibly shut down by administrative diktat,68 the government banned Russian males between the ages of 16-60 from entering the country69, and the government’s reaction to the loss of Crimea was to incite further hatred against the “occupiers.” A subsequently leaked phone conversation between Yulia Timoshenko and MP Nestor Shufrich terrified Russians in Ukraine as well as Russia. Timoshenko angrily declared in a barrage of expletives that “It’s about time we grab our guns and go kill those damned Russians…I will use all of my means to make the entire world rise up, so that there wouldn’t be even a scorched field left in Russia.” In reference to Crimea, Timoshenko said “I would’ve found a way to kill those assholes.” When Shufrich asked “what should we do now with the 8 million Russians that stayed in Ukraine?,” who he claimed were “outcasts,” Timoshenko replied that “They must be killed with nuclear weapons.” While Timoshenko has since claimed that her reference to nuclear weapons was an edit maliciously engineered by Russia’s Federal Security Service, she did confirm the rest of the conversation to be authentic.70

In addition to escalating Russophobia in the press and in legislation, an IMF-imposed austerity package happily introduced by the comprador-fascist rulers in Kiev devastated the country, especially the Donbass, and brought workers to the verge of pauperdom. The new regime, which ascended to power when the country was already on the edge of default, rammed Ukraine further into the depths of destitution in typical EU/IMF-stipulated fashion. Household gas prices were to skyrocket by 50%, prices for utilities such as heating were to be hiked by 40%, personal income taxes were to be raised 47%-66%, and wages were to freeze and jobs slashed all the while as GDP shrunk three percent and inflation rose upwards of 14%.71 The prices of basic commodities such as spirits, beer, and tobacco were to be raised 39%, 31.5%, and 42.5% respectively.72 The compradors were more than willing to make the Ukrainian economy commit suicide in order to attract prospective loans from the West of up to $27 billion over the next two years, and get their hands on US funding to the tune of a $1 billion loan guarantee, $50 million for “democracy” and $100 million for security cooperation.73 As average Ukrainians suffered dearly, the compradors and their paymasters cashed in. Vice President of the United States Joe Biden’s son became a board member of Ukraine’s largest private gas producer.74 Infamous oligarchs were appointed as the new governors of Ukraine’s regions75, and the tidal wave of primitive accumulation unleashed by the compradors through austerity measures was guaranteed by dint of their armed fascist cohorts, who still roamed the streets of Western Ukraine and threatened anyone who dared to oppose the government’s measures with the perilous label, and according punishment, of an enemy of Ukraine’s national-revolution.

In the west of Ukraine, the regime’s massive propaganda campaign continued to portray the Russian “occupiers” as the source of all of Ukraine’s economic problems, and thus restrained what would otherwise be widespread discontent with fascistic, scapegoat rhetoric. The more than half of Ukrainians who rejected austerity and dead-end loans from the West76 were promptly pointed in the right direction, i.e., their anger was redirected towards the Moskali, on whom all was to blame.

In the east, however, things went differently. “Trying to douse the fire in the west,” Boris Kagarlitsky writes, “the authorities poured oil on the flames in the east.”77 The victims of Russophobia and austerity rose up, and the working and lumpen of the Donbass mobilized themselves around a consciousness which linked their Russian identities to their class ones. Such an awakening of the Donbass working class for fight back against the Kiev regime bore all the characteristics and tendencies which would drive a mere leftist intellectual away in fear or confusion. There was no sense of “pure” proletarian consciousness, no leading communist vanguard, and not a trace of political correctness. Yet, the workers stood up independently and spontaneously, and led the resistance around a makeshift understanding that their oppressed national consciousness as Russians reinforced and was reinforced by the fact that they were proletarians. The attack on them as workers was inseparable from the assault on them as Russians, and their fight back against fascism was part of their Russian as well as Soviet, proletarian heritage. Their struggle was accordingly one conceived as between Russian workers and the fascist Ukrainian bourgeoisie, a struggle which fused national with social demands in a muddled mix in which both far-left and far-right forces attempted to impress some sort of program upon the masses groping in the dark of spontaneity, nevertheless objectively in the right direction.

By the end of March, such a “revolt of the hooligans” was gaining ground and confidence. Rallies of thousands met everyday in urban centers across the east, where demands for a referendum on the federalization of Ukraine (so that the eastern regions could pursue their own ties with Russia) were paired with calls for the “return of industries from the oligarchs to the people” and social rights such as employment, housing, health care, pensions, etc. Protesters gathered in thousands to defend Lenin statues from vandalism, for Lenin was both a Russian and a proletarian icon. The standard pro-Russia protests duplicated from the Crimea became less frequent as more radical forums attracted an ever-awakened working class. The Communist Party, the small Marxist conglomeration Borotba, or Union of Struggle, and a variety of other organizations from across the political spectrum, some old, some just recently thrown together, gathered to hold public anti-fascist demonstrations and discussions. Yet, unlike the political parties at the Maidan, they did not, and arguably could not, control the political agenda. As Boris Kagarlitsky pointed out, the consciousness of the gathering thousands contained all sorts of absurdities and contradictions which evidenced its spontaneous character. Soviet flags were proudly waved alongside Russian ones, and portraits of Stalin were held alongside Orthodox icons. The singing of the Internationale by protesters was accompanied by the Russian anthem and Orthodox ceremonies. Some looked confoundedly backwards, calling for the return of Yanukovich, while others looked forward to an independent, revolutionary Donetsk imbued with transformative potential. Kagarlitsky insightfully writes that such a diverse movement of self-organization should recall “the spontaneous political formations that working people created ‘prior to the advent of historical materialism.’”78 Primitive yet momentarily bold, unified yet diverse – such were the characteristic contradictions of the emerging uprising in the east. The words of Lenin deserve remembrance: “Whoever expects a ‘pure’ social revolution will never live to see it. Such a person pays lip-service to revolution without understanding what revolution is.”79 The revolutions in Eastern Ukraine genuinely constituted “an outburst of mass struggle on the part of all and sundry oppressed and discontented elements.”80 “Inevitably,” as Lenin reminds, “sections of the petty bourgeoisie and of the backward workers will participate in it—without such participation, mass struggle is impossible, without it no revolution is possible—and just as inevitably will they bring into the movement their prejudices, their reactionary fantasies, their weaknesses and errors.”81

The motley protests of the East assumed power in early April and the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk were declared. Unlike Crimea, where state power was unchanged except for its ethnic inhabitants and the peninsula merely changed countries, the cities and provinces of the east, particularly Donetsk, underwent real revolutions. Much like the Paris Commune, those in power were overthrown and politics passed into the hands of the self-organized masses and their representatives, yet much of the existing state machinery was not reconstituted but instead merely inherited and made use of. Unlike the Paris Commune, however, the revolutions in Eastern Ukraine were not socialist in nature but national-democratic in form and content with merely a prominent, yet neither consolidated nor organized working-class imprint of predominance. In other words, the “revolt of the hooligans” was a set of revolutions in Eastern Ukraine which overthrew an undemocratic, semi-fascist, nationally-oppressive government and in its place established nationally-liberated bourgeois democracies whose radicalism is attributable to the significantly leading role the working class played, and yet whose bourgeois limitations were the result of the absence of an organized proletarian vanguard. Nevertheless, it is established that the People’s Republics accomplished the task of liberating the ethnic Russians of Eastern Ukraine from Ukrainian fascism, and that they simultaneously replaced a fascistic state with democratic structures.

The Ukrainian and international press foamed at the mouth with denunciations of the People’s Republics as the machinations of Russian special forces who operated with the complicity of the local Moskali. Only once it became impossible to denounce the uprising as totally foreign did the term “pro-Russian separatists” become the catch-all, despite the fact that not all fighters were interested in joining Russia. Besides, accusations of Russian military involvement only emboldened more people of the East to enthusiastically involve themselves in the resistance.82 While it is likely that Russia did indeed have some sort of involvement in advising fighters, the number of actual Russian agents was undeniably a minority greatly overshadowed by the organic leadership which emerged in the People’s Republics.

Marx’s designation of “grotesque mediocrities” perfectly applies to the figures who arose from the Donbass proletariat and lumpen as leaders in the heat of the moment. Pavel Gubarev, a self-declared “center-leftist”83 and the original People’s Governor of Donetsk who led the first seizure of Donetsk’s administrative building and currently acts as the leader of the New Russia Party, was once an employee of a local advertising agency and later a Santa-Claus-for-hire whose only military and political experience came from brief, wandering stints in the fascist Russian National Unity Party and then the Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine. Igor Girkin, known by his nom-de-guerre Igor Strelkov, is the Minister of Defense and commander of the Donbass People’s Militia who led self-defense forces in the Crimea and whose life before the revolution was essentially that of an intelligence-officer-cum-retiree-military-enthusiast.84 Denis Pushilin, the first Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Donetsk, was a former military man and failed marginal politician who held such jobs as a casino dealer and salesman for various financial services, including the infamous MMM ponzi scheme.85 Such “grotesque mediocrities,” many of them former non-entities with lumpen, proletarian or petty-bourgeois backgrounds, were thrust into the positions of people’s representatives and leaders when the struggle against fascism became acute and the first wave of leaders was necessarily drawn from the ranks of the masses. Such people “were not members of the business, political, or even intellectual elite – they were ordinary people who took up arms to decide their own destiny.”86

The Donetsk People’s Republic deserves our primary emphasis and focus because it has emerged as the most consolidated of the three proclaimed People’s Republics. The People’s Republic of Lugansk controls only around half of the actual territory of the Lugansk province itself, and the People’s Republic of Kharkov, declared prematurely, failed to materialize and was largely suppressed by fascist forces. The first task facing the People’s Republics, especially the Donetsk People’s Republic, was to consolidate territory and prepare for the inevitable: an attempt at reappropriation of the region by Kiev. Barricades were constructed and self-defense forces were organized into an actual militia while the new government proceeded with preparations for a referendum on the Donetsk’s regional autonomy and appealed to Putin for aid from the Russian Federation.

Russia, however, did not come to the aid of Donetsk, and, needless to say, did not even humor the half of Lugansk or the streets of Kharkov. Reeling in retreat after the brunt of Western imperialist media campaigns and sanctions had been hurled against Russia, and far from eager to accept a radical “people’s republic” into its borders, the Russian bourgeoisie refused to aid its compatriots of Eastern Ukraine anymore than by means of passivity. Despite such, the headlines of Kiev and the West continued to accuse Russia of “invading” Ukraine. Realizing what we have established as far as the fascistic ideological base of such slanders, Boris Kagarlitsky explains the practical motive of such propaganda:

Western politicians for the present are not especially interested in what official Russia is thinking or doing. These politicians know perfectly well that there is no Russian invasion, and this, precisely, is the main international problem for them. To admit as much means admitting that the government in Kiev has gone to war on its own people. To speak of the Donetsk People’s Republic as an independent political phenomenon is impossible, since this would require posing the question of the reasons for the popular protest, and listing its demands. The talk of Kremlin agents and of the ubiquitous Russian troops—who are impossible to discover, but who have occupied close to half of Ukraine without firing a shot or even showing themselves on Ukrainian territory—is playing the same propaganda role against the Donetsk republic as was played in the anti-Bolshevik propaganda of 1917 by stories of German spies and of money from the German General Staff.”87

While the Russian bourgeoisie’s treachery towards the People’s Republics was devastating to hopes for the initial security of the rebellion as well as to the national illusions which pervaded much of the popular consciousness, the disappointment positively compelled the revolution to rely on its own strength. Had the national bourgeoisie led and hegemonized the uprisings across the east, the revolts would have been seized with helpless panic at such a point, but it was precisely the popular, proletarian influence within the movement which propelled the revolution further despite the caprices of the Russian bourgeoisie. Despite an absence of the originally hoped-for generous donations of weapons, funding, and political capital from Moscow, the Donbass revolutionaries endeavored to prepare for the civil war threatened by the junta on their own. The primary task facing the resistance was accomplished with credit: all resources were thrown into the struggle to swiftly mobilize a militia and construct barricades, and the success of such an initiative proved its weight in gold when the Donbass resistance beat junta forces so quickly that, when Kiev did announce an “anti-terrorist, anti-separatist” military operation on April 15 as expected, the regime only saw 15 days of effort before it was forced to admit to the public that it had lost all control. Tanks and soldiers from Kiev which did not defect or turn back in the face of peaceful protesters were defeated by militia forces in combat. In Lugansk as well, resistance forces made headway and captured crucial buildings, successfully pressuring the regional council into supporting the initiative for a referendum.

In its first test of fire, the People’s Republic of Donetsk proved its effective independent military capacity. Politically, as well, the thrown-together leadership of Donetsk steeled itself as it established a date for a referendum despite Russia’s rejection of its proposal for independence followed by accession. It was precisely such independence, derived from the working-class influence of the movement and its popular base, which pushed the struggle along, constantly working itself out and stumbling along in spite of waverings, prejudices, and illusions. “The Donetsk Republic formulates its agenda from below, literally on the run,” drawing impetus and acting “in response to the public mood and the course of events.”88 Boris Kagarlitsky goes as far as to say that “it is the perfect embodiment of the anarchist concept of the revolutionary order.”89 Denis Pushilin, former Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the People’s Republic of Donetsk, illustrated the nature of the revolt in response to economic austerity and anti-Russian policies in his own words:

We had a popular protest, or popular uprising, whatever you call it, against those things which Kiev imposed upon us. It was pure improvisation, therefore it shouldn’t be said that anyone was ‘appointed’…We acted based on what evolved around us. Therefore, all of us – leftists, rightists, centrists – initially united for more rallies and just set ourselves the goal of holding a referendum. It is mainly that everyone united: the will of the people was required to decide the fate of our region.”90

Three particular days in early May would provide impetus to the further radicalization and independent initiative of the resistance in the east. May 1st marked a critical day which gauged the status and popular consciousness of the project of revolutionary resistance. In the face of a virulent fascist-comprador regime, celebrating International Workers’ Day required tremendous resilience. Yet, thousands upon thousands of protesters rallied in cities across the territories of the struggling People’s Republics under Soviet, Communist, Russian, and Donetsk People’s Republic flags. Several thousand in Donetsk stormed the police headquarters and the general prosecutor’s office, the “last Ukrainian fortresses” in the city, and flags of Stalin and the old Soviet war-time song “Holy War” adorned the masses’ march.91 The turnout and momentum of the protests and the relationship between the masses of protesters and the leaders of the people’s republic demonstrated the popularity which the project garnered, as well as the dialectical, radicalizing dynamic inherent to its mass, largely spontaneous character. May Day was supposed to be a peaceful, uneventful protest, a mere routine show of numbers and celebration, in which, as instructed by the Donetsk People’s Republic leadership, the crowds were to “‘quietly’ and ‘accurately’ walk toward the city’s central police station and make sure that police supported the republic.”92 But the numbers, surge, and energy of the masses presented in confrontation with the police, who quickly capitulated, radicalized the leadership to call for the seizure of the “last Ukrainian fortresses,” particularly the general prosecutor’s building, where fighting broke out between protesters and security forces. The radicalization of the largely uncertain and mediocre leadership by the masses, and in turn the further radicalization of the masses produced a cyclical, dialectical relationship indicative of a genuine, popular people’s uprising on the move.

On May 2, 2014, the resistance in the east was given yet another profound impetus to deepen its roots, entrench its struggle, and radicalize its campaign. In the south-eastern city of Odessa, a center of emerging resistance, a pro-regime march organized by Right Sector, Euromaidan Self-Defense Forces, and two notoriously violent football fan clubs clashed with a protest demanding the federalization of Ukraine. Bloody fighting ensued and the outnumbered pro-federalization protesters took refuge in the House of Trade Unions. The pro-government forces, armed with Molotov cocktails and firearms, set the building ablaze and fired upon people who attempted to escape. The Odessa Massacre claimed 46 lives and 200 injuries, sending an unavoidable confirmation to people across Ukraine, including those who had been gripped by the propaganda hysteria that the country was merely resisting Russian aggression, that the country was inextricably in the midst of a very real, ruthless civil war. The news of the Odessa Massacre was received by the people and resistance forces of the east with a heightened sense of urgency and resolve to secede from Ukraine and organize a verifiable anti-fascist outpost out of the east. Whereas before the primary demand had been for a referendum on the federalization of Ukraine, for the leading forces of Donetsk the question was now irreversibly one of wholesale independent self-rule and escape from Ukraine altogether.

Events on Victory Day drew from and reinforced this stimulus. The contrast between the celebration of Victory Day in the west and in the east of Ukraine could not have been more striking. In the Kherson province of Ukraine, Victory Day was commemorated by the regime in accordance with the view of Ukrainian fascism: the newly appointed governor posed Hitler as a liberator in contrast to “the tyrant Stalin,” and the outcome of the Second World War as a lose-lose for Ukraine. Thousands booed him down as a woman carrying an infant marched forward and tore the mic from his hands, upon which the rally degenerated into fighting.93 The Ukrainian government “cancelled” Victory Day events across the country in order to “curb further unrest.”94 In Russia, Crimea, and in Eastern Ukraine, the largest Victory Day parades witnessed since the days of the Soviet Union defied the government’s attempt at “curbing disorder” and filled the streets with chants of “fascism won’t pass.” As impressive as they were, however, the protests in Eastern Ukraine were suddenly eclipsed by more dramatic events, by horrific bloodshed at the hands of Kiev forces throughout the region, particularly in Mariupol. The local police of Mariupol, advised by Right Sector, were ordered to suppress the local Victory Day rally and arrest “the most active citizens.” When rank-and-file policemen refused, Ukrainian military units and Right Sector and the National Guard took the job into their own hands and proceeded to massacre civilians and policemen. Nearly 100 people were killed, and the military fled the city the following day.95 The Mariupol Massacre was to many the final straw, and the atrocities of the junta in Mariupol were immediately rebuffed by the resistance’s takeover of the city.

At such a turning point, when more and more ordinary people were being unavoidably drawn into a struggle of life or death, The New York Times (surprisingly enough!) captured the real faces and motives of the supposedly infamous “pro-Russian separatists” in an article entitled “Behind the Masks in Ukraine, Many Faces of Rebellion.” The ordinary militiamen are people of humble background, petty-bourgeois at best, most with military experience from the Ukrainian, Russian, or Soviet armies, who have family on both sides of the border. There is no unanimity about whether the People’s Republics should join Russia, fight for autonomous statuses within Ukraine, or simply secede and remain independent, and the fighters constantly debated the issue amongst themselves. The soldiers “chuckled at the claims by officials in Kiev and the West that [their] operations had been guided by Russian military intelligence officers” and mock Kiev in replying: “We have no Moskali here.”96 “‘To the guys in Kiev,’” one interviewed fighter said, “‘We are separatists and terrorists, but to the people here we are defenders and protectors.’”97 Surely enough, to the shock of the reporters, crowds of citizens showed up to take care of the fighters and help them build barricades. Some of them fought because they were from or had family in such cities as Odessa or Mariupol, others fought merely out of principle against fascism, some listed the destruction of Lenin monuments as a foremost grievance, while all fought because the Kiev junta threatened their lives as Russians and workers. Speaking of the proposed ban on the Russian language, one fighter chimed in: “‘That was a turning point.’”98 The fighters, moreover, recognized the gravity of their struggle, for “It isn’t a job; it’s a service”99 as one said, and the armed fight against Kiev’s forces was a decisive, irreversible one. “‘Either a sea of blood and corpses, or a referendum. There is no third way’”100 – such were the closing words of the soldier under inquiry which encapsulated the motive of the ordinary Donbass citizens who had taken up arms: freedom from fascism or a fight to the death.

Emboldened by the activism of the masses over the course of May and incited towards daring measures by the fascists’ military offensive and savagery in Odessa and Mariupol, the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk pressed uncompromisingly forward with referendums on independent self-rule despite Putin’s suggestion that they be postponed for the sake of dialogue and his removal of troops from the Ukrainian border. On May 11th, despite the constant threat of Ukrainian military forces, 89.07% out of a 74.8% voter turnout voted for the establishment of an independent People’s Republic of Donetsk.101 In Lugansk, voter turnout was 75% and 96.2% of voters said “yes”102 to independent self-rule, the higher proportion of those in favor compared to Donetsk being explainable by the smaller sovereign territory on which the referendum could be carried out in Lugansk. The following voting disruptions by Kiev military forces were recorded: “As armored military vehicles blocked passage to polling stations, voting in four towns across Lugansk region was disrupted. In the Donetsk town of Krasnoarmeysk, the National Guard shot at a crowd and killed two civilians who were protesting their attempt to seize a polling station.”103 The first actions of the now official Donetsk people’s government following the referendum included the declaration of martial law, the presentation of an appeal to Putin regarding Donetsk’s accession to the Russian Federation, and an announcement that the citizens of Donetsk would not participate in the illegal Ukrainian presidential elections scheduled for May 25. On May 28, the proletariat boldly demonstrated its allegiance when 1,000 Donbass miners, famous for their militant history, rallied in support of the People’s Republics in an action carried out independently and in spite of their anti-resistance unions’ leaders.104 When Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine’s richest oligarch and the owner of numerous Donbass mine operations, called for his workers to stand against the Donetsk People’s Republic and get back to work, several thousand miners downed tools, declared an indefinite strike, and demanded an end to the junta’s military operation.105

Once again, however, Russia denied the People’s Republics military aid or accession. Instead, Putin pointed the republics in the direction of the impossible: dialogue with Kiev.106 Encouragingly, the People’s Republic of Donetsk turned its attention inwards. A functioning parliament and ministerial cabinet were created, and the participating parties and masses of the eastern uprising engaged in debate over the shape and future of the republic. A real plebian democracy was in the works, and the debates revealed just how diverse, and yet how unified, the anti-fascist resistance was. The Communist Party, the small yet youthful and growing revolutionary Marxist Borotba Union, the Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine, the fascist Russian National Unity organization, the amalgamated People’s Front for the Liberation of Ukraine, the Russian Bloc, the New Russia Party, members of the disbanded Party of Regions, and other organizations collectively deliberated the policies of the new people’s republic. Was Orthodoxy to be the state religion, or would there be a separation of church and state? Would industries be nationalized, and if so which ones? Would the Donetsk People’s Republic seek a union with other insurrectionary People’s Republics? In addition to such crucial questions of self-organization, serious effort was put towards the fundamental necessity of further recruitment to and organization of the armed forces of Donbass.

As positive as such efforts towards consolidation were, there were and are problems and criticisms which deserve consideration. Lacking the desired support from the Kremlin, the people’s republic had no source of much-needed funding. Yet, the logistics of organizing economic life and food supply were dealt with inefficiently and inconsistently, little was resolved in the way of combating the crime wave which swept the Donbass, precious time was spent in verbose press-conferences for the Russian press, the erection of an effectively functioning state apparatus was ill attended, and inability to resolve the question of nationalizing industries resulted in the confiscation of oligarch property only once the Ukrainian military was already besieging Donetsk and the opportunities for proper economic management were lost in the midst of dropping everything for the sake of the defense effort.107 The blunders and weaknesses inherent to the spontaneous, provisional nature of the revolution would make themselves sorely felt. At such a crucial time, moreover, when a proletarian vanguard was desperately needed to establish hegemony and provide direction, the Communist Party withdrew its active role in the People’s Republics under fear of a ban for supporting the “separatist terrorists.” The Communist Party leadership decided to maintain its fight in parliament and oust its members who did otherwise. Borotba, meanwhile, although promising, remained small and subject to violent repression from the Ukrainian state and fascist thugs. The insufficient influence of left groups kept workers wandering within the limits of spontaneity and left potential room for right forces to assert their own hegemony.

Nevertheless, against tremendous odds, the Donetsk People’s Republic was an established fact with which the Ukrainian government had to deal. And the government’s solution to the uprising of the people of the east would be none other than a complete civil war against its former citizens of the east, a war of terror glossed over with the title “anti-terrorist, anti-separatist military operation.” Even though the people of Donbass had succeeded in their referendum, the criminal regime in Kiev would not let them get away without a sea of blood and corpses.

Civil” war

The Ukrainian Civil War, although it is denied to be such by Ukraine and the West, officially began in the early hours of April 15. Like any civil war, it is anything but civil, and has wreaked havoc, terror, and tragedy, the trauma of which is unlikely to be overcome in the present century. The fault for the horrific conflict lies with none other than the criminal comprador-fascist regime in Kiev which usurped the power of the country and pursued policies which threatened the livelihoods and lives of millions of citizens. The regime strove to shred the multinational fiber of Ukraine’s being and shove austerity down the throats of Ukraine’s workers in order to transform Ukraine into a semi-colony profitable enough for the compradors and their Western guarantors, and the fruits of such an endeavor have shown themselves to be beyond rotten.

The Ukrainian Civil War has been on the whole an offensive war on the part of the junta and a defensive one for the resistance. Fighting has entirely centered around the constant switching of hands of small towns and cities. On the one hand is the Ukrainian military under the command of the junta whose military leaders, if one recalls, are representatives of Svoboda and Right Sector. On the offensive in its attempt to recapture rebellious cities and liquidate “hostile elements” within those centers, the major pillar of government forces is the National Guard, which was formed in early March as both a military branch and substitute for the defunct law-enforcement agency which could absorb and give a legal veneer to the Euromaidan Self-Defense Forces and portions of the paramilitaries of Right Sector and Svoboda.108 Moreover, the Ukrainian military commands such assets as jets, helicopters, artillery, light armored vehicles, and tanks, only the latter three of which the resistance can boast, of course in much smaller quantity. Bankrupt Kiev has spent nearly $6 million dollars a day on military operations against the resistance109, and receives lavish funding and military advisory from the West. Four hundred known US mercenaries from private contractor Academi, formerly Blackwater, are on the ground in Ukraine110; it is public information that the CIA and FBI have advised the Kiev government since the CIA director’s visit to Kiev in April for the start of the military operation, and it is now known that 180 actual US military men, including General Kee Randy Allen, are attached to Ukrainian forces fighting in the Donbass.111

The resistance, of course, is the underdog in material and numerical terms. The Donbass People’s Militia mainly relies on its own resources, and is starving for international aid. As the civil war has dragged on and Ukrainian artillery shells have landed on Russian territory112, Russia has come around to providing a minimum of material assistance to the resistance, although it is crucial to note that such assistance is on the whole not the work of the Russian government as a policy, but of sympathetic oligarchs, officials, and civil organizations whose provision of aid is made possible by the mere passivity of the government. Thus, recruitment offices for the Donetsk People’s Republic militia have opened in several locations in Russia and outmoded tanks and military equipment have accumulated along and continue to steadily stream across the Russia-Ukraine border.113 While the Ukrainian regime and the West have used such as evidence of Russia’s malicious “war against Ukraine” through its “separatist proxies,” the reality is that the continued line of the Russian government is a refusal to recognize the independent People’s Republics, a denial of material aid to them, and the promotion of “civilized dialogue.” Instances in which organizations such as the Communist Party of the Russian Federation send humanitarian assistance to the resistance or provincial Russian officials are bribed into providing old tanks to Donetsk do not constitute any sort of Russian aid to the Donbass. Moreover, it was the republic itself which hired some Russian specialists in response to a “personnel famine.”114 One thing is for sure, however, the Russian people do support the Donbass resistance, and two-thirds of Russian poll respondents want the Russian government to aid the People’s Republics militarily.115 In the words of Alexander Dugin: “If there were not a powerful group of traitors in Moscow at the very top, we would already be outside of Kiev.”116 All available evidence suggests that the rebellion of Eastern Ukraine is not explainable on the basis of Russian influence, and even if the Russian government were to be covertly supporting the “separatists,” such a development should be welcomed as a progressive step in the fight against Ukrainian fascism. That the Russian government has done next to nothing to concretely stop the aggressive expansion of NATO up to its borders and the establishment of a semi-fascist junta on its doorstep is the real indication of the treacherousness of the Russian bourgeoisie.

The anti-fascist resistance, moreover, is severely disadvantaged in propagandistic terms. Despite a small news agency in Donetsk and spotlight in the Russian press, the whole of the international, imperialist corporate media is arrayed against the people of Donbass.

The real source of the survival and proliferation of the resistance in Eastern Ukraine is its popularity. As the Kiev junta murders more civilians, the Kiev “anti-terrorist” operation assumes the same cyclical dynamic which all reactionary “wars on terror” do: only further resistance is provoked and justified on the part of the victimized population. The unity prompted on the part of the people of Donbass in response to Kiev’s punitive pillaging was seen when, on May 24, Donetsk and Lugansk formed the confederation of New Russia – Union of Fraternal Republics. Since then, the republics have ratified a common constitution and worked to integrate economic, military, and political structures.

Thus far, the civil war shows no sign of easing. The election of Petro Poroshenko, yet another infamous oligarch, as president in the illegitimate and low turn-out elections of May 25 on the platform of his phony “peace plan” has changed nothing. When a temporary ceasefire was put into effect in June, fighting continued as normal and the official resumption of civil war following a mass demonstration of fascists in Kiev who demanded martial law and the escalation of war showed that fascist forces still pull the strings despite the liberal veneer of Poroshenko’s presidency. The total casualty toll as of July 28 records approximately 1,100 killed and 3,500 wounded with civilians making up nearly the majority of casualties.117 Currently, there are 100,000 internally displaced people in Ukraine.118 Nearly a million have fled as refugees to Belarus and Russia, as the Ukrainian military continues to besiege and indiscriminately shell cities, cut off water, utilities and humanitarian aid, and demand the unconditional surrender of the resistance. A verifiable humanitarian crisis has gripped Eastern Ukraine.

The Ukrainian government has also worked diligently to ensure that each new tragedy in the Ukrainian Civil War is made to be the fault of the “pro-Russian separatists.” The Security Service of Ukraine has manufactured video after video and produced multiple “leaked phone conversations” in an effort to “prove” that the resistance is a Russian intelligence services project responsible for the civil war and its calamities, and that the fascist Russian National Unity organization and Putin are the cohorts-in-crime.119 In the most recent instance, the Ukrainian government framed first Russia and then the resistance for shooting down the civilian Malaysia Airlines flight 17, despite the fact that evidence points overwhelmingly in the opposite direction.120 The propaganda has been so blatantly such that Vice News even tried to explain the swastika adorning many soldiers of the National Guard as an “old Slavic symbol for good luck,” a completely ridiculous and baseless absurdity. The hypocrisy and mendacity of the international corporate media, combined with the virulency of Ukrainian fascism, has made for a horrifically malevolent force.

Whither Ukraine?

After reviewing and analyzing the history of the ongoing catastrophe in Ukraine on the basis of a dialectical, historical-materialist analysis, the ultimate question now begs our attention: “Whither Ukraine?”

As Mao said, “All reactionaries are paper tigers…From a long-term point of view, it is not the reactionaries but the people who are powerful.”121 While the Kiev regime and its imperialist financiers are indeed terrifying and have demonstrated their strength and determination in bringing bloodshed to Ukraine, the junta is not immortal and already shows signs of weakening. The junta’s armies, since day one of the civil war, have been plagued with defections and mutinies by soldiers who have refused to kill their compatriots. As recent as August 4, 702 Ukrainian soldiers surrendered in the Donetsk region, having lost the will to fight,122 and 436 soldiers sought refuge in Russia the same day after refusing to die for Kiev’s leaders.123 The military is all the junta has at its disposal to wage war and control an increasingly disaffected population.

Even in the west of Ukraine, where propaganda has been the strongest in quieting mass discontent over economic conditions and channeling frustration into ethnic hatred, there is hope that workers will break out of the chains of fascist hysteria and rise up against the semi-fascist government which is ruining their country and making them pay the price for a genocidal civil war. Recent austerity cuts to education in order to divert spending for military operations and a new 1.5% war tax imposed upon all working citizens124 are sure to only hasten such a positive development. That Prime Minister Yatsenyuk and Svoboda and UDAR all resigned from the government on July 25 over frustration with an inability to ram through even harsher austerity (!) and the failure of the government to snatch a quick victory in civil war is sign that austerity is far from over. The reunification of the ruling junta, as a necessity for the survival of the comprador-fascist project, depends on further impoverishing Ukrainians through new rounds of austerity, a measure which is sure to incite protests as the people and rulers of Ukraine find it increasingly difficult to go on living in the old way. With the experience of the Euromaidan, the Crimea, and the east, moreover, such protests would in all likelihood progress radically, quickly, and mercilessly. Realizing such a possibility, on August 7 the regime attempted to clear the remaining encampment, activists, and homeless on the Maidan, an effort which resulted in violent clashes resembling those of the Euromaidan seen just months earlier.125 Any independent self-organization of people outside of the claws of the regime, including even the activists at its former site of revolution, is now in the sights of the desperate, panicking junta.

With any sort of Russian military intervention unlikely due to the inability of Russia to challenge the Western imperialist powers and the unattractiveness of the radical People’s Republics to Russian capitalism, the hope for the masses of Ukraine lies in the linking up of the resistance in the East with resistance in the West. The resistance in the East, represented first and foremost by the People’s Republic of Donetsk, is very promising. The longer the People’s Republics are faced with resisting Kiev, the more they are compelled to radicalize and establish real centers of popular dual power in order to maintain their struggle. The Donetsk People’s Republic represents a genuine space of opportunity for radical transformation of the people’s initiative, and could lead the masses of Ukraine in demonstrating the real possibility of constructing a Ukraine reunified with its heritage and free of blatant inequality and parasitical oligarchy, and the preeminence of the working class in New Russia’s revolt is no small influence to the rest of the country. With the Communist Party finally banned despite its desperate opportunistic line of appeasement, moreover, it has little political choice other than throwing its lot in with the resistance, a development which could radicalize the Party as well as the republics due to the influx of hundreds of thousands of communist cadre now steeled with the lessons from former opportunism. As of July 24, the former Donetsk district leader of the Communist Party of Ukraine was elected the Chairman of the Supreme Soviet.126

Resistance to the new regime could also be found in the revolt of such ethnic minorities as Hungarians, Jews, Greeks, Bulgarians, and Rusyns who have suffered similar ethnic and cultural attacks by the regime in its attempt to squeeze a race-nation out of multinational, Eurasian Ukraine. The Rusyns and Hungarians of Transcarpathia have launched their own struggle for autonomy and a People’s Republic of Transcarpathia127, and mass civil-disobedience was employed in resistance to Kiev’s attempt to enforce conscription for the war against Donbass.128 On August 8, Pravda reported that Transcarpathia is experiencing a full-blown uprising equivalent to that of Eastern Ukraine.129

The days of the comprador-fascist junta are numbered as long as it continues to pursue its present course which, as its programmatic raison d’etre, is undoubtedly a reality. Communists around the world must demonstrate real solidarity with the resistance across Ukraine and continue to oppose any further Western intervention. The working class of Ukraine has been positioned on the front lines against global imperialism and its fascist spawn, and Borotba has correctly stated that “the experience of the anti-fascist, anti-imperialist and anti-oligarchic mass struggle has undoubtedly moved not only South-East Ukraine, but also the entire post-Soviet space, to the left.”130 Only the Ukrainian people can and must decide the future and shape of their country. Let the fascists in Kiev and the imperialists of the West tremble at the sight of the rising Ukrainian people, whose victory would progress the global struggle against imperialism and for socialism one giant leap forward in the space of one of the world’s foremost geopolitical pivots.

1 Lenin, V.I. Two Tactics of Social Democracy in the Democratic Revolution. <;

2Sutela, Pekka. “The Underachiever: Ukraine’s Economy Since 1991.”Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 9 Mar. 2012. <;

3Sarna, Arkadiusz. “Ukrainian Economy on the Verge of Recession.”Ukrainian Economy on the Verge of Recession. Center of Eastern Studies, 21 Nov. 2012. <;

4Трушков, В. В., И. В. Ушенин, and В. Л. Мишустин. “Украина: плоды реставрации капитализма.” КОММУНИСТИЧЕСКАЯ ПАРТИЯ РОССИЙСКОЙ ФЕДЕРАЦИИ. Коммунистическая партия Российской Федерации, 13 Mar. 2014. <;

5“Demographics of Ukraine.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. <;

6 Sutela, Pekka. “The Underachiever: Ukraine’s Economy Since 1991.”Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 9 Mar. 2012. <;

7 Molotkova, Oleksandra. “Widespread Poverty Persists in Ukraine.” PressTV. PressTV, 17 Oct. 2013. Web. <;

8 “Ukraine Unemployment Rate.” TRADING ECONOMICS. Trading Economics, 2014.. <;

9 Kuzio, Taras. “OLIGARCHS WIELD POWER IN UKRAINIAN POLITICS.” The Jamestown Foundation. Eurasia Daily Monitor, 1 July 2008. <;

10 “End of Communism Cheered but Now with More Reservations.” Pew Research Center. Pew Research, 2 Nov. 2009. <>

11 Трушков, В. В., И. В. Ушенин, and В. Л. Мишустин. “Украина: плоды реставрации капитализма.” КОММУНИСТИЧЕСКАЯ ПАРТИЯ РОССИЙСКОЙ ФЕДЕРАЦИИ. Коммунистическая партия Российской Федерации, 13 Mar. 2014. <;

12 Ibid.

13 Stalin, J. V. “Marxism and the National Question.” Marxists Internet Archive. Marxists Internet Archive, n.d. <;

14 “Main Points in Brief.” Всеукраїнський перепис населення 2001 | English Version. State Statistics Committee of Ukraine, 2004. <;

15 While the majority of ethnic Ukrainians do speak Ukrainian, Russian remains nearly the most widely spoken language in the country, as 46% of the entire population speaks Russian at home. “Russian Language in Ukraine.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. <>; “Портрет электоратов Ющенко и Януковича.” Аналитик. Аналитик, 18 Jan. 2005. <;

16 Rao, Sujata. “Big Debts and Dwindling Cash: Ukraine Tests Creditors’ Nerves.” Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 17 Oct. 2013. <;

17 Dugin, Alexander. “Letter to the American People on Ukraine.” Open Revolt. Open Revolt, 8 Mar. 2014. <;

18 Ibid.

19 Dugin, Alexander. “Letter to the American People on Ukraine.” Open Revolt. Open Revolt, 8 Mar. 2014.<;

20Walberg, Eric. “Defeat of Ukraine’s “Orange Revolution”: Yanukovich — Man for All Seasons.” Global Research. Centre for Research on Globalization, 19 Jan. 2010. <;


22 Traynor, Ian. “US Campaign behind the Turmoil in Kiev.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 25 Nov. 2004. <;.

23 The obvious existence of an even greater sum of US dollars invested in anti-Yanukovich efforts is suggested by Victoria Nuland’s admission that the US has spent a sum of around $5 billion since 1991 on influencing Ukrainian politics. However, it remains difficult to track and estimate the exact amount of US dollars poured into Ukraine on account of their indirect flow through NGO’s and various medium organizations.

24 “Timeline of the Orange Revolution.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. <;

25 Walsh, Nick. “Pressure Mounts on Yanukovich to Yield.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 28 Dec. 2004. <;

26“Yanukovych Says Presidential Election Scenario of 2004 Won’t Be Repeated in 2010.” Interfax-Ukraine. Interfax-Ukraine News Agency, 27 Nov. 2009. <;.

27“No Benefits, Just Losses: Reasons Why Ukraine Stepped Away from the EU.” RT. RT, 22 Nov. 2013. <;

28 “Ukraine Still Wants Historic Pact with EU.” Oman Daily Observer. Oman Daily Observer, 27 Nov. 2013. <;

29Byshok, Stanislav, and Alexey Kochetkov. Neonazis and Euromaidan: From Democracy to Dictatorship. Trans. Anna Nikiforova. N.p.: Public Diplomacy Foundation, 19 May 2014. <;, pp. 9-10.

30 Byshok, Stanislav, and Alexey Kochetkov. Neonazis and Euromaidan: From Democracy to Dictatorship. Trans. Anna Nikiforova. N.p.: Public Diplomacy Foundation, 19 May 2014.<;, pp. 12.

31 Ibid, 36.

32 Byshok, Stanislav, and Alexey Kochetkov. Neonazis and Euromaidan: From Democracy to Dictatorship. Trans. Anna Nikiforova. N.p.: Public Diplomacy Foundation, 19 May 2014. <;, pp. 38.

33 Ibid, 37.

34 Ibid, 39.

35 Ibid, 37.

36 Ibid, 9.

37 “2012 Top Ten Anti-Semitic/Anti-Israeli Slurs.” Simon Wisenthal Center, 2012. PDF. <;

38 Byshok, Stanislav, and Alexey Kochetkov. Neonazis and Euromaidan: From Democracy to Dictatorship. Trans. Anna Nikiforova. N.p.: Public Diplomacy Foundation, 19 May 2014. <;, pp. 19-20

39 Byshok, Stanislav, and Alexey Kochetkov. Neonazis and Euromaidan: From Democracy to Dictatorship. Trans. Anna Nikiforova. N.p.: Public Diplomacy Foundation, 19 May 2014. <;, pp. 20.

40 Ibid, 23.

41 See Neonazis and Euromaidan: From Democracy to Dictatorship, “‘Party of Power’ Special Project”

42 Becker, Richard. “Who’s Who in Ukraine’s New [semi-fascist] Government.”Liberation. Liberation News, 6 Mar. 2014. <;

43 Harding, Luke. “Kiev’s Protesters: Ukraine Uprising Was No Neo-Nazi Power-grab.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 14 Mar. 2014. <;.

44 “American Conquest by Subversion: Victoria Nuland’s Admits Washington Has Spent $5 Billion to “Subvert Ukraine”” Global Research. Centre for Research on Globalization, 7 Feb. 2014.<;

45 Mezzofiore, Gianluca. “Ukraine’s Neo-Fascist Right Sector Leader Dmytro Yarosh ‘Wanted’ in Russia.” International Business Times. International Business Times, 12 Mar. 2014.<;

46 Engdahl, William. “Ukraine Names Oligarchs and Gangsters as Governors & Ministers.” Boiling Frogs Post. Boiling Frogs Post, 11 Mar. 2014.<;

47 Meyssan, Thierry. “”CAUGHT RED-HANDED” Ukraine: Poland Trained Putchists Two Months in Advance.” Voltairenet. Voltaire Network, 12 Apr. 2014.<>

48 Byshok, Stanislav, and Alexey Kochetkov. Neonazis and Euromaidan: From Democracy to Dictatorship. Trans. Anna Nikiforova. N.p.: Public Diplomacy Foundation, 19 May 2014. <;, pp. 87.

49 “Ukrainian Parliament Fails to Dismiss Government.” Interfax-Ukraine. Interfax-Ukraine News Agency, 3 Dec. 2013.<;

50 “Russia and Ukraine Seek Partnership.” BBC News. BBC, 6 Dec. 2013.. <;.

51 “Euromaidan.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d.<;.

52 “Ukraine’s Yanukovych Explains Russia and EU Ties Status, Criticises Western Politicians.” Euronews. Euronews, 19 Dec. 2013. <;

53 “Rebels Seized Armoury in Western Ukraine.” Kharkov News Agency. Kharkov News Agency, 19 Feb. 2014. <;

54 Roberts, Paul Craig. “US and EU Are Paying Ukrainian Rioters and Protesters.” Infowars. Infowars, 18 Feb. 2014. <;

55 Byshok, Stanislav, and Alexey Kochetkov. Neonazis and Euromaidan: From Democracy to Dictatorship. Trans. Anna Nikiforova. N.p.: Public Diplomacy Foundation, 19 May 2014. <;, pp. 128

56 “Leaked Ukraine Call Embarrasses US.” BBC News. BBC, 7 Feb. 2014. <;

57 “Яценюк: Янукович фактично запропонував здатися.” Українська правда. Українська правда, 19 Feb. 2014. <;

58 “Estonian Foreign Ministry Confirms Authenticity of Leaked Call on Kiev Snipers.” RT. RT, 5 Mar. 2014. <;

59 “Ukrainian Rabbi Tells Kiev’s Jews to Flee City.” Haaretz. Haaretz – Jewish World News, 22 Feb. 2014. <;

60 Byshok, Stanislav, and Alexey Kochetkov. Neonazis and Euromaidan: From Democracy to Dictatorship. Trans. Anna Nikiforova. N.p.: Public Diplomacy Foundation, 19 May 2014. <;, pp. 95-96

61 Becker, Richard. “Who’s Who in Ukraine’s New [semi-fascist] Government.”Liberation. Liberation News, 6 Mar. 2014. <;

62 “Депутаты на съезде в Харькове берут на себя полноту власти на Юго-востоке и в Крыму – резолюция.” Gazeta. Gazeta, 22 Feb. 2014. <;

63 “Arms, 400 Kilos of Explosives Seized from Kiev Radicals on Crimean Border.” RT. RT, 3 Mar. 2014. <;

64 “Partition Treaty on the Status and Conditions of the Black Sea Fleet.”Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. <;

65 “As Security Council Holds Urgent Talks, UN Officials Urge Dialogue to Resolve Ukraine Crisis.” UN News Centre. UN News Centre, 01 Mar. 2014. <;

66 “Despite Concerns about Governance, Ukrainians Want to Remain One Country.” Pew Research Global Attitudes Project. Pew Research Center, 8 May 2014. <;

67 “”Правий сектор” не братиме участь у врегулюванні ситуації у Криму.”ZN,UA. ZN,UA, 27 Feb. 2014. <;

68 “696 украинских провайдеров прекратили трансляцию российских телеканалов.” Сегодня. Интерфакс-Украина, 27 Mar. 2014. <;

69 “Ukraine Confirms Entry Ban on Russian Males.” RIANOVOSTI. RIANOVOSTI, 17 Apr. 2014. <;

70 “Time to Grab Guns and Kill Damn Russians – Tymoshenko in Leaked Tape.”RT. RT, 24 Mar. 2014. <;

71 Rapoza, Kenneth. “Ukraine Welcomes IMF Austerity Regime.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 28 Mar. 2014. <;

72 “Ukraine Parliament Passes Austerity Bill Required by IMF.” RT. RT, 28 Mar. 2014. <;

73 Ibid.

74 “Son of US VP Joe Biden Appointed to Board of Major Ukrainian Gas Company.” RT. RT, 13 May 2014. <;

75 “Rule by Oligarchs: Kiev Appoints Billionaires to Govern East.” RT. RT, 3 Mar. 2014. <;

76 “Less than Half of Ukrainians Support Economic Aid from the West.” Pew Research Center. Pew Research Center, 3 June 2014. <;

77 Kagarlitsky, Boris. “Boris Kagarlitsky on Eastern Ukraine: The Logic of a Revolt.” Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal. LINKS, 1 May 2014.<;

78 Kagarlitsky, Boris. “Boris Kagarlitsky on Eastern Ukraine: The Logic of a Revolt.” Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal. LINKS, 1 May 2014.<;

79 Lenin, V. I. “Lenin: The Discussion On Self-Determination Summed Up.”Marxists Internet Archive. Marxists Internet Archive, n.d. <;

80 Ibid.

81 Ibid.

82 Kagarlitsky, Boris. “Boris Kagarlitsky on Eastern Ukraine: The Logic of a Revolt.” Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal. LINKS, 1 May 2014.<;

83 Кагарлицкий, Борис. “Критики Новороссии и её защитники.” Rabkor. Rabkor, 6 July 2014. <;

84 Salem, Harriet. “Who’s Who in the Donetsk People’s Republic.” VICE News. VICE News, 1 July 2014. <;

85 Ibid.

86 Кагарлицкий, Борис. “Критики Новороссии и её защитники.” Rabkor. Rabkor, 6 July 2014. <;

87 Kagarlitsky, Boris. “Boris Kagarlitsky on Eastern Ukraine: The Logic of a Revolt.” Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal. LINKS, 1 May 2014.<;

88 Kagarlitsky, Boris. “Boris Kagarlitsky on Eastern Ukraine: The Logic of a Revolt.” Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal. LINKS, 1 May 2014.<;

89 Ibid.

90 Новикова, Анастасия. “Денис Пушилин: «Новороссия станет экспериментальной площадкой, где можно создать действительно социально справедливую республику».” МИР и Политика. МИР и Политика, 4 Aug. 2014. <;

91 Nemtsova, Anna. “May Day Event Turns Violent in Embattled Eastern Ukrainian City.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 1 May 2014. <;

92 Ibid.


93 “Kherson Governor Calls Hitler ‘liberator’ Addressing Veterans on Victory Day.” RT. RT, 10 May 2014.<;

94 “Bloody Clashes Overshadowed Eastern Ukraine’s Victory Day Parades.”VICE News. VICE News, 11 May 2014. <—part-36&gt;

95 “Massacre in Mariupol: Up to 100 People Shot Dead on Day of Victory over Fascism.” Ukraine Human Rights. Ukraine Human Rights, 10 May 2014. <;

96 Chivers, C. J., and Noah Sneider. “Behind the Masks in Ukraine, Many Faces of Rebellion.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 03 May 2014. <;

97 Ibid.

98 Ibid.

99 Ibid.

100 Ibid.

101 “Referendum Results in Donetsk and Lugansk Regions Show Landslide Support for Self-rule.” RT. RT, 11 May 2014. <;

102 Ibid.

103 Ibid.

104 “Donetsk Miners Rally in Favor of Separatists in Eastern Ukraine.” The Moscow Times. Reuters, 28 May 2014. <;

105 “Donbass Miners Strike, Demand Withdrawal of Kyiv Regime Military Forces as Attacks Waged on Donetsk and Slavyansk following Presidential Election.” A Socialist in Canada. Rabkor, 29 May 2014. <;

106 Walker, Shaun, and Oksana Grytsenko. “Ukraine Crisis: Donetsk Region Asks to Join Russia.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 13 May 2014. <;

107 Кагарлицкий, Борис. “Критики Новороссии и её защитники.” Rabkor. Rabkor, 6 July 2014. <;

108 “Concerns as Ukraine’s Govt Hastily Revamps Maidan Squads into National Guard.” RT. RT, 15 Mar. 2014. <;

109 “Kiev Spending Almost $6 Mln Daily on Military Operation in Ukraine’s Southeast.” RIANOVOSTI. RIANOVOSTI, 31 July 2014. <;

110 “400 US Mercenaries ‘deployed on Ground’ in Ukraine Military Op.” RT. RT, 11 May 2014. <;.

111 “American General Was Wounded, Three Officers Killed by Militia.” Voice of Sevastopol. Voice of Sevastopol, 1 Aug. 2014. <;.

112 “Over 40 Mortar Shells ‘fired to Kill’ into Russia from Ukraine.” RT. RT, 25 July 2014. <;.

113 “Russia’s Continuing Support for Armed Separatists in Ukraine and Ukraine’s Efforts Toward Peace, Unity, and Stability.” U.S. Department of State. U.S. Department of State, 14 July 2014.<;.

114 Новикова, Анастасия. “Денис Пушилин: «Новороссия станет экспериментальной площадкой, где можно создать действительно социально справедливую республику».” МИР и Политика. МИР и Политика, 4 Aug. 2014. <;

115 Chalupa, Irena. “Opinion Poll Shows Russian Support for Arming Separatist Militants in Ukraine.” Atlantic Council. Atlantic Council, 1 July 2014. <;

116 Dugin, Alexander. “Battle for the State. Russians awaken.” The Fourth Political Theory. The Fourth Political Theory. 11 July 2014. <;

117 “Ukraine Civil War Death Toll 1,100, over 3,500 Wounded – UN.” RT. RT, 28 July 2014. <;.

118 “100k People Displaced in Ukraine: UN.” PressTV. PressTV, 5 Aug. 2014. <;.

119 “SBU Audio Links Donetsk Republic to Russian Involvement.” Ukrainian Policy. Ukrainian Policy, n.d <;

120 Zuesse, Eric. “Evidence Is Now Conclusive: Two Ukrainian Government Fighter-Jets Shot Down Malaysian Airlines MH17. It Was Not a ‘Buk’ Surface to Air Missile.” Global Research. Centre for Research on Globalization, 4 Aug. 2014. <>.

121 Tse Tung, Mao. “Quotations from Mao Tse Tung — Chapter 6.” Marxists Internet Archive. Marxists Internet Archive, n.d. <;.

122 “Militias Report Surrender of over 700 Ukrainian Troops in Donetsk Region.”ITAR-TASS. ITAR-TASS News Agency, 4 Aug. 2014. <;.

123 “Over 400 Ukrainian Troops Cross into Russia for Refuge.” RT. RT, 4 Aug. 2014. <;

124 “Ukraine To Impose Military Tax to Finance Ongoing War.” Global Research. Centre for Research on Globalization, 29 July 2014. <;.

125 “Police & Activists Clash on Maidan, Tires Burn Anew in Central Kiev.” RT. RT, 7 Aug. 2014. <;.

126 “Парламент терористів з ДНР очолив комуніст.” Українська правда. Інтерфакс-Україна, 24 July 2014. <;

127 “Rusyns in Transcarpathia Seeking Autonomy.” Hungarian Ambiance. Hungarian Ambiance, 2 Feb. 2014. <;

128 “В Закарпатье начался венгерско-русинский бунт | Новороссия.”Информационное Агенство Новороссия. Информационное Агенство Новороссия, 2 Aug. 2014. <;.

129 “In Transcarpathia an Uprising Is Born against Kiev.” Voice of Sevastopol. Voice of Sevastopol, 8 Aug. 2014. <;.

130 Shapinov, Victor. “Socialist Chance for South-East Ukraine.” Borotba. Borotba, n.d. Web. <;


One thought on “Ukraine 2014: Frontline of the people’s struggle

  1. Having read Jafe’s really definitive paper twice, I stand in awe of his masterful presentation of the tragedy unfolding in the Ukraine. If i could discover points of criticism, elaborate commentary would be easy and in order. To the extent of my limited knowledge which has been greatly amplified here, I wish to express my concurrence. The explanation that the “nationalism” so touted in the ‘West” is a cover for the actual betrayal of real national interests to the “West” is only one of the many insights and highlights of of this important study. John Mackoviak

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