No 1442 26th March 2014
Moscow’s firmness on Crimea humiliates capitalist bluster and fascist provocations in Kiev and is a significant defeat for imperialist intrigue. It exposes Western bluster and weakness, as well as its foul Nazi reality, increasingly revealed as economic catastrophe unravels. But Putin’s oligarch Bonapartist nationalism is also a betrayal of the working class, and needs to be dealt with as soon as the main enemy, over-arching Washington-dominated imperialism, has been seen off. The oligarch restoration is a capitalist state but if it defeats the Western intrigue that can be welcomed. Damn them all “even handed” Trotskyists are a dissembling opportunist fence-sitting misleadership of the working class. If historic differences force even Putin to confront Western intriguing the wish must be for outright defeat of imperialism’s plotting, not sly “even handedness” lining the Trots up with imperialism again (as with “condemning terrorism”). Leninism crucially to be built
The fake “left” responses to the Russian annexation of Crimea in Ukraine are teaching the working class further valuable lessons in the confusion and opportunism of all these pretend revolutionaries in their 57 varieties, Stalinist and Trotskyist.
Moscow’s action is a useful blow to the imperialist skulduggery and subversion which continues to foster the foulest reaction and fascism around the edges of the former Soviet Union to further break it up, but it remains a million miles from any return to socialism and a workers state by Putin’s oligarch Bonapartism.
Neither condemning Russia, as the Trotskyists do effectively, nor hailing its actions as some kind of step back on a path to socialism and a revived USSR workers state, do anything more than mislead the working class in Russia and outside.
The Crimean events are a defeat for Western intriguing and plotting, leaving them floundering in useless and hypocritical “rule of law” bluster and half-baked “sanctions” threats, and any such setback for the aggressive warmongering and counter-revolution of imperialism’s catastrophic breakdown and crisis is to be welcomed.
It further exposes both the weakness of imperialism and its world war intriguing while underlining the fascist essence of its system, increasingly driven into the open by the disastrous capitalist crisis, still unravelling since 2008 despite the QE inflationary pretences of an “upturn” and Tory (and Labour) lies about possible “recovery”.
But while the response by Russia is damaging for the immediate imperialist intrigue in Ukraine, and its overall war drive, decaying crisis-ridden imperialist monopoly capitalism remains intact.
Only when that entire system, whose failure and collapse is driving all the world warmongering and turmoil on the planet, is ended, can the slide into increasingly degenerate fascism and war be stopped.
But the broadest perspective underpinning the revolutionary understanding needed for the working class to end capitalism, remains unbuilt and unexplained.
The revolutionary party of open polemical struggle needed to reach an agreed objective leadership view of the world around such a perspective (Leninism), and the onrushing revolutionary developments of the class struggle, itself remains unbuilt.
Such is the depth of the entire “left”’s long retreat from Marxist-Leninist polemics and revolutionary understanding, that all the 57 varieties are simply regurgitating tired old Cold War clichés, treating philistine Putinism as if it were the Soviet Union.
But even the “best” of the revisionist leadership which the then workers state Moscow produced, guiding 70 years of socialist development, was on a long path to liquidationism once Lenin’s genius and the open Bolshevik struggle had left the scene, giving up the battle for vital revolutionary perspectives.
Even that “best” of revisionism from Stalin onwards was destined to abandon the fight for socialism ultimately, let alone Putin’s crass and limited restored-capitalism “Russian pride”.
Putinism is an even more disastrous philosophical outcome of revisionist retreat, now fully counter-revolutionary and pandering to gangster oligarch interests and celebrating the end of communism.
It remains to be seen what impact the growing world crisis in capitalism might eventually have on the working class in the former workers states and it is not ruled out that they will increasingly want to return to some socialist path, as some of the comments around Crimea would indicate, and incidents like the defence of the Lenin statues and monuments to the huge Russian sacrifices in ending German Nazism.
But Putin is not taking any such lead.
However, implicitly equating Putin with Sovietism, lets the Trotskyist “lefts” lazily fall back on wheeling out all the old tired “anti-Stalinism” which has helped sustain Western anti-communism, while just as disastrously, letting the museum-Stalinists repeat the old tailending uncritical “support” for Moscow’s revisionism (which long ago abandoned Marxist revolutionary grasp to such an extent that it had no philosophical defences against “free market” subversion).
By the time of the Gorbachevite “perestroika” and “glasnost” the USSR bureaucratic leadership had just about given up on the planned workers state and its defence, eventually futilely and pointlessly liquidating 70 years of titanic and brilliant workers state achievements and solid development (without capitalists needed anywhere) which was still continuing, albeit without any great enthusiasm or leadership inspiration.
Neither fake-“left” opportunist wing is grasping, let alone explaining, the complexities of the restorationist Bonapartism which is running a sometimes brutal capitalist state (putting down Chechan national-liberation for example) but trying to accommodate to a society where past socialist achievement has been buried under gangster capitalist exploitation but still lingers in a few remnants of past attitudes and ways of doing things.
Even less do they see the historic extent of the now unfolding crisis.
The world is heading to the greatest war disaster and slump in history but none of this emerges in their “analysis” of Ukraine which is still described as an event in itself rather than the latest phase of the imperialist degeneration driven by its catastrophic crisis.
Nor is there any sense of the disastrous mess that this latest fascist provocation is proving to be for imperialism, causing major splits and recriminations between Washington and the European capitalist powers.
The Trotskyists especially have been twisting this way and that as events have unfolded, their petty bourgeois detestation of workers states and proletarian dictatorship discipline they require to survive, desperate to avoid recognising anything positive in the humiliation imposed on the nasty little Nazi coup which the West is now pretending is a “legitimate” government in Kiev.
Their anti-communist instincts recoil at even the faintest sniff of possible working state traditions being stirred around, even in the palest and most ineffectual of revisionist forms which might still be left in Russia oligarch dominated society (because 70 years of the gigantic social transformation wrought by the Bolshevik revolution and subsequent workers state development is not eliminated overnight, even by the crassest of gangster capitalist restorationism).
The entire Trotskyist tradition has been based on hostility to the USSR and workers state control, always dressed up as “saving the working class from Stalinist mistakes by overthrowing the revisionist bureaucracy”.
This philistine “anti-totalitarianism” pretending to be in favour of “rank-and-file” democracy began with Trotsky’s insufferable petty bourgeois egotism itself which constantly tried to undermine all world working class confidence in the USSR by declaring every mistake and difficulty of the Stalinist leadership to be a “fatal” or “irreversible” flaw which effectively meant the end of the great revolution and allegedly a reversion to class rule (sneakily described as some new and totally unMarxist kind of “caste rule”, to avoid the difficulty that there had been no counter-revolution).
Stalinist leadership errors and cover-ups (which were further errors in themselves) though crude and gross, and even as a result slipping into criminal opportunism at times, needed challenging and correcting, not using as ammunition to bring down the Soviet Union which was the always inevitable reality of such Trotskyist sophistry.
Their “political revolution” ended up equating Stalin with Hitler on the eve of the Second World War, massively undermining working class solidarity and support of the gigantic struggle against aggressive Hitler-Nazism fought 85% by the enormous revolutionary working class of the Soviet Union from 1941-45).
Post-war the Trots have played along with every piece of Western anti-communist demonisation and black propaganda, as well as helping sustain a string of capitalist subversions and attempted counter-revolutions like the revived Horthyite fascism of the 1956 Hungarian “uprising”, the reactionary petty bourgeois ambitions of the Czechoslovakian “Prague Spring” of 1968 (whose leader Vlacec Havel promptly signed up with NATO after 1989), and the Vatican and CIA funded bogus “trade union” Solidarnosc in Poland in the 1980s.
The Polish subversion and sabotage by the Solidarnosc admirers of reactionary dictator Pisudski helped finally undermine the last remnants of revolutionary political will in Soviet revisionism.
It was so far gone by Gorbachev’s time that it capitulated to Western “free market” fantasies and simply liquidated the proletarian state, (still viable and actually steadily growing even under the woodenness of Gorbachevite revisionist routinism).
The 1990s has seen them siding with every reactionary fraudulent “self-determination” stunt going, from the Albanian-mafia Kosovans to set up Serbia for blitzing (a smaller scale parallel to current events, breaking up the nationalist remnants of former revisionist workers state Yugoslavia) to the laughable parodies of the Cairo Arab Spring which the West set going to smash up the anti-imperialist orientated regimes of Gaddafi in Libya and Assad in Syria, both hated by imperialism and Zionism (unlike the pro-Washington dictator Hosni Mubarak in Egypt).
Destroying these was a desperate measure to help contain the spontaneous eruptions in Tunisia and Egypt, the latter now suppressed again by a bloody counter-revolutionary coup re-establishing the pro-US military rule and imposing increasingly draconian repression (still extraordinarily supported by the Lalkar-Proletarian museum-Stalinists whose politics have gone so far off beam they can describe the military in Cairo as ‘an advance for the Egyptian peoples revolution’).
But the forces just set in motion and manipulated in Ukraine by imperialist political influence and direct intelligence agency intervention (as confirmed by recent leaks of telephone calls from the US embassy in case this should be derided as “just a conspiracy theory”) have been so grotesquely reactionary and shot through with outright fascist elements, that even the capitalist media has had to report the truth here and there, of outright Nazi worshipping and fascist violence and some analyses, albeit still laced with anti-communist petty bourgeois cliché attitudes, spell out some of the background:
Instead of blustering into their microphones in a frenzy of self-righteous indignation, the leaders of the US and EU would do well to spend a few minutes swotting up on the history of this volatile region. They would learn that Crimea has a long history of conflict between its Ukrainian, Russian and Tartar communities, and has been ping-ponging back and forth between Ottoman, Russian and Ukrainian jurisdiction for years. The last time the British got involved was in 1853-6, and that, too, was a shambles. This time, the west’s intervention has been foolish and inept, and its hypocrisy is shameful.
Less than a month ago, a violent insurrection in the streets of Kiev against the elected government was greeted in the west as an uprising of “the people of Ukraine” choosing the west against closer ties with Russia. Everyone knows, if they stop to think about it, that such a simplistic characterisation of “the people of Ukraine” is wilfully naive, but the breathless journalists and huffy politicians gushing their stuff never stop to think. Thinking is dangerous. It can lead you to see the other person’s point of view.
The one thing we know for sure is that we don’t know what’s going on. The situation is volatile and murky. But that doesn’t stop western politicians jumping in feet first. We don’t know exactly what forces are at play, but we still desperately want to pin our naive “goodies” and “baddies” labels on to somebody.
When things turned nasty in Kiev as armed protesters, some of them with fascist insignia, seized control of government buildings, the police cracked down, and snipers gunned down police and protesters in the streets. But who exactly were these snipers? The Estonian foreign minister, Urmas Paet, not a natural ally of Moscow, thought it was at least credible that they belonged to the anti-government Maidan protesters. “Gosh!” said the EU’s Lady Ashton in a leaked phone call.
For a moment, the frothing stopped and a truce was negotiated, with the help of Poland, Germany and France, and supported by the US, Russia and the Kiev protesters, all realising that things had gone too far. The agreement allowed for a return to the old constitution, and new elections. Order was restored. Phew!
But this compromise was quickly sabotaged by extreme elements among the protesters, including some sinister far-right elements who are now a de facto part of the government. They pre-empted the outcome of the elections by continuing the occupations and installing themselves in power. (But it’s OK: it’s not a coup, because they are pro-west.) The Russians were alarmed. What was the point of negotiating, if the agreements were not respected, the Russian interior minister demanded to know.
As if in answer, president Viktor Yanukovych resigned. Victory was declared. Hurray! Neither the EU nor the US stood up for the agreement they brokered. Yanukovych fled, with his ill-gotten wealth. Yulia Tymoshenko was released from jail, with her ill-gotten wealth (which is OK in her case, because she is pro-west).
Let us just pause to remember, before we gallop on to the next crisis, that Yanukovych, for all his grotesque self-enrichment, was democratically elected, as few of the new self-appointed government have been. We shouldn’t feel too sorry for him, though. His allegedly pilfered billions will have already been safely stashed abroad, no doubt in some western-administered tax-haven, where they will be protected by our very own financial whizzes.
And so it goes on. Unfortunately, someone in the new Ukrainian government flexes his anti-Russian muscles, and the Russian language is stripped of its official status throughout Ukraine. Fortunately, someone else sees sense and the move is cancelled. But if you were a Russian speaker, wouldn’t you be rattled? Wouldn’t you look around for support? Sixty per cent of Crimea’s population is Russian. Suddenly, Russian troops appear in Crimea. Is it an annexation or a rescue? It depends on your point of view. Is there any evidence that Russia was behind the Crimean move to secede from Ukraine, or was it a homegrown initiative, as in 1993? The Russian Black Sea fleet had been docked on territory controlled by anti-Russians. And rumour has it that Nato is sniffing around for a new place to park its ICBMs. (But that’s OK, because Nato is on our side.)
I am no fan of Vladimir Putin, who is, in my opinion, a loathsome, anti-democratic tyrant with physique issues. But the EU and the US have played right into his grubby little hands. His popularity has soared enormously, because he has been doing exactly what a leader is supposed to do: he has been sticking up for the interests of his people. Would any western government allow its fleet to fall into the hands of its enemies? I hope not, though given the level of incompetence we have witnessed so far, anything is possible. Would any western government allow its enemies to station missiles a few miles off shore? ...
The Crimean peninsula itself had been ruled by Russia for centuries until Nikita Khrushchev gave it away to Ukraine in 1954, a move that was deeply unpopular in Russia – some say Khrushchev was drunk at the time –and most ordinary Russians – as well, it seems, as a majority of Crimeans themselves – would like to see it returned to Russia. Putin is also off the hook over the Ukrainian economy. Previously, Russia had agreed to bail out Kiev, but it seems that now this cost will be borne by European taxpayers. Will Ukraine also be offered membership of the EU? This is what most of the Maidan protesters were hoping for, but in truth, it was never on offer.
...The cynicism and hypocrisy with which some politicians have tried to pick apart the seams in this delicate and ancient fabric fills me with rage and despair. The histories of Russia and Ukraine have been entwined since at least the ninth century, and so have Russian and Ukrainian families. Only in some fascist paradise are people ethnically “pure”.
In fact, Kiev was the original capital of Kievan Rus’, the proto-Russian Slavic state of the early middle ages, but became too vulnerable during the Mongol invasions, and the administrative and royal headquarters were moved north, near Moscow, which gradually became the dominant region. The languages of north and south drifted apart, too, but are mutually comprehensible, and closer than, say, Italian and Spanish. Many people, like my own family, speak Surzhyk, a mongrel mixture of the two. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the western part of Ukraine was annexed by the Polish empire, which imposed Catholicism on a previously Orthodox population. During the 19th century, this region, Galicia, centred on the city of Lviv, belonged to the Catholic Austro-Hungarian empire. Not surprisingly, these regions of Ukraine are still predominantly Catholic, and see themselves as belonging in the west. In a way, this historic tug of war between Poland and Russia over Ukraine is still being played out, with Poland being the strongest champion of Ukraine in the EU. Poles sometimes refer to Ukrainians as “Eastern Poles”, while Russians still sometimes call them “Little Russians”.
...At the end of the second world war, when Churchill and Stalin met in Yalta to define the boundaries of the new world order, western-born Ukrainians who were refugees or ostarbeiter working under the Third Reich were allowed to stay in the west, like my family, whereas those who came from further east were sent back, often to face the gulag. This is why most Ukrainians now living in western countries hail from that western Catholic part of Ukraine, and are likely to support the Maidan protesters.
The second world war has left its gory mark on this part of Ukraine in another way, too. Galicia was home to the notorious pro-Nazi Ukrainian Insurgent Army, whose leader, Stepan Bandera, was viewed as a hero by some Ukrainian nationalists (including my maternal grandfather), but a fascist antisemite by others (including my paternal aunt).
The staggering wartime losses suffered during the second world war, which is still called the Great Patriotic war by those in Russia and the east of Ukraine, also underlies much of the bitterness now surfacing on the streets, since a member of the new Ukrainian government actually tried to ban the use of the term. Some 20 million Soviet citizens perished in the war against fascism, an almost unimaginable sacrifice; hostility towards those seen as neo-fascists is easily ignited. It is a defining historical sacrifice for eastern Ukrainians
...In 2006, the authorities in Lviv erected a statue of Bandera in the central square, which provoked outrage in the east. It is Bandera’s spiritual descendants who provided much of the organised violent muscle on the streets of Kiev.
To tar the whole of the protest with the fascist brush would be very unfair, since most of the protesters are clearly just ordinary citizens fed up with the suffocating corruption of the old regime. But the western powers should be careful not to collude with neo-Nazis (though, to judge from much media coverage, their snipers and molotov cocktails are OK, because they’re on our side).
What will happen next? I predict that nothing will happen. There will be a tremendous amount of huffing and puffing of hot air; well-oiled muscles will be flexed and machinery moved about. Some kleptocratic Russian and Ukrainian ladies will have to put on hold their next shopping trip to Harrods or Gucci. But for the bankers, oligarchs and oilmen, it will be business as usual. They will still own big chunks of London. And, fortunately, their offspring will still be able to enjoy their elite education in some of the world’s finest private schools cut-price, thanks to the generosity of the British taxpayers who have deemed those institutions to be charities.
Marina Lewycka is the author of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian.
In the teeth of the obvious reactionariness of the Ukrainian “demonstrations” the usual Trotskyist pretence of being “against authoritarianism and corruption” and supporting “peaceful demonstrations” by “ordinary people” have proved impossible to sustain, when the “ordinary people” are behaving like the fascist movements that the Trots affect to be opposing normally, like the Front National and Golden Dawn.
Despite the odd piece as above, the Western media has tried its best to cover all this up, trying to deny the glaring scumminess of the Kiev “Orange revolution” with a concerted campaign to play down the Nazism of the West Ukrainian nationalists, led by the allegedly “liberal” and “soft left” media like the Guardian and Channel Four News, as usual the subtlest and most Trojan-horse of conduits for poisonous anti-communism.
Story after story has been pumped out to suggest that the Nazism in Kiev is “not really so bad” and that “anyway it is only a minority” from the Svoboda group who are involved and “they are not really anti-semitic” and the “black shirts and uniforms are just a fetish” - even going so far as to interview the fascist gangs with soft questions like “you’re not really fascists are you?” etc etc; all of which has proved too much to swallow for many of the Internet commentaries now taking to denouncing these liberal media as tools of Western capitalism.
This propaganda nonsense is trying to cover up the outright stampeding support the West has given to the violent “Maidan Square” coup revolt, described laughably for four months as “peaceful demonstrations” but in fact totally violent from the beginning, and consciously organised so.
One of the most outrageous pieces, under the headline “Ukraine nationalist attacks on Russia supporters – fact or Kremlin fairy-tale?” even concedes the violence the fascists have unleashed and then suggests it is the fault of the Russians themselves:
Sharov and Zhudov were shot dead last Friday in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. They were victims of, a clash between pro-Russian youths and far-right Ukrainian nationalists. The details are sketchy: a minivan full of men assaulted a pro-Russian crowd; the crowd, including Zhudov and Sharov, followed the vehicle to the offices of the Patriots of Ukraine, a murky far-right group. Shots were fired, the young men were hit.
The encounter appears to confirm the Kremlin’s version of the Ukraine crisis. According to its scenario, ultra-nationalists seized power in Kiev last month, compelling Moscow to “protect” Crimea and its Russian majority. Meanwhile, fascists have been attacking ethnic Russians in the south and east of Ukraine, close to the Russian border, especially in the febrile Russian-speaking eastern cities of Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk, it says.
This is all sneeringly written off as deliberately done by the Russians, by some kind of alleged “provocation” ostensibly to “allow them to invade” the rest of Ukraine.
The supposed Russian trickery this is astonishing capitalist Goebbels inversion which even declares it to be the result of Russian “Goebbels techniques”, a double-bluff “get-in-first” accusation that only underlines the depths of cynicism and hypocrisy of the Western demonisation now under way.
Meanwhile the one situation that is looking more and more like a provocation, the “sniper” killings in the Maidan Square used to whip up the Western sympathising coup climax, remains uninvestigated and with all calls for investigation ignored by the new “government”.
The suggestion that the shootings were not necessarily anything to do with the Yanukovitch government is a serious possibility and would clearly warrant investigation but has been virtually suppressed in the Western media.
But this account from a Kiev paper of taped calls by the (pro-US anti-Soviet) Estonian government representative is worth recording, not least because if this kind of report emerged the other way around, supposedly damning some Western scapegoat, it would be given endless publicity with endless demands for inquiries in the media, if not immediate assumptions of guilt (as indeed were made against Yanukovitch):
A leaked conversation between Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton relays explosive suspicions that the same snipers are responsible for the Feb. 18-20 killings of both EuroMaidan demonstrators and police officers.
Paet goes further by raising the possibility that the gunmen may have been working for supporters of Ukraine’s new interim government, not ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, and that Ukraine’s current rulers are not interested in fully investigating who is behind the killings of some 90 people in the three-day period.
Paet also says that civil society leaders of EuroMaidan Revolution distrust the new Ukrainian government because they are tainted by corruption and have “a dirty past.”
He relays suspicions of coalition government involvement in the sniper killings after a conversation he had with Dr. Olga Bohomolets, a physician who attended to dead and wounded EuroMaidan protesters and who recently refused a ministerial appointment in the new government.
“What was disturbing is that the same snipers ...killed people on both sides. She (Bohomolets) showed me some photos. She said that as a medical doctor she could tell it was the same handwriting, the same type of bullets and it’s really disturbing that now the new coalition, they don’t want to investigate what exactly happened,” Paet tells Ashton. “There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind snipers it was not Yanukovych. It was somebody from the new coalition.”
The authenticity of the Feb. 25 telephone conversation was confirmed to the Kyiv Post by Estonian Ambassador to Ukraine Sulev Kannike, speaking by telephone from Tallinn, the Estonian capital.
Bohomolets, however, did not respond to a phone call or text message seeking comment. However, the London Telegraph reported on March 5 that Bohomolets did not tell Kannike. “I think you can only say something like this on the basis of fact,” the London newspaper quoted her as saying. “It’s not correct and it’s not good to do this. It should be based on fact.”
Kannike, Estonia’s ambassador to Ukraine, said that the 11-minute conversation took place on Feb. 25 while Paet was in Tallinn and Ashton was in Brussels, the European Union’s administrative capital.
“Unfortunately, it’s true. Yeah. That’s fact-based,” Kannike said. “We are doing damage control.”
Kannike, however, cautioned against reaching conclusions based on one telephone conversation and said that Paet’s relayed suspicions do not represent any official Estonian position. He said it’s possible that “a third party” is responsible for the killings, making it all the more important for authorities to identify the killers and form who they were working.
Whatever the facts about this incident there is plenty of other evidence of the outright fascist nastiness of the new government, some in video recordings posted on YouTube and in other reports, some appearing on non-Western media and some in comment responses to Western press accounts:
A Ukrainian presidential hopeful and his supporters have abducted a regional MP over his opposition to the coup-imposed government in Kiev. A video of the action shows the MP being roughed up by a group of men and threatened.
Oleg Lyashko reported secretly going to the Lugansk region on Sunday night and detaining Arsen Klinchev, a member of the local parliament from the Party of Regions.
“The scum Klinchev will answer for his crimes. We detained him and handed him over to law enforcement. I am sincerely grateful to everyone, who helped with this deed. The video is coming shortly. The fight goes on,” Lyashko wrote on his Facebook page.
The promised footage followed soon. In it Lyashko is seen entering the office, as Klinchev later clarified, of local General Vladimir Guslavsky with a group of half a dozen men, whose faces are covered with a black circle. They floor the MP and handcuff his arms behind his back.
Then Lyashko is seen calling Klinchev “scum” several times, while forcing him to make a statement on camera, ordering his supporters to vacate the regional administration building.
The building was captured on Sunday by a group of protesters, who opposed Mikhail Bolotskih, the new Kiev-appointed governor. The protesters forced Bolotskih to sign his resignation, but hours later he stated that the resignation was invalid because it was signed “under threats.” The protesters also raised the Russian flag in front of the administration.
Lyashko forced Klinchev to call on the protesters to take down the Russian flag and free the administration building, while the MP was denying any authority over the people.
“You’re scum, that’s what I say. Now tell your people to go out of the Lugansk administration. And make a good face now, nobody will give you money, retard,” Lyashko told the MP.
Klinchev, still handcuffed, is then dragged into a bus, where one of the men who abducted him lectures him on his pro-Russian stance. He promises to hang him “by the balls” and “call an army to f**k you”.
After driving for nearly 30 minutes, a phone rang and a voice, (Klinchev assumed it was Lyashko’s), ordered their return. Back in General Guslavsky’s office, Lyashko continued his intimidation, after which he and his group left.
Shortly after being released, Klinchev shed light on the conflict and gave his version of what happened.
Speaking to the media, Klinchev said that he met with General Guslavsky, as they agreed, after midnight.
“At 11pm, all people know, General of Lugansk [regional] Department of Internal Affairs was there. He was talking to the people and was persuading them to leave this [administration] building and was in general listening to what people wanted. After that he addressed me and said: Arsen, after you talk to people, come to my office and we will discuss everything,” Klinchev said.
Klinchev then goes on to say that at around 12am he called General Guslavsky, who asked to come up to his office to talk.
“Once I entered his office and took a seat, Lyashko along with another, about eight people, run into the room. In fact, many of them I personally know. There were also journalists, particularly, from the Ukraine TV channel. Those people were standing aside, while a group of four people started twisting [my arms]. They handcuffed me,” Klinchev said.
He says they called him and his supporters “scum” and “scumbags”, who do not understand things. Lyashko and his people said Russian flags were “treason” and that is why “all of us should be butchered.”
“Actually, all of them [eight people] were not wearing masks. Honestly, I already said good bye to my life, because those people who I saw just would not leave me alive afterwards. While we were driving they were telling me what awaits me, that I am a scum and a scoundrel and etc,” Klinchev continued.
“After we came back and went up to Guslavsky’s office, the sitting governor [Bolotskih] was already there. After that Lyashko and his team left. Actually, I am now being told that Lyashko now says that he is boss here in the Lugansk region and starting this moment, everyone who does not agree with him will be ‘driven in a trunk’,” Klinchev said, adding that according to the governor, he was supposed to be sent to Kiev on a charter flight.
The embarrassment of the West at the outright fascism of the Svoboda elements has even led it to try and pretend that the throwback anti-Jewish sentiments of the Nazi elements are either non-existent or “not really important”:
He calls his troops “the Blue Helmets of Maidan,” but brown is the color of the headgear worn by Delta — the nom de guerre of the commander of a Jewish-led militia force that participated in the Ukrainian revolution. Under his helmet, he also wears a kippah.
Delta, a Ukraine-born former soldier in the Israel Defense Forces, spoke to JTA Thursday on condition of anonymity. He explained how he came to use combat skills he acquired in the Shu’alei Shimshon reconnaissance battalion of the Givati infantry brigade to rise through the ranks of Kiev’s street fighters. He has headed a force of 40 men and women — including several fellow IDF veterans — in violent clashes with government forces.
Several Ukrainian Jews, including Rabbi Moshe Azman, one of the country’s claimants to the title of chief rabbi, confirmed Delta’s identity and role in the still-unfinished revolution.
The “Blue Helmets” nickname, a reference to the UN peacekeeping force, stuck after Delta’s unit last month prevented a mob from torching a building occupied by Ukrainian police, he said. “There were dozens of officers inside, surrounded by 1,200 demonstrators who wanted to burn them alive,” he recalled. “We intervened and negotiated their safe passage.”
The problem, he said, was that the officers would not leave without their guns, citing orders. Delta told JTA his unit reasoned with the mob to allow the officers to leave with their guns. “It would have been a massacre, and that was not an option,” he said.
The Blue Helmets comprise 35 men and women who are not Jewish, and who are led by five ex-IDF soldiers, says Delta, an Orthodox Jew in his late 30s who regularly prays at Azman’s Brodsky Synagogue. He declined to speak about his private life.
Delta, who immigrated to Israel in the 1990s, moved back to Ukraine several years ago and has worked as a businessman. He says he joined the protest movement as a volunteer on November 30, after witnessing violence by government forces against student protesters.
“I saw unarmed civilians with no military background being ground by a well-oiled military machine, and it made my blood boil,” Delta told JTA in Hebrew laced with military jargon. “I joined them then and there, and I started fighting back the way I learned how, through urban warfare maneuvers. People followed, and I found myself heading a platoon of young men. Kids, really.”
The other ex-IDF infantrymen joined the Blue Helmets later after hearing it was led by a fellow vet, Delta said.
As platoon leader, Delta says he takes orders from activists connected to Svoboda, an ultra-nationalist party that has been frequently accused of anti-Semitism and whose members have been said to have had key positions in organizing the opposition protests.
“I don’t belong [to Svoboda], but I take orders from their team. They know I’m Israeli, Jewish and an ex-IDF soldier. They call me ‘brother,’” he said. “What they’re saying about Svoboda is exaggerated, I know this for a fact. I don’t like them because they’re inconsistent, not because of [any] anti-Semitism issue.”
The commanding position of Svoboda in the revolution is no secret, according to Ariel Cohen, a senior research fellow at the Washington D.C.-based Heritage Foundation think tank.
This desperate squirming is leading the Western propaganda machine to shoot itself in the foot.
Participation of the Zionist military, with a long history of non-stop genocidal violence and repression against the dispossessed Palestinians nation whose land was stolen by the Jewish colonialist occupation, (ratified by Western controlled United Nations rubber-stamp in 1948) is supposed to amount to “proof” of the “reasonableness” of the reactionary forces in Ukraine????
Who is kidding who???
The Zionist colonialist occupation has been one of the most aggressive, smiting, violent, vicious and nazi-repressive manifestations of imperialist world domination ever since it was installed by ethnic cleansing massacre, violence and terror, routinely blitzing and killing the Palestinians; arresting, incarcerating and torturing thousands and thousands of “rebellious” national liberation fighters and civilians too, including children by the hundreds; keeping the Gazans pent up in the concreted hellhole of the Gaza strip under inhuman siege conditions; callously and casually intimidating farmers and villagers from their land, with non-stop destruction of their property, crops and buildings; running a racist clearance campaign against the Beduin worse than anything apartheid South Africa managed; openly flouting all numerous international conventions, human rights principles, “international community” condemnations, nuclear arms bans, inhuman weapons bans (like white phosphorus used on civilians in Gaza) and United Nations resolutions (some dating back to the 1970s on land seizures which even imperialism has declared illegal).
Its soldiers’ reputation is a byword for brutality, racist arrogance, casual violence, savagery, intimidation and indifference to suffering, with numerous incidents of inhumanity and outright murder.
They are fascists and supporting them and the “right to exist” of the pseudo-state of “Israel” is essentially sustaining fascism.
All capitalism is doing with this material is demonstrating that “anti-Semitism” is not the defining characteristic of”fascism” at all, but that it is a much wider issue of capitalist barbarity and warmongering degeneration itself.
Getting the IDF to participate makes the issue worse not better.
All this makes life very difficult for the Trots, whose instincts are to side with the alleged “rank and file”.
Excuses have emerged that “not everyone on the ground” is a fascist (as even the first relatively anti-Western piece above suggests) or that the movement has been “hijacked by reactionary elements” – a sly nonsense that does not explain the overall character of the movement and its willingness to go along with the alleged “hijacking”.
This is the same excuse making and misleadship that led the Trotskyists to pitch in behind the petty bourgeois reactionary “rebellions” in the Middle East, ignoring all the obvious signals of their reactionary character, such as flying, from day one, the old monarchist flags and the calls from the beginning for “intervention” by the West, which in Libya’s case saw the country pulverised by nazi-NATO blitzkrieg, tearing apart its relatively egalitarian society, and for Syria has meant the non-stop supply of money, weapons and covert military support and training for the vicious anti-Assad sectarian civil war that has now destroyed much of the country, its economy ruined, society fragmented and culture destroyed.
They wash their hands of these disastrous outcomes which have left a mess of warlordism, anarchy, racism and bitter sectarian hatred in both countries, pretending that they “didn’t know” how it would turn out, when it was glaringly clear from beginning, from the detailed evidence on the ground and from the overall revolutionary crisis perspective.
One of the barmier Trot groups, Workers Liberty even has a go even at pretending the Nazi sympathisers are actually “quite reasonable” by running an old 1949 American Trotskyist analysis which declares the Second World War Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera, the hero of the current fascist movement, to have been really a nationalist hero, because he was actually “an anti-Stalinist”.
Poisonous hatred of the working class could not go much deeper than siding with an outright fascist and particularly in the aftermath of the Second World war, when the lines had been very clearly drawn between the genocidal destruction by Germany’s Nazi aggression and the anti-fascist resistance which sacrificed over 20 million Soviet lives.
There was no question of which side to stand on, namely with the Red Army.
Only poisonous Trotskyism could suggest the opposite.
Other Trots like the Socialist Workers Party play a more subtle game, understanding that the Ukrainian fascists are beyond any kind of whitewash, but still determined to support the hostility to Moscow and capitulating to the Western lie that the aggression “comes from Russia”:
Russia’s seizure of military control over Crimea has brought Ukraine to the brink of war.
No, capitalist crisis and anti-Russian provocations have done that.
Once again it is alleged that really this is a principled mass movement, which:
has been a genuine popular movement against the now exiled president, Viktor Yanukovych. This has expressed anger at the corruption of the entire political elite in Ukraine.
Unfortunately, this movement harbours illusions in the European Union (EU). Moreover, thanks to the historic weakness of the left in Ukraine, the far right has played a significant role in the “Euromaidan” occupation in Kiev.
Unfortunately!!! - all of the demonstrators have ignored participation of the overtly fascist Svoboda and call for “EU membership” with doubtless NATO membership to follow so that they can fully participate in European imperialist suppression of the Third World and “get their share” of the super-profits.
To get round the “unfortunateness” of it all the SWP bastardises the Bolshevik understanding of the First World War which declared that all the imperialists were outright gangsters fighting not for ‘principles, freedom, right of nations like “plucky little Belgium”etc etc.’ but to re-share out the colonial plunder in the world.
Lenin’s movement said that none of the imperialists should be supported but that the working class should wage civil war on their own ruling class, (revolution in other words).
Ah, that is just what is happening now says the SWP:
Socialists in the West must of course oppose any military intervention by the US or NATO in Ukraine. But the crisis reminds us that imperialism can’t be reduced to American domination. It is a system of economic and geopolitical competition among the leading capitalist powers.
Rather than tail any of these powers, we must fight this entire system. This means opposing Russian intervention in Ukraine. Never has the slogan “Neither Washington nor Moscow but international socialism” been more relevant.
This mealy mouthed fence sitting not only prescribes the most fatuous of Stop-the-War social-pacifist opposition to the West but then muddies the water by pretending the Ukrainian events are just a “power play” by “Russian imperialism”.
This is a tricky sophistry which uses the cover of a supposed Russian imperialist agenda to wriggle out of calling for the defeat of imperialism and harks back to the SWP’s old anti-Sovietism.
The allegedly relevant “neither Washington nor Moscow” was always an anti-communist lie, not only refusing to defend the Soviet workers state but foully declaring it to be “no different to imperialism”.
The “relevance” of the slogan is that it exposes the SWP pretend revolutionism as a giant fraud which helped feed the entire Washington-led anti-USSR crusading, and helped it eventually installed the counter-revolution in 1991 of which Putin is a part.
What a monstrous hypocrisy by these Trots!
But surely they are right in saying Putinism is not socialism??
Correct but every situation has to be examined concretely and specifically.
It is the far more powerful and dominant West which has deliberately and clearly provoked the entire campaign, and with not simply an “inter-imperialist” agenda but one bent on dismantling even further the remains of the Soviet Union territories and identity.
It crass dissembling to pretend that other factors are not at work.
It is not necessary to follow the revisionists, on the other end of the fake-“left” spectrum, who have gone to the opposite extreme, declaring outright or implicitly that Putin’s Russian nationalist move represents some underlying movement back to a workers state.
That is a wishful thinking nonsense more at home in an Aladdin pantomime plot than serious politics.
Even if the stirrings of working class hankering for older Soviet times expressed here and there during the upheavals turn out to be the germ of serious movement back towards a socialist state, – and there is not the remotest indication of anything more yet - they would need to be consolidated far more seriously around a struggle for revolutionary understanding than the odd nostalgic comment to the TV cameras and ineffectual comment by the sad shadow of the CPSU.
And that would mean a gigantic struggle to overcome firstly the crass and philistine Bonapartism of Putin, and its declarations that the West should “thank him for helping end communism”, followed by a total reassessment of the entire revisionist legacy which liquidated the Soviet Union in 1989-91 under Gorbachev, a rethinking and reconsideration stretching all the way back to the dire mistakes of Stalin’s leadership from the 1920s onwards.
The museum-Stalinists are not about to do any such thing, and all the more since part of that dire revisionist tradition is precisely to avoid the open polemical battling and theoretical conflict that alone can rebuild revolutionary understanding and leadership, simply covering up or ignoring mistakes and errors.
Like the assorted confusions from the Trotskyists, the addled confusion from the Stalinists and groups like the “Sons of Malcolm” not only does not help but further gets in the way.
Neither the denunciations of Moscow by the various Trotskyists, either directly or implicitly supporting the Kiev counter-revolution, nor the excited misplaced nostalgia of the revisionists for Putin’s crass bonapartism gives the working class the revolutionary guidance it needs.
Just the opposite, the narrow petty bourgeois hatred displayed by the Trotskyists for all workers state discipline leaves them essentially capitulating to the Western provocations and its fascist admixture in Kiev while addled-brained Stalinist nostalgia heads workers up the garden path behind Putin’s capitalist oligarch Russian nationalism.
Only the subtleties of Marx and Lenin’s materialist dialectics can cut through the conundrum, grasping that any defeat for the imperialist skulduggery and thuggery in Kiev is to be welcomed but warning the working class everywhere that Putin’s backward Russian nationalism and oligarch exploitation is no solution either and needs to be dealt with as soon as practical.
As with the pattern of war scapegoating to date, from the bombing of Serbia, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the bogus Arab Spring attacks around Libya and Syria and numerous side events of European and Washington plotting and war intervention in Africa (Somalia, Central African Republic, Mali) Latin America (Honduras coup, Paraguay coup, Venezuela counter-revolutionary violence currently, Bolivian CIA destabilisation, Cuba blockade continuing) and now building up in the China Pacific, the focus is always on the central and major underlying cause and generator of war and turmoil – capitalism.
The focal point for all understanding needs to be the capitalist system and its crisis as the sole and overwhelming driving force on the planet dragging everyone back into Slump and warmongering disaster, its contradiction-ridden profit system sliding ever deeper into meltdown economic catastrophe and war for over two decades already, and with much worse to come.
There must be no illusions that assorted anarchism, populism, reformist or bourgeois nationalism forced into fighting imperialist capitalism, constitute any kind of lasting solution for the working class to the rapidly intensifying disaster that its system has run into.
But every defeat for increasingly degenerate manipulations and provocations of monopoly capitalist domination of the planet, is useful wherever and however such defeats come about, by the idiot nationalism of the Bonapartist Putin, assorted Islamist anti-Westernism, dogged insurgency in Palestine or leaderless anarchic street revolts in Cairo.
Strike together against the common and dominant threat the Bolsheviks declared when Tsarist restoration was attempting to turn the clock back in August 1917 under the reactionary General Kornilov, with a military coup against the new bourgeois parliament which has gained power after the February revolution.
But “march separately” they also said, making very clear that the bourgeois revolution was just as treacherous and would need to be dealt with as soon as the Tsarist troops were routed.
The Trots’ pretence of evenhandedness is pure anti-communism - the Stalinists are wallowing in soft-headed opportunist nostalgia and cover-up, equally anti-communist.
What is required is the open struggle to re-discover Leninism and to establish the party instrument that can carry through that scientific leadership struggle.
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