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Ukraine: U.S. Backed Rioters Burn Central Kiev, Kill 10 Policemen, 26 People Killed
[Photo: Tuesday February 18, 2004 rightist uprising in Kiev. Note the red and black flag of Nazi occupation in the Ukraine. This was the flag of followers of Stepan Bandera’s Nazi collaborators of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). The UPA were directly responsible for killing between 40,000 and 60,000 Poles in the Volhynia Region in 1943 as well as many Jews and Communists. With Nazi German aid, including the training of troops in Abwehr military camps, the UPA helped facilitate the Nazi invasion of Ukraine. Stepan Bandera's collaboration with Nazi Germany helped the Nazis invade Ukraine and slaughter 3 million Ukrainians, including 900,000 Jews. One of the three main parties leading the Euromaiden riots, Svoboda, openly celebrates Stepan Bandera and the UPA. On January 1st of this year they held a birthday commemoration for Bandera with procession of 15,000 people marching by torchlight.]
Ukraine: U.S. Backed Rioters Burn Central Kiev, Kill 10 Policemen, a Total of 26 People Killed
No To US EU Sanctions Against Ukraine!
By Steven Argue
A new round of violence erupted in Ukraine on Tuesday, with monuments and buildings burned, 10 cops killed by protesters through gunshot wounds, and a total of 26 people dead. Hundreds of people have been treated for wounds, 263 rioters and 342 police officers. Police officers were treated for gunshot wounds. Rioters have taken guns from government barracks as well. In Lviv around 1,000 rightists stormed government barracks and seized weapons.
This outbreak of violence follows President Viktor Yanukovych’s release on Friday 243 prisoners arrested in the Euromaiden riots. Protesters have committed massive vandalism including the destruction of Lenin statues, taken over buildings, beat police with clubs, lit cops on fire with Molotov cocktails, and shot at cops with guns. Before Tuesday, one other police officer was killed by gunshot.
President Viktor Yanukovych agreed to drop charges against the rioters, some of whom are facing up to 15 years in prison, in exchange for protesters leaving the government buildings they had overtaken and occupied by force. Protesters did evacuate buildings over the weekend to honor this deal.
Yet, on Tuesday, the rightist leadership of the Euromaiden riots announced that this was not enough, continuing their calls that the elected government step down and early elections be held. There is no reason for the government to honor these demands, most especially because the rioters only number in the thousands and do not represent majority public opinion.
President Yanukovich has now denounced Tuesday night’s bloodshed as an attempted coup. Government security services have responded saying that after arms and ammunition were looted, they have launched a nationwide "anti-terrorist operation".
Many Ukrainians have been demanding a crackdown on these riots. These rightist protesters have violently attacked labor activists and feminists (accompanied by shouts “shavky” – a neo-Nazi slang word for left and anti-fascist activists), marched under the slogan of “Beat the Jews” while vile neo-Nazi anti-Semitic speeches are given from the podiums (and nobody shuts them down), and declared the Party of Regions (the elected party of the presidency) as well as the Communist Party and its symbols illegal (despite having no authority to do so and despite the west claiming these Euromaiden protesters are for democracy).
In December, Rabbi Boruch Gorin of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia said, “Unfortunately, among the opposition leaders and opposition forces, well-defined, anti-Semitic speeches have already been recorded.” Gorin called for more protection of Jews by the Ukrainian government against the protesters after Jews were brutally attacked leaving Synagogues in two separate incidents. In addition, the January 27th annual commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day was canceled in Kiev out of fear of anti-Semitic attacks from the US backed Euromaiden protesters. Three million Ukrainians were murdered by the Nazis during their occupation of Ukraine, including 900,000 Jews. International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorates the January 27th, 1945 liberation of the largest Nazi death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, by Soviet troops. It is a day of remembrance for all victims of the Nazi death machine.
The leadership of the Euromaiden protests is composed of three rightwing capitalist parties. One of those parties, Svoboda, is openly fascist and celebrates Nazis who fought for Hitler in Ukraine and who murdered large numbers of innocent victims including Jews, Poles, and Communists. Both U.S. Senator John McCain and Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Victoria Nuland have appeared at public events supporting the Euromaiden standing side by side with neo-Nazi leader Oleh Tyahnybok. At a rally in Kiev on Sunday, Dec. 15th, John McCain, standing shoulder to shoulder with neo-Nazi leader Oleh Tyahnybok boldly declared “We are here to support your just cause!” as the neo-Nazi flags of Svoboda and the red and black flags of Nazi occupation filled the audience blowing in the wind.
The other two parties in the Euromaiden coalition appear at all events standing side by side with Svoboda.
There is no question that open U.S. aid and U.S. backing to this movement have given it more strength. This has included elected Democrats and Republicans standing on podiums in Kiev along side open neo-Nazis, U.S. aid to non-governmental organizations that supported the riots, Obama threatening economic sanctions if force was used against the riots, and Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine caught in a leaked recording openly discussing the composition of a future coup government led by riot leaders.
There are also additional reports from Ukrainians that the protesters are being paid by the United States. This would help explain why protesters have been able to hold out for three months on barricades in a way that most workers, students, and farmers would not be able to do without outside support. This certainly wouldn’t be the first time the United States has paid mercenaries for their services. In fact, given the high level of U.S. involvement, it would be surprising if the U.S. wasn’t paying protesters.
In working with neo-Nazis in an attempt to carry out a coup in Ukraine that overthrows its democratically elected government, the United States and the European Union are trying to impose an economic deal worse than one offered by Russia. The conditions that would be imposed would include IMF austerity that would greatly hurt the Ukrainian working class just as the EU has devastated the working class in other European countries like Greece through austerity.
The IMF is a western imperialist tool used to blackmail countries in return for financing. IMF blackmail is being used by the imperialists to recolonize much of the world where financial power is allowing them to dictate economic policy. The IMF is already presently denying Ukraine needed credit. The reason for this denial is because the IMF is demanding that Ukraine increase the price of its heating fuel by 40%. This sort of price hike would cause the death of many poor people in Ukraine where capitalism has brought drastic decreases in wages and 41% unemployment. One of the reasons why President Viktor Yanukovych is in the crosshairs of the imperialists today is because he refusing to give in to this economic blackmail.
In addition, the conditions of EU membership would not have allowed Ukrainians free movement in the European Union, giving Ukrainian citizens only second class status in the EU. President Viktor Yanukovych was not opposed to EU membership in principle, but he couldn’t accept it on the terms that were offered. As a result the US and EU are now trying to overthrow him in violent confrontations.
It is the right of Ukraine to defend its national sovereignty from this imperialist attack, using the force necessary to stop rioters rampaging through their streets. Yet, U.S. President Obama and German Chancellor Merkel are blaming the Ukrainian victims of this imperialist coup attempt and are discussing economic sanctions against Ukraine.
On Thursday the EU will hold an emergency meeting where they plan on imposing economic sanctions against Ukraine.
Likewise, President Obama has blamed the Ukrainian government for the Tuesday coup attempt saying he condemned the violence and the "unjustified use of excessive force by the Ukrainian authorities". He has been warning that in the event of more violence, he would impose sanctions on Ukraine. Now that his storm trooper proxies have carried out that violence, he has fulfilled his excuse to impose economic sanctions.
Economic sanctions hurt civilians. The US engineered economic blockade against Iraq in the 1990s, carried out through the auspices of the UN, caused the deaths of one and a half million Iraqis, many children and the elderly. A key architect of that blockade was Madeline Albright. In a television interview with Madeline Albright on “60 Minutes”, May 12, 1996 Lesley Stahl, speaking of the results of US sanctions against Iraq asked:
“We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And – and you know, is the price worth it?”
Madeleine Albright responded, “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price – we think the price is worth it.”
Economic sanctions are a form of collective punishment that hurt civilians no matter what one may think of their supposed “humanitarian” goals. Of course the real goals of U.S. imperialism in Iraq were to overthrow a government that spent oil money on the people.
Today, after the deaths of 2.5 million people in Iraq from U.S. imperialist economic sanctions and war, Chevron, Total, Exxon, Shell, and BP are profiting greatly from the invasion. Attempts at outright privatization have been extremely unpopular, so instead the corporate takeover of Iraq’s oil has taken place through a two pronged strategy of running the state run industry into the ground and through outright theft. Oil is extracted without government oversight. Thousands of tankers are smuggled out of the country every day. Private contracts are rewarded within the state run system under the cover of the system being run into the ground and needing outside help. In addition, despite the fact that Bush’s law for the privatization of oil did not pass in the Iraqi parliament, the puppet government of Nouri al-Maliki just hands out illegal oil contracts to multinationals and has been doing so ever since 2009.
Economic sanctions are an act of war. Far from welcoming “humanitarian” sanctions anywhere, revolutionary socialists say no to all forms of collective punishment directed to harm civilian populations and demand: No U.S. Sanctions against Ukraine! End U.S. Imperialist Sanctions against Cuba, Iran, Syria, Sudan, North Korea, and Zimbabwe! End the U.S. Backed Israeli and Egyptian Sanctions on Gaza!
In addition, without giving political support to the capitalist system of Ukraine or its president, revolutionary socialists stand firmly on the side of Ukraine, as a country oppressed by EU and US imperialism, in their right to defend their national sovereignty from imperialist backed thugs. That means we support the government of Ukraine’s right to put down this violent coup attempt through force.
The following quote from Leon Trotsky reflects the revolutionary approach being followed here in Ukraine. While it is the U.S. and EU that back the fascists, the rest of the quote holds true as an analogy for Ukraine:
"I will take the most simple and obvious example. In Brazil there now reigns a semifascist regime that every revolutionary can only view with hatred. Let us assume, however, that on the morrow England enters into a military conflict with Brazil. I ask you on whose side of the conflict will the working class be? I will answer for myself personally—in this case I will be on the side of “fascist” Brazil against “democratic” Great Britain. Why? Because in the conflict between them it will not be a question of democracy or fascism. If England should be victorious, she will put another fascist in Rio de Janeiro and will place double chains on Brazil. If Brazil on the contrary should be victorious, it will give a mighty impulse to national and democratic consciousness of the country and will lead to the overthrow of the Vargas dictatorship. The defeat of England will at the same time deliver a blow to British imperialism and will give an impulse to the revolutionary movement of the British proletariat. Truly, one must have an empty head to reduce world antagonisms and military conflicts to the struggle between fascism and democracy. Under all masks one must know how to distinguish exploiters, slave-owners, and robbers!" -Leon Trotsky "Anti-Imperialist Struggle is Key to Liberation", September 1938
Around the world, the United States and EU supports the most anti-democratic movements and regimes in its pursuit of capitalist profit, imposing the miseries of brutal repression and exploitation everywhere they can. Imperialism is a system, an inherent component of capitalism that doesn’t change, no matter which capitalist party is in power. To finally end this blood sucking system and its wars against the people of the world will take proletarian revolutions in the imperialist centers that overthrow capitalism and establish egalitarian socialist societies.
US, EU, and IMF Out of Ukraine!
No to US and EU Economic Sanctions Against Ukraine!
-Steven Argue of the Revolutionary Tendency
For a more in depth article on Ukraine, from this same author, read:
Imperialists Out of Ukraine! Stop Supporting Neo-Nazis! (In depth article)
Also check out from this author:
Ukraine: Leaked Phone Call Confirms U.S. Role in Planning a Future Coup Government
Why The Russian Revolution is Still Important
[Photo: One of many photos documenting the extreme violence of protesters the west claims to be non-violent. Ukrainian "peaceful" protester with gun, Jan. 22, Credit Daily News]