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Crimea is Russia! U.S. and EU Imperialist Hands Off!
[Photo: March 11 in Kiev showing the terrorist neo-Nazi group, Right Sector, openly recruiting combatants for war against Ukraine's Russian and Jewish population. The group's red and black banner is designed after that of the forces of Nazi collaborator and mass murderer, Stepan Bandera]
Ukraine: Right Sector Neo-Nazis Kill 2 Anti-Fascists in Karkhov
Down With The U.S. / EU Sponsored Coup in Kiev!
For Ukraine's Self-Defense Militias!
For Crimea's Right To National Self Determination!
by Steven Argue
On March 14th Right Sector neo-Nazi forces in Kharkov attacked anti-fascist self-defense forces with Malotov cocktails and guns, killing two people and injuring others. The attack came as self-defense forces attempted to inspect a van that they had suspicion of being involved in a previous shooting. The Right Sector combatants took hostages and barricaded themselves into their headquarters. Police took 40 minutes to arrive. Hostages were, however, freed, and thirty Right Sector gunmen captured in the police operation that followed.
Previously, on March 8th, Right Sector gunmen in the same van attacked peaceful protesters returning from an anti-coup protest. This was according to activist Sergey Yudaev. He also complains that the Police Chief appointed by the new coup government in Kiev has little interest in doing anything about the crimes of the Right Sector.
Within the coup government the neo-Nazi party Svoboda has been given the positions of Prime Minister for Economic Affairs (Oleksandr Sych), Education Minister (Serhiy Kvit), Ecology Minister (Andriy Makhnyk), Agriculture Minister (Ihor Shvaiko), and Prosecutor-General of Ukraine (Oleh Makhnitsky). Not all posts have been given to neo-Nazis. Two other rightwing capitalist parties that have no problem working closely with neo-Nazis, the Fatherland Party and UDAR, have been given the rest of posts in the coup government. Most importantly, a co-founder of Svoboda, Andriy Parubiy, has been given the portfolio of Secretary of National Security and Defense.
Since the U.S. sponsored coup on February 22, the neo-Nazis of Svoboda and Right Sector have publicly kidnapped, beaten, and tortured political opponents; destroyed the offices of opposition political parties; delivered many death threats; and burned down the houses of political opponents. Except for the latest arrests in Kharkov (and we will see what happens with them) these crimes appear to be committed with impunity as the fascists who run the government now allow their thugs to terrorize the population.
On March 15th, Right Sector thugs assaulted Poltava’s mayor Alexander Mamaj demanding his resignation. In response, the police have arrested the mayor.
The Party of Regions reports, “armed thugs freely ride around the towns and villages, intimidating the population. The sense of impunity and support from some MPs prompts the creators of the ‘new order’ to urge the people in the southeast regions of Ukraine to humbly surrender to the winners.”
The U.S. and EU worked with these fascist thugs to overthrow the elected government of Ukraine because the elected government would not accept the terrible austerity being dictated by the IMF and EU. For the western imperialists, these fascists still are not a problem because it will likely take the continued mobilization of pro-government fascists to impose the conditions of austerity being demanded by the IMF.
While some fake Trotskyist groups like ISO sympathized with the Maiden protests, I wrote in my January article "Imperialists Out of Ukraine! Stop Supporting Neo-Nazis!":
"Instead of relying on the capitalist government of Viktor Yanukovych and his security forces, non-sectarian defense militias need to be organized immediately in Ukraine to defend leftists, Jews, and workers from fascist attacks.
"To combat the current power structure part of what is needed in Ukraine is the construction of a Leninist-Trotskyist party that defends Ukrainian sovereignty from imperialist / neo-Nazi attack, but at the same time fights for a communist Ukraine with true workers democracy. Part of building that party needs to be on a program that does not play into any illusions in the Euromaiden movement in the streets, but instead boldly defends the right of the elected government of Ukraine to defend itself from the current imperialist / fascist attack and works to organize workers self-defense militias across Ukraine."
In sharp contrast, the State Department "socialists" of the International Socialist Organization (ISO) advocated, "a grassroots effort involving independent workers’ organizations, trade unions and a strengthened left establishing an atmosphere of solidarity within the Maidan, in which the toxic message of hate will wither and die”. As I've reported in previous articles, workers who did try this were put in the hospital by the fascists who lead the Maiden movement. More importantly, those who would have been able to follow this advice would have been participating in an imperialist sponsored and fascist led coup!
The ISO recognized the important position of fascists in the Maiden movement saying “The menace of the far right in Ukraine cannot be understated” and that they are “increasingly at the forefront of the clashes with government forces”. Yet, they go on to argue that because the Maiden protests were an “action from below” that “it would be wrong to dismiss the protest movement wholesale because [of] its presence.” So there we have it. The fake Trotskyists of the ISO supporting any movement coming "from below", ignoring the fact that even Adolf Hitler's movement of Nazi thugs came "from below".
Crimea is Russia! U.S. and EU Imperialist Hands Off!
On March 16th Crimea will be voting on whether they are to become a republic with more sovereignty within Ukraine or become part of Russia. Besides defending Crimea's Russians, the referendum guarantees the language rights also of Crimea's Tatar minority. Historically, Crimea was part of Russia, but it was wrongly given to Ukraine under Khrushchev in 1957. In Crimea, 97% of the people use Russian in their everyday life. Nearly 60% are ethnic Russian and about 13% are Tatar.
The coup parliament (minus elected representatives who were driven out by violence) voted to take away the language rights of all national minorities in Ukraine on February 23rd. This was one day after the U.S. backed central government took power in a far right and anti-democratic coup. In Crimea, this destruction of language rights would have included both the Tatars and Russians, elsewhere the Hungarian, Moldavian, and Romanian minorities as well. Many, including myself, mistakenly thought this meant that language rights had been revoked in Ukraine. This is understandable, because at that time some decisions took effect without the signature of the president. In fact, the coup parliament hadn't even decided on who would be the new president at the time that the anti-language law was passed.
On March 1st, the new coup president decided not to sign the bill revoking language rights. The coup president of Ukraine waited so long to say anything or make a decision on this bill that the rebellion against the parliament's decision and fear of fascists was already taking place in Crimea when he finally decided not to sign the bill. His decision was surely motivated by the fact that the central government was starting to lose eastern portions of Ukraine to anti-chauvinist and fascist uprisings.
The coup government is made up of a closely knit coalition of three capitalist parties, one of which is the neo-Nazi party Svoboda. For neo-Nazi Svoboda leader, Oleg Tyagnibok, the prospect of taking away the language rights of the Russian minority is just the beginning. He recently spoke before supporters in Kiev calling for criminal penalties for speaking in the Russian language. In addition, he called for stripping all ethnic Russians of their Ukrainian citizenship, forcing them to become non-citizens in their own land. In 2010 the official Svoboda internet website included in its program their desire to "physically liquidate all Russian-speaking intellectuals and all Ukrainophobes (Fast, without a trial, shot. Registering Ukrainophobes can be done here by any member of Svoboda)."
The central government has also imposed the current deputy head of South Eastern Ukraine, Boris Filatov. Of Nazi collaborator and Nazi mass murderer Stepan Bandera, Filatov states, “I am proud of Bandera. He is my Hero. Particularly, as I see that people are ready to die under red-and-black flags.” Filatov has also stated his recipe for the solution to the anti-fascist uprisings in the region saying, “Give the scum promises, guarantees and then hang them.” When questioned on this later he explained it was just something he said on social media and not an official statement.
South Eastern Ukraine has a large Russian speaking population. In Crimea, the population rose up, took control of the of the government. Then local self-defense militias combined with alleged Russian troops were able to seize control of Crimea from the central government with the support of the local population. Their support was so widespread that these operations were carried out without spilling any blood. The Crimean population will now vote on becoming part of Russia on March 16th, despite this right being opposed by the U.S., EU, and the coup government in Kiev.
Obama, the EU, and the Kiev government blame Moscow for the anti-fascist uprisings in South Eastern Ukraine, especially Crimea. Reality, however, is far different. People in the region are begging for help from Russia to defend them from the far right chauvinistic government that has seized power in Kiev.
Obama speaks of Ukraine's right to self-determination after the U.S. has overthrown the elected central government in an anti-democratic coup. They overthrew that government because it would not accept the austerity being dictated by the IMF and EU. Likewise, Obama does not recognize the Crimean people's right to self-determination in voting on the status of their republic on March 16th because Obama knows that referendum will reject the imperialist puppets he has imposed on Kiev.
As the alternative to accepting the anti-fascist uprising in Crimea, Obama supports the deputy head of South Eastern Ukraine as appointed by the illegitimate government in Kiev. This is an appointee who loves Nazi mass murderer Stepan Bandera and whose program for the region is, “Give the scum promises, guarantees and then hang them.”
U.S., EU, and IMF Out of Ukraine and Crimea!
-Steven Argue of the Revolutionary Tendency
This is an article of Liberation News, subscribe free:
For three more in-depth articles on what is going on, check out my articles:
US & EU Imperialist Hands Off Crimea, Ukraine, Belarus, & Russia!
Belarus: President Lukashenko Vows to Prevent a Coup Similar to Ukraine
Imperialists Out of Ukraine! Stop Supporting Neo-Nazis! (An earlier article before the coup with in-depth analysis)