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Donbas challenges U.S. backed Ukrainian fascists

Commentary by David Hungerford |
June 6, 2014
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The Ukraine crisis is an attack by U.S. imperialism, along with local fascists, on the people of Ukraine. The European Union has been ally of the U.S. attack.

The former government of Viktor Yanukovich was driven out by neo-Nazis, in the Feb. 20-22 coup d’état. These include the U.S.-funded Svoboda Party and several thousand street hooligans of the Right Sector. There has been hidden intervention on the part of the European Union. A ‘government’ of neo-Nazis in key places was named and recognized by the U.S. on no legal basis whatever. It is really only a junta, a dictatorial lineup imposed from outside.

One of Washington’s main objectives is to bring Ukraine into NATO. That directly threatens Russia militarily. It also threatens Russia’s internal security. Despite the hysterical raving of Wall Street’s government and media mouthpieces, Russia has so far entered the picture only secondarily.

Svoboda and the Right Sector both give allegiance to an infamous man named Stepan Bandera. During WW II Bandera organized guerilla forces that fought Soviet partisans in alliance with the Nazis. They murdered tens of thousands of Poles and Jews before the Soviet partisans and Red Army made them pay for their crimes.

Because it is mostly made up of Nazis, the junta has not been recognized by the people it supposedly governs. 7 million people in the Ukraine were killed by the Nazis in World War II. Few will accept the return of Nazism. The US/Nazi attack has aroused a tremendous spirit not seen since revolutionary times.

A man interviewed in Kramatorsk on April 19 spoke for many. He is worth quoting at length. He said, “The Banderites who have now come here and want to impose their ideology on us have given us a precious gift because they have awakened for us in East Ukraine our patriotism, which had been dormant for many years. 

“This happened because people had forgotten more or less who they used to be, who they had become. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 led to a kind of depression. People saw this event, the collapse of the Soviet Union, as a kind of natural disaster. The Soviet Union fell apart, and the rain came. People didn't understand what had happened - they were demoralized, they used to believe in their leaders. 

“Now people understand that it is not necessary to believe in leaders. We don't need to believe in any Yanukovich, we don't need to believe in a Party of Regions. We need to organize ourselves by ourselves - and to remember our own history, remember our own culture. That is our foundation. 

“So thank you to all the Banderites who have come into Kiev, and who have made people remember who they are, who they are in the world, and above all why they are here on this earth.”

The heroism of the people stands out time after time. Victory Day, May 9, commemorating the victory of the Soviet Union over Nazi Germany, is the biggest holiday of the year in all post-Soviet lands. On Victory Day this year a junta-appointed Nazi governor in the city of Kherson had the gall and the stupidity to praise Hitler as a “liberator” from the “tyrant Stalin.” His filthy insults of the people’s history met with an explosion of anger and inspiring resistance from the crowd.

Mass heroism stands out most clearly where the people’s resistance is strongest, in the eastern and southern parts of the country. Early in April municipal buildings in several cities were seized by the people, who proclaimed the People’s Republic of Donetsk and the People’s Republic of Lugansk. No government has recognized them. That does not matter. The important thing is that people themselves recognize them. They refuse to be governed by the U.S./Nazi Kiev junta.

Referenda on the People’s Republics were set up for May 11. They were held on short notice, with minimal organization and little expenditure of money. The questions were, “Do you support the declaration of state independence of the Donetsk/Lukansk People's Republic?” The Kiev junta sent military and terrorist forces to mount attacks against several towns to disrupt the voting. The referenda went on anyway because of the people’s will.

Huge crowds turned out to vote, sometimes waiting in line for hours. The participation rate in the Donetsk People's Republic was 75%, of which 89% voted for independence. The participation rate in the Lugansk People's Republic was 81%, out of which 90% voted independence. 

Not much reliable information on the leaders of the People’s Republics is available at this time. The people face great challenges. Only those worthy of the people can lead. It is a practical question. The solution will take time.

The votes refuted claims in western countries that the separatist movements are the work of Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin called for postponement of the May 11 vote. A self-defense guard in Slovyansk was quoted in the UK Guardian as saying, “He is a coward. He will pay for this with a revolution in [Moscow's] Red Square.”

Time after time the U.S./Nazi junta has mounted attacks on the people. Hundreds have died in dozens of attacks but the people are unshaken. They defeated Hitler’s armies during World War II. They will defeat the junta. They will defeat U.S. imperialism.

On the other hand the Kiev lineup is an unholy mess. The fascist groups Svoboda and the Right Sector are rivals for power. Another prop of U.S. regime change is a few oligarchs, i.e., gangster-boss capitalists who built their fortunes by stealing everything in sight. There are reports that the CIA is running the show from behind the scenes. The German press reports that 400 U.S. Blackwater mercenaries are in country as enforcers for the junta.

After having been stoned, mercilessly beaten and burned with Molotov cocktails in Maidan Square by the Right Sector, the police are unreliable. Like the police, the soldiers of the former state sometimes obey orders but often not. The junta sent tank columns into the cities of Kramatorsk and Slavyansk in mid-April to crush the uprising. Instead the crews got out of their vehicles and joined the uprising, saying they would not kill their own people. Things got so bad CIA director John Brennan had to visit Kiev in April in an attempt to straighten things out.

The junta’s main force against the people has been the street hooligans of the Right Sector, but they are undisciplined. At the crucial moment on Feb. 20 in Maidan Square in Kiev, hooligans were whipped to a murderous frenzy by sniper fire that killed as many as 100 people. The dead included both Right Sector protesters and the police forces of the Yanukovich government. It later came out that the shootings came from a single source and that the opposition rather than the government was behind the killings.

The same tactic was used during the May 2 massacre in Odessa that claimed the lives of anti-Kiev activists in the Trade Union Hall. The police, infiltrated by the Right Sector, failed to protect the anti-Kiev activists from attack by a Right Sector mob. The massacre was carefully planned.

EU foreign policy representative Catherine Ashton issued a statement on May 3, stating “The facts which led to this tragic loss of so many human lives must now be established in an independent investigation and those responsible for these criminal acts brought to justice.”

She said the EU urged everyone to exercise restraint and not to exploit events in Odessa “to fuel more hatred, division and senseless violence.” She also said, “All political forces must now assume their responsibility and engage in a peaceful and inclusive dialogue to find a joint way out of the crisis.”

It is a good statement on the face of it. It indicates serious divisions between some EU countries and the U.S. It also indicates Ashton had a good idea of what really went on. A thorough independent investigation should surely be carried out.

The main problem is the U.S. aggression. U.S. imperialism is now in a predicament. All of the difficulties were obvious. The ideology of Svoboda and the Right Sector would put them at odds with the people. The two are rivals for power. It is folly to rely on mob-boss oligarchs to govern. None of the junta factions have political program. The people will resist a foreign takeover of their country. Policymakers are paid to know these things. They went ahead and overthrew the Yanukovich government anyway.

The economic prospect of the west of the Ukraine is ruinous and sure to bring further unrest. The U.S. still shows no willingness to engage in any political process that could end the crisis. The American people want no part of any war in Ukraine. Sooner or later they will see through all the hypocrisy and lies that they have been fed. U.S. imperialism will meet a disastrous defeat.

On May 25 leaders of the two Republics signed a unity agreement to form a single state called Novorossiya (New Russia.) On the same day the oligarch Petr Poroshenko was anointed ‘president’ in a light-turnout travesty election in the eastern part of the country. The same western ‘let’s pretend’ media that scorned the genuine people’s referenda had no problem singing the praises of the Kiev regime farce. The first thing he did was launch a heavy weapons assault on the cities of Novorossiya, Donetsk, Slavyansk and others.

The people of the regions who have refused to submit to the junta are the bastion of world peace. So far they have responded only to defend themselves. However, the people’s self-defense forces are as yet small and not yet well-armed. The people are up to the challenge but much depends on the ability of the leaders.

Private property in the means of production itself is coming into question. Donetsk oligarch Rinat Akhmetov declared himself on the side of Kiev on May 20 when he called on workers at his industrial plants to demonstrate against the People’s Republic.

In response, People’s Republic of Donetsk leader Denis Pushilin warned him that all of his factories would be nationalized. “All these years we were stolen from, stolen from by local oligarchs,” said Pushilin.

“Any problem can be solved with a telephone call, especially for Akhmetov,” said a local newspaper editor. “But now you have 500 people with guns for whom telephone calls don’t exist, and all your billions mean nothing.”

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