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Please begin with an informative title:

The discussion on Daily Kos about Ukraine has largely fallen into the typical Daily Kos factional pro-U.S. administration/anti-U.S. administration battle lines.The debate on dkos seems to often revolve around which State Power to support, ignore, or denounce (relative to one's support of, or opposition to United State's policy) and nuance is sacrificed. I don't dispute most of what is claimed by the more anti-administration crowd on Daily Kos. But based on my readings, what is occurring on the ground in Ukraine and Russia is more complicated than the standard polemics offered.

Despite enormous differences, disparate groups in Ukraine may coalesce around commonalities during a crisis, only to later fall apart due to differences when circumstances change. Borders historically crafted and imposed by external Powers create superficial, weak, and easily exploited divisions of nationalism, pitting one faction against another. Foisting economic policy from outside due to the expression of global capitalistic warfare competition, which results in a complex morass of adversarial relationships and alliances, may serve to exacerbate these internal conflicts, subjecting people to a ruling class tug-of-war between opposing oligarchical elites, with no benefit to the quality of life for everyday people offered by either side. To put it in other terms, it seems some are more concerned about the fate of the various States involved, but don't have much to say about the fate of people living in the midst of the crossfire and the economic realities of people living their lives, regardless of geopolitical intrigues.

The radical left in the region seems to have a deep distrust of Russia's involvement that is not part of the consciousness of the American left. They just don't view Russia as an honest player. In statement after statement, they cite Russia's self-serving capitalism, imperialism, authoritarianism, its willingness to foment, manipulate, and exploit the divisiveness of nationalism, and they fear loss of autonomy, a sealing off of future possibility to powerful Russian influences, with no improvement of their everyday circumstances (this is not to say they have any greater trust of the EU, the IMF, the meddling of the US).  Here's a quote from excerpts below:

The power struggle between oligarchic clans in Ukraine threatens to escalate into an international armed conflict. Russian capitalism intends to use redistribution of Ukrainian state power in order to implement their long-standing imperial and expansionist aspirations in the Crimea and eastern Ukraine where it has strong economic, financial and political interests.

On the background of the next round of the impending economic crisis in Russia, the regime is trying to stoking Russian nationalism to divert attention from the growing workers' socio-economic problems: poverty wages and pensions, dismantling of available health care, education and other social services. In the thunder of the nationalist and militant rhetoric it is easier to complete the formation of a corporate, authoritarian state based on reactionary conservative values and repressive policies.

Here's another excerpt:
[T]he Russian Federation government is controlled by the most conservative advocates of the interests of capital. And that is why those citizens who support a referendum on “reunification” with Russia had better prepare for a police state and for an antisocial policy. We will not allow for the precedent of a victory for Russian imperialism. Despite the claims of Ukrainian bourgeois nationalists, there are no traces of socialism at all left in Russia. The population of Ukraine will start to hate Russians even more, while among the Russian masses imperialistic and revanchist illusions will grow stronger. Hitler-style promises of a better life will culminate in a catastrophe for the aggressor nation. Let us not forget that this war is also an opportunity for Western capital to bring in its own armies and to seize part of Ukrainian territory.
If these events were to flare up into violent conflict, it will be mostly the Russians and Ukrainians who suffer the real consequences of war, not Americans or members of the EU (the involvement of NATO notwithstanding). Russians (and Ukrainians too, of course) have as much legitimacy in opposing Russian militarism/imperialism as Americans have in opposing the same on the part of the United States. It is always the working class who end up on the front lines as cannon fodder to the economic benefit of the global 1%, the capitalist class. Rather than be coerced into shooting bullets at each other on behalf of oligarchical interests, the working class should join hands in solidarity against war. We must oppose the saber rattling in both the US and in Russia.

While I am no expert on Ukraine, and I find the complexity bewildering, I am doubtful that the current focus on the US/Russia divide will serve as an accurate model by which to understand the real situation as experienced by Ukrainians and Russians. There are many perspectives outside of this American framework.

In this context, to supplement the discussion on Daily Kos of the turmoil in Ukraine, I've posted a series of statements issued by the anarcho-syndicalist and socialist left in the region. I do not warrant or endorse all that is said in the following excerpts, and I also urge people to read the entire articles which I've terribly butchered to spark an interest here.

Most of these are declarations republished in full on numerous leftist websites.

The list of links I will draw upon, for your perusal:

Declaration of Internationalists against the war in Ukraine

Autonomous Workers Union statement on Russian intervention

Crimea—Not “Ours” or “Yours”

Ukrainians, Russians and Europeans against Putin's war

Left Opposition: Ukraine will be saved from intervention by solidarity

No war with Ukraine! A statement from the Russian Socialist Movement

Open Letter to the European Left

UKRAINE: Ukrainian anarchist dispels myths surrounding Euromaidan protests, warns of fascist influence

Maidan and its contradictions: interview with a Ukrainian revolutionary syndicalist

H/T to libcom.org

H/T to anarchistnews dot org


You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

I will begin with a statement issued by the Russian section of the International Worker's Association (IWA) which adds some dimension not yet included.

    Declaration of Internationalists against the war in Ukraine

    War on war! Not a single drop a blood for the "nation”!

    The power struggle between oligarchic clans in Ukraine threatens to escalate into an international armed conflict. Russian capitalism intends to use redistribution of Ukrainian state power in order to implement their long-standing imperial and expansionist aspirations in the Crimea and eastern Ukraine where it has strong economic, financial and political interests.

    On the background of the next round of the impending economic crisis in Russia, the regime is trying to stoking Russian nationalism to divert attention from the growing workers' socio-economic problems: poverty wages and pensions, dismantling of available health care, education and other social services. In the thunder of the nationalist and militant rhetoric it is easier to complete the formation of a corporate, authoritarian state based on reactionary conservative values and repressive policies.

    In Ukraine, the acute economic and political crisis has led to increased confrontation between "old" and "new" oligarchic clans, and the first used including ultra-rightist and ultra-nationalist formations for making a state coup in Kiev. The political elite of Crimea and eastern Ukraine does not intend to share their power and property with the next in turn Kiev rulers and trying to rely on help from the Russian government. Both sides resorted to rampant nationalist hysteria: respectively, Ukrainian and Russian. There are armed clashes, bloodshed. The Western powers have their own interests and aspirations, and their intervention in the conflict could lead to World War III.

    Warring cliques of bosses force, as usual, force to fight for their interests us, ordinary people: wage workers, unemployed, students, pensioners... Making us drunkards of nationalist drug, they set us against each other, causing us forget about our real needs and interests: we don`t and can`t care about their "nations" where we are now concerned more vital and pressing problems – how to make ends meet in the system which they found to enslave and oppress us.

    We will not succumb to nationalist intoxication. To hell with their state and “nations”, their flags and offices! This is not our war, and we should not go on it, paying with our blood their palaces, bank accounts and the pleasure to sit in soft chairs of authorities. And if the bosses in Moscow, Kiev, Lviv, Kharkiv, Donetsk and Simferopol start this war, our duty is to resist it by all available means!

    No war between "nations"-no peace between classes!

    KRAS, Russian section of the International Workers Association
    Internationalists of Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, Israel, Lithuania
    Anarchist Federation of Moldova
    Fraction of the Revolutionary Socialists (Ukraine)

    The statement is open for signature

From http://www.aitrus.info/...

Autonomous Workers Union statement on Russian intervention
On February 27, 2014, pro-Russian chauvinists of Crimea, supported by Berkut riot police and Russian Black Sea Fleet committed military coup in Crimea. Right now it’s already obvious that the government of “Russian Unity” movement headed by Aksionov is no more than a puppet of the Kremlin regime.

We don’t regard Ukraine’s territorial integrity and inviolability of its borders as a value, we are against violent “pacification” of Crimea, but we think that the status of Crimea should be defined with due regard to the opinion of the Crimean Tatar minority.

The latest events show that Putin is not going to limit himself with the annexation of Crimea. The aim of the imperialist Kremlin regime is to expand the Russian practices on all territory of Ukraine.

Thereby the Russian regime proved to be the main threat to the interests of the proletariat at the post-Soviet area.

We are opponents of war and militarism. But we think that in this situation conscious proletarians can rely on nobody but themselves.

There’s no point in waiting for “rescue” from Nato. Ukrainian nationalist politicians can only organize defense of a part of territory at best. The war can be averted only if proletarians of all countries, first and foremost Ukrainian and Russian, together make a stand against the criminal regime of Putin.

Joint action by the Ukrainian and Russian proletariat and all progressive democratic forces which will put an end to Putin’s regime, will also mean an end to the current neoliberal-oriented nationalist regime in Ukraine.

While for the leftists and anarchists of the West it’s high time to cut ties with the so-called “anti-imperialism” which comes down to the support of the Putin’s regime against the US.

No war between nations, no peace between classes!

Source; http://avtonomia.net/...

The following essay, translated from the original Russian, is well worth a read for a view much different than anything expressed to date on Daily Kos. This really needs to be read in its entirety, for I have badly butchered it here for brevity. My selective quotes are meant to tease the reader to read the entire article, which is critical of all sides. Overall, the piece cries out for self-determination of the people.

"Crimea, Not Ours or Yours"

Events in Ukraine are moving at a terrifying speed.This statement was prepared by the editors of the OpenLeft in the morning of March 1st, 2014. Today, March 2nd, at 2 pm, Russians in different cities will hold rallies against a possible Russian intervention into Ukraine.
The Ukrainian peninsula has had the misfortune of finding itself on the intersection of Russia’s imperialist ambitions and the brute nationalist politics of the “new” Ukraine. Open Left declares – the Crimean self-determination movement precedes both the imperialist games and the nationalist frenzy.

Today more than ever before it is necessary to call a spade a spade: what’s happening in Crimea these days is a classic act of imperialist intervention on the part of the Russian state. It is a stupid, cowardly, and inconsequent intervention – which is also how Vladimir Putin’s regime itself can be described. We can see that the plan to pressure Ukraine is being written on the go: two weeks ago, the Kremlin, without thinking about the consequences, was pushing Yanukovich toward the most brutal forcible dispersal of the Maidan; a week ago it was supporting the failed “separatist” congress of the disoriented state officials in Kharkiv, and right now they are playing the “Crimean card”, seemingly long forgotten over the past decade.

The question put to referendum on May 25th is leaving a large array of possibilities for further shadow trade – both with the main imperialist players, the US and the EU, and with the new Ukrainian government controlled by the old oligarchic partners of Kremlin from Yulia Tymoshenko’s circle.
Only the residents of the Crimea – the Russians, Tatars, and Ukrainians – will be left alone with their problems. The inhabitants of this depressed region, regardless of the flows of tourists and the presence of military bases, will remain squeezed between the right-wing politicos from Kiev, the “defenders of the Russians” fed by local oligarchs, and the cynical maneuvers of the Russian state, which spits on the rights and freedoms of its own 143 million citizens.
The population’s right to self-determination will remain trampled for as long as the Crimea, and Ukraine as a whole, remains a zone of conflict among external forces – both from the West and from the East.
Today it is very difficult to evaluate and predict the actual consequences of the Kiev Maidan. It has led both to the resurgence of the oligarch clans suppressed by Yanukovych, and brought about victories for the popular grass-roots movement that were unthinkable for the post-Soviet space. Maidan has opened the sluices of activity of the far-right thugs – and at the same time has spurred to political life great masses of people, who perhaps for the first time perceive that they themselves are capable of determining their fate. This range of possibilities has the potential to resolve itself both into progressive social changes, and into the victory of extreme reaction. But the final decision must, without doubt, be left to the people of Ukraine themselves – whether in Kiev or Lvov, or in the Crimea or Donetsk.
"Ukrainians, Russians and Europeans against Putin's war"
The anti-war demonstrations today are the only shaft of light I can see in a dark sky overshadowed by the danger of war, with 6000 Russian troops reportedly on Ukrainian territory in Crimea, some of them surrounding Ukrainian bases.

In Moscow, anti-war demonstrators were detained in large numbers. Each time protesters assembled on Manezhnaya square in the city centre, more were arrested. Novaya Gazeta, the liberal opposition paper, reported 265 arrests and counting just after 16.00 Moscow time.

Voices on the Russian radical left were unequivocal. [See "Crimea, not ours or yours" upthread - ZhenRen]


Large numbers joined demonstrations against the war not only in Kyiv but in all the large Russian-speaking cities in the east. Ukrainska Pravda reported a demonstration of 5-10,000 people against Putin’s aggression in Nikolaev, a predominantly Russian-speaking city in southern Ukraine. The report said that agricultural and public sector workers, students and the intelligentsia were all at the march.

In Dnipropetrovsk, a predominantly Russian-speaking industrial city, and Odessa, the predominantly Russian-speaking port city in southern Ukraine, several thousand people joined similar marches. There were demos in Kharkiv, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporozhye – smaller than pro-Russian marches ... but shamefully downplayed by western media reports.

In Kyiv, the radical left called for working-class solidarity against Putin’s militarism. “There’s no point in waiting for ‘rescue’ from Nato”, said a statement by the Autonomous Workers Union, published in English here. “The war can be averted only if proletarians of all countries, first and foremost Ukrainian and Russian, together make a stand against the criminal regime of Putin.”

Activists in eastern Ukraine

Messages from activists in social movements in eastern Ukraine painted a grim picture. My friend G., a trade union activist based in Dniprodzerzhinsk, emailed to say: “Most ordinary people are cautious or hostile to the [Ukrainian] nationalists, and so Euromaidan got very meagre support here. There have been many rallies here against the accession to power [in Ukraine] of ‘fascists’ and ‘nationalists’.

“But after Russia sent its forces into Crimea and threatened war – both sides appeared ready temporarily to drop their differences and defend Ukraine. The bottom line is that this conflict is starting to unite people. Those who openly support Russian intervention are not visible right now.

“On the other hand there is the threat of the right radicals coming to power.


In London, home to the largest community of Russian migrants in western Europe, an anti-war demonstration at the Russian embassy was followed by action at Trafalgar Square, where Boris Johnson was hosting a festival to mark Maslenitsa (the Russian equivalent of Shrove Tuesday). A banner saying “No invasions! Stop repressions!” was hung over the balcony of the square.


Against what is Vladimir Putin directing this war? The story being told in the western media is that he seeks to undermine Ukraine’s new government – nationalist and right wing, with a neoliberal economist prime minister, and portfolios held mainly by members of Batkivshchina (Yulia Timoshenko’s right wing liberal party) and the extreme nationalist populists of Svoboda.

I don’t think this coalition, thrown together in the crisis that followed Yanukovich’s departure, is his main target. Rather, it is the mass movement that accompanied the Maidan protests, which brought ordinary Ukrainians into political and social action on a level unprecedented since the break-up of the Soviet Union. Above all, Putin fears the spread of protest, and popular participation, into Russia.

But there is no question about where the greatest threat is coming from to working-class solidarity, to social movements, and to the attempts of people in Ukraine and Russia to shape their own future ... it comes from Putin’s militarism.
Let’s support the anti-war movement and independent working-class and social movements in Ukraine and Russia however we can.
Left Opposition: Ukraine will be saved from intervention by solidarity
The socialist union “Left Opposition” offers its assessment of the Russian aggression in Crimea and the destructive role of Ukrainian nationalists. The intervention of Russian armies was made possible as a result of a split in Ukrainian society. Its unity is impossible with the oligarchs and chauvinists in power. Only solidarity will save Ukraine.

1) We are for the self determination of Crimea only after the withdrawal of the Russian armies that are carrying out this flagrant intervention. We are for the self determination of the people, and not of the mercenary elite who “self determine” so as to protect themselves from Crimeans with the muzzles of Russian automatic weapons. The outcome of separatism in Crimea will become the rebirth of the Russian empire, which threatens a world war.

2) The justification of Putin’s aggression is the nationalist hysteria that the leaders of the Maidan have ignored. Aggressive xenophobic jokes were treated as normal, and even today on anti-war pickets we are still hearing provocative slogans like “Glory to the nation! Death to its enemies!” The Kremlin’s manipulation of these slogans has frightened the people of the East and South. However, the aggression initiated by the Russian Federation is patently imperialistic and aimed against the revolutionary republic (the genuine revolution, unfavourable for the oligarchs, only just began to unfold and it was sure to put the question of social lustration on the order of the day).

A war of liberation if led by the Ukrainian oligarchs would resolve itself in the fascisisation of society: we can expect unification around mythical national interests, an unrestrained dictatorship and the conduct of social policies aimed at concentrating wealth in the hands of the elite. Our government can claim popular legitimacy only after a social lustration has been carried out.  However, our government has been legitimised by the threat of foreign intervention – we are forced to love a regime, not our country. Government in Ukraine is progressively passing directly into the hands of the oligarchs (Kolomoisky and Taruta have become governors). The oligarchs plundered our country, and now they are demanding that hungry people stand in defense of their corrupt state!

[The statement goes on to discuss the composition of the Maidan not being uniform, and the myth of the "fascist Maidan", how radical nationalists spoiled the protest with xenophobia, opposition to linguistic determination, Russia's capitalism ("Despite the claims of Ukrainian bourgeois nationalists, there are no traces of socialism at all left in Russia"). To read all seven points click here...]

This declaration was made by the Central Committee of the Russian Socialist Federation on 1 March 2014.
War has begun. With the aim of protecting and increasing the assets of the oligarchs in Russia and in Yanukovich’s coterie, Russia’s leadership has undertaken an invasion of Ukraine. This aggression threatens catastrophic consequences for the Ukrainian and Russian peoples — most especially for the population of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Ukraine’s southeastern industrial regions.

For Ukraine, this will also mean an escalation of ethnic conflicts; for Russia, a consolidation of dictatorial power, repression, and chauvinist hysteria, with which the ruling elite will be able to neutralize mass anger against a backdrop of deepening economic crisis. We share the concern of residents of the southeast over the nationalistic tendencies of the new authorities in Kyiv.

It is, however, our firm conviction that freedom will be won not by Putin’s tanks, but by self-organization and the people’s own struggle for their civil, political, and socio-economic rights.

It goes without saying that the peoples of Ukraine have a right of self-determination, of full autonomy and independence. But what we are seeing today has nothing to do with the democratic will of the masses. It is a brazen and cynical act of Russian imperialism, aimed at annexing foreign territory and converting Ukraine into part of Russia’s protectorate.

Today, the struggle for freedom in Russia is a struggle against the foreign policy adventurism of the current regime, which seeks collusion in forestalling its own end. The RSD calls on all sincere left and democratic forces to organize anti-war protests. Our demands:






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