By Theo Russell
Campaigners for solidarity with those resisting the fascist junta in Ukraine have seen some minor but important victories recently.
Last month Andrei Sokolov, a Russian left activist and political prisoner, who was kidnapped by unknown assailants in Ukraine and disappeared after leaving a courtroom in April, was released from a secret prison after 8 months.
Also last month, Alla Aleksandrovskaya, the 68 year-old head of the now banned Communist Party of Ukraine Kharkov district and ex-people’s deputy, was released from prison and placed under house arrest. She has been in poor health since her arrest on ‘separatism’ charges in June.
But there is no room for complacency. Vadim Troyan, deputy commander of the openly Nazi Azov Battalion has been appointed chief of police the capital Kiev by Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, who also has close connections with the Azov Battalion.
Meanwhile, totally ignored by the ‘free and democratic’ Western mass media, the war in the Donbas and deliberate shelling of civilians by the Ukraine Armed Forces and fascist battalions continues day after day. Dozens of civilians are being killed and wounded every month, without a whisper from the BBC, whose network extends to virtually every country in the world including Ukraine.
Another threat to the Donbas people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk is the possibility of an armed ‘police’ mission by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). OSCE has had a mission monitoring the war in eastern Ukraine for some time and is involved in attempts to implement the two failed ceasefires under the Minsk agreements, which is why Russia has continued to participate in it.
But it is still essentially an extension of European Union imperialism, and has long been accused of biased reporting by the representatives of the Donbas republics. Earlier this year large demonstrations took place in the Donbas after rumours of such a mission, which its leaders declared would be “foreign intervention”.
There is no realistic prospect of such a force in the immediate future, but at the meeting of the ‘Normandy Four’ last month in Berlin Vladimir Putin, and the presidents of France, Germany and Ukraine, signalled “potential” support for an armed OSCE mission.
Last week Dr Yevgenii Gerasymenko, a barrister based in Kiev, told a meeting in London organised by Liberation that in today’s Ukraine “trade unions exist legally, but effectively they don’t exist”.
They have been forced to sell off buildings and Soviet-era assets such as holiday camps and clinics, and “are now in fact ‘owned’ by wealthy individuals”. Some have even held joint actions with the armed fascist groups. Anyone protesting against rocketing unemployment, corruption or lost savings are labelled criminal, ‘separatist’ or “the hand of Putin”.
OSCE has declared every election in Ukraine since the February 2014 fascist coup legitimate. And earlier this year Britain doubled its military assistance to Ukraine, to provide training for an army which now incorporates 84 fascist battalions.There is absolutely no democracy in Ukraine, and its working people are being ruthlessly crushed. International solidarity with Ukraine’s citizens resisting this dictatorship must go on.