Ukrainian Communists: Defend constitution vs. ultra-right, privatizers

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After months of increasingly violent protests, demonstrators in Kiev and other areas of Ukraine have apparently succeeded in ousting President Victor Yanukovych from the presidential mansion. Yanukovych, from the Party of Regions, was elected in 2010. He and others are calling this a coup, and it is not clear that he will cede power.

The events that brought the Ukraine situation to this point include the armed overthrow of the oblast (provincial) and city governments in Lviv in the far west of Ukraine, and the seizure of armaments from the arsenal there by members of the far-right Svoboda Party. That area is a hotbed of extreme right-wing politics, having been the base of the Stepan Bandera fascist group that fought against the Soviet government during and after World War II.  The ultra-right, anti-Semitic, Russophobic and anti-Polish Svoboda Party has been at the center of political violence since the demonstrations against the Yanukovych government began last November.

The level of bloodshed in Kiev, the capital, rose sharply with a confirmed total of 83 deaths. This occurred after former boxer and head of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform Party Vitali Klitschko and right-wing Fatherland Party leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. The two returned to Kiev and repudiated a truce that had been negotiated by President Yanukovych, sparking more violent clashes. The  Russian press reports that more than 5,000 armed members of the Svoboda Party militia were trucked to Kiev from Lviv. The 83 confirmed deaths included not only protesters, but numerous members of the riot police attempting to clear Independence Square.

President Yanukovych abandoned Kiev on Feb. 22. A special session of parliament was called, mostly at the instigation of the ultra-right Svoboda Party. Many parliamentarians from Yanukovych's Party of Regions were prevented from voting. The legality of the vote to strip Yanukovych of his presidency and replace him on an interim basis with Oleksandr Turchynov of the Fatherland Party is being called into question as possibly unconstitutional. Turchynov is a close ally of former President Yulia Tymoshenko and a fundamentalist Baptist pastor.

An early action of this "interim" government was to release Tymoshenko, also of the Fatherland Party, from prison. Her jailing in 2011, on grounds of having been involved in corrupt dealings with Russian tycoons, has been used by some in Ukraine but especially the West as a club to pressure Yanukovych. After her release, when she spoke to the protesters in the Independence Square she was obviously in poor health.

Yanukovych appears to have headed eastward to his own base of mass support in the Kharkov region in eastern Ukraine, where the population feels much closer to Russia than to the European Union. The new regime in Kiev has called for his arrest, and has revoked Yanukovych's legislation that gave equal status to Russian residents of the Ukraine and ethnic Ukrainians. This revocation is sure to be resented in the east where people may consider themselves Ukrainians but the majority speaks Russian.  Yanukovych was last reported in the Crimean region of eastern Ukraine.

The rise of the ultra-right has set off alarm bells in Ukraine's Jewish community.  The Chabad chief rabbi of the Ukraine, Moshe Reuven Asman, called on all Jews to leave Kiev and if possible the Ukraine, after two rabbinical students were attacked by right-wing nationalist thugs during the Kiev uprising.

In the eastern Ukraine there are also two major flashpoints. The city of.  Odessa, on the Black Sea, is a major strongpoint of the Communist Party of the Ukraine. The party, though also highly critical of Yanukovych, has denounced the events in Kiev and warned its members to expect violent repression.

The Crimean peninsula, also on the Black Sea, was not historically part of Ukraine but was transferred to Ukrainian administration by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in 1954. The population is majority Russian, with minorities of Ukrainians and Tatars who have trickled back there after being expelled eastwards during World War II. The Crimea is an autonomous republic within Ukraine, but Russia retains a very important naval base in Sevastopol on a long-term lease. The base is of vital geopolitical and military importance to Russia. There are reports in the Russian and Western press of the recruitment of militias in both Odessa and the Crimea to resist anti-Russian measures by the new Ukrainian government.

Interim President Turchynov called for Russia to respect Ukraine's choice to orient itself toward the West and integrate itself with European institutions. But many say the Ukrainians are going to find out that this will entail the same brutal austerity programs that are being imposed on poorer nations in the European Union such as Greece, Portugal and Ireland. They may regret missing out on more generous trade and aid terms Russian President Vladimir Putin was offering them.

The U.S. ambassador in Kiev, Geoffrey Pyatt, and Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, a former Bush administration official, have not only meddled in the Ukraine but are directly implicated in the overthrow of a legally elected government. An intercepted telephone conversation between the two, which has gained notoriety in the West because of Nuland's reported observation "Fuck the EU," revealed the existence of American and EU support for a coup against Yanukovych. This is important because there is a real danger of further armed clashes between the new U.S.- and German-supported regime in Kiev and not only what is left of the Yanukovych government in eastern Ukraine, but perhaps Russia as well.

A statement by the presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Ukraine (CPU) on Feb. 25 blamed both the "arrogant, self-confident, bankrupt" Yanukovych government and "foreign emissaries behaving as if the Ukraine were a mandated territory" for precipitating a crisis which has unleashed a terror campaign by the neo-Nazi ultra-right in Ukraine.  The party expressed "deep concern over ... the stirring up of anti-Communist hysteria, ... bandit attacks on the offices of our party in Kiev and other cities, moral and physical terror against Communists."

The Communist Party of the Ukraine also called for restoration of "normal operation of all authorities and government, to stop any manifestation of lawlessness and tyranny, to prevent persecution of people for their political beliefs and ideological views, and to defend the Constitution of the Ukraine and the rights and freedoms of citizens."

The CPU characterized the current crisis as "a relentless struggle within the ruling class - the various factions of oligarchic capital." It called for reform of government at all levels and the return of privatized firms "to the ownership of the people," as necessary steps for resolving the economic crisis, and demanded a national referendum on ties to the European Union and the Eurasian Union.

Photo: A scene in Kiev, Ukraine, Jan. 22, 2014. tandalov.com CC 2.0

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  • When a country joins the EU, it has to convert its currency to Euros, at a price. (Except the British who still maintain a globalized financial system including offshore banks.) At that point the original currency becomes worthless and the new member must offer up its resources and labor for sale, cheap ("privatized"). Then NATO is sent in to restore order as a debt collection agency. Finally, the EU could become a collection of warring little feudal states and the British oligarchy mops up, unless all the players unite to transform old Europe through long term development of infrastructure and improvement of the standard of living.

    Posted by charlesmagne, 04/20/2014 3:16pm (8 months ago)

  • One of the few defenses that the workers and people of the Ukraine have is being identified by the Communist Party of Ukraine-and that is their Constitution.
    It is both ultra-right distorted policy of the United States, along with violent, reactionary, deadly European Neo-Nazi forces that is behind this anti-Semitic disaster.
    As the CPU is demanding, the workers and communists everywhere have to strongly insist on the preservation of Constitutional law, and a democratic national referendum on ties to the economic Unions there: both European and Eurasian.

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 02/28/2014 9:56am (10 months ago)

  • Hello,

    I heard that Yanokovich since october had lots of money put away at a postbox of a Dutch tax-adviser. I was before also very surprised that he hang too the EU-institutions. Also there is a newspaper which show the Ukrain flag together with the EU-flag. Maybe there was a turn in his politics, but then maybe that was recent. The money now is frozen, I suppose. Within Amsterdam the socalled social-democrats has a nosocial-nodemocrat politics against souvereighn countries, and occupation of the continent was not opposed by them. Of course supported by other wrong elements in society. Maybe only in Amsterdam there is openly a support of facism, like the building of Slotervaarthospital in the form of a Swastika. That dates from 1975, also at the time that SouthAfrica still had an Apartheidsregime (with old dutch boer., but also with newer dutch immigrants and compagnies). Because of the occupation of eastern europe we got here a statue of the Olympic Greeting back, which before was removed because it was exactly like the Hitler-Greeting. During the games Amsterdam was a mess and somewhere I founded out, that they renamed a streetname into the Hitlerstreet. The worst of all is ofcourse is that nobody takes that away! Also at the monuments it was a big mess. I suppose that the socalled anti-jewish thing is also somehow hypocritical. But it is true: if you do not like this stuf if you are a jew then it happens anyway. And a bad atmosphere can turn for the worse ofcourse. From the beginning the fascist occupution of eastern europe is supported by Amsterdam and also by those who call them self left. In the first place it is a movement that is anticommunistic.

    Posted by Jose van Dijk, 02/28/2014 5:04am (10 months ago)

  • Place the coup in Ukraine in historical perspective.

    The U.S. CIA has engineered coups against many governments that take an independent path. Demonstrations leading up to the coup are mirrored in Ukraine. Instigated and supported by the CIA, peaceful demonstrations turn violent. Thugs hired by the CIA attack government and private institutions and attract government response. Iran 1953, Guatemala 1954, Indonesia 1965, Chile 1973, Grenada, Yugoslavia 1998, Libya, Honduras 2009, Venezuela today.

    Victoria Nuland's intercepted call to Ambassador Pyatt was just the State Department's effort to pull of the coup. Not to recognize the CIA playbook means not seeing the bloody hand of imperialism in operation.

    If this coup succeeds austerity, as the article states, will be accompanied by theft of resources, installation of NATO and moves to the Russian border, increased infiltration into Russia of saboteurs leading to, as Brzezinski has called for, the break-up of Russia.

    The 1% and their allies have no shame in playing this dangerous game. It is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I over imperial rivalries. We should not be in any way complacent - global conflagration threatens.

    Posted by HenryCT, 02/27/2014 11:19pm (10 months ago)

  • Good to get some informative reports from the Ukraine. US and EU meddling into the affairs of the old Soviet Republics has been going on from before the breakup. One can see CIA footprints all over this thing - just as it was clear in the Republic of Georgia. Western Capitalism especially the Corporations that make up the so-called military-industrial complex need continual warfare and national paranoia. They need tension with Russia, chaos in the Middle east and economic enslavement of as much of the world as possible. The future is here now. History now enters the rule of the Corporate overlords.

    Posted by lincoln smith, 02/27/2014 5:58pm (10 months ago)

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