Political talk from outside of the UK
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#405195
Good interview with Volodymyr Ishchenko, one of the few genuinely insightful commentators on Ukraine.
RF: The dominant pro-Western narrative in the West, epitomised by the recent work of Timothy Snyder and Andrew Wilson, is that Ukraine represents the innate drive towards Russian expansionism. What would be your response to this?
We have to analyse the whole situation as a result of the rivalry between competing imperialisms. Yes there is the fact of military intervention into Ukraine, the supply of weapons and in August (and also recently), sending in Russian troops, albeit in a limited way. But this is not the result of some extreme, evil nature of Russian imperialism but rather the result of the uneven distribution of opportunities and resources for each of the competing imperialisms in Ukraine. If the Ukrainian government has become completely loyal to Western hegemony and to the requirements of the IMF, what is the point of the US intervening militarily?

This argument by Andrew Wilson and others is a legitimisation of Western imperialism. So Putin is a new Hitler and we all have to unite, the left and the right (Snyder is pretending to be at least liberal left) to fight this absolute enemy. This is what is at stake now, Western European “civilised values”. This can develop into racist overtones. In the end it will become just a clear ideological legitimisation of the interests of the European and American ruling classes.

In the same way Russian imperialism is legitimised by the conservative, patriarchal defence of Russian dignity, sovereignty and their rightful place in the world, which they lost when the USSR collapsed.

The problem now is that values we would uphold as progressive — minority rights, gender equality, formal democracy — have been used as part of this imperialist rivalry. So to a significant extent they have become discredited and seen as unimportant. The left must work out how to maintain an independent position against this inter-imperialist rivalry; otherwise you just become left supporters of one rival or another.
RF: What is your assessment of the impact of the crisis on the left and of the challenges the left face?
That is a big question. The majority of the left has dissolved into supporters of this or that camp. In the final instance it is a consequence of the weakness of the working class, and of the left’s class analysis as well. Actually one can trace these problems as far back as the 1960s. We have the influence of the postmodern liberal left who support the Maidan on the basis of “European values” and what one might call movementism. The “anti-imperialist” left will mostly support anti-Maidan and even support Russia as a competitor to the US.

Both these positions represent a move away from independent socialist politics. What we lack is an independent, anti-capitalist socialist position in this war and that is what we have to create. There are now some initiatives, for example the one I am participating in, which is trying to create a new left party; this will not take a strong position on the Maidan or anti-Maidan but will try to speak to the common interests of workers in the east and the west of Ukraine. It includes left radical networks in Kiev, Odessa and other cities but also the independent labour unions, such as in Kryvyi Rih, which is a big industrial centre in central Ukraine.

We will see whether we will be able to create some strong left political force which will be able to play an independent role in the coming protests.
http://socialistreview.org.uk/400/socia ... se-ukraine" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
#405198
In the same way Russian imperialism is legitimised by the conservative, patriarchal defence of Russian dignity, sovereignty and their rightful place in the world, which they lost when the USSR collapsed.
Huh? How is "they're pissed off they're not the big boys any more" a legitimate argument?
#405199
lord_kobel wrote:
In the same way Russian imperialism is legitimised by the conservative, patriarchal defence of Russian dignity, sovereignty and their rightful place in the world, which they lost when the USSR collapsed.
Huh? How is "they're pissed off they're not the big boys any more" a legitimate argument?
He's not giving his personal opinion there, he's explaining how the propaganda functions. English isn't his first language, don't forget. From the rest of the interview it's pretty clear he doesn't come down on either of these two sides.
#407627
The volunteer battalion Right Sector is ready to join the Ukrainian Army as a separate division under the command of Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh.

"We can only agree on 'legalization' in one situation: if the volunteer Ukrainian corps remains a whole structure and if we continue reporting directly to our leader Dmytro Yarosh," Right Sector press officer Artem Skoropadsky told reporters on Friday.

"We want everything to stay as it is now: we are now cooperating with the Defense Ministry and the Ukrainian Security Service," Skoropadsky said.
http://en.interfax.com.ua/news/general/257525.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Worth noting also that the mainstream Ukrainian National Guard has already absorbed many of the ultranationalists who were part of the Maidan milieu.
#409013
Alec Luhn @ASLuhn · 15m 15 minutes ago
Ukraine's expected "ban on communist ideology" (even word "Marxist" will be forbidden) is unnecessary & embarrassing http://w1.c1.rada.gov.ua/pls/zweb2/webp ... 3511=52988" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Gazing into my crystal ball, I don't see any ban on fascism coming down the pipeline there.
#415732
One of the laws condemns “the Communist and Nazi totalitarian regimes in Ukraine and bans propaganda of their symbols.” For the most part, however, the law focuses on the Soviet era. All that it has to say about Nazism is that its racial theories drove certain groups out of their professions. It makes no mention of the mass murder of Jews, let alone the participation of Ukrainians in these atrocities.

The omission is strategic: This is made clear by another law, which hails soldiers and partisans who fought in the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) as national freedom fighters. During World War II, the UPA collaborated with the German Wehrmacht against the Soviet Red Army. As the Germans withdrew from Ukraine in 1943, scores of Ukrainian policemen who had served with the occupiers, killing communists and Jews, joined the ranks of the UPA. During its prolonged fight for independent statehood the insurgent army committed numerous atrocities against ethnic minorities. Roman Shukhevich, the army’s commander, was a notorious anti-Semite. The new law glorifying the UPA was drafted by Yuri Shukhevich, Roman Shukhevich’s son.

In an open letter to President Poroshenko this April, a group of scholars and Ukraine experts lamented that the law would make it “a crime to question the legitimacy of an organization (UPA) that slaughtered tens of thousands of Poles in one of the most heinous acts of ethnic cleansing in the history of Ukraine.”
http://www.newrepublic.com/article/1218 ... -ugly-past" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Nobody seems to be trying to put a liberal gloss on this anymore. They've already served their purpose though, I guess.
#427403
Great article this.
But the latest thing that caught my eye was the online activity of Geoffry Pyatt, esteemed U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine. One of his tweets brought me back to a topic that’s been haunting me ever since I travelled to Ukraine last summer: the normalization of Holocaust denial, and America’s cynical support of fascist groups and ideologies in the former Soviet Union.

Ambassador Pyatt leads a busy life on social media. He logs on daily to wage a relentless tweeting war against Russian propaganda. Recently Pyatt took to Twitter and did something I thought no modern American ambassador would ever be caught doing: he promoted Ukraine’s “OUN Battalion” — an ultra-nationalist paramilitary group that proudly takes its name from the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), an ultra-violent fascist group that was backed by Nazi Germany and carried out a brutal campaign of mass murder and mutilation against Poles and Jews in the early 1940s.

How bad was the OUN? Well, its leaders wanted to create an ethnically pure Ukraine — free of Poles, Jews and Russians. And it took serious steps to make it happen. OUN even had song with a refrain that went something like this: “We will butcher the Jews, strangle the Poles, and establish a Ukrainian state!”
It all goes back to the end of World War II.

When the Soviet Union took back western Ukraine, most of the OUN leadership fled to Germany, where the rag-tag and feuding organization engaged in petty crime, terrorism and dollar counterfeiting to stay afloat. Naturally they came to the attention of American spies — first the OSS, then CIA. They were gearing up to fight a covert Cold War against the Soviet Union and saw OUN as a perfect weapon: Not only did OUN leaders have valuable intelligence and a network of anti-communist operatives, the organization had plenty of rank and file hoods eager take the fight to the hated commies, even if it meant being parachuted on suicide missions behind the Iron Curtain. American foreign policy wizards also hoped that these Ukrainian nationalists could organize internal resistance groups to fight the Soviet Union from the inside.

So in the late 1940s, the CIA sponsored the immigration of various OUN members into the United States, financed their operations and shielded them from prosecution for war crimes. Eventually a whole community of OUN-connected Ukrainians found home in the United States. With financial backing from the CIA, they founded newspapers, set up historical societies, became respectable university professors and churned out an endless stream of revisionist history about themselves that buried their fascism, their Nazi ties and WWII-era crimes. Nazi collaborators became democratic freedom fighters. Mass murderers of Jews and Poles became heroic anti-communist partisans. The whole project reached peak revisionist absurdity when some Ukrainian historians began to claim that OUN wasn’t anti-Semitic at all, but protectors of the Jewish race. And yet, no matter how hard they tried to wipe themselves clean, their fascism and drooling anti-Semitism kept poking through.
Just like during the Cold War, ultranationalism is being used as a political weapon. But instead of being used to fight the Soviet Union, OUN myths are being mobilized by one Ukrainian oligarch clan against another: “pro-Western" oligarchs vs "pro-Russian" oligarchs. Both sides cynically duking it out for control over Ukraine's resource riches, while whitewashed fascist ideology seeps deeper and deeper into Ukrainian society.
https://pando.com/2015/09/01/today-twit ... d90326d21/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
#432867
Well there both homicidal maniacs serving a dark and malignant force so it makes sense

http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/oc ... ed-ukraine" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
#432870
Well The Empire being based on Nazism (looks at the Nazis style uniforms in the Episode IV-VI, Stormtroopers) this kinda makes sense.

Ukraine Tears Down Soviet Symbols, Winks At Nazi Ones
In April, 40 historians asked President Poroshenko not to sign the law recognizing a number of World War II nationalist organizations, including the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), as mere independence fighters. In a letter addressed to Ukrainian authorities the critics questioned the legitimacy of an organization “that slaughtered tens of thousands of Poles in one of the most heinous acts of ethnic cleansing in the history of Ukraine.”

Western historians pointed out that Ukraine should not be praising as heroes organizations that collaborated with Nazi Germany. The UPA “also took part in anti-Jewish pogroms in Ukraine and, in the case of the Melnyk faction, remained allied with the [Nazi] occupation regime throughout the war,” their letter said.

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has expressed concerns about Ukraine’s radical treatment of its history: “As Ukraine advances on the difficult road to full democracy, we strongly urge the nation’s government to refrain from any measure that preempts or censors discussion or politicizes the study of history.”
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2 ... -ones.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
#432872
Apropos of nothing, I always found it a bit off how Darth Vader - despite being a big cheese in an Empire that destroyed a whole planet - got his happy ending.

Bit like ol' Adolf being welcomed at the Holy Gates by St Peter with a "Hey, fella! Don't worry about it!"
#440115
Meanwhile...
Two months after local elections were held across Ukraine, residents of the small northern city of Konotop are expressing shock and dismay over the behavior of newly chosen Mayor Artem Semenikhin of the neo-Nazi Svoboda party.

According to reports, Semenikhin drives around in a car bearing the number 14/88, a numerological reference to the phrases “we must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children” and “Heil Hitler”; replaced the picture of President Petro Poroshenko in his office with a portrait of Ukrainian national leader and Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera; and refused to fly the city’s official flag at the opening meeting of the city council because he objected to the star of David emblazoned on it. The flag also features a Muslim crescent and a cross.
http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Ukrainian ... yor-437975" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
#460039
Jesus Christ.
Amid a divisive debate in Ukraine on state honors for nationalists viewed as responsible for anti-Semitic pogroms, the country for the first time observed a minute of silence in memory of Symon Petliura, a 1920s statesman blamed for the murder of 50,000 Jewish compatriots.

The minute was observed on May 25, the 90th anniversary of Petliura’s assassination in Paris. National television channels interrupted their programs and broadcast the image of a burning candle for 60 seconds, Ukraine’s Federal News Agency reported.
http://www.timesofisrael.com/ukraine-ho ... 0000-jews/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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