The tragedy of flight MH17

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Malaysia was shot out of the sky. 298 people died when the Boeing 777 crashed in Russian separatist held Eastern Ukraine. The crash of a civilian airliner is the final blow to a deathly sectarian conflict between a nationalist government and chauvinist rebels!

It all started in December 2013 when anti-Russian Ukrainians demanded the removal of the Ukrainian president. This became known as the ”Euromaidan” movement. However Russian speaking Ukrainians opposed this ”Euromaidan” and they supported the democratic elected president. When President Viktor Yanukovych was removed by the Ukrainian parliament, the Russian speaking population of the Crimea and Eastern Ukraine rose up. Far-right nationalists and liberal conservatives took power in Kiev, while ethnic Russians created separatist movements. Malaysia Airlines flight 17 became the latest victim of the Ukrainian civil war!

Since the insurgencies began, the nationalist Kiev government lost 289 soldiers, the separatists lost 650 of their soldiers. The population of Donetsk and Luhansk are mostly ethnic Russian, so many are supportive of the Russian separatists.  Russian Ukrainians have never been fans of ethnic Ukrainians, who glorified anticommunists and rejected the legacy of Soviet Ukraine. Since Ukraine became independent, ethnic Ukrainians have turned to the western world. Still many conservatives (including the stalinists) oppose this turn. There is a deep hatred between the two ethnic groups, fueled by nationalist and chauvinist propaganda. The Ukrainians hate Russia for oppressing them during Stalinist times and the Russians oppose the Ukrainians for glorifying fascists and far-right nationalists, who fought against Stalin’s empire between 1941 and 1945!

After the Ukrainian parliament removed Viktor Yanukovych, many ethnic Russians choose to reject the Kiev government. Because Yanukovych was pro-Russian, his removal was seen as a ”fascist coup” organized by the western world and far-right forces. The Kremlin supports this vision by spreading fear about Kiev being fully controlled by members of far-right nationalist forces. This is only partly true, but Russia is not completely lying. Far-right nationalists were part of the government that came after Yanukovych was removed!

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 became a victim of this conflict, between ethnic Ukrainians and ethnic Russians. The airline was still recovering after the crash of flight MH370, another Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 that disappeared somewhere in the Asian oceans. As of July 2014, the crash site of this previous disaster remains unknown. However the crash location of flight MH17 was very quickly found. Russian speaking Ukrainians found wreckage and corpses were lying around their farm-fields and houses. It is clear that MH17 broke up in mid air, after the plane seemed to be hit by a rocket. The separatists had claimed to shot down a military Antonov 26 of the Ukrainian Air Force. But after seeing the carnage, it became clear to them that their An-26 was not a military jet. The Boeing 777 was civilian, flying tourists to Malaysia!

The aircraft was a Boeing 777-200ER, build in July 1997. It had flown for Malaysia Airlines since that date. Before the crash of fight MH370, the Boeing 777 had no fully fatal crash incident. The world was in shock when Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared on 8 march 2014. Shock number two came on 17 July when another Malayan Boeing 777 crashed, killing 298 passengers and crew!

Revolutionary socialists have always rejected the Kiev government and the Russian separatists who are supplied by Moscow. Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has even send outdated tanks and rockets to the separatists, which gives them a better chance against the (outdated) Ukrainian Armed Forces. Until now the separatists lacked armor and heavy weapons, but just before the crash of flight MH17 it became clear that Russian tanks were seen inside Eastern Ukraine. These parts of the Ukrainian nation are claimed by the Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic!

The conflict is now deeply sectarian, with Ukrainians attacking ethnic Russians and ethnic Russians assaulting ethnic Ukrainians. Revolutionary socialists call upon workers to reject this nationalism, chauvinism and ethnic hatred. Both groups are guided by capitalist powers. The newly elected president of Ukraine is a big oligarch, while the Kremlin is ruled by Putin and his own capitalists. Both Kiev and Moscow are ruled by capitalist scum, who use this conflict to gain power. Here we see how imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism. Ukrainians and Russians are tool of the ruling classes, used as cannon fodder to expand the wealth of the oligarchs!

193 people on flight MH17 were Dutch, with more then 80 children (below 18 years of age). Prime minister of the Netherlands; Mark Rutte has called for a independent inquiry into the disaster. But getting international investigators to the crash site is difficult. Because the site is controlled by separatists of the Donetsk People’s Republic. The emergency services in Donetsk are also not trained to deal with a major airline crash. Just another result of hard-core capitalist politics, which caused corruption, poverty and failing public services thanks to privatizations and deregulation of state institutions!

The two black boxes of the aircraft were found soon. Yet it remains unclear were they are. The leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic claims he owns them and send them to Moscow. Meanwhile in the Netherlands, many families and friends mourn the death of so many people. 193 passengers including 80 children were of Dutch nationality. In July most schools have closed for holidays, this explains why so many families were on board of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. 193 Dutch have been killed, a direct result of the Ukrainian civil war between a nationalist government and chauvinist rebels!

In order to end this conflict, revolutionary socialists call for the removal of the Ukrainian and Russian oligarchy. There is no other way, because the oligarchs are controlling the media and the elections. Workers have to take power and establish socialist republics. Unfortunate the communist parties of both Russia and Ukraine are supporting Moscow against Kiev. By using old Stalinist logic they support one oligarchy against another, purely because Kiev is supported by the western world. In the name of anti-imperialism these pseudo-communist parties join up with Vladimir Putin. Revolutionary socialists say this is very counter-productive as Putin is no ally of workers and poor people!

UPDATE: As of October 2015, the Russian government rejects any responsibility for the crash. It also refuses to accept that the crash was the result of a Russian rocket fired by separatists. Meanwhile the anticommunist oligarchy in Kiev is getting millions of dollars in western military support. Communist parties have been banned and Soviet symbols are removed from the streets. Ukraine is not only deeply divided it is now a fully anticommunist dictatorship!



Russian speaking Ukrainians stand on the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. The Boeing 777 was shot down over Eastern Ukraine!