On 26 October 2014, Ukraine held its elections for their parliament. More then 29 political parties and group participated in it. Still we revolutionary socialists do not call them fair and democratic, because of the massive anti-leftist climate in Ukraine. Since the start of the ”EuroMaidan” movement in December 2013, Ukraine is split between ethnic Russian Ukrainians living in the eastern provinces and the rest of the nation. Many far-right nationalists and fascists are abusing the war with Russian separatists to spread hatred of Russians, Jews and leftists. In some western provinces, the Party of Regions ( main pro-Russian conservative party ) and the Communist Party of Ukraine ( pro-Russian Stalinist ) were banned. Supporters of socialism are called ”supporters of Moscow” and face intimidation by nationalist political parties such as Svoboda!
Public opponents of Ukrainian nationalism and fascism are attacked in the streets, by right-wing thugs who vandalize Soviet monuments and Lenin statues. More then 1.000 Soviet era statues and memorials have been destroyed by nationalist youth and violent fascists. Anti-Semitism is also on the rise as Jews as targeted by supporters of the far-right. The Ukrainian police is unresponsive and does not seen to care. Because those in command have a lot of sympathies for these far-right criminals, like Arseniy Yatsenyuk a pro-European nationalist who hates Russians and leftists. In such a hostile and undemocratic climate, free and fair elections cannot be held. It is therefore that only 40% of all Ukrainians voted, most of them were pro-European with the naive believes that under this pro-European regime, their lives would improve. Revolutionary socialists can already tell them that this will not happen!
29 political parties participated in the elections, none of them offers a genuine socialist alternative. The top two parties are the Petro Poroshenko Bloc and the People’s Front, who both score around 44% of the votes. President Petro Poroshenko party is made up of pro-European conservatives and oligarchs. As the Chocolate King of Ukraine, Poroshenko is no stranger to the Ukrainian oligarchy. Although clearly a pro-capitalist party, the Petro Poroshenko Bloc is not radical nationalist unlike the People’s Front led by Arseniy Yatsenyuk. This party is pro-European, yet also Ukrainian nationalist and deeply anti-Russian. In-contrast to Poroshenko party, Yatsenyuk’s People’s Front favours a violent solution to the war with the pro-Russian separatists!
A party that has received around 10% is the All-Ukrainian Union “Fatherland”. This party is led by Yulia Tymoshenko and until 2014 was seen as the prime leader of pro-European Ukrainians. But she lost that position to people like Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk. Yulia Tymoshenko was also the prime minister of Ukraine between 2004 and 2010. She offered no solutions for the working class and is only favoured by the pro-European sections of the ruling class. In a way this election is only an cover up for the pro-European ruling class of Ukraine, to give their government legitimacy. Revolutionary socialists call on Ukrainian workers not to vote, which most indeed did not. Many young workers reject the political parties of the rich and the nationalists. Right they are, as none of the 29 political parties offers any genuine alternatives to the capitalist dictatorship that rules them since 1990!
Only two political parties who are anti-Europe participated. The other 27 are all pro-European and mostly conservative when it comes to social issues. On economic issues all 29 are pro-capitalist, even the so called ”Communist” Party of Ukraine supported the previous pro-capitalist government of Viktor Yanukovych. The pro-Russian; Party of Regions did not participated in the elections, the are replaced by a coalition of anti-European groups united in the Opposition Bloc. The pseudo-Communist Party of Ukraine was also on the ballot, but will not win much seats. This is because many ethnic Russians will not vote and because regions under separatist control do not allow voting for the Ukrainian parliament!
A positive story, is the fact that the far-right Svoboda party has lost a lot of support to Yatsenyuk’s People’s Front. Svoboda is a nationalist party founded in October 1991, as the Social-National Party of Ukraine. Until 2004, the party was deeply neo-nazi and openly worshipped the soldiers of the Ukrainian Waffen SS. The Social-National Party of Ukraine was also very anti-Semitic and hated Jews. Still they were marginal, only 1.500 Ukrainians were drawn to their evil agenda. This changed however under leadership of Oleh Tyahnybok. He changed the image of his party from a violent group of street criminals to a parliamentary nationalist party, that claims to respect to law. Tyahnybok then renamed the party into; All-Ukrainian Union ”Svoboda”, meaning Freedom. The new party was able to recruit more Ukrainians and by 2014, this once small Nazi party had grown with over 12.000 members. Their base of the support comes from the most western parts of Ukraine. Here Svoboda was able to win more then 5% of the votes, while in the east ( in the ethnic Russian provinces ) they never got more then 0,5%. This is because Oleh Tyahnybok is very anti-Russian and anti-Jewish!
In Kiev, far-right forces dominate the streets. Those who wear symbols of socialism are attacked and called ”Russian scum”. Far-right nationalists and fascists think that socialism equals Russian chauvinism, which is not true. Still the separatists make the same mistakes. Soviet and Czarist symbols and flags are used together, this would give old Lenin a heart attack if he would see it. Emblems of workers unity and proletarian internationalism, side by side with emblems of Russian imperialism, czarism and colonialism. The Russian separatists truly think that the USSR was like the Russian Empire. We cannot blame them as Joseph Stalin indeed made this true. He replaced internationalism with Russian chauvinism. After World War 2, Russian culture and language were forced down on all Soviet republics!
Revolutionary socialists call for opposition to the Kiev government. We reject Petro Poroshenko and his far-right nationalist allies. At the same time we give no support to the chauvinistic; United Armed Forces of Novorossiya, who fight against Kiev. The so-called Federal State of Novorossiya is made up of the Donetsk People’s Republics and the Lugansk People’s Republic, the two ethnic Russian rebel groups created after the ”EuroMaidan” protests, that removed Viktor Yanukovych from power!
This ”confederation” is ethnic Russian nationalist and uses both the Romanov banner and the naval flag of the old Russian Empire, Novorossiya means New Russia in Russian. Both Ukraine and the separatists are fighting an ethic nationalist conflict, killing innocents on both sides. We revolutionary socialists feared this would happened in late 2013. Win-out a workers party on a socialist program, ethnic nationalists take charge and lead the masses into hating each other. In this conflict, the ruling class is splinting the working class into ethnic Russians and ethnic Ukrainians. Each side is telling only half truths. For example, the far-right nationalists tell ethnic Ukrainians, that Russia is controlling the separatists. Ethnic Russians are told by the separatists that Kiev is under fascist control and that they must join Russia. Both sides are right and wrong. Moscow want to have influence in Ukraine, but so does Europe and the USA. Kiev is indeed nationalist and hostile towards ethnic Russians, but so are the separatists towards ethnic Ukrainians and anybody who is not a Russian chauvinist!
The alternative to this conflict is class struggle. Workers must reject ethnic nationalism on both sides. No to the nationalist Kiev government and no to this Federal State of Novorossiya. The red banner is not a symbol of Russian chauvinism and Soviet symbols do not symbolize Moscow or Russia. Lenin destroyed Czarist symbols back in 1917, because they stood for Russian nationalism and the empire that oppressed the working class. The Federal State of Novorossiya is deeply Russian chauvinist and nationalist, they glorify all that is Russian. But behind the scenes, both Ukrainian and Russian ruling classes do business with each other. It is the working class that is sacrificed by the capitalists of both nations!!