The Communist Party of Ukraine is now fully banned. This means that the anticommunist government in Kiev, can now order its police forces to take control of party offices and its wealth. Revolutionary Socialist Media is very critical of the communist party and its Stalinist ideology. But to ban a party purely because it rejects Ukrainian nationalism and supports the separatists in Eastern Ukraine, is undemocratic and not the way forward. However there is a deeper reason why the party was banned. Communism as an ideology is not allowed anymore in Ukraine. To be a communist is a crime, even if you reject stalinism!
In December 1991, the USSR ceased to exist. A few months before the Soviet government had banned the activities of the Communist Party of the Soviet-Union, after party leaders and KGB officials had tried a coup against Soviet president; Micheal Gorbachev. Ukraine became a independent nation and entered a period of deep poverty and massive economic downfall. The first new communist party founded in the nation was the Socialist Party of Ukraine. This party embraced reformed stalinism, called marxism-leninism. Unlike the communist parties in Ukraine and Russia today, Joseph Stalin was not part of the early propaganda. His face would not return until Vladimir Putin started to glorify the Soviet fight during the second world war!
Two years after independence, the Communist Party of Ukraine ( CPU ) was refounded. Most stalinists left the Socialist Party of Ukraine, to join the new communist party. This new party was widely popular. In 1994, it won 12,72% of the vote and was the biggest party in the Ukrainian parliament. Four years later, the communists won 25,4%, mainly because they stood up to austerity and privatizations. Their electorate was in eastern Ukraine, were the communist party was favorite among ethnic Russian Ukrainians. Until the 2006 elections, the CPU was the main party of ethnic Russians. For many ethnic Ukrainians, the communist party was seen as an unwanted element of the Soviet period!
The socialist party abandoned dogmatic stalinism and moved towards democratic socialism. Like most moderate socialists, the party joined the pro-western camp of Ukrainians politics. After the year 2000, the Socialist Party of Ukraine also abandoned Marxist socialism for European social democracy. Today the party calls for Ukraine to join the European Union. Ironic for a party that started as a dogmatic anti-western stalinist party and now embraced western imperialism. It did not do them much good. Once the fourth strongest party in Ukraine, today the social democrats are very much marginalized!
Although communist in name, the CPU is not a progressive leftist party. It supports the Kremlin and stands on conservative values. Also it rejects homosexuality and LGBT rights. After the rise of Viktor Yanukovich, the communist party joined the ruling government with the Party of Regions. This conservative party replaced the CPU as the popular party of Russian speaking Ukrainians. By 2006, the Party of Regions was the biggest, winning over 30% of the votes at the national elections. The CPU was reduced to 3% and lost over 4 million voters to the new conservatives!
After the Euromaidan movement brought Yanukovich down, the communist party was attacked by members of the far-right. As police forces turned their eyes away, right-wing nationalists entered CPU offices and destroyed them. Although some tried to fight back, the nationalists were too strong. Nobody in the new pro-western government of Ukraine was shocked. Since neo-nazi’s make up parts of the Kiev regime, few cared to listen!
The Communist Party of Ukraine was banned from participating in the local elections and won no seats in the national elections. Anticommunist media outlets called it a victory for democracy, however since only 50% of all Ukrainians came to vote and most ethnic Russians stayed home, the CPU did not win enough votes for a seat in parliament. In Ukraine, the communist party is called left-wing and is said to be the only anti-capitalist voice of opposition. But the party is not so anti-capitalist as their propaganda may claim. Because just like in the old Soviet days, their leaders enjoy a privileged life. General secretary: Petro Symonenko’s lives in a luxurious mansion, worth over 1,5 million dollars. While most Ukrainians suffer from deep poverty, bad housing and low income, party boss: Symonenko enjoys a bourgeois lifestyle!
Under the leadership of oligarch; Petro Poroshenko, the Ukrainian government banned the communist ideology and all political parties who support it. Although revolutionary socialists reject the communist party for its deeply conservative ideas and hypocrite leaders, we defend their freedom of speech. However most young Ukrainians do not and support the banning of the party. They are misled by the same nationalist propaganda as Donald Trump supporters. Like their American allies, the youth of Ukraine needs to understand that in a democratic society, freedom of speech is a core value. Revolutionary Socialist Media understands that Ukraine suffered under stalinism, but you cannot blame all communists for the crimes of Stalin. The post-Soviet generation needs to learn this, if they want Ukraine to become free!
The Kiev regime may claim to be ”democratic” in reality it is a dictatorship supported by both the European Union and the United States of America. The western world delivers weapons to Kiev, which are then used against separatists in the east. The banning of the communist party will only fuel anger and deep rejection of Ukrainian society by ethnic Russians. Many Russian speaking Ukrainians are already convinced that Kiev is ”fascist”. The banning of the CPU will only strengthen this idea!
Western nations will not come to defend the Communist Party of Ukraine. They play the game of the hypocrite. If a liberal or pro-western conservative party was banned, then you would hear thunder storms from Washington DC and Brussels. But since the CPU is not a ally of western imperialism, the west remains silent. Democratic rights only for those who defend capitalism and imperialism. Rallies for freedom of speech only if bourgeois ideas are suppressed!
The official version of the banning is that the CPU promoted separatism. The Kurdistan Workers Party and many Kurdish political parties have been banned in Turkey, because of the same claims. A government only needs to claim that a party promotes separatism and they are banned. Not only is this deeply undemocratic, it also shows why Ukraine should not be allowed to join the European Union or NATO!