[Marxism] News and analysis of Crimea and Ukraine

Roger Annis rogerannis at hotmail.com
Wed Dec 10 22:04:14 MST 2014

​​Hello Marxism list,

I have posted the enclosed comment to the Canadian Dimension website posting of an article by James Petras on Ukraine that was written several weeks ago.

If you are interested in following news and analysis of Ukraine and are not subscribing to the new website, New Cold War: Ukraine and beyond, then you are missing much of the best of what is being published in the world.

New articles on the New Cold War website today and tomorrow include two on Crimea. One by myself, that was published in Truthout today. And one by Vera Graziadei,
 a Ukrainian-Russian writer and actress who resides in London. She 
published an essay in September that was based on a visit to Crimea in 
July of this year. She has traveled to Crimea all of her life. The New 
Cold War site also has a new article by her, on the political situation 
in Donbas (southeast Ukraine).

Roger Annis

* * *

Comment re Ukraine to Canadian Dimension website, by Roger Annis, Dec 10, 2014
James Petras distinguishes himself by rejecting the wrong-headed 
theories on the political left that the driving force of events in 
Ukraine is a 'Russian aggression' or a struggle by 'two imperialisms' 
for control of the country. He calls it as it is--we're seeing a 
continuation of NATO's historic drive to weaken and isolate Russia, now 
in combination with the drive of the new, neo-conservative government in
 Kyiv to make a sharp turn to association with austerity Europe.

 disagree with James' description of the government in Kyiv as a 
"junta". I have debated this with others. The situation in the 
country--a fullout war in the east, the ascendance of right-wing 
nationalism, yet elections in which large sections of the population in 
certain regions of the country participated at a high level--is more 
difficult and complex than the term would suggest. 

The political
 challenges facing progressive forces in Ukraine are formidable. In both
 the presidential election in May and the Rada election in October, the 
governing regime in Kyiv won a much higher proportion of votes from the 
adult population in central and western Ukraine than did the parties of 
Stephen Harper and Barack Obama in 2011 and 2012, respectively. (There 
was a simultaneous boycott or disinterest in the election in southern 
and eastern areas of the country.) The political left in Ukraine has 
been weakened in the years following independence in 1991. That is in 
part because it has lost ground in speaking in the name of Ukraine, 
still an oppressed nation though the source of that oppression has 
shifted from the bureaucratized and authoritarian Soviet Union (and its 
leading Russian component) to capitalist Europe and the venal, Ukraine 
billionaire elite.

I also think that "junta" describes a 
government that comes to power by a simple brute, grab for power, 
typically with a big power in the background providing key logistical 
support. But the majority of the deputies elected to the Rada in 2012 
voted after the fact to endorse the overthrow of the elected Victor 
Yanukovych. The political situation overall, then, and the political 
challenges for the left in Ukraine and for its international supporters,
 is more complicated than that of a "junta" in power. 

I think a 
more critical analysis of Russia's role in events is required in such an
 article as James' that seeks to provide a broad overview. Yes, Russia 
has acted moderately and conservatively in response to events. It did 
not want a war in eastern Ukraine, it did not provoke one, and it is not
 responsible for its continuation. The war is the fault of the 
intransigence of Kyiv and NATO. Thankfully, Russia is compelled by 
domestic political opinion and national security interests to provide 
vital support to the struggle in eastern Ukraine, primarily with 
humanitarian assistance and by not interfering with the necessary tasks 
of self-defense forces. But its conservatism cuts two ways. It is felt 
in the pro-autonomy political struggle. Russia has placed limits on the 
capacity of self defense forces to militarily resist Kyiv's army and 
right-wing militias. And it is exercising strong influence over the 
political leadership in the peoples republics, to prevent a political 
and social radicalization, including a spillover effect into Russia 
itself. Boris Kagarlitsky's most recent article describes this well. All
 this, too, presents exceptional challenges for the political left in 

I've said from the get-go that what is happening in 
Ukraine is the outcome of a political and economic offensive by the NATO
 imperialist countries against ALL the peoples of the region--Ukrainian,
 Crimean, Russian and more. A strategy of political unity is needed in 
the region in the various struggles for social justice and national and 
language equality. The international left needs to step up its effort to
 provide all the available assistance and solidarity that it can for the
 people of Ukraine and Russia, including opposing the economic embargos 
against Russia and Crimea. The stakes for Europe and the world are very 

I invite readers of CD to read the excellent 
material that we are writing and otherwise compiling on the new website,
 'The New Cold War: Ukraine and beyond'. Including my most recent 
article, on Crimea. Visit www.newcoldwar.org, subscribe to receive the 
daily e-mailing of articles that are posted, and like us on Facebook.

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