[Marxism] Bandera and Ukraine

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue May 6 07:56:28 MDT 2014

On 5/6/14 9:33 AM, Paul Flewers wrote:
> I know Chris Ford well and readily acknowledge his expertise on the history
> of Ukraine, but I'm surprised that he wrote that 'put
> simply without Stalinism there would have been no Bandera'. The hard-line
> Ukrainian nationalism -- 'integralism', as it was often called -- that
> Bandera espoused was around well before Stalin's taking over the reins in
> Moscow, and the integralist OUN, of which Bandera became a major leader,
> was formed in 1929, that is, just as Stalin took over and some years before
> the famine in Soviet Ukraine, and Bandera had become its chief propaganda
> officer in 1931. No doubt the famine in Soviet Ukraine reinforced Bandera
> in his views, but he was an integralist well before it happened.

Yes, in fact it was during the "heroic days" of the Comintern that 
hostility to communism--or at least a distorted form--took root. Let me 
refer to that FI article that I scanned in to remind you of the 


Skrypnyk, a personal friend of Lenin, and a realist always studying the 
relationship of forces, was seeking a minimum of Ukrainian federation 
with Russia and a maximum of national independence. In his opinion, it 
was the international extension of the revolution which would make it 
possible to resist in the most effective fashion the centralising 
Greater Russian pressure. At the head of the first Bolshevik government 
in the Ukraine he had had some very bitter experiences: the chauvinist 
behaviour of Muraviev, the commander of the Red Army who took Kiev, the 
refusal to recognize his government and the sabotage of his work by 
another commander, Antonov-Ovseyenko, for whom the existence of such a 
government was the product of fantasies about an Ukrainian nationality. 
In addition, Skrypnyk was obliged to fight bitterly for Ukrainian unity 
against the Russian Bolsheviks who, in several regions, proclaimed 
Soviet republics, fragmenting the country. The integration of Galicia 
into the Ukraine did not interest them either. The national aspiration 
to sobornist’, the unity of the country, was thus openly flouted. It was 
with the “Katerynoslavian” right wing of the party that there was the 
most serious confrontation. It formed a Soviet republic in the mining 
and industrial region of Donetsk-Kryvyi Rih, including the Donbas, with 
the aim of incorporating it into Russia. This republic, its leaders 
proclaimed, was that of, a Russian proletariat “which does not want to 
hear anything about some so-called Ukraine and has nothing in common 
with it”. This attempted secession could count on some support in 
Moscow. The Skrypnyk government had to fight against these tendencies of 
its Russian comrades, for the sobornist’ of the Soviet Ukraine within 
the national borders set, through the Central Rada, by the national 
movement of the masses.

The first congress of the CP(B) of the Ukraine took place in Moscow. For 
Lenin and the leadership of the Russian CP(B) the decision of Tahanrih 
had the flavour of a nationalist deviation. They were not ready to 
accept an independent Bolshevik party in the Ukraine or a Ukrainian 
section of the Komintern. The CP(B) of the Ukraine could only be a 
regional organization of the pan-Russian CP(B), according to the thesis 
“one country, one party”. Is the Ukraine not a country?

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