[Marxism] Petro Poroshenko: the Chocolate King walks onto a sticky wicket | Observer Ukraine

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed May 28 16:44:11 MDT 2014

The separatist movement in the east has become more radical and 
intractable since it first appeared three months go. Let us recall that 
his movement is at its core a revanche of the Yanukovych regime, a 
regime of the Ukrainian oligarchs that also served Russian state and big 
business interests in Ukraine. When it became clear in February 2014 
that this regime had lost all legitimacy and authority across western 
and central Ukraine the Party of Regions (PR) in the eastern oblasts 
revived its Russian nationalist wing there in a desperate bid to avoid 
total defeat.

After his election to the presidency in 2010 Viktor Yanukovych had 
silenced the PR’s nationalist wing by co-opting its leaders into the 
party’s patronage and power sharing networks in government. But upon his 
ejection from Kyiv Russian nationalism was needed to spur a whole set of 
initiatives – People’s Fronts, anti-Maidan rallies, self defense 
militias. Their declared common aim was to protect Russian speakers from 
Ukrainian “fascists and banderites”, but their real aim was to prevent 
the spread of the Maidan movement into the east and its possible 
transformation into an-anti-bourgeois movement that could threaten the 
oligarchs’ property and power in their eastern industrial heartland. The 
dying Yanukovych regime clung to this platform in the east and started 
to rock it so as to upend the interim Kyiv government that came to power 
after Yanukovych fled Kyiv into Donetsk on 21 February.

The Russian state encouraged and supported the revanche of the old 
regime because Moscow was losing the guarantor of its own interests in 
the person and regime of Yanukovych. And its own oligarchs’ biggest 
investments and markets (as well as their main competitors) lay in the 
steel, chemical and petroleum processing industries in the eastern oblasts.


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