[Marxism] Reply to comments on Ukraine language and nation

Roger Annis rogerannis at hotmail.com
Sat Apr 4 20:44:58 MDT 2015

Richard M, you say that Alexander Basilevsky's book on the origins of the Ukrainian nation is a refutation of the material posted on New Cold War.org, including by Ukrainian writers. I look forward to reading the book, but I will have to wait because it is not yet published. I suppose you have read the unpublished copy and are therefore in a position to make your claim.

I tried to find Alexander's other writings on the history and current affairs of Ukraine, but according to Google, he has published nothing. One writer of an article on the 1932-33 famine in Ukraine describes Alexander as "another apologist" who "did acknowledge that the Famine occurred, because of 'a sad combination of amateurishly bad planning on the part of the Soviet government, sabotage by many wealthy peasants and a serious drought (which also affected the Canadian and American prairies)'." But I cannot find an orginal source for what is alleged to be Alexander's writing. His accuser says there was no drought in Ukraine in 1932-33, as Alexander allegedly claims, but I don't know. I do know that the famine of those years struck vast areas of the Soviet Union and is attributable to the reckless policy of forced collectivisation applied by the leadership of the country.

Andrew, your comment that "according to Roger's experts, 'Ukraine' doesn't exist, or at least is a recently-created linguistic fiction", is a throwaway comment. The New Cold War.org site is gathering informed and extensive comment on the subject of the history of the Ukrainian nation and the country of Ukraine. I believe your reference to 'Ukraine doesn't exist' was something stated in an article many months ago by B Kagarlitsky. Knowing Boris somewhat, I think the reference was something which he or an editor should have corrected prior to publication. Regardless, it is pretty clear from the NCW website (and from Boris' writings) that the country and nation of Ukraine is far from something non-existent. As the published writers on the site explain, it is a vitally important country and nation of Europe that is being mauled and beaten down by the combined forces of the NATO imperialist countries, the decrepit, kleptocratic new bourgeoisie that arose from the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the extreme right-wing that has successfully renewed itself in independent Ukraine.

Ukraine is deeply oppressed and exploited by the world capitalist order. That oppression has been profoundly deepened by the events of the past 18 months. Since the overthrow of the elected president last year, Ukraine's sovereignty has been effectively surrendered to the EU, the USA and the IMF. The people of Russia and Crimea are also in the gunsights of NATO et al. All these events are but the eastern European front of the austerity agenda of the imperialists for all of Europe. That is why it is urgent for progressive forces around the world to act in solidarity with those in Ukraine who are resisting austerity, first and foremost those of the pro-autonomy rebellion in Donbas. 

Through the force of events, the Donbas rebellion is undergoing a transformation into a pro-independence movement. A positive political change in the rest of Ukraine could forestall that independence. But a repeat of the efforts of the past year to violently suppress the Donbas movement will only fuel the will for independence. Let us hope that the war does not resume and an interim political agreement can be reached. But if a resumption of the war by Kyiv should happen, a breakup of Ukraine will become all the more inevitable. New foundations of working class solidarity will then need to be built. 

Regardless of the immediate political outcome of events in Ukraine, working class solidarity is vitally necessary, not only among Ukrainian workers (and farmers and others) but also with those of Russia and the rest of the region.


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