[Marxism] Reporting from the war zone of eastern Ukraine
rogerannis at hotmail.com
Thu Apr 23 19:00:00 MDT 2015
April 23 2015--The first of my reports from Donetsk, eastern Ukraine was published two days ago in Counterpunch, New Cold War.org and Links. The report is an overview of my four-day visit as part of a media tour group from April 13-17. Forthcoming articles will delve into greater detail on specific subjects.
A member of an earlier visit to Donetsk by the same tour, Jon Hellvig, has published the second of his articles. Find it here: http://newcoldwar.org/donbass-endures/.
As New Cold war.org is reporting, the political and economic situation in Ukraine is rapidly deteriorating. Several journalists were recently assassinated in the streets of Kyiv. Others are in jail. This year, a string of political figures from the Party of Regions government overthrown in last year's coup have died in mysterious circumstances. The government has banned political symbols associated with communism and with Soviet Ukraine, which will accelerate the jailings and kidnappings of antiwar and anti-austerity activists. A website 'hit list' called 'Peacemaker' publishes the names, addresses etc. of people deemed "enemies of the state". The list enjoys the endorsation of high officials in the Ministry of the Interior (police).
Economically, the Ukraine government is on the verge of default. Its economic sovereignty was surrendered last year to the IMF and the EU association agreement. The surrender of its political sovereignty is further accelerated by the arrival this month of some 1,000 soldiers in western Ukraine from the U.S., UK and Canada.
The people of Ukraine are not taking this lying down, though the conditions for political protest are becoming more and more restricted. Coal miners from western Ukraine are presently in the streets of Kyiv protesting the non-payment of their wages and the failure of the government to promote investment in the industry. There was a large antiwar protest yesterday in front of the U.S. embassy in Kyiv, under the theme "We are not cattle". New Cold War.org will shortly publish some of the results of a recent survey of Ukrainians showing that a majority want to see negotiations with the rebel movement in eastern Ukraine, including forms of political autonomy. Yesterday's article from Kharkiv in the Christian Science Monitor underscored how volatile is the situation throughout eastern Ukraine. This is also true in southern Ukraine. For example, the government is dispatching several thousand additional police and soldiers to Odessa in anticipation of protests marking the one-year anniversary of the Odessa Massacre on May 2, 2104.
The deterioration of the situation in Ukraine has been evident since last year's coup. But much of the international left has trouble understanding the scope and the implications of the EU and NATO political and military offensive that has been underway since at least 2013. This is due to long-standing ignorance and shallow analysis of post-Soviet, capitalist Russia. The Russophobia of Western governments and media acts as a powerful force. But cracks in the ideological foundation of the EU/NATO offensive are evident all around. In Canada, for example, a growing number of mainstream journalists are writing serious commentary about Ukraine, including David Pugliese, Thomas Walkom, Lysiane Gagnon and Scott Taylor. In particular, some are shedding light on the extreme-right and fascist paramilitiaries that are being integrated into the regular Ukraine armed forces and National Guard, thereby making them eligible for training and arming by the aforementioned U.S./UK/Canada forces.
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