[Marxism] Fwd: Painting Imperialism and Nationalism Red: The Ukrainian Marxist Critique of Russian Communist Rule in Ukraine, 1918-1925 | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Feb 7 14:31:30 MST 2016

The last thing I would expect from a knucklehead Putinite like Mike 
Whitney or Pepe Escobar is any kind of engagement with the history of 
Ukrainian national oppression but it never fails to amaze me how little 
interest there is for the Marxist traveling circus consisting of people 
like Roger Annis, the ex-Trotskyist in Canada, Renfrey Clarke, the 
Socialist Alliance member in Australia, sect leaders Alan Woods and Jeff 
Mackler et al. Most of these people probably were exposed to what the 
Fourth International said about Ukraine in the 1960s and have either 
forgotten it in their dotage or more likely sweep it under the rug. If 
there’s anybody who can be called the leader of this new breed of Great 
Russian Chauvinism, it is Boris Kagarlitsky who has a material incentive 
to be Putin’s spin doctor. His think-tank is funded by the Kremlin.

There’s one man who has their number. He is Stephen Velychenko, the 
chair of the Ukrainan studies at the University of Toronto who wrote a 
two-part series on the traveling circus. This is from part one:.

	Kargalitsky’s pro Kremlin audience finds his worker revolution scenario 
appealing. But given their preconceptions, ignorance of Russian and 
Ukrainian, and minimal knowledge about either country, they either 
cannot, or choose not to, know what he omits from his articles. For 
example, he makes no mention of Russian imperialism, great power 
chauvinism, non Russian national movements, linguistic and cultural 
russification of non Russians, or the link between the national and the 
social questions. He does not dwell on how his imagined “working class” 
movement was aided and funded in its origins by Ukraine’s pro Russian 
capitalists (oligarchs); in particular, Rinat Akhmetov, nor that the 
local Russian extremist leaders are not interested in nationalization – 
least of all Akhmetov’s holdings. He does not mention either the small 
size of the neo-Nazi section of the Ukrainian right nor how few 
Ukrainian citizens support the Russian neo nazi right. [9] For all their 
Marxist rhetoric neither Kargalitsky or his likeminded reflect on why 
the Russian neo-Nazi leaders of Ukraine’s imagined proletarian 
revolution do not associate themselves with Marxism of any kind, why 
they sport double headed eagles and tsarist colours, rather than hammers 
and sickles and red banners, why they use Orthodox symbolism, or, why 
they wax nostalgic over the tsarist empire rather than the short-lived 
Russian Bolshevik Krivoi-Rog Republic of 1918.

In order to correct the “preconceptions” and “ignorance” that plagues so 
much of the left, Velychenko has just written a book titled “Painting 
Imperialism and Nationalism Red: The Ukrainian Marxist Critique of 
Russian Communist Rule in Ukraine, 1918-1925” that demonstrates in 
copious detail how the Bolsheviks treated the Ukrainians just like the 
British treated the Irish. Lenin was probably the most committed to 
breaking with Great Russian Chauvinism and probably would have been a 
force for combating Stalin’s open embrace of it but even he was not immune.

What you can read below is the first nineteen pages of chapter one, a 
section titled historical background. For people committed to 
understanding the roots of Ukrainian resistance to Russia domination, 
even when expressed in a distorted form, Velychenko’s book is essential.


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