Friday, 7 March 2014

Ukraine Is Going To The Dogs - Part 6

The position outlined by Trotsky, in previous parts applies equally here to the role of Russia in Ukraine. The Crimea was a part of Russia going back a very long way, prior to it being transferred to Ukraine by the USSR. If the people of Crimea, and other ethnically Russian parts of Ukraine, wish to rejoin or join Russia they have a democratic right to do so. Generally, speaking, Marxists, whilst upholding that right, and opposing any use of force to prevent it, would still argue against separation. The imprisoning of nations frequently provides the grounds for reactionary nationalists to ferment division. For example, had the Sudeten Germans never been trapped inside Czechoslovakia, Hitler would not have been able to make such a play over demanding their liberation.

However, depending on how events play out in Ukraine, it may be one of those “exceptional circumstances” that Lenin referred to, when we would advocate separation. The highly nationalistic nature of the regime in Kiev has already been manifest in its decisions in banning the Russian language as an official language. The government is made up of a number of extreme right-wing nationalist and fascistic elements, with others, including some who fought against Russia in Chechnya, and, therefore, having links with Al Qaeda related clerical-fascists, pressing further to the right on the streets. One Ukrainian MP has called for the country to restock its nuclear arsenal, a development the US and EU seem to have little to say about, given their position in relation to Iran.

With the north-western part of Ukraine increasingly drifting towards anarchy, as these divergent groups – each of which is likely to be equally as corrupt as the last government – scrabble for power, leaving the more organised fascistic elements free to control the streets, as has happened in Libya, Syria, and as happened with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, prior to the coup, the danger of civil war increases, and it is not surprising then that the Russian speaking peoples in South-Eastern Ukraine look towards separation and a return to Russia.

The calls by the US for those peoples to place their faith in the US, UN, EU etc. are hypocritical tosh. The US via the CIA, funded and armed the KLA in Kosovo. Until then it had been a fairly ineffective gang of criminals and fascists. With that support it began a campaign of kidnapping Kosovan Serbs, burning their farms and villages etc., thereby creating ethnic violence amongst people that had previously lived fairly harmoniously together. It provided the basis for Milosevich to launch his war to protect the Serb population in Kosovo, which then involved pogroms against the Kosovan Albanians. That in turn provided the basis for NATO's invasion of Kosovo and bombing of Serbia. We now know that the US instructed British army units to fire on the Russians who had taken the airport. Fortunately, on the orders of General Mike Jackson, the British forces refused to comply, and so the potential for WWIII was avoided. But, in the following years, the Serb population have suffered pogroms and ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, whilst NATO and the EU have simply watched. Ethnic Russians in the Ukraine could have no faith that those forces would do any different in this case either.

Marxists should oppose any attempt by the regime in Kiev to prevent the ethnic Russians in Ukraine from seceding. But, we should also oppose any attempt by Russia to intervene to bring it about, just as we would have opposed Hitler's invasion of the Sudetenland, or Britain's intervention in the Falklands.

Our role is instead to argue for a solution based on the greatest unity of the working-class inside and across borders. Our demand is not for bourgeois democratic national self-determination, but as Lenin said, for the self-determination and self-government of the working class.

Back To Part 5

Forward To Part 7

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