March 27, 2014

On the dangerous developments in Ukraine

A sign at the 18th World Festival of Youth
and Students in Quito, Ecuador
Central Executive Committee,
Communist Party of Canada

The deepening political crisis in Ukraine and the threat of regional conflict, possibly an even wider war erupting over the fate of Crimea, is extremely alarming. The "war of words" emanating from Washington and Brussels is inflaming international tensions and could in turn provoke a global catastrophe. This crisis has been stoked by the ongoing imperialist strategy of the U.S. and NATO to encircle Russia, as seen in the installation of anti‑missile systems in Poland, and the integration of Georgia into the NATO alliance. Their goal is to isolate Russia and China, neutralizing potential obstacles to the drive by transnational capital based in the NATO countries to exploit the resources and labour power of the entire planet.

It is appalling that the Harper Conservative government has been playing an active role in this dangerous escalation, and that the mainstream media continue to whip up lies and distortions around recent developments in Ukraine. The claim by right‑wing forces that the March 16 referendum on the status of the Crimean Autonomous Republic is equivalent to the 1936 Nazi occupation of Sudetenland is particularly odious. The unchecked expansion of Hitler fascism led to World War Two, which killed some 60 million people, including over 27 million citizens of the USSR. As an autonomous republic, Crimea has the legal right to determine its status, free from all foreign interference.

The current impasse in the region was precipitated by an orchestrated campaign of right‑wing opposition and neo‑fascist forces inside Ukraine - with the financial backing and strategic guidance of the U.S. and other Western imperialist powers - to overthrow the elected government of President Yanukovich, and replace it with the current illegitimate "coalition government" in Kiev. Far from being a popular, pro‑democracy "people's uprising" in Maidan Square, it is now clear that this coup d'Θtat was a highly organized operation, carried out with military precision, and masterminded by the U.S. and EU powers. The intention was to complete the unfinished business after the break‑up of the former Soviet Union, and later the so‑called "Orange Revolution" of 2004, and bring Ukraine entirely under the influence and domination of the Western imperialist powers. This long-standing imperialist objective would not only bring Ukraine's natural and labour resources under its control, but would also further weaken the Russian Federation economically and politically, and give US/NATO another firm foothold along Russia's sensitive Southern flank, strengthening the military/strategic encirclement of this rival power.

The now‑infamous leaked telephone conversation in early February between US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, makes it abundantly clear that Washington - both directly and through its shady network of NGOs and the National Endowment for Democracy - was pulling all the strings and considered itself arrogantly in charge of the future government to be installed after the coup in Kiev. That U.S. and other Western governments can now denounce the "foreign interference" of Russia in Ukraine's internal affairs, and demand respect for Ukraine's independence, reeks of hypocrisy of the highest order.

Western corporate press - lapdog of imperialism

Despite growing evidence to the contrary, the mainstream corporate press in Canada and internationally continues to portray the orchestrated regime change in Kiev as a "grassroots", popular uprising of the majority of the Ukrainian people, striving for "freedom" and "justice". Any revelation which contradicts this script is conveniently downplayed or blacked out entirely.

Well‑known neo‑Nazi and fascist groups had a major presence among the street fighters in Maidan Square. Of these, the largest include the Svoboda ("Freedom") Party, Pravi Sector (Right Sector), and the UNA‑UNSO (Ukrainian National Army - Ukrainian National Self Defense). All of these organizations are documented as having pro‑fascist, racist and anti‑Semitic policies and ideologies. When they seized and occupied the Ukrainian Parliament building, they adorned it with fascist and Nazi symbols and banners.  Even the Huffington Post was forced to concede: "Groups such as the ultra‑nationalist Svoboda party, with its ominous talk of a "Muscovite‑Jewish mafia", are now playing a key role in the new interim government - Svoboda controls three government ministries and the prosecutor‑general's office." Several government positions are occupied by Svoboda leaders, including Ihor Tenyukh, Defense Minister; Andriy Parubiy, National Security Council chief; and Serhiy Kvit, Education Minister. Dmytro Yarosh, the co‑founder of the Pravi Sector, has been named deputy head of the National Security Council, responsible for Intelligence.

The U.S., Canadian and other NATO governments are whitewashing these disturbing facts, and the mainstream press are largely failing to report this "news" to the international community, because such exposure would undercut the credibility and legitimacy of this motley group of conspirators and reactionaries.

An even more damning revelation has now surfaced concerning the events which took place on the critical night of February 20 in Maidan Square, when some 80‑plus street fighters and police were killed by sniper fire. That tragedy was predictably blamed on Yanukovich and his security forces, and helped to sweep him from power. But a private telephone conversation between Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and EU Foreign Affairs Chief Catherine Ashton tells a very different story. In the conversation (since authenticated by the Estonian government), Paet states: "All evidence shows that the people who were killed by snipers - both policemen and people in the streets - that it was the same snipers killing people from both sides. Same handwriting, same type of bullets, and it's really disturbing that now the new coalition doesn't want to investigate what actually happened. So there is now a stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers but was not Yanukovich, but it was somebody from the new coalition."

Canada's deplorable role in the current crisis

Recent statements by PM Stephen Harper and foreign Minister John Baird uphold the (il)legitimacy of the newly installed government in Kiev, offering it economic, technical and political support. By attacking the Russian Federation for "interference" and attempting to violate the "territorial integrity" of Ukraine - even going so far as to threaten Russia's expulsion from the G‑8 - they are piling more kindling on a spreading fire. For Canada and other Western imperialist government to criticize Russia for foreign interference and violations of territorial integrity displays an incredible amount of hubris, given the repeated instances of imperialist interference and outright aggression - often in violation of the UN Charter - in Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Haiti, Venezuela, Libya, Pakistan, and many other countries.

Equally deplorable has been the opportunistic posturing of the other "opposition" parties in Parliament around this issue. Both the Liberals and New Democrats have congratulated the coup leaders in Kiev, waxing rhetorical in their condemnation of "Russian aggression". On this, as on other critical questions, they all seem to essentially "sing from the same songbook", notwithstanding any nuanced differences between them.

The Communist Party of Canada, on the other hand, denounces the criminal imperialist conspiracy to impose "regime change" on Ukraine and its people. As the Joint Declaration which our Party and some 40 other communist and workers' parties signed recently states: "We denounce the USA and the EU regarding their blatant involvement in the internal affairs of Ukraine, regarding the direct support they provided and are providing to the armed fascist groups, supporting historical revanchism against the outcome of the 2nd World War, transforming anti‑communism into their official policy, as well as beautifying the fascist groups, their criminal ideology and activity, promoting the division of the people of Ukraine with planned persecutions at the expense of the Russian‑speakers of Ukraine."

We urge all peace‑loving Canadians to reject the barrage of imperialist propaganda justifying this orchestrated coup and the NATO drive to impose sanctions against Russia. Urgent peace actions by the labour and democratic movements are needed to help block the growing threat of military confrontations and war. The Harper government should be told immediately to end its support for the far‑right forces which seized power in Ukraine, to restore full diplomatic relations with Russia, and to oppose the calls for sanctions and other threats and brinkmanship targeted against Russia.

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