Ukraine: The collapse of the liberal “Left”Ukraine: The collapse of the liberal “Left”Ukraine: The collapse of the liberal “Left”

Ukraine: The collapse of the liberal “Left”

Svetlana Tsiberganova
Ukraine: The collapse of the liberal “Left”
The point is that the Ukrainian "libertarians", became the yes-men of Ukrainian Nationalism before “it was cool”. That is, long before the "Euromaidan"


Many are surprised at how quickly Ukrainian society has fallen under the rule of aggressive chauvinistic propaganda and begun to live according to the principles of Orwellian dystopia "War – is peace! Freedom – is slavery! Democracy – is the limitation of all rights! Freedom of speech – is silence! The victims burned and killed themselves!"[1] 

But I've realized that that for some time now, there is nothing surprising about this. 

If we analyze the recent history of "left-wing movement" of Ukraine, it is clear that these cynical principles – are the very essence of Ukrainian nationalism. They are shared even among those who would not be expected to succumb to the chauvinist hysteria.

Why did the "left" liberals go to Maidan? Why did Ukrainian nationalists under the flags of the EU, screaming "Pro-russians to the knives! Death to the enemies!", become for them “the people”, while the population of the South-East, singing "Arise, great country!"[2] became just "sovky"[3], "cattle" and "Colorado beetles"[4]?

Did the “leftists” not notice the anti-communist rhetoric that was heard everywhere at Maidan? Or the sincere promises to make anti-social reforms immediately after the victory of Maidan – being implemented today? And the aggression against all those who raised a social agenda? And calls to suppress all dissent? And clericalism with projecting women as just a "helper of a man", in a spirit of the chivalry of late Middle Ages Ukraine? Was all this not obvious?

For a long time, I was not able to solve this riddle, until I found on my computer a photo from winter at Maidan [Independence Square], showing the crowd wiping their feet on the red flag.

Then everything became clear.

All the liberals who today actively support the regime of the oligarchs and nationalists have for years been dismissing the left and uprooting and destroying communist symbols. They are no different in this than the brownshirted Ukrainian nationalists. They supported the anti-communist rhetoric, demonizing the Soviet past to the extreme. And they have introduced anti-left stock phrases into education and historical sciences so that to ward the masses  and workers away from socialism – thus helping the expansion of the right.

How many times, at every May Day organizing committee, did I have to defend the main symbol of the international communist and workers' movement – the red flag with the hammer and sickle. There were those who called for its removal, so as not to scare off liberals and nationalists. Although they did not mind the fact that red and black flags of anarchists 100% of the people in Kiev associate with red-black flags of the ultra-nationalist Bandera movement, that dominates in the streets

The marginal "left" sectarians actively fought with "authoritarian Stalinism" (which does not exist for decades), while cowardly ignoring the real threat of the rise of Ukrainian ultra-nationalism. Thus, they demonstrated stunning authoritarianism –the likes of which was hard to find even in the regional committees of the Communist Party of Ukraine.

The point is that the Ukrainian "anarchists" (I cannot write it without the quotatation marks) and "libertarians", became the yes-men for Ukrainian Nationalism before “it was cool”. That is, long before the "Euromaidan".

It is not surprising that today, the liberal lefts do not want to notice the thousands of wounded and murdered civilians in the South-East. After all, it would be terrible to lose the financial backing of European funders and disrupt their habit of not threatening those in power, for example by organizing a peaceful antiwar protest in the capital for the mere purpose of stopping the killing of some sovky [pro-Soviet people] in the southeast. They are scared by the possibility to be beaten by the rightwing, to face hysterical criticism in their office, to become outcasts in their favorite hipster hangouts. They fear being branded "agents of the FSB" ever since the Ukrainian bourgeois regime began to label antiwar protests as Kremlin-financed provocations. 

It is much easier to get a grant for a round table discussion "about the threat of war." 'Have you heard? We have a war! Shall we get some funding from European sponsors so we can talk about it at a conference?' 

While every second bus of refugees from Lugansk (if not every bus) comes under attack from the Ukrainian army and right-wing militias at roadblocks and while Kiev "libertarians" collect money for weapons and body armor for the National Guard. 

Worse, a number of so-called anarchists are openly fighting on the side of executioners in the Azov and Donbass battalions, under the command of Nazis who publicly boast they are taught by Swedish racists who brag of murdering Ukrainians.  

If that is not a crime, then do the posts in personal blogs – about the killing of innocent civilians, women, children, elderly pople and workers; that the war must be stopped – necessarily mean support for Putin or separatism? Indeed, in recent months, none of my “left” liberal friends who brought  food for the far-right fighters at Maidan and commemorated the "Heavenly hundred”[5], have offered a word or even a hint of condemnation of the actions of the Ukrainian army and Ukrainian right-wing militants nor sympathy for their victims. One of the most popular excuses for war crimes is to blame the people of the Donbas: 'It's their fault -- they haven't kicked the bandits out of Donbas and they provoked the war with their referendum!' [Donbas is the region in southeast Ukraine that includes the oblasts (provinces) of Donetsk and Luhansk that voted in plebiscites in May for political autonomy from the central government in Kyiv].

How is a 'leftist' writing such stuff any different from the average nationalist fanatic?

Let's be honest – in no way. 

But the vilest thing about the sentimental swamp of left liberalism - is its attitude to the Ukrainian political prisoners and refugees, among whom are many of our comrades. Thousands of unjustly (and even randomly) arrested people receive no support from the grant-receiving, liberal “human rights” defenders. The principle of the Maidan activists: "Everything – only for our people; for the others - the punishment by law!". People who justify again and again the massacres, kidnappings and beatings, committed again and again by the supporters of the regime, then they try to blame their failings on those with different ideological positions and who are engaged in the struggle against war. If this is anarchism, then what is fascism?  

Now I'm at home - in Donbas. Every day, and sometimes all night, we have shooting and shelling. Throughout the city: men with guns. But for the moment, I feel more or less ar peace, for the first time in many months of hard and heavy work. It’s for the first time since the destruction "Borotba" office in Kyiv; after the mass arrests of ordinary people in Kharkiv (many of whom had become my friends); after the attacks on my friends; persecution by police and intelligence services; after attempt to kidnap my comrade and boyfriend that happened in broad daylight in the center of the city.

We get solidarity from a vast number of people, partisans of peace – often apolitical – from Ukrainians and people from different countries around the world. But to support the opposition to the current regime – is a too courageous act for a left liberal. None of them commented on the murder of a member of the Communist Party Vyacheslav Kovshun – made by neo-Nazis - probably because he was not a human being for them, but just a member of the "wrong bourgeois Communist Party," while the Nazis who killed him were – «progressive» Maidan activists. None of them said a word about the abduction of another comrade, a communist from Volnovakha, or about the murder of Mariupol journalist Sergey Dolgov. And likewise they were silent about the assassination of the opponents to the right regime in Kharkov, Odessa and in the Donbas.

I had hoped that the “left” would take part in antiwar protests, by supporting the wives and mothers in Western Ukraine, who protest against the forced conscription of their husbands and children. But what can you expect from those who do not have the heart to be called a communist, leave alone act as such? From those who consider themselves just "leftists" but are amorphous, not aspiring to the responsibility and consciousness of a liberal and who obediently serve the interests of the Nazis and the oligarchs?  

Now my hopes lie with humane and honest people. And I know there are many out there. 

The events of recent days, the protests of mothers and wives of Ukrainian soldiers, have shown that the Ukrainian workers do not need a glamorous leftist fringe. Ukrainian workers need bold and ideological communists since they meet the word “leftist" with a kind of contemptuous sneer. The workers need those who are not afraid of the working class, and are ready to organize and educate. Those who don’t ask: "Oh, how shall I start a conversation with workers so that they do not tell me to go away?". Those who consider a worker a human being, but not a befouled by oligarch propaganda «quilted jacket»[6].

I know these people. Their numbers are growing. The future – belongs to them.

It is these people who will make Ukraine free and socialist.

Svetlana Tsiberganova


[1] Referring to the explanation of Kiev supporters to the Odessa massacre of  May 2nd

[2] Mobilization song calling to fight against fascism popular during WWII period.

[3] Pejorative term for pro-USSR people used by modern day liberals. Literal meaning is “shovel”.

[4] Pejorative term for people wearing st.George ribbon (orange/black stripes) as symbol of WWII victory.

[5] Refers to the protesters that died fighting at Maidan. A “hundred” is a Ukrainian Cossack term for battalion.

[6] Derogatory term for Soviet soldiers in WWII who used to wear quilted jackets.

Translation : Peter Mikhailenko

Source: Liva




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