The Donetsk People's Republic vs Ukraine

Russian speaking separatists in Donetsk have established a separatist state called the Donetsk People's Republic. This ''people's republic'' wants to leave Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Like the former Autonomous Republic of Crimea ( now a federal republic of Russia ) the Donetsk People's Republic has been created by Russian speaking Ukrainians who oppose the nationalist Kiev government. Meanwhile this government is preparing its army to intervene in their eastern provinces. At the same time, Ukrainian nationalists are using violence and intimidation against those who oppose their nationalist agenda. Presidential candidate Oleg Tsarev was severely beaten by angry right-wing Ukrainians, after he gave an interview. The nationalists hate him for his federalism and opposition to the Kiev nationalist government. This is what our ''democratic'' leaders are supporting, an unelected government made up of violent nationalists, oligarchs and right-wing liberals!

But the Russian speaking Ukrainians in the Donetsk Oblast and other eastern provinces, make a big mistake if they think that by joining Russia, they will have a better life. The Kremlin is ruled by a former KGB officer and his oligarch friends. Vladimir Putin is no alternative to the those who rule Kiev since February. Pro-Russian demonstrators took control of some government offices in the Donetsk Oblast. But not all districts are under separatist control. Only the north eastern districts of the Donetsk Oblast are now under what is called the Donetsk People's Republic!

The separatist movement in eastern Ukraine began in February 2014. After president Viktor Yanukovych was removed from power, pro-Russian Ukrainians began to fear the Kiev nationalists. Major Russian television networks have portrayed the Ukrainian Revolution as a '''fascist coup'', since most ethnic Russians in Ukraine watch Russian television, they are let to believe that Kiev is now pure fascist. This is not true however, sure the Kiev government is 1/3 nationalist, but the other 2/3 are not. In fact the prime minister of Ukraine is a member of the liberal conservative party, also many ministers are ''Euromaiden'' activists and not at all fascist. However it is  true that the Kiev government opposes Russia and wants to move closer to the European Union. This is rejected by the ethnic Russian majority in eastern provinces. As said before in previous socialist documents, this conflict is the result of 24 years of deep hatred between ethnic Ukrainians and ethnic Russians. While most of Ukraine is ethnic Ukrainian, the eastern provinces and the Crimea, have a Russian speaking majority who do not identify themselves with Ukrainian culture and history!

Then there is Ukrainian nationalism and anticommunism. After the collapse of the USSR, the new Ukrainian state turned anticommunist and portrays the Soviet-Union very negatively. Russians in Ukraine have always rejected this, unlike the ethnic Ukrainians the Russians see the former USSR as mostly positive. Revolutionary socialists can understand both the Ukrainians and Russians. For Ukrainians the Soviet-Union was a Russian dominated state, a totalitarian dictatorship that enforced Russian chauvinism. But for Russians the USSR was a nation that fought against fascism and kept capitalism out. They refuse to listen to the dogma's of anticommunism that are spread by the Ukrainians. Revolutionary socialists say the both Ukrainians and Russian are right and wrong. The USSR was indeed a Russian chauvinist state after Stalin's complete takeover in 1928. But it was also a state that destroyed fascism and kept 1/3 of the world free from capitalist exploitation for 70 years. Ukrainians are led by anticommunist lies and Russians are led by Stalinist propaganda. The Union of Socialist Soviet Republics was not a socialist nation, but a degenerated ''workers'' state!

The Donetsk Oblast is made up of 26,517 km2. Its population is 4,356,392 and 71% speak Russian. This would mean that at least 3 million people in Donetsk are ethnic Russian. Because Russians are the ethnic majority, they did not seem to oppose the separatists who took over the offices of the Ukrainian government. Deep in their hearts most Russian speaking Ukrainians hate the ethnic Ukrainians, for their anti-Russian views and their support for nationalist fighters who opposed the USSR during world war 2. The separatist Donetsk People's Republic wants to separate the Donetsk Oblast from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation like the Republic of Crimea did. This is something the Kiev nationalist government will not allow. They were unable to stop Russia from taking the Crimea, but it is unlikely they will remain pacifist!

Pavel Yurevich Gubarev is the so called ''people's governor'' of the Donetsk People's Republic. He declared himself leader of the separatist state on 6 March 2014. The same day he was arrested by Ukrainian secret agents. It is reported the Gubarev is taken to Kiev to be tried for treason. Ten days later, the Donbass People's Militia attacked the government offices and called for the release of Gubarev. On 15 April 2014, the Ukrainian Army had started its operation against the separatists in the Donetsk Oblast after the Donbass People's Militia refused to surrender their weapons. If the conflict escalated into fighting, Ukraine could face a civil war! 

The Russian Federation has warned Ukraine that violence against Russian speaking Ukrainians, would not be tolerated by the Kremlin. The world fears that Vladimir Putin will use the separatist crisis to invade the eastern provinces of Ukraine including the Donetsk Oblast. At this moment the situation is very alarming. If the Donbass People's Militia chooses to fight the Ukrainian Armed Forces, then other separatists will fight too. Eastern Ukraine would become a battlefield, which could lead to ethnic cleansing. Because Ukrainians are a minority in the Donetsk Oblast. They make up 29% of the population and will support the Ukrainian military. This would anger the Russian speaking majority who support the separatists. We revolutionary socialists fear that racial hatred and ethnic cleansing are possible in this atmosphere of nationalism and chauvinism!

We call workers to reject the poison that is nationalism and chauvinism. Kiev and Moscow are battling for power. Workers have nothing to win by joining with either the nationalist Ukranians or the Russian separatists. Ukraine must become a socialist workers state, a democratic socialist nation for all workers. This is what Lenin and Trotsky wanted. They rejected the bourgeois leaders who in 1917 tried to build a nationalist republic. Workers councils created the Ukrainian People's Republic of Soviets in opposition to the Ukrainian National Republic. However the first socialist state in Ukraine was destroyed in March 1918 by nationalist forces. It would take another year before the workers councils ( soviets ) were able to rebuild a socialist Ukraine with support from Soviet Russia!

Unfortunate because of Stalinist degeneration, the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic never became a genuine socialist nation. In 1990, nationalist forces were able to win the elections and reestablish capitalism. They allowed oligarchs to become rich at the expense of workers. 24% of all people live in poverty because of capitalist exploitation. Those who do not live in poverty, still have to struggle under capitalism in Ukraine. Because the IMF and the Kiev government have already agreed to massive austerity. A workers party is needed to fight the nationalists and the Russian chauvinists. The alternative is not Brussels or Moscow, but Marxist socialism!

The Donetsk People's Republic was founded in a assembly hall  
of a occupied regional government building in the Donetsk Oblast! 

Struggle, Solidarity, Socialism

Struggle, Solidarity, Socialism