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Interview with a Ukrainian Anarchist

With the Euromaidan protests in Kiev escalating into the ousting of a president and a Russian invasion/declaration of independence in the Crimea, SchNEWS interviewed a member of Ukrainian student anarchist group DIRECT ACTION.

Firstly what's the situation now in Kiev?

Right now in Kiev everything's quiet, the new government has successfully established itself. It was very unpopular at the beginning but the Russian intervention in Crimea has changed everything, and now most critics have decided to support "their" government however bad it is. The police are patrolling the streets together with the Maidan self-defence units, and it has been announced that they [the units] may be somehow merged into the police forces.

What are the anarchists and leftists doing at the moment? What kind of projects are you active in?

Most anarchists and leftists have returned to criticizing the new government, the wave of patriotism and the austerity measures they are trying to push through. In one way or another different groups are trying to promote the social-economic agenda which has been strikingly absent in the protests so far. We are talking about resisting the austerity, demanding free public transit, opening all the raw data in the books of public offices etc.

Is the Ukrainian far right stronger after victory at Maidan? Do you experience more problems from neo-Nazi and fascist groups than before? We hear a lot of stuff in the news about the far-right taking over the government in Ukraine- what is the real situation?

Yes, the far right will definitely now become stronger. They have successfully forced their way into "respectable" politics now. Also, they will be much more threatening in the streets. I'm not sure they will give up axes and bats and return to gas sprays as their weapon of choice now. So, yes, the left will be hard-pressed in the streets - especially given that many Nazis are eager to infiltrate the police forces. So, we'll have fascists in the cop uniform.

How can anarchists and anti-fascists in different countries support your efforts?

Right now the biggest threat to the left is the Russian invasion. Even if it stops on Crimea, it is a very powerful factor of consolidation around the government. Many people say that they won't criticize the government, that everybody should support it right now. So, obviously, the patriotism stirred by the invasion is playing into the hands of the ruling class. The left forces abroad should condemn the war and show solidarity with Ukrainian workers, and not the nationalist and neoliberal government. We can fight our local nazis, but Putin's "protection" will be much worse.

Do you think civil war or war with Russia are going to happen or is it still possible to avoid it?

We all hope this can be avoided, of course. I personally think it is unthinkable to have a full-fledged military conflict on a large territory in the centre of Europe with 15 atomic reactors and a bunch of strategic energy routes. It's much worse than Yugoslavia which wasn't so important from strategic point of view. I think that under the most likely scenario Russian troops will stay in Crimea and it will be an unrecognized semi-independent territory, like Abkhazia in Georgia - at least that's Putin's strategy now.

There are 10 comments on this story...
Added By: Fagburn - 13th March 2014 @ 9:46 PM
Is this a joke?
This person has no idea what's going on in Ukraine...
Added By: concerned - 14th March 2014 @ 1:37 PM
And how is that a joke? That person lives in Ukraine, I would image they have much better idea than you do.
Added By: Peter Moser - 14th March 2014 @ 2:28 PM
Why do the left wingers have such an issue in denouncing and countering Nazis? Russia takes a stand against the new government in Ukraine which includes Nazis and fascist organisations. While the west predominantly is supporting this new government. Of course, it would be nicer if there were others (Antifa) countering the fascists than Russia, but where are they? Beside the immediate situation in Ukraine, this armed uprising and seizure of power by Nazis and fascists could provide a template for other organisations in Europe and elsewhere, who have similar aspirations (e.g. Golden Dawn). For these organisations it provides at least a bit of a deterrent, to see that Russia is not accepting their advance in Ukraine. So it is less about Russia (if they are imperialist, if they support Oligarchs, which is probably true) but about the complete and utter failure of Western powers and (Western) Leftists to counter these Nazis and fascists. And what about imperialism and other political/economical cravings of the Western powers (to get a foothold further East, to get hold of the Ukrainian economy, etc)? Nevertheless the intentions in this case are not really the point. The point is who is supporting and who is countering the Nazis and fascists.
Somehow most Leftists in Western countries seem to argue in the way the (nicer part of the) Left argued in the 1st WW: it's an internal struggle between imperialist powers, the left should keep out of it and instead address the real issues (e.g. working class, revolution). But maybe it would be more appropriate to argue along the lines of the 2nd WW: The Nazis and fascists have to be stopped as with them in power there is no room and no space to address any other issues.
I would prefer the latter. But apparently most in the Left currently try to avoid the mistakes of WWI, but in fact are more likely to repeat the mistakes of WWII.
Added By: Anonymous - 14th March 2014 @ 2:46 PM
This guy is obviously not an ukrainian. And it now seems certain that schnews has been infiltrated by nwo cronies. Every article about russia is always anti and one has to wonder who is behind it. This is very dangerous as their are few non zionist media outlets in the uk as it is..
We have seen nazis overtly in power for the first time since the second world war. We have seen murder and torture in the centre of one of europes ancient capitals and to total breakdown of humanity.
If anybody in scnews is reading this be aware you have been infiltrated by extremely undesirable forces and it is your responsability to root them out.
Added By: a russian -ukrainian perpective - 14th March 2014 @ 2:53 PM
we are one people the west may try to split us up and make us hostile toward each other but they will not suceed. How do you think our forefathers would take to this news that bandera fascist scum have taken kiev. 32 million of us died fighting nazis in the great war how on earth can they be back did they ever really go away or did they hide behind closed doors in the west.
Added By: swansong of the western imperialist elite - 14th March 2014 @ 3:02 PM
After syria we have this similar situation. Snipers shoot both sides instigate chaos ,exteremists armed to the teeth now this the stakes are even higher.The scumbags have underestimated the unity between russians ans ukrainians. The ukrainian army will not side with the fascists after most of their ancesters fought against the nazis. the nazis will be defeated again they are stupid people but hopefully with alot less bloodshed than syria.
Added By: brighton anarchist - 14th March 2014 @ 6:00 PM
oh wow, I can see full mobilisation by pro-Kremlin propagandists here. If you guys are so "anti-fascists" then how are you going to explain the fact, that big part in pro-Russian demonstrations and actions right now is taken by Russian neo-nazis?
Love the bit about Schnews infiltrated by NWO :)
Added By: Schnews - 14th March 2014 @ 6:03 PM
There is a following paragraph missing from a bit about Ukrainian far right:

But it's not correct to claim that the nazis are taking over the government. They've received comparatively small number of posts, and the best news is that according to the latest polls the two most popular far-right presidential candidates have rankings around 1-4%. So, obviously, the working people didn't buy the nazi shit that the intelligentsia was feeding them!
Added By: more news - 14th March 2014 @ 6:19 PM
And a bit of news of what happens to our comrades in Russia that want to protest against Russian intervention http://avtonom.org/en/news/anarchists-petrozavodsk-russia-were-kidnapped-and-seriously-injured-unknown-people-masks
Added By: Anonymous - 29th March 2014 @ 10:59 AM
I'm not sure about nazis being in power for first time since WW2, fascist were running Spain & Portugal up to the 1970s and Italy has had fascists in senior positions up to the present day. I think however there is no a much higher threat of what might be called Fascism-Lite spreading across Europe, eg Jobbik in Hungary, FN in France, and these parties being used by EU capitalists as a way of diverting peoples struggle against austerity. They will be seen as nationalist anti-austerity parties but while positioning themselves against the liberal capitalist elite they will merely be consolidating the hold of capitalists especially oligarchs in the East of Europe. The US and EU powers are playing a very dangerous game as they are encouraging this cancer to spread thinking it will give them geopolitical leverage against Russia. Putin can only respond in simulate terms encouraging his own flag waving nationalists to resist this encroachment. As for claims that Russia is fighting fascism in the Ukraine, this is laughable given what the Russian authorities have encouraged in their own country, with armed gangs of Cossacks even wielding whips like they did 100 years ago. For anarchists and socialists it's going to be very tough whether in Ukraine or Russia. It is not yet a case of the politics of WW2 but of fighting ones own ruling class.
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Twitter: @SchNEWS