Ukraine: anarchists reject Moscow propaganda

The British anarchist journal Freedom features an interview Oct. 4 with Ukraine's Revolutionary Confederation of Anarcho-Syndicalists (RKAS), challenging the hegemony of Russian propaganda on the supposed anti-war left in the West, entitled "'Leftists' outside Ukraine are used to listening only to people from Moscow." The two longtime RKAS militants interviewed are Anatoliy Dubovik, born in Russia but now living in Dnipro, and Sergiy Shevchenko, from Donetsk but forced to relocate to Kyiv after the Russian-backed separatists seized power in Donbas. Both have been involved in protests against the Ukrainian government's gutting of labor protections and other "neoliberal" reforms. But they strenuously reject the flirtation between elements of the international left and the authoritarian Donbas separatists and their Russian sponsors. They especially protest Western lecturing to Ukrainians that they must "negotiate"—which inevitably means ceding territory to Russia in exchange for "peace."

They state:

The compromise you are talking about (ceding part of the territory in order to maintain the sovereignty of the rest of Ukraine) is impossible. It's not even that surrendering a few million Ukrainians to Putin's fascist regime would be treason. You see, today’s Russia has long shown its inability to peacefully coexist with the neighbouring countries it has chosen as its victims. This was evident in the two colonial wars in the Caucasus. In the 1990s, the Chechen people inflicted a serious defeat on the Russian army and the Russian government agreed to peace. The following years were spent preparing for a new invasion of unruly Chechnya, and when a new, even more powerful force was assembled, the Russian army started all over again.

Ukrainian society remembers these events and knows that the only guarantee for peace will be the complete defeat of the Russian army, the destruction of the Putin regime...

They harshly reject the notion that Russia must be supported in the name of opposing Western imperialism.

Russia's geopolitical goal is not at all to stop Western imperialism, but to make Russia an empire again, more powerful, aggressive and inhuman than the conventional "West." The Russian state, having suppressed freedom and independence at home, cannot bring any freedom and independence to other countries.

The pro-Russian "Left" does not see this. To use the analogy of George Orwell's novel 1984, such "leftists" side with the Big Brother of Eurasia against the Big Brother of Oceania.

Such "leftists" are idiots.

Dubovik and Shevchenko note that RKAS members are fighting on the frontline in eastern Ukraine as members of the Territorial Defense Units.

Russian anarchists reject campism

The Russian anarchist group Autonomous Action on May 26 ran a piece entitled "Misconceptions about imperialism," taking note of how campism on the international left is undercutting solidarity with Ukraine:

The left in Greece, the Balkan countries and Latin America have had very bitter experiences with the United States and NATO. In these areas, there is little understanding for relying on the Western camp against other enemies. But there are no universal situations, or universal hierarchies of oppression, where at the core of all oppression there is capitalism, and the enemy in each struggle is the United States.

If you are gay in Chechnya and get discovered, you will be murdered, without capitalism being involved. In this situation, patriarchal homophobia would be a more acute problem than capitalism. The War in Ukraine is not an inevitable consequence of capitalism, the main reason is the twisted understanding of reality by a single person. Capitalism would have been doing just as successful, probably even more so without the war in Ukraine...

Left approaches have also been defined by a fear of nuclear war. For example, according to Chomsky, the best way to handle Putin's hatred of the West would be to offer to him some countries as a buffer zone, as anything else could lead to nuclear war. But these kind of solutions have problems, for example the most obvious one being that Chomsky is not about to ask the people living in his planned buffer zones if they would agree to this. Furthermore easy victories and submission usually do not decrease the appetites of those blinded by their power, but instead increase it. I would not like to be in a situation to choose between submission to Hitler and nuclear war. This is one more reason why we should aim to overthrow Putin, instead of appeasing him.