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Ukraine fascists kill many, burn trade unions building in Odessa

By Jafe Arnoldski

Thugs of the neo-Nazi political party Right Sector assaulted and set ablaze the House of Trade Unions in Odessa, Ukraine, May 2, murdering dozens and injuring over 200 anti-fascist, anti-coup protesters. The Right Sector is one of the fascist parties in the new, U.S.-backed coup government of Kiev. The vicious attack on the House of Trade Unions is only the most recent explosion of violence backed by the Kiev government.

In the wake of the secession of Crimea and its induction into the Russian Federation following a popular referendum in March, the crisis in Ukraine is intensifying. The fascist-dominated junta in Kiev, backed by the U.S. and NATO, is cracking down on ‘separatist elements’ in the east and now the south of the deteriorating country.

Within less than a month of Crimea’s secession, mass protests erupted in Eastern cities – Donetsk, Lugansk, Slavyansk and Kharkov and dozens of smaller towns. Occupying government, public and media buildings, the protesters declared their cities independent and issued a minimum demand: a referendum on the federalization of Ukraine in order to provide its heterogeneous population and ethnically varied regions choice in their official language and allegiance between Ukraine and Russia.

The uprisings in the east come on the heels of the U.S.-backed Maidan coup in February that ousted the Yanukovich government. The Yanukovich government turned down an EU deal on the grounds that EU integration would bankrupt and destabilize Ukraine.

The new coup government is comprised of several menacing parties that usurped power. The neo-Nazi Svoboda (Freedom) Party, which has promoted a campaign to “liquidate” the “Muscovites and Jewry” of Ukraine, holds key ministerial as well as judicial and military positions. The Right Sector party, whose leader has claimed that even Svoboda is “too liberal,” has claimed an equally significant number of military posts. The stubbornly right-wing Fatherland Party, led by the one of the most infamous, wealthiest and criminal oligarchs in Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko, is the other newly ascended party in the regime. In tandem with the rise of these parties to power, the portrait of Stepan Bandera, the notorious Ukrainian Nazi-collaborator of World War II, is hanging in government buildings.

Virulently anti-Russian, the new government is hitting hard with its first political offensives that target a vast portion of the Ukrainian population. Such ‘reforms’ included the proposed ban on any official use of the Russian language, which was formerly respected as the second official language of 13 out of 27 regions.

The predominantly Russian east, frightened by the new coup government’s fascist ambitions, is being devastated by the austerity imposed by Kiev as a prerequisite measure to join the EU. Cut off from funding and suddenly faced with the menace of fascism, one city and region after another is rising in defiance of the right-wing government.

Protesters in the east surged out in mass numbers to demonstrate against the new government. After demonstrations changed little and an offensive on the part of Kiev was impending, occupiers soon declared autonomy, formed self-defense teams, and looked to Russia for aid. The most famous instances include the declaration of People’s Republics in Donetsk and Lugansk and requests by newly appointed governors for Putin to intervene on Russians’ behalf. The Ukrainian left, including the Borotba Union and the Communist Party of Ukraine, are organizing and leading protests.

In mid-April, the Kiev junta announced an ‘anti-terrorist’ and ‘anti-separatist’ military operation to clear protests in Eastern Ukraine by force. The Ukrainian military launched offensives against numerous eastern cities, deploying tanks, helicopters and heavily armed soldiers against protesters.

While peaceful protesters initially greeted tanks, intense fighting has since broken out as Kiev makes it clear that it is determined to suppress any resistance to its new order. Although defections, mutinies and executions of soldiers who refuse to fire on protesters plague the Ukrainian army, the Kiev coup government offensive continues and the number of civilian deaths is rapidly increasing.

With Ukraine facing civil war and the U.S. mobilizing and deploying troops throughout Eastern Europe, all progressive people should adamantly oppose U.S. intervention and declare: “Hands off Ukraine!”

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