Brokering a sell out to Kiev ¿Dónde está Borotba? Release the Borotba Four! 29 December 2014

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29/12/2014 by socialistfight

Statement by: Socialist Fight – Britain; Coletivo Lenin – Brasil;  Resistência Popular Revolucionária – Brasil; Liga Comunista – Brasil; Tendência Militante Bolchevique – Argentina.

The four Borotba militants kidnapped by the Vostok Battalion to assist in brokering a sell out to Kiev

The undersigned organisations demands the immediate release of the four Borotba activists Maxim Firsov, Victor Shapinov and Maria Muratova, kidnapped on 21 December and of Odessa city council deputy and May 2nd massacre survivor Alexey Albu who was taken hostage while demanding his comrades’ release on 27 December. Alexey Albu spoke very powerfully via Skype to the meeting of the Solidarity with Antifascist Resistance in Ukraine on 11 November at the Marx Memorial Library in Clerkenwell, London.
The In Defence of Marxism site reported on 18 November on his account of his escape from the fascist attack on Odessa on 2 May last:

“When the fire started himself and other comrades jumped from the windows only to be met by fascists thugs who beat them up. He then had to lie still, seriously injured across a pile of bodies, where the slightest movement indicating life would have resulted in his certain death. Alexey’s contribution to the meeting was rightly met with a standing ovation. Despite being a victim of these disgraceful attacks, Alexey has been forced into exile in Crimea as remaining in Odessa would have resulted in his arrest.” [1]

A letter appealing to top government officials of the Donetsk Peoples’ Republic and the Novorossiyan Armed Forces from Greg Butterfield, coordinator, Solidarity with Ukraine Antifascists Committee International Action Center, New York, NY, USA contained the following:

“Victor Shapinov, Maxim Firsov and Maria Muratova are members of the Ukrainian anti-fascist organization Union Borotba. During a solidarity visit to Donetsk on Dec. 21, these three comrades were taken prisoner by Vostok Battalion soldiers. They were mistaken for a Ukrainian reconnaissance and sabotage team.”

And later:

“Yesterday, Dec. 27, Odessa Regional Council Deputy and survivor of the May 2 massacre Alexei Albu went to the Vostok Battalion headquarters to appeal for their release. He has not been heard from since.”

We think it is obvious that no “mistake” has been made here. The Vostok Battalion is commanded by the controversial Alexander Sergeyevich Khodakovsky, an ally of Denis Pushilin who is, according to Wikipedia:

“a politician who was the self-declared Chairman of the Supreme Soviet (Speaker of parliament) of the Donetsk People’s Republic, and therefore, under the draft Constitution adopted on May 15, the self-declared republic’s head of state. Prior to his political activism, Pushilin worked for a recent successor of the 1990s Russian Ponzi scheme company MMM, which cost its customers millions of dollars before it was disbanded in 1994 Pushilin never denied involvement in such schemes and affirmed that “pyramid schemes were legal in Russia at the time”. [2]

Denis Pushilin reactionary bourgeois politician
Denis Pushilin is the most obvious reactionary politician in the Donbass and he is allied to a crucial leader of a part of the NovoRússian armed forces. Whilst we may harbour severe doubts that the arrest of the first three Borotba activists was a mistake the arrest of such a high profile figure as Alexei Albu cannot be an error. The declared intention is to hand them over to Kiev because they are “Kiev government spies” which would inevitably lead to their murders.
Dmytriy Kovalevich reported the following on Facebook:

“The situation is as follows: battalion that captures them (Vostok) suspects the comrades as ‘Kiev government spies’ and want to hand them to Kiev authorities. The battalion is believed to have connections with richest oligarch Akhmetov and there are tensions between it and authorities of DPR. DPR authorities think that the battalion works for Kiev itself. Yesterday another comrade came to the battalion for detained comrades but dissappeared too (no connections with him). But from the other hand, yesterday the arrested Vlad Wojciechovsky from Odessa was released by Kiev authorities and exchanged for Kiev POWs. The situation is rather complex since the rebels have never been a unanimous force.”

The charge of being “Kiev government spies” and the reports here by Dmytriy Kovalevich makes it clear the advance of the counter-revolution. There are strong similarities to the attack on the Telefonica in Barcelona led by the Stalinists on the 3 May 1937 led by the Asultos controlled by the Stalinists and the whole of the organised working of Barcelona, anarchists and POUMists members in the great majority arose in outrage at this act of class treachery and a great class battled emerged, the most heroic uprising since the Russian Revolution. Like the POUM Borotba are not a Trotskyist party. But the Stalinists had a different story when the workers’ justified outrage had been betrayed by the leadership of the anarchists and the POUM. This is how Revolutionary History exposes the Popular Front outlook and recounts the aftermath of the great heroic Dias de Mayo in Barcelona:

“But was there not, so it seems, a ‘Trotskyist’ party in Spain, the POUM? According to the lies of the Stalinists, a Trotskyist party would only have worked with the Gestapo. Are not all those who denounce the crimes of the Stalinists and do not blindly carry out the orders of the degenerate Muscovite bureaucracy, agents of the Gestapo? It was the POUM, Trotskyist and therefore an agent of the Gestapo, that carried out the putsch of May 1937, but happily, thanks to the fortunate intervention of the Popular Front, and the Communist Party, the PSUC, (the United Socialist Party of Catalonia, ‘Socialist’ but belonging to the Third International), the Trotskyist POUMist devil was overcome!
In the months of May-June 1937 they began to breathe again: they had liquidated ‘Trotskyism’ in Spain, and above all in Catalonia. The government of Largo Caballero, which they had thought to be on the right road until May, but which was really soft and semi-Trotskyist, was replaced by the government of victory presided over by Doctor Negrín, a real government of the Popular Front, real because it was rid of all the Trotskyists and suspect people, real because it was wanted by all countries, and particularly France, and consequently it would be capable of fighting and defeating Fascism.” [3]

This move is another attempt by Putin and his allies within the Donetsk Peoples Republic, Pushilin in the first place, to broker a deal with US and EU imperialism behind the backs of the Donetsk working class. To achieve this it is necessary to eliminate or intimidate the most militant and leftist of the opponents of both Kiev and the corrupt bourgeois nationalist government of Putin and his Donetsk allies. It is no accident that at the 11 November meeting at which Alexei Albu spoke so movingly that he got a standing ovation the spokesman for the Stalinist Ukraine Communist Party made an appalling capitulationist contribution, as reported in that same In Defense of Marxism website:

“Mention has to be made of the second intervention by the representative of the Ukraine Communist Party Anatolii Sokoliuk, where he seemed to be downplaying the reactionary meaning of the black and red flag of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (which collaborated with the Nazis during World War 2 and carried out atrocities against the Jewish and Polish population) and even said that the symbol of the Azov Battalion, the wolfsangel rune of the SS, was not “evil”. We have to disagree here, as the fact that such symbols are now widespread and commonly used in Ukraine, even condoned by the state, is actually very dangerous, as the persecution of the Communist Party of Ukraine itself shows.” [4]

These kidnappings must be seen in light of the current ‘peace negotiations’ which have led to the exchange of a big number of prisoners of war but must also be seen as the preparations of Imperialism for the next round of attacks on NovoRússia and on Russia itself.
A number of Socialist Fight members attended that meeting and can testify that the contribution was truly appalling and, as the official spokesman for the Ukraine Communist party, Sokoliuk’s speech testifies to the preparation of the leadership to openly betray the struggle in the Donetsk. Their former allegiance to the corrupt oligarch Yanukovich testifies to the political orientation of the UCP and its preparation to betray its own rank and file members as well as the working class of the Donetsk.
And Imperialism is taking advantage of the weakness and treachery. On 22.12.14 we learned that:

“The President of Kazakhstan arrived with the official visit today, and we have the President of Belarus and President of Kazakhstan coordinating their actions with Ukraine before the trip to Moscow,” Poroshenko said. [5]

The elections in Moldavia showed us a similar political collapse of the Communist party there:

“The elections were a victory for the pro-European integration bloc. The elections represented a significant loss for the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) as they were reduced from 38 to 21 seats, while a previously small rival Russophile party, the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM), won the most seats.”

The Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) was the big loser, as it supported European integration and its left wing and pro-Russian rival the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) was the big winner because of its opposition to western imperialism.

Andreas Nin
Terrible danger
The organised working class of the Donetsk is now in terrible danger of suffering a major defeat at the hands of cynical bourgeois politicians who had the bad fortune to be caught behind the lines when the civil war started and were determined that the “Antifascist” struggle would not be allowed to morph into a socialist revolution or that a revolutionary socialist leadership of the Bolshevik type would not emerge there from within Borotba or anywhere else.
The domination of ideas from WWII like the Great Patriotic War, where Stalin allied with Churchill and Roosevelt against both Hitler and revolution must be explicitly rejected. An alliance under the political domination of the bourgeois forces that now dominate the Donbass can only lead to the defeats that this policy led to in France in 1934 and Spain in 1939. Only a revolutionary socialist perspective can avoid the fatal perspective of compromise with imperialism we see from the UCP and the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova, to mention but a few.
Borotba is groping its way towards revolutionary socialism, it has the best, most courageous and most leftist fighters and for that reason they are now the target not only of the Kiev regime’s fascist thugs of the Azov brigade but of the counter-revolutionaries of the Vostok Battalion within the Donetsk Peoples Republic itself, principally Pushilin and his allies

The famous graffiti in 1937 in Barcelona. POUMists demand the whereabouts of Anreas Nin, their leader. The Stalinists answer – “In Salemanca or Berlin” – i.e with the fascists. In fact they had kidnapped him and turtured him to death.
Only establishing the class independence of the working class under a perspective of PermanentRevolution, i.e. only the working class has a true interest in leading the anti fascist and anti imperialist struggle, only an anti imperialist united front can win the best elements within the Donetsk to overthrow the internal counter revolution and face Kiev’s fascists with the revolutionary enthusiasm and perspective to win over workers in western Ukraine. That’s the perspective that will defeat Kiev’s fascists, the counter-revolution now emerging in Russia and will begin a revolutionary process in Europe and globally.

We must learn the lesson of the Spanish Revolution on 1934-39. Only when the working class is in the saddle can fascism and imperialism be truly defeated. That is the task is now revolutionary and to achieve that we must now defeat the counter-revolution within Donetsk and Luhgansk.
Now our immediate task on that road is to demand the release of the four Borotba activists and the defeat of the conspiracy that put them in jail. In Spain when Andas Nin, the leader of the POUM was kidnapped the demand was raised ¿Dónde está Andreu Nin? But he was kidnapped, tortured and murdered by the Stalinist so Stalin could sign his pact with Hitler in August 1939.
This is how the WSWS website reports the aftermath of the ceasefire in Barcelona in May 1937:
“Nin himself was separated from the others and taken to Alcalá de Henares, where he was interrogated for three days. When he refused to confess to being a fascist agent, he was tortured to death. His body was buried on the outskirts of the town. The GPU then ordered German International Brigade volunteers to storm the prison where Nin had been held. To give the impression that the Gestapo had come to release him, they left Nationalist bank notes, Falangist badges and false documents behind them.
After Nin’s death, Trotsky described him as “an old and incorruptible revolutionary.” The members of the POUM, Trotsky said, “fought heroically on all fronts against the Fascists in Spain.” But in joining the Popular Front, participating in the Popular Front government of Catalonia and refusing to call for the workers to take power in Catalonia in May 1937, Nin had committed a betrayal that proved fatal not only to himself but to the Spanish revolution.” [6]
Today we raise the demand, ¿Dónde está lost militants Borotba? to make the comparison and warn the class conscious vanguard of the working class of the dangers ahead and the tasks posed.
• Down with Denis Pushilin and the Vostok Battalion!
• Build Workers Defence Guards and Workers Councils to defend the organised working class and its vanguard!
• No to class collaboration, yes to the Anti Imperialist United Front!
• Build a truly International Solidarity Campaign to defend the Donetsk and Luhgansk Peoples Republics and the whole Donbass region!

The following is the letter from Greg Butterfield:
Appeal to Donetsk officials: Release Borotba activists
To: Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko
Battalion Vostok Commander Alexander Khodakovsky
Vice Chair of the People’s Soviet Denis Pushilin
Former President of the Supreme Soviet Boris A. Litvinov
Dr. Andrei Purgin and other officials of the Donetsk People’s Republic and Novorossiyan Armed Forces
December 28, 2014
Dear comrades,
On behalf of anti-fascists and anti-war activists in the United States who are organizing in solidarity with the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, we appeal urgently to you to secure the immediate release of four activists reportedly being held by the Vostok Battalion.
Victor Shapinov, Maxim Firsov and Maria Muratova are members of the Ukrainian anti-fascist organization Union Borotba. During a solidarity visit to Donetsk on Dec. 21, these three comrades were taken prisoner by Vostok Battalion soldiers. They were mistaken for a Ukrainian reconnaissance and sabotage team.
According to information obtained by Borotba, they are currently being held at the Vostok commandant’s office on Elevatornaya Street in Donetsk city to be exchanged for prisoners held by the Ukrainian fascist regime.
Yesterday, Dec. 27, Odessa Regional Council Deputy and survivor of the May 2 massacre Alexei Albu went to the Vostok Battalion headquarters to appeal for their release. He has not been heard from since.
If these anti-fascists are turned over to the Kiev junta, they face imprisonment, torture and death at the hands of the SBU and neo-Nazis.
The four activists and their organization have been steadfast leaders of the antiMaidan movement since the first days of the U.S.-NATO-backed coup in Ukraine. The Borotba activists were forced to flee to Crimea following the tragedy of May 2 in Odessa under threat of arrest and death.
These comrades have been essential to building international solidarity with Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as the anti-fascist movement inside Ukraine. They are valuable allies of your struggle against the Kiev junta and NATO expansion.
Mistakes happen in war time. It is not always easy to tell friend from foe. There is no shame in this. But there is still time to correct the mistake before it becomes a tragedy.
We appeal to you, as supporters of the Donetsk People’s Republic and its armed forces, to intervene and free Alexei Albu, Victor Shapinov, Maria Muratova and Maxim Firsov.
Victory to the People’s Republics! Down with the fascist junta!
Greg Butterfield, coordinator
Solidarity with Ukraine Antifascists Committee
International Action Center, New York, NY, USA
Mistakes happen in war time. It is not always easy to tell friend from foe. There is no shame in this. But there is still time to correct the mistake before it becomes a tragedy.
We appeal to you, as supporters of the Donetsk People’s Republic and its armed forces, to intervene and free Alexei Albu, Victor Shapinov, Maria Muratova and Maxim Firsov.
Borotba Za Odessu
Объединение Боротьба
Graham Phillips
Antiimperialistische Aktion
Internacionalistas 36
Solidarity with Antifascist Resistance in Ukraine
SouthFront
Amigos de la Republica Popular de Donetsk
Comité de Apoyo a la Ucrania Antifascista de Madrid
Banda Bassotti
Kristina Rus Kharlova
Denis Levin
Svetlana Licht
Boris Rozhin
Vladimir Suchan

And this is the original announcement of the kidnapping of the three Borotba activists, when the political issues behind the kidnapping were not yet clear:
URGENT ANOUNCEMENT FROM BOROTBA
URGENT! Borotba activists Maxim Firsov, Victor Shapinov and Maria Muratova missing in Donetsk
Ukrainian leftist political activists Maxim Firsov, Victor Shapinov and Maria Muratova are missing in Donetsk.
At around 15.00 on December 21, the Borotbists were kidnapped by unknown persons. The kidnappers introduced themselves as members of Battalion “Vostok.” According to the information available to us, the comrades are being held together with captured Ukrainian soldiers in the commandant’s office on Elevatornaya Street in Donetsk city.
Communists Shapinov, Firsov and Muratova have fought all their lives against the Ukrainian ultra-nationalists and oligarchs, and were persecuted in Kiev and Odessa for their stance against the Ukrainian authorities.
Today Battalion “Vostok” accepted a plan, issuing from the Ukrainian side, to exchange a Ukrainian reconnaissance and sabotage group for imprisoned members of the people’s militia.
If our comrades fall into the hands of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), they face repression in the dungeons of the Kiev junta. There is a threat of death from Ukrainian fascist-militants.
We appeal to Donetsk People’s Republic Prime Minister Alexander Vladimirovich Zakharchenko, Denis Pushilin, Battalion “Vostok” Commander Alexander Sergeyevich Khodakovsky, Boris A. Litvinov, and Dr. Andrei Purgin to intervene in the situation and take measures to release the anti-fascists Victor Shapinov, Maxim Firsov and Maria Muratova. [7]

Notes

[1] In Defence of Marxist London meeting hears eyewitness account of the Odessa massacre + VIDEO http://www.marxist.com/london-meeting-hears-eyewitness-account-of-the-odessa-massacre-video.htm
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denis_Pushilin
[3] 17. The Workers Party of Marxist Unification (POUM) http://www.revolutionaryhistory.co.uk/spain/articles/articles-of-rh0412/17-the-workers-party-of-marxist-unification-poum.htm
[4] In Defence of Marxist London meeting hears eyewitness account of the Odessa massacre + VIDEO http://www.marxist.com/london-meeting-hears-eyewitness-account-of-the-odessa-massacre-video.htm
[5] Source: http://en.censor.net.ua/n317454
[6] Ann Talbot, The Spanish Civil War and the Popular Front, Part two, 27 January 2009, WSWS, http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2009/01/spa2-j27.html
[7] http://borotba.su/v_donecke_propali_borotbisty_maksim_firso…

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