Thursday, September 11, 2014

Comment: Prospects for an anti-war/solidarity movement in Ukraine and Russia | Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

By Roger Annis

August 18, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In an article published on Left-East on August 10, Russian left-wing writer Ilya Budraitskis laments "there is no anti-war movement in Russia". His article is a rather bleak, despairing outlook on the prospects of organising against “war” in the border regions between Ukraine and Russia. He titles his article “Hope in a hopeless place”.

Budraitskis describes the war being waged by the neo-conservative governing regime in Kyiv as an "interstate conflict", meaning that Russia bears an equal, if not greater, responsibility for the conflict. This scenario is not only a gross misread of Russia's position and role in the conflict, it also leads us nowhere in understanding what to do.

The immediate victims of this war are the conscripted foot soldiers of the Ukraine army, the residents of south-eastern Ukraine and the international volunteers (mostly from Russia) who are fighting with self-defence forces in the southeast. In Budraitskis' discouraging scenario, the victims are hapless and without a voice or role.

He writes of the "unfortunate residents of Luhansk and Donetsk" who are left defenceless to "face the destructive elements of war". The nature of the conflict as “interstate” means they are bystanders to forces far more powerful than they. The “state”' that emerges victorious, he writes, will be "able to bring stability, even if to smoking ruins [and] will receive such a level of submission and obedience of which no state in peace time could even dream".

Budraitskis makes an explicit call for a “third”, anti-war, position, between the NATO powers backing Kyiv, on the one hand, and Russia, on the other. He writes, "The anti-war moment, if it is really trying to bring disagreement back to society, should hold a 'third position'.”

Rather oddly, he explains, “Such a movement fundamentally should not determine the greater or lesser degree of responsibility of each side, it should not ‘understand the point of view’ of those who never have taken our [anti-war] point of view."

Two worlds

Fortunately for the victims of Kyiv's war, the author is dead wrong in his assessment. He grossly misreads and misrepresents the people of eastern Ukraine. There is not a chance they could have resisted for so long and so successfully Kyiv's NATO-backed military offensive if they didn't have a political and social cause worth fighting for.

Complete story at - Comment: Prospects for an anti-war/solidarity movement in Ukraine and Russia | Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

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