The ‘Orange revolution’ in the mirror of history, by Chris Ford
Stan Crooke looks at the background to the recent slaughter of up to 500 people by the Uzbek government during demonstrations in the eastern city of Andijan.
The Uzbek government claims that “only” 169 people were killed by troops in Andijan. Ten of the dead are police officers they say, the rest were all Islamic militants. However a local pathologist reported seeing more than 500 corpses in a makeshift morgue in Andijan. Human rights organisations have also put the figure of civilian casualties at about 500. And an Uzbek opposition party has compiled a list of more than 700 people it says were killed after troops moved in.
While George Bush hypocritically rails against nuclear proliferation in Iran, the US and Europe are colluding in extending nuclear energy in the countries affected by the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. This survey — we have edited it slightly for reasons of space — was published recently on the Schnews website.
The former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan is standing against Foreign Secretary Jack Straw in Blackburn. He was sacked after making complaints about the UK goverment using information obtained under torture by the Uzbekistan government. Stan Crooke reviews a new book by Shahram Akbarzadeh, Uzbekistan and the United States - Authoritarianism, Islamism and Washington's Security Agenda (Zed books). It won't he says, answer all your questions about this former Soviet republic.
A fair election result was finally secured in the Ukraine over the Christmas period — although only after mass protests had secured a re-run.
There will be no such happy outcome in Uzbekistan where all five parties taking part in the 25 December parliamentary election supported the incumbent President, Islam Karimov. Additionally, two-thirds of potential candidates were not allowed to stand.
At the time of writing, the wave of protests which swept through Ukraine’s cities after the presidential elections on 20 November may be beginning to have an affect.
By Stan Crooke
Three weeks of popular protest in the Caucasian republic of Georgia culminated in the resignation of its president, Eduard Shevardnadze, on 23 November.
Shevardnadze was a Communist Party bureaucrat turned "democrat". He had joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in 1948 and rose steadily through its ranks. By 1972 he had become head of the CPSU in Georgia.
In 1989 Mikhail Gorbachev was forced by the political and economic condition of the dying 'Soviet Union' to withdraw Russian troops from the Warsaw Pact countries. These Stalinist satellite states rapidly collapsed, the regimes overthrown by their own people. The collapse of the 'independent' Stalinist states of Yugoslavia and Albania, and the USSR followed. It was a demonstration of the power of workers and ordinary people to change history.
It seems that the AWL has been a (relatively minor) victim of a scam being operated in the Ukraine by members of the Taaffe group's (CWI) section.
1953 was the year Stalin died, and a year of revolt in several Soviet bloc countries, in the first place, East Germany. This article by Jean-Michel Krivine, at the time a member of the French Communist Party, is from Rouge (2 January 2003), the paper of the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire in France. In it he describes some of the momentous events that followed the - very partial - Soviet thaw after Stalin's death.