Russian nationalism and Ukraine: Workers' Liberty 3/44

We need a “Third Way”

Submitted by AWL on 30 July, 2014 - 6:21 Author: Kirill Medvedev

The perspective on events in Ukraine provided by this article, written by Kirill Medvedev and published on the Russian socialist website Open Left, is very different from that of the July 2014 Yalta conference. This conference (organised around "The Manifesto of the Popular Front for the National Liberation of Ukraine, Novorossiya and Transcarpathian Rus'") was attended by leftists and Russian nationalists (including the most virulent).

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A Popular Front for Russian Nationalism

Submitted by cathy n on 23 July, 2014 - 12:23

The “Manifesto of the Popular Front for the National Liberation of Ukraine, Novorossiya and Transcarpathian Rus’.” (1)

This is the title of the manifesto adopted at a conference – attended by people who regard themselves as being of the left, and by representatives of various brands of Russian nationalism, including the most virulent – held in Yalta (Crimea) in early July. (2)


Submitted by AWL on Fri, 25/07/2014 - 13:35

Even on its own terms, your analogy doesn't make sense.

Palestine is a colony of Israel. The movement for national liberation there includes various reactionary forces, yes. And yes, we would support Palestinian independence even if it was under an Islamist or reactionary-nationalist government.

Russia is not a colony of Ukraine. Something closer to the reverse is the case. In what sense does Russian nationalism - including the far-right, quasi-fascist, racist Russian nationalism of many of the key figures in this initiative - have any objectively progressive characteristics or potential? Russia is one of the world's biggest imperialist powers. In what possible sense can Russian nationalism be anything other than wholly reactionary?



Submitted by dale street on Fri, 25/07/2014 - 22:59

“Richard really misses the point about the front’s demand for peace.”

The conference Declaration might say something or other about peace, but the conference’s Popular Front Manifesto is clearly in favour of (one side in) the war.

The Manifesto fails to acknowledge Ukraine’s right to exist as independent state (or, indeed, as any kind of state at all). It looks forward to “the victory of the people’s liberation revolution” and the defeat of the “liberal-fascist regime” in Kiev.

The quote from Strelkov-Girkin in the above article makes it clear that his perspective is the military conquest of Kiev. This was not a one-off by Strelkov-Girkin.

A post by Alexander Dugin (the intellectual guru of the Eurasian wing of Russian fascism) appeared yesterday on the Facebook page of the Izborsky Club (of which Dugin is also a member). The post, in which Dugin advocates a new military offensive, states:

“If the Great Novorossiya begins to emerge on the map of the south-east of the former Ukraine, the Great Offensive will turn to the final goal – the liberation of Kiev from the Nazi junta (the aim of Igor Strelkov).”

Aiming to militarily conquer Kiev is a recipe for a lot more fighting, not peace.

A couple of other points re. the conference:

Clips of the some parts of the conference have now appeared on Youtube:

It looks like not even 50 people turned up for it. And most of those who did turn up look incredibly bored by the event.

The background to various pictures of Getsko (the fourth one down is a picture of Getsko and Prokhanov, just after the picture of Getsko and Kagarlitsky) to be found at reveal that the conference was held in the Hotel Yalta.

Having had a glance at its website - - it looks quite expensive.

(Please note: since 1st June this year the hotel accepts payments only in rubles. And we all know why.)

Submitted by AWL on Sat, 26/07/2014 - 09:53

In addition to what's been said about the Palestine-Israel/Ukraine-Russia comparison, I think if there was an Islamist conference about Gaza, but basically organised to promote an Islamist agenda, socialists should minimally think very carefully about whether to participate. Let alone whether to provide "leftist" cover for it internationally.

Sacha Ismail

Submitted by Mark on Tue, 29/07/2014 - 21:54

Pompous man with messiah complex goes to Russia to provide cover for Russian fascists while drinking latte at posh hotel. Fifth International pass long motion in support of spluttering man (Bolivian section, comprising one student living in Paris, abstains, and is immediately expelled).

And Socialist Action confirm they are crap.

Submitted by dale street on Wed, 30/07/2014 - 23:40

More evidence of the progressive, secular, rational nature of Novorossiya:

Order of Igor Strelkov, Banning Swearing in the Army of Novorossiya:

We call ourselves the Russian-Orthodox Army and are proud of the fact that we do not serve the Golden Calf but serve Our Lord Jesus Christ and our people. The face of the Saviour is portrayed on our banners.

The use of swear words by soldiers is to abuse the Lord and the Holy Mother, whom we serve and who protect us in battle

I order:

1 A ban on swearing.

2 Unit commanders to pass on the order to their subordinates. Commanders and officers responsible for ideology to conduct educational work about the nature of swearing and the reasons for its impermissibility.

3 Swearing in public places to be considered a serious breach of discipline and to be punished accordingly.


Swear words of non-Russian origin are used by the enemies of Rus’ to profane our sacred objects, and, by impacting on their spirit, to defeat Russian soldiers in battle and force the people down onto its knees.

Therefore: swearing is an abuse of God which has always been regarded as a serious sin.

The principle of the enemies of Rus’ was the same in the past as it is now in the case of the haters of Christianity who have seized power in Kiev, who order Russian-Orthodox Ukrainians to fire at their own churches, to mock banners which bear the face of our Saviour, and to mock the Russian-Orthodox Patriarch.

It is therefore impossible for a Russian soldier to use the language of the enemy. This demeans us spiritually and leads the army to defeat.

Commander of the Militia of the Donetsk People’s Republic

Colonel I. I. Strelkov


(See: Приказ Игоря Стрелкова о запрете матерной брани в армии Новороссии at:

Perhaps yet another document of which Richard Brenner could say: “While I don’t agree with it all, there’s nothing reactionary in its practical proposals”?

Submitted by dale street on Mon, 04/08/2014 - 01:29

I’ve just been forwarded a Facebook post about this article by Gerry Downing.

It really makes for a sad read.

The article in question spends 10,000 words criticizing a conference which was permeated by the fascist politics of “Zavtra” and Prokhanov – in terms of its organizers (i.e. Anpilogov and his front organisations), its politics (i.e. the “Manifesto”), and its special guest speaker (i.e. Prokhanov himself).

What does Gerry Downing have to say about any of this?

Nothing at all!

Instead, firstly, he complains about the use of the expression “medley of predictable demands” in relation to the demands of the conference’s “Declaration”.

But it’s difficult to know what other expression to use.

The demands certainly have only a limited relevance to the reality of what’s going on in Ukraine at the moment. They make no mention, for example, of solidarity with the struggle against the fascist leaders of the Donetsk and Peoples Republics.

(Not surprising really – given that the Yalta conference was an initiative by Russian fascists to build support for their fellow Russian fascists in Ukraine.)

Then we have Gerry Downing’s inability to understand that a certain critique of banking capitalism has an anti-semitic pedigree – on the left (e.g. mid-nineteenth century French socialists) and on the right (e.g. extreme forms of Russian-nationalism throughout its history).

To denounce usury or money-lending or finance capital or capitalism as a specific Jewish activity or invention is not a confused form of socialism. It is anti-semitism.

And anti-semitism is integral to the politics of the Izborsky Club: they are fascists.

Gerry Downing performs a similar feat in relation to the translation of the article by the Russian socialist Kirill Medvedev.

Out of the total of 2,500 words in the article Gerry Downing focuses on just six of them (“Our enemy is in Moscow”).

One can only assume that Gerry Downing no longer believes that “the main enemy is at home.”


Gerry Downing claims in his Facebook post that Cathy Nugent, not me, wrote this article.

Is Gerry Downing also one of those people who thinks that Marlowe wrote Shakespeare?

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