Friday, June 06, 2014

Ukraine: the truth war

[Heavily edited 10:48 7 June]

There is a war of words going on in the West over Ukraine. A shocking number of people have been taken in by the narratives and outright lies circulating from the Kremlin and its propaganda outlets. The Kremlin's totally unreliable Russia Today (RT.com), which regularly gives airtime to antisemites, UKIP, Holocaust deniers, 9/11 truth cultists and Bilderberg conspiracy nutcases, is somehow seen as the fount of "truth" about Ukraine.

Among those circulate Russia Today material and Kremlin misinformation are: the left/right convergence fanzine Counterpunch, Germany's Stalinoid Junge Welt, the paleocon Ron Paul Institute, the Healeyite Trotskyists at the World Socialist Website, the right-wing Russia lobbyist John Laughland, the moonbat news site GlobalResearch, various Orthodox Christian websites, and the British neo-Nazis in the BNP.

In Britain, a large section of the left - most notably Counterfire, Stop the War, Comrade Delta of Unite Against Fascism, the Stalinist Communist Party of Britain, the Stalinoid ex-Trotskyists of Socialist Appeal and the deranged Trotskyists of Workers Power - is re-circulating this misinformation, and many well-meaning leftists and liberals lap it up.

It seems to make no difference to these leftists that they are saying the same things as an important section of the British financial elite, or that they are on the same page as Nigel Farage, Peter Hitchens, Nick Griffin, Marine Le Pen, Jobbik and the rest of the Western European far right.

Shiraz Socialist recently published a statement from anti-fascist magazine Searchlight on some of the unsavoury flavours in this toxic mix, focusing on the allies of the creepy LaRouche network in something laughably called “Solidarity with the Antifascist Resistance in Ukraine”, which seeks to channel solidarity towards right-wing, ultra-nationalist, paramilitary thugs in the so-called "People's Republics". While I don't see Searchlight as a reliable source, they seem to be spot-on about this network and about the "Borotba" fake socialist party it promotes.

Of course there are fascist forces on the fringes of the Kiev government (most notably the Right Sector, which received 0.7% of the vote in the recent elections in un-occupied Ukraine). The Kiev government - led by neo-liberal, centre-right oligarchs - is not particularly attractive. But it is not in any sense a "Nazi regime" as the Kremlin narrative puts it.

The so-called "People's Republics", in contrast, are staffed by all kinds of far right forces, most of which are not actually from Ukraine but from across the Russian empire. Timothy Snyder is the most authoritative writer on this topic. In a series of articles in the NYRB and TNR, he has tracked the role of the far right in both Russia and Russian-speaking Ukraine. In the Donetsk "People's Republic", we have people like Pavel Gubarov, of fascist group Russian National Unity, and Aleksander Borodai, a veteran Russian irredentist, antisemite and fascist. In Moscow pulling the strings are people like new right ideologue Alexander Dugin, and antisemitic far right veteran and LaRouche associate Sergei Glayzev.

A month ago, I posted some links to alternative sources from the area, from left and anarchist groups. Here are some more recent pieces from these sources. If you are not inclined to trust the reporters of the "mainstream media" in the West, listen to the voices of the real anti-fascists in Ukraine:




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