PEACE THROUGH SELF-DETERMINATION
A solidarity protest calling for Hands Off Ukraine took place outside the studios of the Kremlin propaganda station Russia Today on Monday 31 January, with around 100 people attending.
The protest called by Ukraine Solidarity Campaign saw a socialists and trade unionists stand together with Ukrainians, Belarusians, Poles, Kurds, Hong Kongers and others in a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people.
Ukrainian scholar Sasha Dovzhyk spoke saying that Ukraine was a country ‘situated between Europe and Hell’:
Nadia Whittome, Labour Member of Parliament for Nottingham East spoke of the tragic history of Ukraine describing the man-made famine – Holodomor as a genocide – she said: “We must fight against imperialism on every front. We must demand that Russia dial down the threats”.
Paul Mason the journalist and author addressed the journalists at Russia Today directly in his speech and expressed solidarity with the people of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus:
Yuliya Yurchenko delivered a message on behalf of Соціальний рух (Social Movement) in Ukraine:
The Social Movement welcomes the efforts of all people activists who seek to preserve peace in Ukraine and care for a better future for it.
We are glad that at a time when Ukraine is facing unprecedented challenges to its independence, it is the socialist movement that has come to its defence.
THE SOCIAL MOVEMENT CONSIDERS THAT DE-ESCALATION REQUIRES THE FOLLOWING STEPS:
• Withdrawal of Russian troops from Donbass. One of the best means of putting pressure on Russia’s leadership would be to seize the property and assets of Russian oligarchs and high-ranking officials in London and elsewhere.
• Creation of an international program to restore the war-torn region and help its inhabitants (including through the confiscation of looted Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs).
• Revision of the socio-economic course proposed to Ukraine by the West: instead of destructive neoliberal reforms under IMF pressure, write off Ukraine’s external debt.
• More inclusive and progressive humanitarian policies in Ukraine, ending impunity for Ukrainian far-right and repealing “de-communization” laws.
• Ensuring guarantees of human rights for those who lived in the “DPR” [Donestk Peoples Republic] and “LPR” [Luhansk Peoples Republic] , the adoption of an amnesty law for those who did not commit war crimes.
Long live anti-war solidarity!
For democracy and socialism!Соціальний рух
Corinna Lotz speaking on behalf of the Real Democracy Movement said:
We’re standing out here in solidarity outside Russian Television because it equals Fox News of Russia. It churns out lies, Great Russian nationalism and conspiracy theories.
Under Putin, Russia is a capitalist gangster dictatorship where truth is buried in lies.
We call for the lifting of the ban on the heroic Memorial organisation. Memorial seeks to fill the blank spots of history and expose the crimes of Stalinism.
Putin’s regime is terrified of true history, whether that of Russia, Ukraine or all oppressed nations, especially Belarus, Crimean Tartars and the people of Chechnya.
As Lenin said, no country that oppresses another can ever be free.
Ukraine has the right to choose its own path and its own allies, without interference from anywhere.
So, we call for the right to true self-determination as an absolute pre-condition for the creation of real democracy, in Moscow and Kyiv.
Other supporters of Ukraine Solidarity Campaign who spoke included – Fred Leplat of Anticapitalist Resistance, Sacha Ismail of the Alliance for Workers Liberty, Pete Firmin of the Labour Representation Committee – LRC. Dashty Jamal of the Worker Communist Party Of Kurdistan spoke of the destruction of Iraq by Western Powers and condemned the threat of Russian Imperialism to do the same to Ukraine.
A number of messages of Solidarity were read to the protest by Christopher Ford of the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign.
From Chris Kitchen General Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers:
The NUM wishes to express its support to the people of Ukraine. We have been watching with interest the news reports in the UK in relation to the increasing tensions on the Ukrainian/Russian border.
It is concerning the build up of Russian troops in the area and it is our sincere hope that a diplomatic solution will be found resulting in a de-escalation of tensions.
Ukraine is an independent sovereign state and its people should be allowed to determine their own destiny free from external influence and pressure.
For and on behalf of the National Union of Mineworkers
From John Moloney Public and Commercial Services Union Assistant General Secretary (personal capacity)
Please accept my apologies as I am unable to attend today’s event. If I had though, I would have added my voice to yours in denouncing the threatened invasion of Ukraine
I can see no valid left argument as to why the regional imperialism of Russia should be accepted or tolerated.
Whilst I have no truck with the existence of NATO, in this instance, the clear villain of the piece is the Russian president and his
Greater Russian chauvinistic side kicks. Mr Putin is clear in opposing the right of Ukraine to self-determination; indeed he goes further, and states that the Ukrainian nation should not exist and that Ukrainians are Russians. We cannot allow such statements to go unchallenged.
Therefore, the message is clear: the Ukrainian peoples must be free to decide their own fate. As socialists of course, our orientation is towards workers and their organisations. Therefore we stand in solidarity not only with the Workers’ and Socialist Movements in Ukraine but also in Russia – the workers and peoples of Russia suffer the oppression of Putin’s state; an oppression he wants to extend to the Ukraine. No to that oppression, no to Putin’s state – Hands off Ukraine
PCS. Assistant General Secretary (personal capacity)
Bill Bowring of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
As International Secretary of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, and as President of the European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights, which has members in both Russia and Ukraine, I am sending this message of solidarity with your picket “Russia Hands Off Ukraine”. There is nothing new in the massing of Russian forces on the border with Ukraine. Russia has been at war with Ukraine since 2014. Ukraine has been an independent sovereign state since the collapse of the USSR in 1991. In 2014 Russia illegally annexed and occupied Crimea, an integral part of Ukraine, and gave full support to armed “separatists” in Donetsk and Luhansk. Their crimes include the shooting down of the civilian airliner MH17. Russia must return Crimea to Ukraine, and must withdraw support from the separatists.