By the editors, New Cold War.org, Feb. 22, 2015
Several dozen people took to the streets of Paris in front of the Ukrainian embassy on February 21, 2014 demanding an end to Kyiv’s war in eastern Ukraine. A video news report on RT.com is here.
See also this report on the solidarity, antiwar action that took place in London on Feb. 22. It was organized by Solidarity with the Antifascist Resistance in Ukraine and drew 50 people in front of the U.S. embassy.
February 21, 2014 is the one-year anniversary of the overthrow of Ukraine’s elected president, Viktor Yanukovych. A violent, right-wing street movement of thousands of people from central and western Ukraine, encamped in Maidan Square in central Kyiv, tapped into the broad disatisfaction of Ukrainians with the results of several decades of independence, notably an economic performance that has left Ukraine as one of the poorest countries of Europe. Ukraine has vast natural and human resources. It culture and history is exceptionally rich. Somehow, successive governments since independence in 1991 have failed to mobilize all that potential and build a prosperous and forward-moving country for the majority. Instead, a clan of billionaire elites and their hangers-on have been the ones to prosper.
The right wing harnessed disatisfaction and steered it towards overthrowing Yanukoych’s government. It was replaced by a neo-conservative austerity government. It went to war in April of last year with something it calls an ‘Anti-Terrorist Operation’ (a so-called ‘ATO’). The aim was to stop citizen protests in eastern Ukraine against the new, right-wing government’s pro-Europe and anti-Russia austerity agenda. Ukrainians in the east also demanded a decentralization of governing power that would give them a say over economic, social and cultural policy and a say in the overall political orientation of the country.
The ‘Euromaidan’ movement argued that an economic association with capitalist Europe and a rupture of economic and political ties with Russia would provide a prosperous future, at least in the long term. Since the overthrow one year ago, Ukraine’s economy has collapsed and the new government went to war against the people of eastern Ukraine. Ukraine’s finances are in the hands of the International Monetary Fund. The minister of finance is an American hedge fund investment manager.
As a result of Kyiv’s war, many residents of eastern Ukraine, where Russian is the first language of the majority, have embarked on a sovereign political project which they call ‘Novorossiya’. Its exact form will depend on how Ukrainians in the rest of the country respond to the war and austerity program of the government in Kyiv. There have been rising protests against the war as well as strikes and protests by factory workers who have lost their jobs in the tens of thousands. These engagements by working class people hold out the hope of common action by all Ukrainians to compel Kyiv to respect the ceasefire it signed in Minsk on February 11 and prevent it from resuming the disastrous ‘ATO’ civil war. That will give time and impetus for the people to turn their attention to building a real economy, one that meets the desperate needs of the majority of Ukrainians.
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