Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Brunswick, Maine, United States

I'm back to work for the Global Network. Will continue to help Lisa Savage for US Senate campaign on my free time. Trying to self-isolate as much as possible. Best wishes and good luck to you all.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Preparing for trip to Donbass war zone


I am staying at a tourist hotel on the north side of Moscow.  It appears that mostly Russian tourists are staying in one of the seven red brick five story Soviet-era buildings that surround this garden.  This is unusual because these days there are lots of Chinese tourists in this city.  Music is piped into the center of the garden - mostly jazz and blues is what I've heard when walking through the courtyard.

Like all hotels in this country a buffet breakfast comes with the room price which is under $50 per night.  A good deal.

I've been here four nights and my luggage finally arrived two nights ago - at 1:15 am when a hotel staffer kindly delivered it to my door.

Yexterday I took the Metro to Red Square and then walked about three hours heading north toward my hotel. Got pretty close but needed to grab a cab the rest of the way back to hotel as my new knee was getting sore.  

Today GN Advisory Board member Leonid Ilderkin and I will take the overnight train to the Donbass where I am scheduled to speak in the Lugansk and Donetsk people's republics which were established in 2014 after the coup d'etat in Ukraine's capital city Kiev.  During that time the US (led by V-P Joe Biden) installed a puppet government and as we've heard in the news the V-P got his son appointed to the board of a fossil fuel corporation at $50,000 a month.  That's not bad for a guy (Hunter Biden) who knew nothing about Ukraine or the gas business.  You can read a very thorough article on this entire sordid story by Max Blumenthal here.

Following the 2014 coup in Kiev the new illegal government (that deposed a duly elected government) began shelling Ukrainian citizens living in the Donbass (eastern part of the country near the Russian border).  The residents of Donbass are ethnic Russians, have a common history, traditions and language. Since the days of the USSR, Donbass has been closely economically connected with Russia.

Western media and politicians call the people in Lugansk and Donetsk republics 'separatists'. In 2014, after the newly installed post-coup government was in place, the first thing that was done was to ban the speaking of Russian in all of Ukraine - which is quite insane.




The people in the Donbass began peacefully marching and signing petitions calling for a 'federated' Ukraine where they could decide which language they wished to speak and to hold back some portion of their taxes for development as they knew Kiev would try to starve their local economy.  

Kiev's answer to these peaceful protests?  The Ukrainian Army and neo-Nazi death squads began attacking the people and to date more than 10,000 have been killed in the process.  Soon after this began coal miners came out of the mines along with other citizens to form self-defense forces to protect their homes and families.  This was the time that the west began calling them 'separatists'.  Frankly, after five years of non-stop attacks, the people in the Donbass have decided that they in fact do want go their own way - linking to Russia would insure safety and stability for them.

Moscow has been frequently criticized by supporters of the people in the Donbass for not being more aggressive in defending them.  The western media claims that Russia has invaded the Donbass but in fact I've not seen the slightest evidence of that claim during these past five years that I've been following this story.  I'll get a much closer look at the scene in coming days but don't expect to see Russian troops and tanks in the Donbass. 

In 2016 I went to Odessa, Ukraine on May 2 to stand with the Mothers Council whose sons and daughters had been massacred by the Nazi death squads when the people were peacefully gathering signatures for a referendum demanding local autonomy.  Regis Tremblay filmed a video of me telling the story that you can see here.


The recently elected new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (a TV actor) won overwhelmingly because the public is tired of the war and want their economy to be restored. During the campaign he inferred that he was the candidate of 'hope and change'.  We've heard that one before.

Because the US-NATO 2014 coup was in large part to reorient the economy of Ukraine to Europe, and not Russia, the normal trading relationship with their next door neighbor was severed and they have essentially become a failed state.  See more on this story here.

Zelensky has refused to honor the Minsk Agreement that declared that Kiev must pull back their military forces from the 'line of contact' in the Donbass and negotiate a federated state plan that would lead to peace.  Instead Zelensky watches as the Nazi death squads continue to attack the Donbass and he demands that the Lugansk and Donetsk republics unconditionally surrender which they will never do.

Thus the war continues with support from the US, during both the Obama and Trump administrations.  A key goal of the US-NATO operation in Donbass is to create endless instability along the Russian border and have it bleed into Russia forcing 'regime change' even in Moscow.  See evidence of US training the Ukrainian military forces here.

Upon arrival in the Donbass I will be looking for signs of any movement toward peace and will also be seeking to learn more from leaders of the new republics about how they see their future at this most difficult moment.

Bruce

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