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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The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure. We must all do more to help stop this western corporate arrogance that puts the future generations lives in despair. @BruceKGagnon

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Message from Lugansk labor leader

Last October I went to Moscow to do advance work for the Global Network's spring 2019 Russia Study Tour.  While there I met Lugansk labor leader Andrey Kochetov at a conference.  He recently asked me to start a petition opposing US-Canada weapons sales to the Ukrainian government which I have done.  Andrey felt it important to get people in North America to know more about those on the receiving end of these weapons that are daily used to target the people living in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine (the Donesk and Lugansk areas).  Following the recent landslide victory of new President Zelensky's party in the Rada (parliament) election I asked Andrey to give me his reaction to events in Ukraine.  Here are his words. Bruce

On July 21st, 2019, extraordinary elections to the parliament – the Verkhovna Rada – took place in Ukraine. These elections were initiated by the president Vladimir Zelensky, who announced dissolution of the Verkhovna Rada of the VIII convocation right after his inauguration. At the time of the presidential elections, which took place on the 21st of April, the Verkhovna Rada’s popularity rating among Ukrainian people was at a record low level of 4%.

Before participating in the presidential election, Zelensky was a fairly popular comedian and actor, one of the organizers of a comedy show “95th quarter”. A TV serial “People`s Servant” with Zelensky as a main character had obtained a huge popularity. He plays a president of a country who declared war to oligarchs in power.

While conducting analysis of why Zelensky won the presidential elections, it is not quite clear whether Ukrainian voters were led by aversion to ex-president Poroshenko or by a desire to see in Zelensky the hero of the “People`s Servant” who radically fights against oligarchic clans. However it be, after elections Zelensky had been lightning fast in achieving the pinnacle of power in Ukraine. But from the very first days at the new office, Vladimir Zelensky faced clear resistance from the Verkhovna Rada, which had refused to dismiss the General Prosecutor of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavel Klimkin despite Zelensky submission for that.

Somewhere about twenty political parties of Ukraine made an attempt to take part in the elections. But it was clear from the start that a list of those who had overcome a voting barrier of 5% would have consisted of only 4-5 parties. According to the data of the Ukrainian Central Electoral Commission as on the morning of 24th of July, an unconditional victory was gained by the presidential party “People`s Servant” – 43.16%. The second place, with a large lag, goes to the “Opposition Platform - For Life” (Victor Medvedchuk, Yuriy Boyko, Vadim Rabinovich) - 13.01%. Third place is taken by the party of a former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko “Batkivshchyna” with 8.18%, followed by the party of the former president Petro Poroshenko “European Solidarity” (8.12%). The last passing place is occupied by the “Voice” - the party of another political newcomer, singer Svyatoslav Vakarchuk with 5.84%. Despite one of the lowest turnout – 37-39% – and more than 40 criminal cases initiated for violations, the elections were recognized by the officials of the USA, European countries etc. and are supposed to have legal force.

It is still hard to predict how productive the Verkhovna Rada of the IX convocation will be. But it is worth noting that a political force of Vladimir Zelensky gained clear and doubtless victory what will obviously make his life as a head of the state much easier. Whether life of Ukrainian people will become easier – this is a question which can be answered after certain time and certain activities of the new Ukrainian authorities.

Unfortunately, residents of Donbass, who have been living under shelling of the Ukrainian army for five years, expect no particular changes. Just as the ex-president Poroshenko, president Zelensky had completely changed his “peaceful” electoral rhetoric in relation to the Republics of Donbass after the victory of his political party “People`s Servant”. The past few days after parliamentary elections had showed complete unwillingness of the new Ukrainian authorities for even a slight attempt to hear the voice of those Ukrainian citizens who are shelled by Ukrainian army. In his numerous media statements Zelensky consistently disappoints Donbass people by rejecting Minsk agreements which provide a peaceful scenario for regulating a conflict between Ukraine and Donbass Republics.

Zelensky is used to speak out readiness but not actually to carry out requirements of these agreements so for now nothing from Minsk peaceful treaties is done by Kiev – neither removal of heavy weapons nor full amnesty of the conflict parties etc.

During five years of armed confrontation in the east of Ukraine, the Kiev leadership has been shooting its own people justifying themselves by fairy tales about “terrible Russian aggression”. Ukrainian authorities are trying to convince the whole world that all their targets are only the Russian army, somehow ignoring thousands of victims among civilians. During five years the Ukrainian government has been persistently and methodically doing everything to push the Donetsk and Lugansk People`s Republics out of its state. It is true that at the beginning of the conflict many of Donbass people had experienced a grounded sense of nostalgia for life in Ukraine. But now, with each day of military conflict, there are less and less sentiments about possibility of “peaceful” life in the state where murderers of children proudly call themselves “heroes”.

~ Andrey Kochetov
Chairman, Trade Union of Small & Innovative Enterprises of Lugansk People's Republic (Donbass)

You can sign the petition suggested by Andrey here.  


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