On December 16, a court in Ukraine rejected a suit by the Communist Party of Ukraine to block governmental efforts to end the existence of the party and ban its symbols and terminology. An appeals court has rejected the Communist Party’s appeal. This creates a deplorable situation in Ukraine, and a horrible precedent for the rest of Europe and beyond.
This is not the first time governments of formerly socialist states have used repressive tactics to suppress not only the communist parties themselves, but the things that they stand for. Similar things have happened in the Baltic countries, in Poland, Hungary and Romania.
In the Czech Republic a couple of years ago there was a serious, but unsuccessful effort to ban the youth league of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia.
The pretexts used illustrate the depths of cynicism of the ruling classes and governing parties of Eastern Europe. The Communist Party of Ukraine is accused of “separatism” when in fact it had called for regional autonomy in a unitary Ukraine as a peaceful way out of the country’s current troubles. The fact that this party has legally elected parliamentary representation and millions of supporters is simply ignored.
After the Second World War, when Soviet troops had driven the genocidal German Nazi forces out of the Eastern European countries they had occupied, and the peoples were demanding just punishment for the Nazis and their local collaborators, fascist and Nazi elements in the region went underground or into exile but did not vanish.
With the collapse of Eastern European socialism and the USSR at the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, these ultra-rightist, fascist and frequently anti-Semitic elements came out of hiding, dropped their camouflage and/or returned from exile in the West. In a number of Eastern European countries, they managed to get legislation passed that banned both Nazism and communism, which were falsely equated for propaganda purposes.
The current persecution of communists in Ukraine was preceded by very similar phenomena in nearby countries. The version of history that is promoted by the right describes communism as just as genocidal as Nazism certainly was.
But it is false, propagandistically manipulated history. The Jews, Roma, and other persecuted population sectors in Eastern Europe were exterminated by the German Nazis and their local fascist collaborators. Those who survived often did so because they were rescued by Soviet troops or partisans.
We cannot ignore the role of the major capitalist countries of the West in creating and exacerbating this state of affairs. After the end of the Second World War, with the connivance, in the United States, of the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, thousands of German Nazis and Eastern European Nazi collaborators were helped to escape to the United States.
They formed the nuclei of right-wing, pro-fascist agitation in “ethnic,” including Ukrainian-American, communities in both the United States and Canada, intimidating and shouting down people of similar national origins who did not agree with their right-wing agenda. In some cases they worked with U.S. intelligence to undermine the governments of their former homelands. Only in the 1970s did this become a public scandal that led to a few investigations and deportations.
With the fall of Eastern European socialism and the Soviet Union, western governments, multinational corporations and some NGOs eagerly abetted the rise to power of intolerant right-wing groups in the former socialist states, including Ukraine. When it appeared, in the fall of 2013, that the government of Ukraine was not going to submit to pressure to join the European Union, outside forces helped to destabilize the country, often acting in tandem with extreme right wing Ukrainian groups such as the Svoboda party and Pravy Sektor, which openly identify with people who collaborated with Nazi Germany.
This led to the ouster of the legally elected government in February, 2014.When the majority of people in Eastern Ukraine took fright at the evident fascist threat and took a stand, they were portrayed in the Western capitalist media as mere Russian puppets. The result has been a bloody civil war.
The Communist Party of Ukraine has stood for sanity, moderation and a peaceful resolution of the conflict in the East. To obfuscate the real role of fascism and the ultra right both historically and today, while clearing away a major obstacle to the expansion of the European Union and NATO, the government of President Poreschenko and Prime Minister Yatsanyuk has decided to drive the Communist Party out of Ukrainian political life.
In the process, they make a mockery of their own and their western allies’ supposed commitment to liberal values such as freedom of expression and association, not to mention international law and treaties to which Ukraine is signatory. The “judicial” proceedings that have been mounted against the Communist Party have been farcical, with recalcitrant judges being menaced and their offices invaded by authorities.
All people of goodwill should protest this outrage. One way would be to contact the Embassy of Ukraine in Washington DC, at the following, phone numbers HERE.
The call is to stop trying to crush the right of the Ukrainian people to belong to and support the Communist Party of Ukraine if they so choose.
Photo: Banner translates to: The Communist Party of Ukraine. From their Facebook page.