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Issue #1632      March 26, 2014

Culture & Life

Ukrainian fascists and US incidents

“Some 675,000 Ukrainians have fled to Russia following the fascist coup in Kiev and the banning of pro-Russian parties and the use of the Russian language for official purposes.” – The New Worker. I don’t remember seeing anything about that in our local media. Funny, that.

Did you see where Dmitry Yarosh, the leader of the Ukrainian neo-nazi outfit the Right Sector militia, called on the Chechen warlord Doku Umarov to join his movement in fighting Russia? This open incitement of the Chechen terrorists to carry out more deadly attacks on Russian civilians has prompted the Russian government to issue an international arrest warrant for Yarosh.

However, I suspect the US and the EU will be most unlikely to take any action against him. After all, the US is the country that gave shelter to a Cuban emigré terrorist who was known to have blown up an airliner killing all on board. The airliner was Cuban, so the Yanks saw no problem in treating him as a respected citizen.

As I write this, I have just seen a TV news “report” showing Ukrainian troops in their bases, accompanied by commentary claiming that all their bases in Crimea have been surrounded by Russian soldiers. What the commentary failed to mention was that most of the Ukrainian forces on the Crimean peninsula have sworn allegiance to the pro-Russian Crimean government including the navy, the three anti-aircraft missile regiments and the air-force with its squadron of 50 combat aircraft. Altogether, around 22,000 servicemen in the Ukrainian armed forces have switched sides.

At a media conference in Moscow earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that, although he personally was not in favour of months-long street protests as a means to pressure the government, the Maidan protesters had legitimate reasons for protesting against Yanukovich’s power, “considering the overwhelming corruption and other faults of his presidency”. But that did not legitimise the removal of the elected head of state by means of a putsch.

Putin warned that what seems to be happening now is the replacement of one set of crooks by another, citing the appointment by the “Interim Ukrainian Government” of certain wealthy oligarchs “of dubious reputation” to positions of power and influence in it.

The overthrow of socialism in the USSR and Eastern Europe brought all sorts of reactionaries and anti-Soviet/anti-Communist types out from under cover to strut their stuff. Neo-nazi groups were suddenly game to appear in public, attacking immigrants and Jews, in some countries sacking Communist Party buildings and assaulting Communist Party members.

In the Baltic Republics, fascist groups were openly courted. Soviet war memorials were destroyed, while new ones were erected in “honour” of the traitorous scum who joined the Waffen-SS, fought on behalf of Hitler against the partisans, murdered anti-fascists among their own people and provided enthusiastic guards for Nazi concentration camps.

In Ukraine, besides providing muscle to fight the police in Maidan Square, the fascists have embarrassed their EU and US backers by their outspoken anti-Semitism. This must have peeved some of their fellow “freedom fighters” in Maidan Square, who turned out to be Israeli soldiers! Ukraine, at least the Western part of it, is following the same anti-Soviet pattern. As reported in the US paper Workers’ World: “The toppling of a Soviet war memorial in the Western Ukrainian town of Stryi spits upon everyone who died fighting the Nazis. It’s an attack on the millions of Ukrainians who fought heroically in the Red Army and the many thousands who were anti-Nazi partisans.

“At least 25 statues of Lenin – the leader of the 1917 October Socialist Revolution – have been toppled. Meanwhile, wreaths have been placed upon statues of the [Ukrainian] fascist Stepan Bandera, whose followers massacred Jews and Poles.”

The supporters of the coup regime in Kiev were so keen to show their allegiance to their new masters in the US, that they hung an American flag inside Kiev’s main municipal building. But not the Stars & Stripes. No, they hung up a Confederate flag. Workers’ World points out that in the early 20th century, immigrants from Ukraine were among the strongest supporters of the Communist and workers’ movements in Canada and the USA. Commented the paper: “Hanging the Confederate flag of the US slave masters inside Kiev’s City Hall … dirties the revolutionary traditions of Ukrainian workers and peasants.”

Mind you, the neo-nazis and other reactionaries in Maidan Square would no doubt regard the revolutionary traditions of workers and peasants everywhere with contempt and loathing.

Leaving Ukraine for the moment, did you see the thoughtful way US oil giant Chevron reacted to an explosion in a natural gas well in Pennsylvania? When fracking operations went wrong in a coal seam gas well in Bobtown, Pennsylvania, the resulting explosion left one dead and another missing. It took five days for emergency crews to safely extinguish the fire that followed.

Sensing a PR crisis, the company acted with what they probably thought was the perfect way to deal with people in a coal mining community (of which there are lots in Pennsylvania). The Philadelphia Daily News broke the story of what Chevron was doing to regain the trust and support of the people of Bobtown. Chevron distributed to town residents coupons entitling them to one free pizza and a two-litre soda from the local Bobtown pizza shop. Yep, no expense spared, as you can see.

On its website, in referring to the explosion, Chevron said: “Chevron recognises the effect this has had on the community. We value being a responsible member of this community and will continue to strive to achieve incident-free operations.” Don’t you just love it? “Responsible” members of a community don’t usually try to blow it up. Or poison the groundwater or any of the other unpleasant side-effects of the fracking process.

And how can they say they will “continue” to strive for incident-free operations when their operations have just killed someone? But to a company like Chevron, the death of a worker (or two) really is just an “incident”. After all, they can always get more of them.

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