What is the situation in Ukraine? - An Interview


Wir wurden von einigen GenossInnen aus dem 'Osten' gebeten das folgende Interview zu verbreiten. Auch wenn wir mit dem Inhalt in einigen Punkten nicht übereinstimmen, beispielsweise was die Frage der Organisation oder etwaige Perspektiven betrifft, halten wir es dennoch für wichtig dem Wunsch nachzukommen und es einer breiteren Öffentlichkeit zugänglich zu machen. Das Interview wurde mit einer Person aus dem Zusammenhang der 'RKAS n.a. Makhno' aus der Ukraine geführt und ist auch schon seit einiger Zeit in russischer Sprache auf verschiedenen Websites veröffentlicht (avtonom.org). 

Einige AnarchistInnen


1)What is the situation in Ukraine? Your assessment.


Bourgeois national political revolution is taking place, against the background of which Civil War and ill-concealed intervention of the neighbouring state are developing. I mean Russia. If to say meagerly. If to use more lyrical words, the life is flowing in two parallel realities: people go to cafes, live their daily lives, children walk around, and at the same place nearby – deaths, violence, hatred…


Situation is very difficult and it will last for quite a long time. Perhaps, a couple of years. The echoes will hardly ever subside at all. Mutual confrontation and split of society are growing deeper with every day. There is a tangle of contradictions and games of interests from the political point of view. I wrote about this in my articles well back at the time of Maidan and soon after it, and told in interviews to media channel ADSR (Autonomous Action Social-Revolutionary) and Radio RKAS Libertaire back in winter. Since then the situation has become even more multilayer. A lot of things proved to be true, apparently new players joined, some things became more obvious. Some foci have shifted. But in general everything goes according to the scenario which I have predicted in the article “Baptism of Blood”. They laughed then at my expectations… Now the split of the country and Civil War are a simple fact.


The processes, taking place in Ukraine, are only getting more complicated. Here one has geopolitics and nationalism, economy and the social, and merely saturnalia of passions.



2)What are you engaged in at the present moment?


Unfortunately, I cannot be completely sincere about everything. Otherwise a lot of good people and I will have troubles of different nature. And my friends and I have many plans for the future. That’s why, let’s say so, we are trying to find a reasonable line of action in the newly formed and constantly changing circumstances.


As far as RKAS n.a. Makhno (Revolutionary Confederation of Anarcho-Syndicalists named after Makhno) is concerned, it does not exist anymore in the quality you have known it until now. Officially but tacitly RKAS was disbanded and its nucleus made the switch to illegal operation. Why did it happened? That happened because in the form RKAS had existed up to date, it did not meet requirements of the time being. Thought, the same way the whole anarchistic movement both in Russia and Ukraine does not meet requirements of today; and RKAS being a part of this movement hasn’t managed to overcome all those vices, which make contemporary “anarcho-movement” be not of the moment. All these years we’ve tried to create an effective project in the medium where the project of such a kind was doomed to failure. RKAS was such a project. And time showed us the whole futility of our attempts. Why am I that straight-out? There are three main reasons, due to which anarchic movement in the form it exists nowadays does not have any future. The first reason is infantilism of the overwhelming majority of the people who join the movement. It is not connected only with the age, though the majority of the participants of the movement recruited by us are in fact kids. Talking about infantilism, I mean the state of mind, child-like look at quite serious and fundamental things, and lack of seriousness in perception of serious things. This is the paradigm of the consciousness of the majority of those who come to anarchism, no matter how old they are – 14, 18, 25 or older. Naïveté and some kind of childish inefficiency are inherent in them. These people form the agenda for the movement and shape of its existence. The second reason is “subculture” traits of the movement. A very goods illustration to my words was demonstrated in one of the interviews about events in Ukraine on “Avtonomnoje deystviye” (Autonomous action) site. Here is what one of the anarchists answered in this interview to the question: “Are there anarchistic groups in Donbass?”:


Activity of the anarchists is at low level, there are few of them. That’s why their influence on the political situation is extremely negligible. There are groups of “non-organized” anarchists in some towns of the region – Donetsk, Avdeevka, Kramatorsk, Gorlovka, Mariupol, Yasinovataya. Membership of each group is up to ten or about this number… Activity of the given groups is various: starting from conducting games of five-a-side, concerts, up to agitation (stickers, graffiti)… But the activity is not systematical. as these groups are something like companies of friends”.


I think, there is nothing to explain. The only thing what I wanted to ask about when reading this: why are there many little groups, calling themselves anarchistic, but at the same time they are not united into a single organization and are engaged in obvious crap?


The question is a rhetorical one, as the answer to it is obvious: infantilism of anarchists, everyone’s unbounded ambitions and complete absence, at the same time, of the slightest strategic vision of the leaders of suchlike groups, who cannot raise above well-worn and senseless subcultural “actions for the sake of actions”, raise above their ego (read infantilism) and unite into a single organization and work out political agenda.


As one more example of infantilism and ideological manginess one can remember anti-electoral propaganda of the breakaway from RKAS the so called “Mezhdunarodnyj Souz Anarkhistov” (MSA, International Union of Anarchists) in Donetsk. During the split the breakaways argued so much about the fact that in allegedly authoritarian RKAS they were not given an opportunity to realize themselves, that their initiative was suppressed and so on. As a result, having freed themselves from “dictatorship of RKAS organizational bureau”, which made them go to mines and factories and spread “Anarchy” newspaper, and deal with trade unions and cooperatives, and build a well disciplined “black guard”, having freed themselves from RKAS conferences decisions, which put forth really constructive socio political tasks, “anti-authoritarian” anarchists, having established MSA, showed their strategic and tactic abilities by sticking all around the city handwritten posters of such contents: “Do not go to elections – eat vegetables!”.


And where are all these new unimaginable anti-authoritarian units, creators of which weakened RKAS systematically, broke anarchistic movement to pieces by their arrival thus not giving it any opportunity to organize itself into a strong and mass political organization? Are they still sticking stickers, drawing graffiti no one wants, playing football and going to concerts? Eat vegetables, do not go to elections? For the sake of this one had to destroy all the constructive sprouts in anarchistic movement, telling that that was “not quite respectable for pure anarchism”? This is the way naughty children behave, arranging holidays of disobedience and riots for the sake of their petty insults and games.


And at last anarchism of anarchists, because of which anarchists become the main obstacle on the way to anarchy. I resort to such a funny tautology intentionally, so that to draw your attention to the old illnesses of being anti-organizational, destructive and irresponsible, which are brought to the level of a virtue and undermine any constructive work. Anarchists, due to suchlike absolutely absurd mistakes, thus failed to establish the organization. And all the attempts to establish the organization within the framework of “RKAS” project gave rise to a real Crusade against “authoritarianism and extremities”. Both situation in February 2013 and the current one have clearly shown all the helplessness of that amorphous form of infantile and subcultural anarchism no matter what name it gave to itself in the face of real historical events.


Coming back to RKAS fate, I will tell that its disappearance is just a tactical step. Perhaps, RKAS will re-emerge in new capacity, taking into account all the mistakes and being modernized according to the situation, perhaps, we will create something brand new or a couple of variants. But the spirit of RKAS and the idea of that kind of anarchism which we have been trying to achieve for more than 20 years now, will live on. We do not surrender and we do not disappear. For now we have dissolved in time and space. For a little while.



3) What is the social composition of the protesters in south-west and on Maidan? Who are leaders and ordinary people there?


Maidan and Separatists of the South-East do not differ much from each other. Both Maidan revolution and revolution of the Separatist East involve the people of Ukraine: creative intellectuals, employees, entrepreneurs, citizens, rural population, students, the lumpen proletariat and the former military. This fratricidal war is between the people who must have common interests, but in the course of political manipulation this nation has become a hostage and a puppet to interests of feuding economic clans, families, in fact, to separate “strong personalities”. Instead of directing the arms against the oligarchs and their empires, the ordinary people of Maidan have led new oligarchs to power, and the common people of the South-East carry out the order of the family of ousted President Yanukovych and his Moscow Master. All this rhetoric flavored with nationalism and chauvinism, all these tears about some interests of the East or the West are just stage scenery for struggle for the interests of oligarchic families and state institutions, subject to their will. But these pieces of scenery are bloody. People have always paid in lives for the interests of their masters both in the First World War, and in the Second. Both in the recent local wars of contemporary history and, alas, now in Ukraine. As a result, bloody wounds and anger for decades – that is the very thing that the Ukrainian people will ultimately receive for their sacrifices. The people of Ukraine, who recognize themselves as such or do not realize, are embroiled in these cruel “games of thrones”. People on both sides of the barricades and roadblocks must understand that they have been deceived, that they are fighting with the mythology and in reality they are killing themselves because they are one united body. The workers who have been pitted one against another as fighting dogs, on whom they place stakes, and who will get nothing but wounds and grief. Because the enemy is on the wrong side of the fun sight. The enemy is in the Kremlin and in the Mariinsky Palace, in the Capitol and in the Bundestag. Now let's talk about the leaders. Maidan leaders are national bourgeoisie and its radical elements. Who are separatists’ leaders? National bourgeoisie and its radical elements. In the East they scare with “Pravyj Sektor” (“Right sector”) and call to fight fascism, those, who came out of the Russian fascist parties and movements or share the paradigm of imperial fascism of Russian nation. Supporters of Barkashov, Zhirinovsky, Dugin and Limonov do call to fight fascism, don’t they? This is nonsense. And the saddest aspect of this process is that by fascism the Russian fascists and nationalists, together with the fooled by them masses, mean all Ukrainian, the Ukrainian people as such. Ukrainians are denied their history, language, self-name, the right to exist as such. In Donetsk, according to their logic, you have a choice, to be either a Russian, or to be a fascist. If you are Ukrainian, but you have nothing to do with nationalism and, moreover, with fascism, it does not count. If you say, “I am Ukrainian,” for a word in the Ukrainian language you are beaten or killed. It's simple. Such is the logic of imperial Russian “national anti-fascism”. Come in Donetsk and speak Ukrainian, and you will see for yourself. And this phantom has embraced not only a handful of pro-Russian Right, but the whole population strata. And even the so-called Left in the South-East. Manipulations win the war. Rape consciousness of the masses and you can work wonders of absurdity. This happened at Maidan and is now happening in the South-East.



4) What kind of organizations are “Rabochiy Front” and “Lava”? What impact do they have?


"Lava" is just a group of miners from one of the mines of Donetsk, who, on general impulse, in the early days of unrest in the city came to the Regional State Administration and wrote word “Lava” on the black flag. This is not a political organization. It's just a group of people. The flag hung on the balcony of the building for a few days, and then disappeared, as well as the group itself. These people have nothing to do with anarchism. This happens in the days of popular unrest. People in a flurry of something do something, but this something has no consequences.

Rabochiy front” is a group that emerged as a result of a split of Ukrainian Workers Union long before the events at Maidan. These are workers of communist, pro-Soviet views. When the unrest in Donetsk started, this group showed itself at first in protecting monument to Lenin. Then it participated in the capture of the Donetsk Regional State Administration. In general, participation of supporters of Communist Party of Ukraine and all the pro-Soviet groups in the separatist movement manifested itself massively and actively. Even “Borot’ba” party takes an active part in the events in the South-East. Many people see Russia as the successor to the Soviet Union. And, in connection with this, in all the pro-Russian they see kind of restoration of the USSR. It is so ridiculous and illogical that I do not even want to comment. But the mass psychosis is a complex phenomenon. It is perfectly described by: starting from Le Bon to Reich and Moscovici. There was a time when I did not understand why the Nazis were able to win in Germany so easily. Now I understand. Crowd can be only manipulated, it will swallow everything. Moreover, none of the classical schemes of the world view work in the era of Postmodernism. That’s why one can see a communist and a fascist standing shoulder to shoulder, an imperialist and a supporter of workers' councils, an anarchist and a nationalist. I’ve recalled a vivid illustration to the said above, when at the anti-fascist rally devoted to the anniversary of the victory over fascism, on the 9th of May, in Donetsk, my brother, a supporter of the separatists, was greeted with “antifascist” greeting “Heil Hitler” by his comrade-in-movement, one of those who stormed Donetsk SBU (Security Service of Ukraine). In response to my sarcastic remark brother, who came ‘to protect veterans from Banderovtsy” murmured shyly: “Hrmph…”



5) Could you elaborate on the referendum held on May 11?


Another example of society of spectacle. The referendum, which cannot either be verified, or refuted. With its fake ballots and polling stations, without observers and under the watchful eye of people in masks. I myself had the joy to witness the dude with the sawn-off gun who “protected” my polling station. The referendum, about holding of which Mr. Barkashov personally advised one of the leaders of the Donetsk People's Republic giving the following instructions “write 90 percent voter turnout and let’s look at the reaction of the Khokhols (TN: pejorative or offensive, sometimes facetious name of Ukrainians)”. It is farce. To put it more accurately, it is a part of political strategies that can be embedded into the framework of an overall strategy. Its essence is to create in the first place independent People’s Republics, supposedly legitimate, and then to ask for the admission to the Russian Federation. Everywhere, both in Donetsk and in Lugansk, Crimea scenario had been worked out. And at first, the separatists had high hopes for the option. Not by accident, a few hours after the proclamation of the DNR (the Donetsk People's Republic), its leaders asked to get under Putin’s wing. By the way, I wonder how anti-oligarchic and socialist rhetoric of separatists is combined with love for oligarchic authoritarian imperial state and personally for mega-oligarch Putin, whose fortune amounts to many billions. Another fact in this absurd tragicomedy.

Crimean scenario failed in Donbass, quick and easy annexation failed. Wrong circumstances and time was somehow lost. And in general, I doubt that it was a part of Putin's plans.

I will not give any statements about Luhansk region. But there is a very large number of people in Donetsk and Donetsk region who do not support the DNR or who are supporters of Ukraine's unity. This I confirm. Separatists are better organized and have better administrative resource and support of the neighboring state. That's it. And sentiments are approximately equal or I even admit that there are more opponents to the People's Republic than supporters.



6) What do you know about the fire in Odessa on May 2? How do you think, who committed the arson?


This is another part of the large-scale manipulation, which is difficult to speak about, because this manipulation is on blood and sufferings. As, however, everything that is now happening in Ukraine. We can recall brutal murders of supporters of Ukraine in Gorlovka, killings and beatings at demonstrations in defense of the unity of Ukraine in Donetsk, beatings and torture by separatists and imperial agents. The NKVD operates In Donetsk, in the building of state administration, which is the headquarters of the separatists and the seat of government of DNR. Yes, it is such an unsophisticated name for the place where pro-Russian rebels bring their opponents and simply the dissatisfied, where they are beaten and tortured, where they are kept in beastly conditions for months. One can recall dozens of cases. This is the logic of the unfolding civil conflict. Casualties on both sides are inevitable. Odessa is a part of the events. This could happen in any city and with activists from any camp. With the same success separatists could drive the pro-Ukrainian activists in the building and during the battle it could catch fire with the same result. When people die, the common people, when they are being killed by the same ordinary people for the interests of the rich, it is the tragedy of the people as a whole. I told about this at the beginning of our dialogue. Tragedy in Odessa is a part of a large-scale manipulation, a part of opened earlier score of civil war victims. The very war in which both sides are shooting and killing each other, and there are occasional victims on both sides. I repeat, the tragedy for me is not in who killed whom and in what quantities, but the very fact of civil strife of ordinary people clouded with myths and who are dying for the interests of those in power. Therefore, both people killed under Ukrainian flags and those killed under the Russian flag are victims of Moloch of power in the broadest sense of the word. This is not a war of the oppressed against the oppressors, it is the war of feudal houses, in which the dead are recruits, and lords are rubbing their hands.

This is disgusting. The real revolution begins when the plebeians join together against the patricians, but do not kill one another for their interests. And with regards to Odessa, we will never know the truth. As one of the supporters of the separatists told me: “Yes, both sides lie, but you must choose the lie you are ready to defend. For you not to be ashamed of your choice afterwards.” Here is a sample of logic, which is in the minds of the warring parties.

 So, I do not want to choose between two kinds of lies, I want to be on the side of the truth. And the truth is where people are fighting against their oppressors but not against their own kind.



7) What’s your attitude towards “Avtonomnyj Opir”, “Borot’ba” and other leftists of various kinds, who are involved in the protests in the West and the East? Did you know about the creation of the Black Guard of Ukraine?


I treat "Avtonomnyj Opir" with interest, as I believe that the anarchist movement lacks competent study of the national question and it also lacks attitude to patriotism in its purely folk form as it was in many old anarchist movements from Hristo Botev to Nestor Makhno. It happened that today, the view of cosmopolitanism won among anarchists, cosmopolitanism that rejects any roots and marginalize a man, while internationalism, which parts are interest to the national as part of the international and issues of love for country without a political component, receded from its positions. Two points of view have always been presented in anarchism. International anarchism corresponds more to common sense in my opinion. We must return to the roots of classical anarchism, and work at this question. Otherwise we risk to make a number of old mistakes and to remain a marginal movement.


I treat Communist Party “Borot’ba” cautiously as they are competitors to anarchists. And this means that they are opponents. Project “Borot’ba” works closely with the Communist Party of Ukraine and is created for the future, to replace the aging, dying KPU (the Communist Party of Ukraine). Such a youth, contemporary, modern version of the Communist Party. We will see MPs from “Borot’ba” holding seats in the Ukrainian parliament. They already started to fulfill this task. In ideological terms, “Borot’ba” is the heir of the old communist movement taking responsibility for all its long history. Starting from Marx’ fight against Bakunin in the International up to the Bolshevik dictatorship of Lenin and Trotsky and the destruction of the anarchists and Makhnovshchina by them, from Stalin and the Soviet Union up to Petr Simonenko, Victor Ampilov and Gennady Zyuganov today. That’s why it is not surprising that “Borot’bists” (members of “Borot’ba”) take such a warm part in the separatist movement in the South-East of Ukraine on the side of the imperial forces, and red flags flutter next to the imperial tricolor flags. There are also heroic pages in this story, but communists-statists will always remain enemies for anarchists, no matter under what mask they act: unattractive Simonenko or attractive Vallejo. Sooner or later we’ll find ourselves face to face with this party, and we will fight against “Borot’ba”, as Bolsheviks and supporters of Makhnovism fought against each other in their time. It's inevitable.


I know little about the project "Black Guard of Ukraine" - and for now I am skeptical about it, in the light of my criticism of Ukrainian anarchist movement expressed in this interview. I would be glad if I'm wrong.



8) Do you think if there are any Russian experts in the South-East?


I do not think I confirm this. And a lot of them, there are training bases in Donetsk and Lugansk regions, where groups of 400-500 local people and visiting volunteers from Russia undergo training under the guidance of military instructors. There are experts, for example, in the battalion “Vostok” (“East”), several dozens of Russian military professional. There is Girkin and his group in Slovyansk, there is Bezler in Gorlovka and many others. Of course, the majority of people who are fighting under the flags of separatists are the locals, ordinary hard workers or veterans of army and of security agencies, Afghan War veterans, former cops and experts of Special Forces. But a significant and authoritative core of militants, apart from volunteers from Russia, such as the Don Cossacks and core group of various nationalist Russian organizations, - are Russian saboteurs, military specialists, who organize the process. Supply of ammunition, special equipment, weapons and financing comes from Russia via Duma powerful lobby. People close to Putin advise functionaries of the Donetsk People's Republic, people such as Glazjev, for example, and such odious figures as Zhirinovsky, Dugin, Barkashov. Moreover, the current head of the government of the so-called "People's Republic" in Donetsk – is a famous Moscow political strategist Boroday appointed by the Kremlin administration, who is also giving orders to separatist battalion “Vostok”, and whose recruiting stations openly recruit volunteers-mercenaries throughout Russia. This is intervention to a large extent which relies on local protest movement and local political elite. All these elements are present.



9) Is there a possibility of switching the protests in Ukraine onto the track of social revolution?


At the moment it's an improbable scenario. I firmly believe that any social revolution is possible only in the presence of two factors. These are: the massive public demand for radical changes and political organization of the anarchist of revolutionary wing, which will be able to organize and direct the process of change and consolidate its results. If the first factor is more or less present, and activity of the population has increased, the subjective factor is still absent. Political revolution is taking place. And political forces and those, who are called the big bourgeoisie, or with a modern twist, the oligarchs, will take advantage of its results. But if we are talking about social revolution, then there is no serious demand for it, people, even if they see the changes, they see these changes only within the framework of purely political changes. And even those timid shoots of anti-authoritarian social revolutionism, which are not supported by a strong anti-authoritarian revolutionary organization, will be crushed by the political agenda of the bourgeois and nationalist parties. I have already told about absence of anarchist organization. This is the main problem of the modern anarchist movement and the cause of its collapse against the background of current developments. The things that are happening now in Ukraine, and the fact that anarchists here have been unable to use the situation, because they denied common sense for years and were enthralled by subcultural and anti-organizational illusions, gives much food for self-analysis.

And it confirms all the conclusions and efforts which supporters of the project called “RKAS n.a. Makhno” attempted to carry out. The fact that it failed says a lot and answers the following question: “Is it possible for anarchists to hope now to switch the activity of the masses to the plane of the social revolution?” The organization is a very important medium for existence of ideas. This is an incubator, a school, a mutual aid society, and productive platform for ideas and projects, but the most important thing - it is a tool of realizing the ideas, an instrument of influence, and an instrument of struggle. It cannot be replaced with any affinity groups. Read Makhno, Arshinov, Volin, Bookchin, finally. And everything becomes clear. Anarchists now, as in 1917, missed a unique opportunity to head the process.



10) What are the prospects for anarchists that exist at the moment?


For now, none. And I'm afraid that in the future, too, if things remain as they are. If revolution does not happen in the minds of those, who call themselves anarchists. In this interview, I talk a lot about recipes for self-fulfillment of anarchism, that’s why I wouldn’t like to repeat myself. RKAS project was such a recipe, which was not just refused, but a real persecution was unleashed against it. Ask those who call themselves anarchists in Ukraine, what they think about RKAS and you’ll hear so much venom, bile, anger and lies. Why? Because we are the only ones who did not keep pace with supporters of subculture and chaotics (TN those who believe anarchy to be a chaotic movement), and the only ones who spoke of the need of unity, discipline and rigidity. The only people who spoke openly to face about the weaknesses and castigated vices of the movement. And the only ones who always acted against “the rules”. We have always been unlike the others, with our special “RKAS-like"” and, as a matter of a fact, Makhno’s platformist anarchism. There are only two attitudes to RKAS among anarchists - respect or hatred. But there is no indifference. So we're on the right track. And our struggle for the organization - is a struggle for the realization of anarchist ideas in practice. Now we have a lot to rethink. But I'm afraid that everything will remain as it is in the anarchist movement. Anarchists have a unique ability in the mass - they are not taught anything. They prefer to repeat the same mistakes, and those who are trying to correct mistakes, are branded as “non-anarchists”. As in the case with RKAS. Though, I think that RKAS – is a unique phenomenon in the post-Soviet anarchism, which existed for more than 20 years and played a brilliant role in its history. Many groups that appeared later are only clones of RKAS, whose creators are just copying parodies of the mother matrix, having lost its original essence. And each a little bit fledged anarchist certainly wants to create his new organization, always copying RKAS, but claiming this act of creating a copy to be an anti-authoritarian rebellion and a new word in anarchism. This is ridiculous. And that would only be funny, if it were not that sad. Because it is an infinite ambitious split of the movement as if from the motives of anti-authoritarianism, but in fact from idiotic vanity and self-affirmation. And I don’t know, whether coming-of-age will ever come... Makhno wrote about this almost a hundred years ago. Bookchin - almost forty. I am writing today. And it is still going on. What else can I say?


Samurai, RKAS n.a. Makhno

Zeige Kommentare: ausgeklappt | moderiert

Kann das mal wer übersetzten? Ich hatte in der schule nur Latein, Altgriechisch und Spanisch.