The dissolution of the Verhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament) or: Will we have a new 1917?

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We are publishing below an article sent to us by the comrades of the IUPRC (International Union of the Proletarian Revolutionaries - Collectivists) in Russia and Ukraine, which we think gives a useful follow-on to the article which we published previously on the so-called "Orange Revolution", and demonstrates clearly the real nature of the great "democratic victory" of 2004-2005.

While we agree with much of what is said in the article, and notably with its denunciation of the democratic mystification, we have two critical comments to make:

  1. We don't really think that it is appropriate to describe the Ukrainian proletariat as "submissive", since the expression has, it seems to us, rather "moralizing" overtones which tend to diminish the enormous difficulties faced by the Ukrainian proletariat in developing its class struggle: the fact that the working class in the ex-USSR has been cut off for decades from the experience of its class brothers in the rest of the world (in the West, but also in the ex-Eastern bloc countries like Poland and Hungary); the visceral rejection of anything like "socialism" by many workers as a result of their experience of the "red bourgeoisie" in the Stalinist regimes; the weight of nationalism, all the stronger as the Ukrainian bourgeoisie has done everything possible to sharpen the antagonisms between workers of Russian and Ukrainian origins. It is necessary to understand, and "patiently explain" as Lenin put it, why these barriers exist and what the real interests of the workers are.
  2. It seems to us historically inaccurate to say that "In 1917 the Russian workers and peasants gunned down these masters". Certainly, violence is an inevitable and necessary component of the revolutionary process - the "midwife of revolution" as Marx put it. However, the proletarian revolution cannot rely on military power alone: the victory of October 1917 was in fact almost bloodless, and made possible above all by the fact that the workers' ability to organise and to put forward and defend practically a revolutionary perspective for the whole of society had effectively disintegrated the forces that would normally have defended the capitalist regime, to the point where even the Cossacks were no longer reliable.

These criticisms however, should not detract from the fundamental point that the article makes: that in the historical memory of the Ukrainian bourgeoisie, democracy is explicitly seen as the antidote to the danger of proletarian revolution!

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The dissolution of the Verhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament) or: Will we have a new 1917?

The day after All Fools Day 2007 in the Ukraine was followed by April 2nd...

On the evening of that day all Ukrainians were glued to the television. But not because they were broadcasting "Umorina" (an annual comedy festival - translators note). They were broadcasting the speech of President Yuschenko in which he informed the Ukrainian people of his decision to dissolve the parliament, and to hold new elections on May 27th this year. The reason for this dissolution was that a great number of deputies have quit the opposition in order to join the governing coalition where they will earn more money. According to the President this violates the constitution which only allows for the formation of fractions on the bases of agreements between the different parties (which includes all their deputies) represented in parliament. Deputies cannot as individuals move from one fraction to another, swelling the ranks of the parliamentary majority as they spontaneously fancy. Someone in the governing coalition joked: perhaps the President has mixed up the First of April with the Second?

But Yanukovich and the Speaker of the Verhovna Rada, Moroz, were in no mood for jokes. Moroz urgently called an extraordinary sitting of the Verhovna Rada. Its members called the decision of the President criminal and unconstitutional, and its execution as illegal. It also demanded the resignation of the Central Electoral Committee cancelling the December 8th 2004 decree which set it up. One the night of April 2nd an emergency cabinet meeting was called which declared that the Government had no intention of abiding by the President's decision and refused to finance the organisation of the expected elections.

Both parties are talking about a threat to the state and to the constitution. They remember 1993 in Russia when President Yeltsin signed the decree dissolving the Supreme Soviet and bringing forward the organisation of elections. The head of the Supreme Soviet, Khasbulatov and the Vice-President Rutskoy began an impeachment process against the President. It all ended with the entry of tanks into Moscow and the bombardment of the parliamentary building. But no-one wants to repeat the Russian scenario. Yuschenko says that he wants to avoid the spilling of blood at all costs. Yanukovich and Moroz, on the other hand don't want to share the fate of Khasbulatov and Rutskoy, who have disappeared from the political stage forever.

On April 4th Moroz had already proposed a change in the wording of the declaration of April 3rd to the members of the Verhovna Rada, eliminating references to the criminal character of the President's decision. During his meeting with foreign ambassadors, Yanukovich, said, "We have no fear of elections and if in the end they take place we will take part and we will win". He has ruled out the idea, proposed by the Communist Party of Ukraine, of impeaching Yuschenko.

In any case we need to remember that the orange and light-blue and white clans can go on for ever jostling amongst themselves for power and the most comfortable positions, for spheres of influence and the leading role in the drama whilst the Ukrainian proletariat remains silent and submissive, allowing the capitalists and their state functionaries to exploit them as slaves and cannon fodder. The Donetsk clan has even threatened a possible strike of their "slaves". On April 6 the lunch break of the Donbass miners from 12.00 till 1.00 p.m., was transformed into a strike to prevent the dissolution of the Rada. The unions organised assemblies close to the mines where resolutions of the following type were passed:

"We are expressing our clear workers' protest against the decision to dissolve the Verhovna Rada. As it stands parliament has been chosen by the people and represents our interests. We will not allow our rights to be taken away!" On the other side, the Confederation of Free Trade unions of the Ukraine to which the Independent Union of Miners is affiliated (leader of this Indepedent Union of Miners, M. Volynets, is deputy of parliament from Bloc of Yulia Timoshenko) has declared its total support for the President's decision.

The Orange bourgeoisie scares people with the possible disintegration of the Ukraine and the military intervention by Russia, whilst its adversaries instead predict a scenario full of tanks and bombardments in Kiev. Both parties will settle accounts in the constitutional court.

The governing coalition in parliament has organised a permanent vigil in the square in front of the Government building (the Maidan): 15,000 people in tents are there to demonstrate "the indignation of the people" over the dissolution of the Verhovna Rada, against the deputies' loss of their "caviar sandwiches"!

The greatest fear of the Ukrainian capitalists was expressed by the richest Ukrainian, the billionaire Renat Akhmetov: "I see only one democratic way out of this situation: a decision of the constitutional court which will be accepted and carried out by all political sides. Democracy means above all the rule of law. And now we must learn to respect that right not only with words but also with deeds". According to him the "value" of the country was being reduced by this instability. Akhmetov went on:

"It's an ugly thing for us all. Instability and the unending political conflict holds back economic growth. And therefore the life of every single Ukrainian citizen is made worse. Many are unhappy with this. There are emotions, points of view, ambitions and different desires. But we all need to be equal before the law. Otherwise, instead of doing everything according to the European tradition, we will have a new 1917."

In 1917 the Russian workers and peasants gunned down these masters who earn millions and billions on the back of human lives, on our blood and bones. They took power into their own hands establishing the dictatorship of the Soviet of Workers', Peasants' and Soldiers' Deputies, factory commitees and workers' Red Guard.. The bourgeoisie throughout the world will always remember this lesson and, even today, fear the sleeping giant, pretending to treat their slaves as human beings, as "citizens", offering to them, every so often, the crumbs from their rich table, like the latest increase in the minimum wage to 20 grivna ($4).

We should also remember this lesson. Yuschenko and Yanukovich, Akhmetov and Timoshenko will always know how to reach an agreement at our expense, thanks to the blood we spill and the lives we lose. They have demonstrated this on more than one occasion. Only the proletarian revolution can drive out this filth. This year we celebrate the ninetieth anniversary of the Proletarian Revolution of 1917 year.

Let we will worthy the courage and the heroism of our predecessors, who made that revolution, we must prepare the forces for the future class struggle and build our class proletarian organisations in order to become real human beings!

International Union of the Proletarian Revolutionaries - Collectivists (IUPRC).