Dead Men Left

Monday, December 06, 2004

Ukraine ukraine ukraine (again)

Earlier, I'd argued that, faced with a spot-the-oligarch election contest, the aim of socialists regarding the Ukraine should be: support the uprising, and to stand against whatever military repression may be unleashed.

That is, the focus should be on the process, not the immediate outcome - whether Viktor Y or Viktor Y. Mike Haynes, in an excellent article, adds the further condition that

Victory for the Yanukovich side will not be in the interest of workers because it will confirm the most corrupt parts of the oligarchy in power. But victory for the Yushchenko side, even if it produces cleaner politics, holds out little prospect by itself for improving the situation of the mass of Ukrainians.

To do that, the crowds on the streets need to begin to make demands of their own. These must include genuine political democracy, but they must also involve an attack on those on all sides who have plundered the Ukrainian economy.

We can be sure that, while the groups in the ruling class glower at each other over the elections, they will also be agreed that they have to avoid this happening.

Unfortunately, after ending the blockade of Parliament and defusing their earlier calls for strike action, the Yushchenko leadership appear adept at leading their far more radical supporters on the streets into a series of compromises with the supposed opposition. The latest must be particularly galling:

The Ukrainian opposition is prepared to offer outgoing President Leonid Kuchma immunity if he helps facilitate new elections, a senior official has told The Observer .
Oleksandr Zinchenko, the deputy speaker of parliament and a key figure in what many are now calling the 'orange revolution', said: 'Immunity [for Kuchma] would depend upon his moral conduct in the coming days.'

He did not specify what 'moral conduct' was required, but the opposition wants Kuchma's help to push through electoral reforms and sack the government before a new vote ordered by the supreme court on Friday for 26 December. He said such a deal would evaporate if Kuchma's actions 'worsened the situation'.

...which very clearly indicates the necessity of the mass movement becoming more than a stage army for the oligarchs' squabbles.