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Notes on the conflagration over Ukraine

Resistance in Ukraine against mobilization orders for the war in Donbas

(Sunday August 10th , 2014)

Resistance against the war is manifesting itself within the Ukrainian population, fueled by the third, partial mobilization orders for the national army over 45 days in a presidential decree of July 24th, voted by a large majority of the country’s parliament on July 22nd.

It is first and foremost women of all ages and children who massively go out on the streets in a vehement protest against the mobilization orders for their sons, brothers or husbands. In many cases they bloc national and international motorways, in others they bloc drafting offices, carrying signs with slogans against the war in the East and against the army recruitment, like: “ We do not want this war ; “ Let us keep our children ”. [1]

At a blockade of the motorway between Ivano-Frankovsk and Bohorodchany by a human chain on July 22 the signs read: “ No Afghanistan in Ukraine ”; “ Send the mobilization orders to the children of the leaders ”; “ Send our children back home ” and “ No blood bath ”. [2]

This expression of resistance against the domestic war is reportedly strong in towns and villages in the West of the country near the Romanian border (Bucovina and Transcarpathia), among the Romanian and Hungarian minorities. There is extensive reporting on the village of Voloka (Oblast of Chernovtsy) in which the order to 50 men mobilized all 3000 inhabitants. Similar and much larger cases exist. The movement has swapped to the major city of the ’Oblast’, Chernovtsy, [3] and demonstrations have also taken place at government offices in big cities like Kiev (at the presidential office), Lvov and Belaja Tserkov. [4]

Its earliest manifestations reported date from July 22nd, the day of the parliamentary vote of the drafting order and well prior to the so-called ‘government crisis’ at Kiev that has been staged to push through austerity measures like the 1,5 % income tax to finance the war effort, and foster a show of national unity in the government’s ‘operation against terrorism in the East’. This “temporary” tax (granted to last until next January) is reported to have been the primary condition posed by Yatseniuk for staying in office as PM, but it is already estimated to fuel the “uproar” on the ‘home front’. According to the German ‘Stern’ magazine the war in the East of Ukraine currently costs the Ukrainian State 4,5 million Euro per day. [5]

The resistance of the women also responds to a state of affairs at the military front that is not as splendid as the government would have liked it, despite its ‘advances’ in isolating Luhansk and Donetsk, like army units finding themselves encircled by separatists and taking refuge on Russian territory. The separatists still hold a large border area to Russia in the Luhansk region.

The blockades, demonstrations and petitions reveal that Ukraine is not ’united as a nation’, contrary to the image that official media in the ‘democracies in the West’ present, focusing on the parliamentary circus at Kiev.

In the case of the Romanian minority in the West there has been a diplomatic row involving the intervention of State officials from Bucharest because of their presumed discriminating character, raising the specter of ‘ethnic cleansing’ by sending ethnic Romanians to the front. This has been fueled by an openly cynical rebuke of the protests by an Ukrainian state official on ’social media’ stipulating that those who refuse incorporation into the army “better go to Russia or any other country where life is better than here”... [6]
There are indications that these protests have led to certain immediate results, such as a temporary suspension of the mobilization orders.

An important aspect of the resistance against the war efforts and the human sacrifices is that it manifests itself in parts the country that have been known as strongholds of pro-Western (ultra-) nationalism from the right including (neo-) fascist organizations, like notably Lvov and Kiev.

It remains to be seen whether these expressions of resistance against war and austerity spark off a larger mobilization within the Ukrainian population, and notably whether they find a wider response within the proletariat, in Ukraine and internationally.

Jac. J., Sunday, August 10, 2014 Last reviewed: Friday, August 15, 2014

[1Le Courrier des Balkans’ August 1st, 2014, taken over in French by the Hekmatist website ‘Solidarité Ouvrière’: ‘Les habitants de l’oblast de Tchernivtsi refusent d’aller faire la guerre dans le Donbass’.

[2Solidarité Ouvrière, August 5th, 2014: ‘Manifestations et blocages contre la guerre en Ukraine’.

[3KRAS-AIT, 31 juillet 2014 ibid., August 9th, 2014.

[5‘ Ukraine führt 1,5 Prozent Kriegssteuer ein ’ (DPA July 31st , 2014, quoted by ‘Stern’)

[6Source: See note 1.