One of the side-effects of the latest phase of imperialist war-mongering, accompanied as it is by a blatant separation of language from reality, is the growing awareness amongst workers here that governments and media are not always to be trusted. Despite the best efforts of our ‘free’ and ‘impartial’ media, conversation on the topic of the Ukraine regularly arrives at the conclusion that there is something fishy about the favourable coverage given to ‘popular’ demonstrations and strikes. After all, who is George Bush to talk about democracy and fair elections? And when did the US ever support a really popular uprising?
Aren’t working class and anti-imperialist leaders, from Fidel Castro and Kim Jong Il to Robert Mugabe and Yasser Arafat, regularly demonised in the press? Didn’t we hear what a dangerous monster Saddam Hussein was when the imperialists were busy softening the public up for the invasion of Iraq? And didn’t the allegations turn out to be deliberate lies? So when we are informed that Viktor Yanukovych is a dictatorial puppet of the Russian government who has stolen the election through fraud and intimidation, and that the plucky people of western Ukraine have taken to the streets to see that justice is done – well, is it surprising that we should wonder what the real story is?
Anyone in the habit of following world affairs will have spotted a familiar pattern of propaganda and events. The Russophobic language and hostile portrayal of the millions of Ukrainians who support continuing close ties with Russia show clearly the real agenda behind the hypocritical concern for the people of Ukraine. Russia, that rival to imperialist hegemony in Eastern Europe, must be weakened, and the Ukraine, situated on Russia’s borders and, coincidentally, on an important oil pipeline route, is the perfect vehicle. Evidence of US coup-plotting abounds. Wall-to-wall media coverage of US favourite Yushchenko; so-called ‘NGO’s working to ‘enhance democracy’; rock concerts, strikes and street protests – funding for all these can be traced back to the US. What we don’t see so many pictures of are the newly confident fascist thugs reviving the traditions, and marching in the uniforms, of their collaborator grandfathers. They are just part of the coalition of businessmen and right-wingers supporting the US’s favourite.
Imperialist intervention disguised as a ‘popular’, ‘democratic’ uprising is hardly new. Yugoslavian Mafiosi armed and trained by the US did their masters’ dirty work under the progressive-sounding title Kosovo Liberation Army; the agents of imperialism in Zimbabwe found a black man to front the colonialist White Farmers’ Union and repackaged it as the Movement for Democratic Change, etc. All making it so much easier for Trots and revisionists to jump on the imperialist bandwagons with the nauseating justifications of ‘working-class solidarity, brother’.
So far, the US was has not been able to get the result it paid for, and so it’s having another try. Even if Russia stands by and does nothing against such overtly hostile manoeuvring on its doorstep, the Ukrainian people are showing a justified unwillingness to allow the US to have its way. If the US is successful in its bid to install Yushchenko, this will very likely result in balkanisation of the country and increased US hegemony. On this basis, and on the basis that it is the stated will of the Ukrainian people, we must call for a victory for Yanukovych.