This article was written by Steve Sweeney, CPGB-ML member and RT reporter, who is currently reporting on elections in Donbass.
Communist, socialist and progressive parties were targeted in Ukraine long-before Russia’s military intervention in February 2022. The simple reason being that they posed a real threat to state power, with the Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU) at one stage having the potential to lead the country.
Legal proceedings were initiated against the KPU in 2014, soon after the US-backed EuroMaidan coup which saw neo-nazis oust the democratically elected government and take leading positions in the illegitimate administration that came to power.
Authorities had been seeking to close the KPU for more than seven years, using ‘decommunisation’ laws that banned communist symbols to block party activities, including barring it from standing in elections, and shutting down its newspaper. The party was finally closed down by the stooge regime of puppet actor-president Volodymyr Zelensky in July 2022 after a court in Lvov turned over all its assets, including party buildings and funds, to the state.
Other left and progressive organisations were also closed down by a presidential decree in May 2022, which outlawed all political parties deemed to be “pro-Russian”. One party escaped unscathed however, Sotsialnyi Rukh. On closer inspection it is easy to see why.
Sotsialnyi Rukh, the ‘left-wing’ organisation allowed to operate freely in fascist Ukraine
The organisation was little-known before February 2022. But since then it, and its members, have been used as a battering ram lobbying for increased arms for Ukraine while whitewashing far-right and neo-nazi organisations, including the notorious Azov batallion.
Sotsialnyi Rukh soon found a bedfellow in Britain, the social-imperialist Alliance for Workers Liberty (AWL), a faux-left organisation that pushes reactionary positions in the labour movement dressed in progressive language.
Members of Sotsialnyi Rukhn are often on platforms of meetings hosted by the Trotskyite agents of the AWL’s new front organisation, the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign – which is also backed by journalist Paul Mason who was recently outed as a British intelligence asset.
It was Sotsialnyi Rukh that hosted a delegation of British stooges, including Mason and arch-reactionary former Labour MEP Julie Ward, in Kiev in February 2022 just before Russia’s military intervention.
And it is Mason and co who continue to push the pro-imperialist line regarding Ukraine in the labour movement. They were behind the poorly attended demonstration that saw calls for Putin to be hung and arms sent to Ukraine – on the very day that then prime minister Boris Johnson arrived in Kiev promising exactly that.
Since February 2022, activists from Sotsialnyi Rukh have been used as a battering ram to help successfully swing the British trade union bureaucracy behind the kind of reactionary, pro-imperialist positions that even the wreckers of the AWL could previously have only dreamed of: support for Nato, increased weapons production, increased arms for Ukraine, and the withdrawal of Russia from all areas the west deems as ‘under occupation’, including Donbass and Crimea.
The making of a CIA cut-out
So who and what exactly is Sotsialnyi Rukh? Speak to people in Ukraine and you’ll draw blank looks, even among those on the left. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find links to USAid and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a shady US soft-power organisation that, according to its founder Allen Weinstein, was established “to do today what was covertly done 25 years ago by the CIA”.
One of the four core groups that make up the NED is the International Republican Institute (IRI), which was chaired by the late Republican senator John McCain, one of the architects of the 2014 fascist coup in Ukraine.
Most of Sotsialnyi Rukh’s leadership has been drawn from the Ukrainian Centre for Social and Labour Research (UCSLR), an organisation that has been bankrolled by the NED for many years. Documents from 2014 note that the UCSLR would “monitor protest activity throughout the country, share the data with campaign activists, distribute them through social media, and produce 12 reports”.
Of course, this detailed information would also be shared with the NED and various US intelligence agencies. In other words, either knowingly or unknowingly, the UCSLR was spying on trade unions, the left and progressive organisations.
According to its director Volodymyr Ishchenko, the USCLR received cash from the NED in 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015 – the time that Sotsialnyi Rukhwas founded – and was also backed by a George Soros NGO, the International Renaissance Foundation.
Those who were around at the time the organisation was funded by the NED include Sotsialnyi Rukh leader Zakhar Popovych, Sotsialnyi Rukh chair Vitaly Dudin, deputy director of the CSLR and co-editor of Commons, the Sotsialnyi Rukh-aligned journal, Oksana Dutchak and Denys Pilash, who was employed by the CSLR and writes reports on social protests in Ukraine.
Sotsialnyi Rukh is also closely linked to the NED’s Solidarity Centre, which is allied to the AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labour and Congress of Industrial Organisations), with the group admitting that most of its members come from the trade unions that are supported by the soft power organisation.
The links don’t stop there. USAid has also been funding activists and individuals in Ukraine through a series of ‘educational centres’, and its 2021 report proudly declares: “Many activists who attended summer schools as rank-and-file participants now have positions at different levels of both the KVPU and FPU Union structures,” the organisations which Sotsialnyi Rukh says “most of” its membership came from.
“The US government has developed very close ties with the Ukrainian Confederation of Free Trade Unions (KVPU) and the Independent Union of Miners of Ukraine (NPGU), organisations founded “as a protest against the existing ‘old’ post-USSR union”, the report states.
Of course, USAid is not doing this as some kind of altruistic act, or because it supports democracy in Ukraine. Its main interest is the projection of US power and influence and it expects – and is clearly getting – something in return.
One of the trade unionists frequently promoted by Sotsyalyni Rukh and the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign is president of the US State Department-funded Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine (KVPU) Mykhailo Volynets, also a deputy in the Ukrainian Rada (parliament) for the All-Ukrainian Union ‘Fatherland’.
Many claim he is a US government asset; he was awarded the AFL-CIO George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award for his role in the 2004 Washington-backed ‘Orange revolution’ in Ukraine, and also played a key role in the US-organised Maidan coup, when his KVPU helped stage a fake ‘general strike’ in February 2014 to accelerate Washington’s regime-change plans.
According to Oleg Vernyk, chair of the All-Ukrainian independent trade union Zakhyst Pratsi, the strike was in fact ordered by business owners in western Ukraine, who made their workforce stand outside for an hour with the footage dutifully broadcast on a loop by future president Petro Poroshenko’s Channel 5.
In another deception led by the KVPU, according to Vernyk: “The leaders of the political opposition demanded that Mikhail Volynets bring the miners to Kiev – no miners arrived. Instead, Volynets had the office workers of his KVPU put on the miners’ helmets and simulate ‘miners from Donetsk and Lugansk’ at Maidan.”
So Volynets is clearly not all he seems. Not only is he a master of deception in the service of US imperialism, but in March 2022 he was pictured in Covert Magazine alongside his handpicked KVPU deputy, Ihor Kniazhansky – aka ‘Dushman’ of the neo-nazi Azov battalion.
Back in 2016, the KVPU joined forces with Azov during anti-government protests, sending Kniazhansky, who was also head of the Vinnytsia branch of the National Corps (a fascist political party), to negotiate with the energy minister on its behalf.
Trotskyite agents AWL and Paul Mason hand in hand with the GMB in service of imperialist war
Ahead of the vote on what is one of the most reactionary motions ever seen at a TUC congress, sponsored by the GMB union, which also backs the so-called Ukraine Solidarity Campaign (USC), Volynets sent a message via the USC website, giving left cover for yet another US intervention in Ukraine.
The AWL/Ukraine Solidarity Campaign’s links to such people and organisations should come as no surprise. This MI6/CIA cut-out follows the imperialist line on every major issue from Ukraine to China and from Brexit to Iraq.
The organisation plays a destructive and deceptive role in the labour movement, and has now inexplicably convinced the trade union movement to follow a line that essentially calls for the genocide of people in Donbass while propping up the military industrial complex.
It’s not too late to reverse the disastrous decision taken by your union’s delegation and the bureaucratic leadership clique. The people of Donbass deserve better than a half-baked motion cooked up by the AWL that will take us further away from peace and an end to nine years of shelling.
The AWL and its friends in the trade union movement are deceiving workers and trade unionists. They are amplifying western media lies about Russia and Belarus and masking the truth in the service of imperialism – as they always do.
Workers and trade unionists in Donbass do not support this motion, and they are stunned that their counterparts in Britain could be lining up to back their killers. The ‘solidarity’ of fools is no solidarity at all.
Stand with the people of Donbass and oppose this motion.