Re: Socialist Internationalism and the Ukraine War

Michael Pugliese

Re :  "Has Putin's ideology been embraced down to youth organizations such as scouts and neighborhood associations that spy on their neighbors? ," a question folded into the post by Mark Baugher. Nashi (RussianМолодёжное демократическое aнтифашистское движение «Наши»Molodezhnoye demokraticheskoye antifashistskoye dvizhenye "Nashi" Youth Democratic Anti-Fascist Movement "Ours!") was a political youth movement in Russia,[1] , aligned with the Putin regime, , which reported to ," "Surkov's people" in the Kremlin," , on opposition groups. 

"And then there is Nashi, the thousands-strong Kremlin youth movement that professes to fight against fascism yet attacks liberal dissidents and puts on mass parades of youths marching in uniform Putin T-shirts and doing calisthenics, in scenes reminiscent of the 1930s. A few years ago, the muckraking newspaper Novaya Gazeta published an investigative report detailing links between skinheads, Moscow police and Nashi’s previous incarnation, a pro-Kremlin youth organization called Walking Together." 

(I will dig deeper to see if there is some successor org. to Nashi. What is more interesting to me , at the moment , is what is below about Borotba. M.P)

Surkov is former  Putin aide Vladislav Surkov , who was   ,"former Deputy PM, the ex-deputy head of the presidential administration," who according to EuromaidanPress and , what appears to be their allied site , Reft and Light, launched under their auspices , monitors "authoritarian left-right alliances and the Ukrainian far right," allegedly bankrolled Borotba . (In case , those embedded hyperlinks, I created do not transmit , just click , , which also has information of note on figures in Die Linke.) The ideological orientation(s) of Borotba , have always been a bit obscure to me. Some have asserted , on Leftist Trainspotters, that it has a mish mash of Trotskyists, Stalinists and Maoists , others assert it is totally Stalinized. 

Borotba was created in 2011 as a split-off of the Organisation of Marxists (OM). OM was an attempt to unite people from different political traditions of Bolshevism, the “Stalinist” and the “Trotskyist”. The ideology was jokingly called Shapinism, after the name of Viktor Shapinov, the author of the thesis: “There is no Stalinism and Trotskyism anymore, there is only revolutionary Marxism and reformism”. OM’s central idea was to overcome the “historical” contradictions between the Marxist schools and unite them around a common political practice today. Predictably, in a few years the organisation split into those same “Stalinists” and “Trotskyists” whom it wanted to reconcile. On the other hand, today both spare little attention on their ideological roots and, being faithful to Shapinov’s dictum, focus primarily on the current moment. Both Borotba and Left Opposition (now known as Social Movement) trod different paths towards the same aim: creation of a left party which would become a full-fledged subject of parliamentary politics.

The two projects counted on different audiences, though. Left Opposition and its successors appealed to left liberals, on the one hand, and independent union activists, on the other. Borotba chose a wider target audience, the disenchanted Communist party voters. It was actively poaching party activists: former communist MP Vasyl Tereschuk played important role in both OM and Borotba, former leader of Kyiv’s komsomol Yevgeniy Golyshkin was prominent in Borotba’s youth branch. Alexei Albu (who was honoured with the title of “high-profile” in Surkov’s emails) was especially valuable asset: he was not just any CPU activist but a regional council deputy, who helped to create Borotba’s second most influential regional cell.

While in Kyiv Borotba tried to maintain contacts with the “new left”, wasted resources to gain influence over anarchists and left liberals (with little success), in other regions the main bet was on conservative and pro-Russian cadres of CPU and even PSPU, who saw Borotba as the more consistent advocates of their own political views. While in Kyiv homophobia or sexism were frowned upon, elsewhere they were considered a norm. Already in 2012 Borotba activist Yevgenii Vallenberg (who later joined Mozgovoi’s “Prizrak” detachment) together with the red-brown “anti-imperialists” in Donetsk attacked the art gallery Isolation, which was, according to them, an agent of American imperialism. A couple years later, Isolation will be occupied by armed men and converted into the militants’ base, while the artwork will be destroyed." 

"The ideological foundation maintaining a pro-Russian position among the left was the legacy of the USSR and its victory in World War II. Since Russia clams that the government in Kyiv was seized by Nazis and the junta, the opponents of the Maidan described themselves as fighters against fascism and the Kyiv junta. This branding induced sympathy among the authoritarian left—for example, in Ukraine, including the “Borotba” organization. During the most significant events of 2014, they first took a loyalist position and then later a pro-Russian position. In Odessa, on May 2, 2014, several of their activists were killed during street riots. Some people from this group also participated in the fighting in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, and some of them died there.

“Borotba” described their motivation as wishing to fight against fascism. They urged the European left to stand in solidarity with the “Donetsk People’s Republic” and “Luhansk People’s Republic.” After the e-mail of Vladislav Surkov (Putin’s political strategist) was hacked, it was revealed that members of Borotba had received funding and were supervised by Surkov’s people." Via Crimethinc , . The embedded hyperlinked , at the end of that quote, translated

Michael Pugliese 

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