Ukrainian Partisans


John Reimann
 

David Walters writes: "I think it's amazingly naive to write what you did. You act shocked that various Right-Sector and other Fascist-like groups are active in this. They are the groups that have been very active from the beginning of this and have the political networks to have reporters embed with them. That this comes as some sort of "new thing" for you is amazing to me..."

What did I write that indicates surprise or "shock"? As for a "'new thing' for me": Things change. What was untrue yesterday, or a month or two ago, may be true today. I think the role of Azov and the far right was greatly exaggerated by those who want to give political cover to Putin in the past. However, I never dismissed the danger of fascism in Ukraine. In fact, I wrote about it on my blog. When I visited Ukraine, my hosts talked about the threat of rising anti-Russian nationalism. That was back in April. From what I am told, that has become a reality. A young Ukrainian woman - a leftist - who lives near me now reports that her friends there - also leftists - are now taking on anti-Russian nationalist attitudes. Given that it's the far right, first and foremost Azov, that bases itself on nationalism/hatred of Russia, it's only logical that their forces would be swelled. In fact, this is exactly what I've predicted.

As for my comment on individual terrorism: I was referring to terrorist attacks against individual civilians. You can see from the article that the partisans are coming close to attacking teachers, for example. But I think there is a danger that things can go further, especially if Russia is able to somewhat stabilize their occupation and annexation of a good part of Ukraine. I am talking about things like car bombs in the street, things like that. This has never been an effective means of fighting a foreign occupation. It has not been as far as Israel and Palestine is concerned and it won't be in Ukraine. In general, it's a means of pretending to be "militant" and often leads to actual political capitulation.

John Reimann

--
“Science and socialism go hand-in-hand.” Felicity Dowling
Check out:https:http://oaklandsocialist.com also on Facebook


Dayne Goodwin
 

On Wed, Aug 17, 2022 at 10:06 AM David Walters <dwaltersmia@...> wrote:
. . .
Remember who burnded alive dozens of trade unionists back in 2015 in Odessa....
. . .
I think that this wikipedia article on the 2014 Odessa clashes
provides a more reliable overall picture than David's memory:
2014 Odesa clashes
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Odesa_clashes


Mark Baugher
 

On Aug 17, 2022, at 3:03 PM, Michael Pugliese <michael.098762001@...> wrote:

The NYT, had a major article, on June 6th, entitled ,”Guerilla Attacks Signal Rising Resistance to Russian Occupation,” which had quotes from Ukrainian-American scholar, Alexander Motyl, and a hyperlink to a piece by Motyl, https://www.19fortyfive.com/2022/05/putins-nightmare-a-ukrainian-guerrilla-movement-has-emerged/?fbclid=IwAR3Blta-0f4kOOeivQqCYO63NVlH1yq8k1MYpPWut-Bv_-vih_7rDVtfePo
with significant information about a # of attacks carried out by a shadowy group of Partisans, called Berdyansk Partisan Army . Besides what is contained in the article by Motyl, keep up with more recent propaganda from this Partisan group, via their Telegram channel, https://t.me/brdprotiv
From you first link: "It is, of course, possible that Ukrainian special forces may have been involved in some of these actions." That article does not mention Spetznaz. The Wikipedia article on Ukrainian Special Forces, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_forces_of_Ukraine, notes

"On 10 August 2016 Russia accused the Special Forces of Ukraine of conducting a raid near the Crimea town of Armyansk which killed 2 Russian servicemen; the government of Ukraine denied any involvement."

Based on their training, equipment and funding, it's more than possible, it's likely, that Spetznaz is involved in the Crimea actions.

Mark


Farans Kalosar
 

I didn't catch the reference in the article to the Berdyansk group.  I only noticed stuff about the Azovs, who are clearly not an actual partisan group.  tThanks Michael for including this link!!


Farans Kalosar
 

I think it's important to know more about the "partisans" because the Azovs, for example, appear to be (a small) part of the formal command structure of the Ukrainian forces, as special forces.  I initially made the mistake of calling them "partisans," but--while I'm not certain what the exact definition of a partisan is--some distinction is one supposes, appropriate between special forces and partisans as such. A lot of politics and negotiation on some level--perhaps a not very exalted one, but still--must has gone into getting a NYT reporter sat down in a lemonade parlor talking to a masked fighter from behind the lines--all of which adds elements of staging and propaganda to an account that therefore has to be taken with one or more grains of salt. One thinks of guerrilla fighters as more independent, though still, obviously, in most cases with a command structure and war aims that mesh with the aims of one or more larger strategic entities. What in fact are we looking at here?

Do the Azovs deserve sole credit for the massive behind-the-lines explosions that have grabbed so many headlines in recent days and the many undocumented acts of sabotage for which credit is taken in the interview?  That is an impression that they might very well want to give, but it shouldn't be taken as written.  I rather doubt this.

I don't think there's a lot of doubt that if the war ends badly for Ukraine--for example, with the concession of territory already occupied--that the neoliberal Zelensky government' with its drastically unlovable inclination to austerity could be in big trouble politically. Has anyone ever loved a neoliberal government who didn't get rich under it? If some form of fascism is all that's on offer at that point, there is a good chance that support for fascism might mushroom. At that point, the political complexion of Ukraine could shift drastically.  But the existence of a single possibly "embedded" piece on the Azovs--in the New York Times or not--does not signify that we have yet reached that point or anything close to it.

The Ukraine-haters as well as those who advance the truistic slogan of first defeating the enemy at home ought to recognize that support for the Ukrainian cause is justified on the sole grounds of the unparalleled atrocity of the invasion, with its policy of monolithic assault, mass murder, rape, and the scorching of the very earth itself. The shite that might flow down politically post bellum is another matter.

Beyond that, however, a very good and necessary tactic for defeating the "enemy at home" is to smash and discredit Putin and Putinism, which are the de facto vanguard of the worldwide red-brown political wave at present threatening at least the United States and Europe with a renewed form of fascism.--though I would suggest that this fascism may prove more right-wing anarchy than totalitarianism. The decisive defeat of the red-brown ideological monstrosity--which indeed effectively controls the thinking not only of many on the worldwide right but also of many self-denominated leftists, would IMO be a great gift to the working class. 

When the likes of John Reimann and Anthony Boynton are smeared as enemies of the working class, things have reached a condition of absurdity beyond which it is nearly impossible to go.


Michael Pugliese <michael.098762001@...>
 

   The NYT, had a major article, on June 6th, entitled ,”Guerilla Attacks Signal Rising Resistance to Russian Occupation,” which had quotes from Ukrainian-American scholar, Alexander Motyl, and a hyperlink to a piece by Motyl, https://www.19fortyfive.com/2022/05/putins-nightmare-a-ukrainian-guerrilla-movement-has-emerged/?fbclid=IwAR3Blta-0f4kOOeivQqCYO63NVlH1yq8k1MYpPWut-Bv_-vih_7rDVtfePo 
with significant information about a # of attacks carried out by a shadowy group of Partisans, called Berdyansk Partisan Army . Besides what is contained in the article by Motyl, keep up with more recent propaganda from this Partisan group, via their Telegram channel, https://t.me/brdprotiv 


   

 


Michael Pugliese <michael.098762001@...>
 

  David Walters brought up battalions, brigades , units strong enough to have the political pull, and I would add, notoriety to have Western based reporters be embedded with them. An example, https://unherd.com/2022/06/on-the-frontline-with-the-right-sector-militia/ 
a reporter who embedded with Right Sector soldiers for a week. When posted on the Twitter account of this reporter, particular attention was drawn , to characterizations of Right Sector’s ideological bent by the reporter which were so gobsmackingly inaccurate as to make one question the entirety of the article. Not a single person commenting on the Twitter thread, was anything but supportive of Ukrainian resistance to the Russian invasion, these were not the pro-Putinite trolls , who call the entire government and civilian/popular resistance as neo-Nazis. https://twitter.com/arisroussinos/status/1537941212094554115?s=21&t=QHiHiVyRX7mGwWcx_5g1gw


Mark Baugher
 

On Aug 17, 2022, at 8:22 AM, John Reimann <1999wildcat@...> wrote:

I think there are serious dangers in this program. First of all, this individual and probably many others involved are from the far right, possibly even fascists.
When I read the article earlier, John, I just thought that the Ukrainian military has deployed special forces behind enemy lines to attack ammo depots, fuel depots, planes, weapons and other logistical resources. That's what special forces do. Ukraine is constrained both by NATO restrictions and the range of their artillery. It didn't surprise me that they are doing this.

What do informed Ukrainians think about this?

Mark


David Walters
 

John, I wanted to challenge you what you wrote. I think it's amazingly naive to write what you did. You act shocked that various Right-Sector and other Fascist-like groups are active in this. They are the groups that have been very active from the beginning of this and have the political networks to have reporters embed with them. That this comes as some sort of "new thing" for you is amazing to me since you follow events there probably closer than I do.

Additionally, complaining that these groups will be used against the Ukrainian working class is also strange. They are Fascist or Fascist leaning, how could they not be used the way you expect them too? Remember who burnded alive dozens of trade unionists back in 2015 in Odessa....

Thirdly, I would argue that most fighters there flow from the Territorial Militias set up in advance of the February invasion and involve the population in general. The short video of a car zooming through Kherson early in the war being pelted by dozens of Molotov Cocktails by residents shows the *generalized* nature of civilian resistance to the Russian occupation. What is clear is that far-right groups are in the vanguard of resistance to the Russians though I don't believe this is a generalized situation, I think most are from those Special Operation Forces that organize such resistance as the kind of caches described in the article exist in their thousands around the occupied sections of Ukraine. I should point out that in occupied Poland during WWII the largest and best organized resistance to the Germans were not the communists but the Home Guard. Fascist leaning and antisemitic. War breeds these sorts of contradiction.

 

Lastly and most importantly, I'm not sure what the point of your quip about "individual terrorism" comes from? Is there an alternative in Occupied Ukraine? Marxists oppose, historically "individual terrorism" because it cuts across the organization of the class to resist the capitalists. In most (though not all) occupations, resistance has to be military as repression is too great. So it is hard to see what it is your point is here, especially as military occupation on the part of partisans is often necessarily "mass based".

 

Respectively yours,

David Walters


John Reimann
 


I think there are serious dangers in this program. First of all, this individual and probably many others involved are from the far right, possibly even fascists. If the war does end, these forces will be used against the Ukrainian working class. In addition, there seems to be the tendency towards individual terrorism. That strategy can never succeed. None of this means any justification for the imperialist invasion of Russia, but that's a different issue.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/17/world/europe/ukraine-partisans-insurgency-russia.html
By Andrew E. Kramer
Aug. 17, 2022
Updated 8:06 a.m. ET
ZAPORIZHZHIA, Ukraine — They sneak down darkened alleys to set explosives. They identify Russian targets for Ukrainian artillery and long-range rockets provided by the United States. They blow up rail lines and assassinate Ukrainian officials they consider collaborators with the Russians.

Slipping back and forth across the front lines, the guerrilla fighters are known in Ukraine as partisans, and in recent weeks they have taken an ever more prominent role in the war, rattling Russian forces by helping deliver humiliating blows in areas they occupy and thought to be safe.

Increasingly, Ukraine is taking the fight against Russian forces into Russian-controlled areas, whether by using elite military units, like the one credited on Tuesday with a huge explosion at a Russian ammunition depot in the occupied Crimean Peninsula, or by deploying an underground network of the partisan guerrillas.

Last week, Ukrainian officials said, the partisans had a hand in a successful strike on a Russian air base, also in Crimea, which Moscow annexed eight years ago. It destroyed eight fighter jets.

“The goal is to show the occupiers that they are not at home, that they should not settle in, that they should not sleep comfortably,” said one guerrilla fighter, who spoke on condition that, for security reasons, he only be identified by his code name, Svarog, after a pagan Slavic god of fire.

In recent days the Ukrainian military made Svarog and several other of the operatives available for interviews in person or online, hoping to highlight the partisans’ widening threat to Russian forces and signal to Western donors that Ukraine is also successfully rallying local resources in the war, now nearly 6 months old. A senior Ukrainian military official familiar with the program also described the workings of the resistance in detail.

Their accounts of attacks could not be verified completely but aligned with reports in the Ukrainian media and with the descriptions of Ukrainians who had recently fled Russian-occupied areas.

Svarog and I met over lemonade and cheese pastries at a Georgian restaurant in Zaporizhzhia, a city under Ukrainian control about 65 miles north of the occupied town of Melitopol, where he operates.

He spoke with intimate knowledge of partisan activities, providing a rare glimpse into one of the most hidden aspects of the war.

Insurgent activity is now intensifying, as the resistance fighters strike stealthily in environs that they know intimately, using car bombs, booby traps and targeted killings with pistols — and then blending into the local population.

Before the war, Svarog occasionally joined weekend training with Right Sector and National Corps, a branch of the Azov movement, both of which are aligned with paramilitary units in Ukraine. They were just two of dozens of organizations running military training for civilians throughout Ukraine during the eight-year war with Russian-backed separatists.

Svarog said he was among the trainees in these public programs. Behind the scenes, Ukraine’s Special Operations Forces were forming a more structured, and secret, program that included instruction on sabotage and explosives and stashing caches of weapons in anticipation of Russia’s attack.

After the invasion, Svarog said, he was directed to a cache in a storage shed outside Melitopol, where he found slabs of high explosives, detonators, Kalashnikov rifles, a grenade launcher and two pistols equipped with silencers.

Melitopol, the southern Ukrainian town where Svarog operates, has since emerged as a center of the resistance. He recounted the careful casing of targets, followed by attacks.

By Saturday, partisans had struck with explosives seven days in a row, according to the town’s exiled mayor, Ivan Fedorov, who boasted of the achievement to Ukrainian media as part of the more public embrace of partisan operations by officials.

The attacks have been going on for several months. In one attack this spring, Svarog said, he and several members of the cell in Melitopol sneaked through the town at night to booby-trap a car in the parking lot of a Russian-controlled police station.

Carrying wire cutters, tape and fishing line, the fighters moved through courtyards and back alleys to avoid Russian checkpoints.

They first cut an electrical wire, blacking out a streetlight, then dashed quickly into the darkness where they planted a bomb, wrapped in tape with the sticky side facing outward, into a wheel well. The fishing line was taped both to the inside of the wheel and to a detonator, rigging the bomb to explode when the wheel turned.

“Anybody who would drive that car would be a traitor,” Svarog said. “Nobody there is keeping public order.” The bomb killed one police officer and wounded another.

In a strike last week, he said, his cell booby-trapped the car of Oleg Shostak, a Ukrainian who had joined the Russian political party United Russia in Melitopol. The insurgents targeted him because they suspected him of tailoring propaganda to appeal to local residents.

Svarog, who said he did not take part in this particular mission, said his team placed a bomb under the driver’s seat of the car, rigged to explode when the engine started.

Mr. Shostak was wounded in the explosion but survived, said Mr. Fedorov, the exiled mayor of Melitopol. The attack was separately reported by Ukrainian authorities and described by displaced people leaving Melitopol through a checkpoint to Ukrainian territory on Sunday.

Whether targeted people survive or die in the attacks, partisans say, is less important than the signal they send with each strike: You are never safe.

Separately, two partisans operating in occupied southeastern Ukraine and interviewed by video call described a branch of the underground called Yellow Ribbon, which carries out nonviolent actions such as posting leaflets and spray-painting graffiti.

The bases on Ukrainian territory where operatives are trained are moved constantly to avoid discovery, according to a senior Ukrainian military official. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive military information.

Each operative has a different a role to play, the official said: scouting a target, gathering intelligence on the movements of a target, and carrying out an attack. Individual cells are kept separate and do not know one another, lest a detained partisan reveal identities under interrogation.

The official described a poisoning in the Zaporizhzhia region that killed around 15 Russian soldiers and the sabotage of a grain elevator in the Kherson Region that prevented Russian forces from stealing 60,000 tons of grain. Neither operation could be independently verified.

Partisans were also behind an explosion on Saturday that disabled a railroad bridge connecting the city of Melitopol to Crimea, halting the supply of military equipment coming into the Zaporizhzhia region.

“They’re frightening people, these Ukrainian partisans,” the official said. “But they’re frightening only for the occupiers.”

And for those the partisans consider to be traitors, too.

The Ukrainian underground in occupied territory considers police officers, municipal and regional government employees and teachers who agree to work under the Russian educational curriculum as collaborators, according to Svarog and another partisan using the nickname Viking, who was interviewed in an online video call. They said they did not see doctors, firefighters and employees of utility companies as traitors.

Teachers are a focus now, with schools scheduled to open in September.

“The Russians want to teach by their program, not the truth,” Viking said. “A child is vulnerable to propaganda and if raised in this program, will become an idiot like the Russians,” he said. “A teacher who agrees to teach by the Russian program is a collaborator.”

Partisans will not attack teachers, he said, but have sought to publicly humiliate them in the leaflets they often post on utility poles with dark warnings for collaborators, as part of the guerrillas’ psychological operations.

One went up recently, he said, with the names and photographs of principals planning to open schools in September.

It said simply: “For collaborating with the Russians, there will be payback.”

--
“Science and socialism go hand-in-hand.” Felicity Dowling
Check out:https:http://oaklandsocialist.com also on Facebook