In Ukraine, in November 2013, a revolution against the repressive course of the Yanukovich administration and its attempt at establishing an oligarchic dictatorship selling out the independence of country broke out.
The American and European imperialisms on the one hand and the Putin regime in Russia – globally collaborating counterrevolutionary forces – were divided as far as the methods concerned to putting an end to the Ukrainian revolution.
The US government and EU authorities wanted to avoid the direct repression and choose the path of the democratic reaction, which means trying to put down the revolution slowly but surely, using the traditional bourgeois procedures, such as elections. To do so they had to flirt with the revolution underway. However they finally applied the method of the carrot and the big stick.
Putin, whose authoritative regime is inconsistent with any independent popular action, including the pluralism of parliamentary bourgeoisies, bet on the annihilation of the revolution, and within this framework, he kept on slandering the huge demonstrations at Maidan Square, dubbing it a “US conspiracy.”
Putin also understands that if he plays the bourgeois democracy game, both imperialisms – much stronger than his regime is – would have the upper hand. This would mean that he would lose Ukraine, that is to say that he would suffer an enormous political loss at his own back yard.
It is the same difference they have with the Syrian revolution and the Arabs ones in general.
The commitment of the different bourgeois forces was achieved in the agreement of EU, USA, Putin, Yanukovich and the Ukrainian opposition of February 21, 2014 to keep Yanukowich in the presidency until the forthcoming elections and so put an end to Maidan Square uprising.
But the counterrevolutionary agreement was thrown into the dustbin by the rebelled people. After another unsuccessful attempt to crush Maidan rebellion, the oligarchic Yanukowich administration fell and that was a great victory for the Ukrainian people.
For imperialism with their flexible policy of democratic reaction it was easy to adapt themselves to this new situation, so they began to try and take a hypocritical attitude of “friends of the revolution”.
But the worst of all scenarios began to unroll for Putin: a) The explosion of action in the neighbouring country, so closely linked historically and culturally; b) the fall of Putin’s ally, with Ukraine slipping out of his hands and c) the possibility of losing Crimea. These facts could stand for an important weakening or even the beginning of the erosion of his regime, based on repression of democratic rights on the one hand and on political negotiations with imperialism on the other. To this he uses the huge military and political power inherited from the USSR, especially to oppress the former Soviet republics.
In order to step aside from this dangerous path, Putin’s regime carried out a politically reactionary and risky counterattack with the annexation of Crimea and the attempt to bring together Eastern Ukraine. These actions were intended to keep the political control over Ukraine, using the region as a political tool for pressing the Ukrainian government and so maintaining its participation in the home policy of Ukraine.
In the institutional framework, Putin’s regime boosted the “federalisation” through the pro-Russian parties and, after facing the Ukrainian resistance, he encouraged the formation of an alternative power (the separatists): the so-called “peoples´ republics” of Donetsk and Lugansk, proclaimed suddenly by some hundred people who represented nobody and nothing, backed only by the feeling of rejection for the economic measures enacted by the Kiev government against the will of the workers and the people. Behind these manoeuvres there were the interests of the political conglomerates of pro-Russian nationalists and fascists. Kiev responded nominating its governors…
In the non-institutional scope, the Kremlin boosted the pro-Russian nationalist and fascist organisations’ actions which hoped to see the repetition of the Crimean scenario and the ascent of the “Russian World” Within the non-institutional scope, Kremlin boosted the pro-Russian nationalist and fascist organisations who expected the repetition of the Crimean scenario and the ascent of the “Russian World” in order to occupy the public buildings. Kiev responded by boosting the actions of the Nazis of the Right Sector in order to evict the pro-Russian nationalists. They collided in Kharkov and Odessa, whose aftermath was the end of the pro-Russian activity in those cities. They did not manage that much in Donetsk and Lugansk.
So weapons and occupation of public buildings in Donetsk and Lugansk were instated by pro-Russian organisations. They were aided by the FSB agents (the Russian Federal Security Service, which replaced KGB) – all of them very much in the minority and isolated from the population. To unify the people around him and so manage to stop the revolution underway, Poroshenko responded deploying a demoralised army, lacking military hardware and troops who were not willing to fire their own people.
The battle ended up with a shameful defeat for Poroshenko, who appealed to the NATO and IMF to help him to recover his Armed Forces to another try. Putin, on the other hand, increased his supplies for the separatists.
For the NATO, the situation was a pretext to grow stronger in Ukraine and Eastern Europe with the alibi of “defence of security in the European East against Russia threatening.” Putin achieved the possibility of being politically stronger in Russia thanks to the chauvinist hysteria unleashed among the Russian population.
The general interests that collided can be described as follows: as far as Poroshenko was concerned, it was all about recovering the political control over the east of the country. For Putin, it was to avoid his own complete political defeat in Ukraine, to maintain the control over the Ukrainian east as a tool for influencing Ukrainian policy and beat the revolution dividing the proletariat. For imperialisms it was to win over the entire Ukraine, to prop up and make even more dependent the pro-imperialist Poroshenko and show to Putin that he cannot cross the “red lines” imposed by imperialism and make him understand that he is nothing but the “administrator” of oil and gas supplying fields to the West and dependent on loans from Western banks (from this point of view the economic penalties against Russia are extremely sensitive for its economy). What is completely missing here are the workers’ interests.
The first Minsk agreements didn’t eliminate these contradictions and only guaranteed a break to prepare new attempts to solve the situation by the military via.
Putin didn’t yield and the new offensive of the Ukrainian army suffered a new defeat at the hands of the separatists with the aid of the Russian regime.
The war was becoming more and more violent and destroyed the country sacrificing the more vulnerable Ukrainians for the sake of business. Debaltsevo and Yglegorsk, assailed by the separatists, became the symbol of barbarism as were the bombing raids of Donets and Slavyansk by the Ukrainian army.
Western and Russian media began their own information war, covering their own bosses’ policies and blaming the other side for the barbarism which both share in order to convince the workers to take sides and so legitimise the war.
After the announcement by Poroshenko of military mobilisation and analogous statements made by the separatists, after the statements by Merkel and Hollande on the possibility of a “real” war and the same propaganda discourse in Russia’s media, this dispute reached limits that are dangerous even for the bourgeoisie.
Setback in Minsk
On Thursday 12 February, a ceasefire agreement was signed between the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France in Minsk, capital of Byelorussia. It was the second attempt to accomplish this goal since September 2014 and was formally endorsed by the authorities of the self-proclaimed “people’s republics” of Donets and Lugansk.
The agreement signed in Minsk under separatist offensive consists of thirteen points. The main point is the ceasefire supposed to begin on the 15th February. However, this hostilities cessation is conditioned to the withdrawal of any heavy weaponry to a distance of 50 kilometres for artillery equivalent or superior to 100 millimetres and up to 140 km for missile systems as from the “current positions” for both bands.Furthermore, it declares amnesty for all separatists. As for the “status” of the south-eastern Ukrainian regions, “local elections” in individual areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions are be convened as well as a constitutional reform by the end of 2015. The new constitution should establish “decentralisation as a key element as well as the adoption of permanent legislation on the special status of individual areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions” to take effect until the end of 2015.” 
The Minsk agreement must be rejected. Actually it is a step towards the de facto division of Ukraine,that is to say, the legalisation of separatist control in Donetsk and Lugansk. So, these territories would be controlled by Putin and his local agents, even if not formally annexed by Russia as Crimea was.
The intention of the separatists to be carried out via weapons and eventually by diplomacy is to introduce points into the Ukrainian constitution or legislation to guarantee a special status of the Donetsk and Luhansk regionsthat would go beyond safeguarding the so often mentioned use of the Russian language: they aim at keeping a self-government in the territories that they have under control for nearly a year.
This would mean having the right to determine and form “the structures of regional power” on their own account, create their own forces of public order, decentralise the tax and budgets systems, sign economic agreements, etc., according to El País.
It can’t be foreseen whether they can stop the war; it depends on many objective and subjective factors. But even if they manage to “freeze” the war, this would be an agreement of the fighting bourgeoisies in dispute for territories. So the political tensions would keep on and at any moment everything may start all over again. And while Obama, Merkel, Putin or the Ukrainian oligarchy would be solving their problems, nothing good can be expected for the working people.
A war could be fair when the oppressed struggle against the oppressors, as the “civil war” of the Ukrainian people at Maidan Square against the shock troops and snipers commanded by Yanukovich. But the war undergoing in Ukraine is a clash between different kinds of oppressors: it is a dispute of bourgeois groups for their political and economic interests. And all the blood, destruction and brutality that they have already unleashed is just “a previous discussion” that has continued in Minsk around a table served with good food and behind closed doors.
The revolution would suffer a blow as the different bourgeois camps manage to attract workers on to their side. On the contrary, only the continuity of the Ukrainian revolution supported by international solidarity can put an end to this devastation of the country.
That is to say: the workers of Ukraine, the main victims of the war, should resume their joint mobilisation against the Poroshenko administration, which unleashed a war against their own people by strangling it with the reforms imposed by the US and EU. The workers of Donbass should fight as an independent force and no longer act as only the hostages of an inter-bourgeois dispute.
On the other hand, the Russian workers should begin to overcome their chauvinist delirium and realise that they are already paying for Putin’s adventures with the fall of their living standards. They should, altogether, reckon the increasing image of Russia as an “aggressive country” for the Ukrainians and other neighbour countries, pushing them into the arms of imperialism and the NATO to look for protection.
The European workers must reject the propaganda that demonises Russia, which is only useful to conceal the crimes committed by the major hawks of this world: the imperialist bourgeoisies of the US and the EU. Unless it happens, the expansion of “democratic imperialism” and of the NATO in the Eastern Europe – with the alibi of their “defence” – will continue. Imperialism uses this propaganda to cover up the increasing degree of colonisation of Russia by the European and American financial capital as well.
No to the war! EU, US, Putin, hands off Ukraine! Neither Poroshenko nor Separatists! Down with the Minsk agreements! Ukrainian Workers will snatch the country with their own hands away from foreign powers and submissive oligarchy.
Toiling masses and peoples of Europe and Russia: It is up to you to stop your governments’ criminal game and snatch away the continent from the barbarism into which our bosses are driving us all.