Tue Sep 27, 2022
September 27, 2022

Ukrainian MPs and government undermine resistance against invaders

Workers must take the defence of national sovereignty into their own hands.

The Ukrainian parliament (Rada) and Zelensky are attacking the workers from behind. They have just voted a law allowing the capitalists not to pay wages to the workers who have gone to the front line to defend the country. Meanwhile, the deputies increase their own salaries.

The heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people has driven Putin’s troops out of Kyiv, Chernihiv and Kharkiv, forcing the invader to concentrate their offensive in the Donbas to the east, where they have met the decisive purpose of the working class in the most industrialised region of the country to defeat the invader. It took several weeks to take Mariupol, Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, and they only managed to control these cities after wreaking havoc on them with massive shelling and artillery.

On the other hand, in the occupied South, especially Kherson, where the Dnieper River flows into the Black Sea, the invaders are unable to consolidate control. Surrounded by a hostile population, they are harassed by a growing partisan movement and acts of sabotage, such as the blowing up of the Russian ammunition depots at Kherson and the bridges over the Dnieper.

Theatre of operations in Ukraine

However, if on the front the people’s determination boosts combat morale and destabilises the occupiers, the same cannot be said of the rear. The recent measures of the parliament, sanctioned by the Zelensky government, call into question the fundamental factor that has allowed the partial victories in this unequal war: the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian working people, who are fighting a just war for their land, for their freedom and independence.

In the face of the unfulfilled promises of the US and European imperialisms to send offensive weapons that never reach the battlefront, the hopes for the military defeat of Putin and his regime, which would open the way to freedom for many peoples under his yoke, are focused on the resilience of the Ukrainian working people. However, while the workers fight for the freedom and independence of the country on the front line against the invaders, the MPs and government officials attack them from behind in pursuit of profits for foreign oligarchs and corporations, undermining the resistance and helping Putin. While aggression from Moscow is being fought, they have to face the fifth column from Kyiv!

Behind the backs of the workers, the government drafted a law allowing employers to dismiss workers without justification or warning. The Rada passed in the first reading a law on zero-hour contract, which in fact eliminates stable employment and income. Furthermore, a law drafted by the head of the parliamentary committee on “social policy,” Jalina Tretyakova, allowing the capitalists to stop paying wages to workers who have gone to the front lines to defend the country was adopted by the Rada and sanctioned by Zelensky on 19 July.

As if this were not enough, the deputies, in the midst of the war, increased their own salaries. And no one voted against it. It is obvious that this is a “reward” for the anti-worker laws in the service of the oligarchs. This is a macabre mockery, which has caused massive indignation.

While the workers give their lives for the freedom of the motherland, often without the most necessary staple, and their families suffer hardships, things like that happen. The Jalina Tretyakova law, signed by Zelensky, deprives workers in combat of civilian wages.

Workers at the front denounce the government and make demands

The indignation against the government’s policies is clearly reflected in numerous individual and collective messages recorded from the trenches. One video message went viral on the networks, from Donbas soldier and coal miner Sergei Prikhodko:

“I have been serving at the front since March. For the first three months, I did not receive a penny from the state for my service. My family – a small daughter and a pregnant wife – lived on my civilian wage. This helped us a lot. If it wasn’t for this salary, everything would be a disaster. At the moment, I am starting to receive some money for military service. But with the shortage it makes no difference. I think it is very wrong and criminal to take away what belongs to us, which is our average wage. I have been working in the coal industry for more than 10 years. And there are many of us who have worked for many years. I have worked long enough to earn this average wage.

If our authorities think that it is possible to deprive us of this easily, then let them propose a law that exempts me from criminal responsibility and I can freely return to my civilian position and continue to work, take care of my livelihood and be close to my family, who will be safe because I will be there. but I, as a soldier, do not feel that safety. My family is losing livelihoods and rights.

In other words, it turns out that my daughter, my wife and I are nothing. And those who are mobilised, who are starting to suffer the same grievances, are also nothing. I understand that the situation in the country is difficult, but this is not the way out! They are emptying the pockets of those of us who defend our homeland and our people. Therefore, I ask everyone – the mobilised, the hired soldiers, those who have been deprived of their average wage, deprived of their income – to come together in social networks to achieve at least some result. Let Tretyakova come here at least once, to the front line, to see who, how, what we are doing!….

If they think we get a lot of money, they will see that we do not. My name is Sergey Prikhodko. I am from Western Donbas. And I am not afraid for my words. And believe me, there are many people like me. Now for the moment, we need to go and take our fighting positions in the trenches. Be that as it may, no one is going home, we will resist to the end. But I see that our rulers are starting to spit on us a bit. This could all end very badly. I am not asking anyone to lay down their arms, to go home, to go on strike, to go to Kyiv, no way. We will continue to fight tenaciously against the invaders. But if you continue like this, excuse me, I will have to leave everything and go back home to my family”.

In whose hands should national defence be?

These accurate and profound words of an armed worker from the trenches show in a very stark way what happens when the supposed defence of the country is in the hands of the pro-imperialist oligarchs and their government. These attacks on the back of the workers’ defenders of Ukraine are the greatest help to the murderous Putin and his invading hordes. Yet, while Zelensky poses for Vogue magazine, boasting of his “bravery” for not having fled, he is catering to the claims of the foreign oligarchs and corporations, who are not even in the country and whose sons are not fighting on the front lines. Defeating Putin requires the opposite. Victory in the war does not require securing the profits of the oligarchs, but the expropriation of all businesses associated with Putin, the nationalisation and centralisation in the hands of the state of the economy in the service of defence under workers’ control.

No forced lay-offs and no forced suspensions! Guarantee jobs for all, as part of a national defence plan!

No deprivation of income for workers and their families! Full provision for the people at the front and in the rear!

Only the working class can ensure these defence tasks by taking them into their own hands!

Defend sovereignty at the cost of capitalist profits!

No increase in profits at the cost of defence!

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