Donetsk antiwar rally marks Ukraine’s ‘Dependence Day’

By Denis Grigoryuk
Photos by Koshkin and Karaleva

On August 24, the Ukrainian state celebrates “Independence Day*.“ In Donetsk, for the second year, this “holiday” was not marked, but today the people of the Donetsk People’s Republic came to a rally entitled “Dependence Day of Ukraine.”

On Facebook, various users and groups, sent a wave of appeals to organize a flashmob on August 24, the day when Ukraine celebrates “Independence Day.” People gathered near the monument to Taras Shevchenko with posters declaring, “Ukraine is dependent,” “You’ve already perished, Ukraine,“ "Poroshenko – bloody president,” etc.

The peaceful demonstration was joined by the public movements “Donetsk Republic” and “Young Republic.” People signed a letter of appeal to the Ukrainian government to leave the unconquered people of Donbass alone and stop the punitive operation referred to as the “ATO” [Anti-Terrorist Operation].

While Ukraine celebrates its mythical “Independence Day,” the people of Donbass, despite their fear of shelling, came into the city streets to show their attitude to the bloody holiday of the Ukrainian state.

* Translator’s note: Pro-capitalist elements in Ukraine declared “independence” on August 24, 1991, during the destruction of the Soviet Union by the U.S.-backed Yeltsin-Gorbachev regime.


International solidarity urged for captive Crimean anarchist Alexander Kolchenko

Alexander Kolchenko is a Crimean anarchist, social activist and antifascist who is held in captivity by the Russian authorities. Along with other Crimean activists, he has been kidnapped by the Russian FSB (ex-KGB) and is now detained as a political hostage in Lefortovo jail in Moscow. He is charged with committing “acts of terrorism” and “belonging to a terrorist community”.His preliminary hearing is due on July 9.

Why Alexander Kolchenko is in the jail?

Alexander, who has undeniably proved his antifascist stance over many
years, is facing preposterous accusations of belonging to “Right
Sector”, a radical Ukrainian right-wing organization, whose real role in
Ukrainian events is blown out of proportion by Russian official propaganda.

In modern Russia any activist — left-wing, anarchist or liberal — can be
slandered as a member or sympathizer of “Right Sector”. This situation
is comparable to the hunt for nonexistent “Trotskyists” under Stalin, or
the McCarthy witch-hunt for communists. Putin’s authoritarian and
nationalist regime, which uses in its propaganda everything from
religious prejudices and conspiracy theories to outright racism,
shamelessly steals “antifascist” rhetoric. And yet anyone who is
considered bothersome is called a “fascist”, even if he/she stands on
the opposite side of the political spectrum.
The case against antifascist Alexander Kolchenko and civil activist and
film director Oleg Sentsov (investigators enrolled them into the same
“terrorist” group) is political. It is meant to intimidate inhabitants
of Crimea and prevent any resistance on the peninsula. The most
authoritarian of methods are now used in annexed Crimea to repress all
discontent. Many people were obliged to leave Crimea because their life
and freedom were threatened: lawyers, left-wing activists, students and
trade union activists, anarchists, antifascists and Crimean Tatar
activists who have fallen victims of ethnic discrimination.

What threats does Alexander Kolchenko face?

A terrible prison sentence of up to 20 years threatens Alexander
Kolchenko for a non-existent “terrorist attack” in which he was not
involved. Kolchenko and other Ukrainian political prisoners are detained
only in order to demoralize opposition by show trials. Their freedom is
directly linked to the stability of the Putin regime: if we can shake
the confidence of Putin in his impunity, the prisoners will be set free.
There is no hope that Kolchenko, Sentsov and others would be judged by
the law. Their arrest was unlawful, the charges against them are
far-fetched. It’s not a mistake, the regime knows what it’s doing.

How can you help Alexander Kolchenko?

We’re asking international left-wing and libertarian forces for help.
You can organize and lead actions of protest and solidarity, write
letters to Kolchenko, send donations for lawyers and food parcels, help
his family. It is also important to spread information about his case.
Most of all, we need to dissociate ourselves from any forces that
support aggressive expansion of Russian nationalism, even if they cover
it up with “leftist” and “anti-imperialist” rhetoric. Putin’s regime is
doing just fine without your sympathy, better save it for those who have
become its victims.

When to start?

You can start right now by helping us to spread this text, translating
it into other languages and sending it to comrades. We also strongly
encourage you to organize demonstrations in support of Alexander
Kolchenko and other political prisoners jailed in Russia from April 1 to
7, 2015. On April 11 and 16 Sentsov’s and Kolchenko’s custodies end,
respectively. In the first half of April Lefortovo District Court of
Moscow will decide again whether they should await judgment in jail or
have the right to exit under the injunction not to leave or under home
arrest. Only strong and massive pressure on the Putin regime, protests
around the world would give a chance to set our comrades free. We demand
their immediate discharge and the end of their prosecution.

More information below

Interview with Alexander Kolchenko

Repressions against Crimean activists: political context

Multilingual Facebook group

Contact us:

German version

French version

Italian version

Ukrainian version

Russian version

Communist Andrei Sokolov in 8th month of Ukrainian captivity

Our comrade, communist Andrei Sokolov, is already in his 8th month as a political prisoner of the Ukrainian junta.

His trial continues. He is accused of “forming a terrorist organization” (art. 258-3 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code, 8 to 15).

Court sessions are held with numerous violations. In the first two sessions, he was not even brought to the court. The trial took place by video conference from jail. Today, his case was transferred to the court in Berdyansk, Zaporozhye region, under Judge O.G. Pakhomenko. The city is on the Azov Sea, 60 km from Mariupol, where Andrei has been imprisoned. This phase will last about two weeks. The prisoner was not driven directly, but via Zaporozhye, in heat of 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit)! Even though he could be tried much closer.

Here’s what Andrei wrote about this court: “The nature of the court hearing is preliminary, not on the merits of the case. At this meeting, the court will only decide, for example, whether there is any need for further investigation by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). Evidence was obtained in violation of the law (without witnesses, at an Anti-Terrorist Operation roadblock). There is not one prosecution witness (all are in the Donetsk People’s Republic, "so it is not possible to question them”). The indictment does not even list a place of detention [Andrei was detained at a checkpoint]. All that is identified is 29/12/14 in Mariupol, in the building of the SBU. This is already a basis for cancellation of the charges.“

Not only in court but also in the jail, inmates are hardly fed. The prisoners are beaten and tortured.

Andrei is a staunch communist, a revolutionary, an opponent of the Yeltsin and Putin regimes. In Russia, he spent a total of nine years in prison on political charges. At the same time, like a true leftist, from the beginning he strongly supported the uprising in the Donbass.

Last winter this self-taught engineer came to the DNR to help the country establish vital production. He stumbled into the checkpoint and was taken prisoner.

Please support Andrei and disseminate information about this trial.

Union Borotba (Struggle)

Monumento a los mártires del Carbón, Donetsk , Novo Rusia.

El primer ministro Leonid Ilich Brézhnev ensalza el heroísmo comunista de los mineros del Donbass
Discurso solemne con motivo del 50 Aniversario de la Unión de Repúblicas Socialistas Soviéticas el 21 de diciembre de 1971:

Ucrania “era ya una de las partes del país avanzadas en el aspecto industrial y agrícola. La cultura ucraniana se asentaba en viejas y ricas tradiciones. Sin embargo ¡Cuan lejos ha llegado en su avance la Ucrania soviética!