Playing with Fire

NEO-NAZI terror gangs ran riot in Odessa last week killing scores of anti-fascists when the trade union building they had fled to was torched. The fact that the police did nothing to stop the massacre or that the puppet regime in Kiev has done nothing to arrest those responsible should not surprise us.

And the fact that the British Government, along with the United States and the rest of the imperialist pack, simply jeered the Russians at the United Nations and then just sat on their hands when the Russian representative called on the Nato powers to rein in their Kiev stooges shows us who is behind the carnage in Ukraine.

No one knows how many died in Odessa’s House of Trade Unions on 2nd May. Some were burnt alive or suffocated in toxic smoke; others jumped to their deaths out of the windows of the burning building or were shot dead by the fascist mob which then looted the bodies for trophies. The Kiev regime puts the death toll at 46. The Odessa anti-fascist resistance say at least 116 died and that many more were injured in the fighting.

It is now impossible to convince people in the south or east of the country to disarm because their lives are clearly under threat. This monstrous provocation can only stiffen the resolve of the ethnic Russian Ukrainians to defy the Kiev junta and set up their own people’s republics. This fascist atrocity, worthy of the Nazi legions that the rabid Ukrainian nationalists revere, has left the anti-fascists in many parts of the country with no alternative but to take up the gun and fend off the regime’s fascist thugs and hirelings.

In March the Crimean people voted overwhelmingly in favour of union with Russia in a poll that was scrupulously fair and legal. Now other Russian-speaking parts of Ukraine are setting up their own governments and preparing to vote on seceding from Ukraine and joining Russia.

The Kiev junta and its imperialist mentors bear full responsibility for the recent bloodshed in Ukraine. Last February Anglo-American and Franco-German imperialism engineered the coup that toppled the legally elected president of Ukraine who had dared to turn down the poisoned chalice of the European Union.

They then endorsed a self-appointed “government” which relies on the support of fascist movements that are the direct heirs of the Ukrainian fascists who served the Third Reich during the Second World War. The imperialists and their “human rights” gang then turned a blind eye to the fascist rampage which followed in western Ukraine, which included the torching of the communist party headquarters in Kiev and attacks on communists and Jews amid calls for fascist legislation that would ban workers’ parties and outlaw the use of the Russian language that is spoken by around half the population of the republic.

The Kremlin, which quickly moved to welcome the autonomous Crimean republic back into the Russian Federation, has repeatedly warned that it would not stand idly by in the face of anti-Russian pogroms in Ukraine. It hasn’t come to that yet but the barbarous killings in Odessa are clearly a warning of the shape of things to come.