In solidarity with anti-fascist resistance in Ukraine

by New Worker correspondents in London and Bristol

ANTI-FASCIST protesters were out in force last Friday in London and on Saturday and Monday in Bristol — to protest against the visit to London of leading Ukrainian neo-Nazi Andriy Parubiy for talks with senior Government officials — and to analyse Nato aggression and strategy in Europe.

Andriy Parubiy is the deputy speaker of the Ukrainian parliament and a politician with a far right record. Parubiy, along with Oleh Tyahnybok, in 1991 founded the Social National Party of Ukraine, a fascist party styled on Hitler’s Nazis, with membership restricted to ethnic Ukrainians.

The ideology of the SNPU was radical nationalism and neo-Nazism. Its official symbol was the somewhat modified Wolf’s Hook (Wolfsangel), used as a symbol by various the German SS divisions. Ukraine had its own Galician SS division, which provided large numbers of concentration and death camp guards.

As seen by the SNPU leadership, the Wolf ’s Hook became the “idea of the nation”. Moreover, the official name of the party’s ideology, “social nationalism,” clearly referred back to the “national socialism” of the National-Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP or Nazi party) and of the Hitlerite regime.

In 1998-2004 Parubiy was the head of paramilitary youth wing of Social-Nationalist Party “Patriot of Ukraine”, which existed until December 2014 when it joined the Right Sector.

Just last summer, a prominent leader of party’s youth section was distributing texts from Nazi propaganda head Joseph Goebbels translated into Ukrainian.

Parubiy and several other activists of Patriot of Ukraine were tried for beating Communist-led demonstrators in Lvov on 7th November (the anniversary of Kristallnacht) 1997.

After 2004 Parubiy projected a more moderate public image but during the recent events he also cooperated with Svoboda and Pravyi Sektor. In that year the SNPU changed its image and name, to become Svoboda. At that point Parubiy left the organisation following a split over the name change and image.

Parubiy led the paramilitary youth wing “Patriot Ukraine” away and refused to join the new organisation Svoboda.

Despite this change of image, his core views, far right Ukrainian nationalism based on the heritage of Stephan Bandera, did not change fundamentally. In 2010 Parubiy vocally campaigned against the European Parliament for its negative reaction to the declaration of Stepan Bandera as a Hero of Ukraine.

Bandera was the head of the OUN-UPA, a fascist organisation that collaborated with the Nazis during the Second World War and was involved in carrying acts of genocide against Poles, Jews and others.

Parubiy and his colleagues preached that Ukraine was a bastion of western values and racial purity set against the cosmopolitan “Asian/communist hordes” of Russia.

Parubiy came to London to talk with senior Government, Conservative, Labour and SNP MPs and Nato officials about military and economic aid to the neo-Nazi regime in Kiev in its war against the breakaway anti-fascist states of Donetsk and Lugansk.

One of his appointments was on Friday morning with the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in Whitehall, an “independent think tank” linked to the British establishment, where Parubiy had been invited to speak.

But he was greeted at the door by a protest organised by Solidarity with Anti-Fascist Resistance in Ukraine.

People attending the meeting were given leaflets about Parubiy’s neo-Nazi career. Members of RUSI staff who came out to talk to campaigners expressed their discomfort that he had been invited. RUSI director Michael Clarke also spoke to campaigners to defend his decision to invite him.

The same evening Parubiy attended a social function at a Ukrainian club in Holland Park Avenue — close to the Ukrainian embassy and not far away from Linden Gardens where the London headquarters of the OUN had been for decades after the Second World War — campaigning overtly and covertly to undermine the Soviet Union and funded by United States government and Nato bodies.

And the anti-fascist campaigners were there to greet him again — this time in greater numbers supported by the New Communist Party, Socialist Fight, the Communist Party of Britain, the Revolutionary Communist Group and the CPGB (ML).

Along with the main SARU banner there were several hammer-and-sickle flags — a symbol now outlawed by Kiev because they fear it will inspire resistance to the fascism there as it did in the 1940s.

Parubiy met with Labour Lord Robertson, former Nato general secretary. He also met with Shadow Leader of the House of Commons Chris Bryant, Labour MP Stephen Pound, SNP MP Stephen Gethins and, separately, with Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski.

In Bristol on Saturday Bristol Ukraine Anti-Fascist Solidarity (BUAFS) hosted a meeting of around 30 anti-fascists to discuss “The imperialist crisis and the drive to war in Europe”. Speakers included Alex Gordon from the RMT transport union and SARU, Dan Glazebrook, author of Divide and Ruin, and Luke Beesley of BUAF, Joti Brar from the CPGB(ML) and Alex Kempshall, who chairs the New Communist Party.

Alex Gordon spoke of his union’s work to achieve trade union solidarity with anti-fascists in Ukraine and Alex Kempshall gave a long, detailed analysis of the economic problems of Ukraine and the schemes of the European Union and other western powers to get its hands on that country’s vast natural resources.

And on Monday the BUAFS comrades were out as usual for their regular weekly picket of the BBC headquarters in Bristol — demanding more accurate and honest reporting on the situation there.