• Questions and answers as well as lack of answers concerning the criticism of Borotba

last modified June 1, 2014 by Tord

Tord Björk:

The statement by Anarchist and left wing organizations caused to date 21 comments on the website of Autonomous Worker's Union, AWU. http://avtonomia.net/2014/03/03/statement-left-anarchist-organizations-borotba-organization/ From the ppint of view of WSF this issue is of special importance as one of the signatories of the accusation against Borotba is Direct Action, an organisation (if there is no other organization wirth  the same name in Ukraina) that participated at WSF in Tunis 2013 together with Borotba.

The statement caused confusion among antifascists in the west and questions were put regarding the facts behind the arguments raised. Most questions concerned the accusation that Borotba accused all Maidan protesters of being nationalist and radical right:

•Could you give an example where borotba suggests that “the Maidan protests are supported exclusively by nationalists and radical right, and were aimed only at a coup d’etat (‘fascist putsch’).”

Thank you very much!

Long live antinational solidarity!

The answer:



Here are photos of their members in Odessa: http://borotba.org/aktivistyi_odesskoj_organizaczii_borotba_proveli_akcziyu_u_memorialnoj_doski_sovetskogo_soyuza_ivanu_petrovu.html. THe local leader of Borotba, deputy of the regional council, holds a banner: “No to fascist putsch”. That was on February 23, when Yanukovych only just had been ousted.



Dear Anarchist Comrades from Ukraine,

We’re trying to understand this conflict here in Germany, but there remain a few questions open. Please try to help with that.

- concerning the regional administration in Kharkiv: Press as well as comments of left pages suggest there were Nazis present. This video was linked: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOHyii1tIho supposedly showing the defense of the kharkiv administration building. Nazi symbols are present there. There are also statements of nationalists, indicating they were present. Borotba also accuses Anarchists of working together with Nazis in this occupation.
Serhj Zhadan: He was quoted in german press/TV with with a statement on the bookfair in Leipzig: “the only fascists in Ukraine are with Putin”. If this is a correct representation of his views, this is rather problematic.

- There there were statements on “linksunten indymedia” that Borotba is a joint organization of anarchists and communists. How much truth is to that? It seems strange, if it’s concerning to other sources supposedly stalinist and gloryfying the soviet union. Borotba itself condemns “russian nationalism” in their counter statement ( http://borotba.org/statement_of_the_union_borotba_over_recent_smear_campaign_against_anti-fascists_in_ukraine.html – is there an answer by you?), can this be believed. If not, why do they state this?

- Also there are accusations in there against Anarchists to have participated in the Maidan Movement under false flag and hid their positions. If this was true, why did it happen? When did it end? Some (concerning to criethinc) beforehand left groups, like Arsenal Fans or some “People’s bell”, have turned fascist over the course of the protest. What do you make out of this?

These are all most severe accusations (both sides accuse each other to cooperate with nazis), which are hard to believe. But then it is even more important to get things right.

Comments by Tord Björk

When getting specific questions one of the signatories, AWU, on its website do not answer (as of June 1st). Only general statements are made of this kind: "we (all Ukrainian leftists who signed this document) are united against all fascists, both “pro-Ukrainian” and “pro-Russian” ones. Sadly, our former comrades from Borotba have aligned themselves with one brand of the far right against the other." The grave accusations are not substantiated.

The claim that a banner stating "No to fascist putsch" hold by one leading party member the day after Janukovitch was forced out of office is no evidence of the far more radical claim by AWU and others. The full length of the accusation against Borotba is: "The representatives of “Borotba” take an extremely biased stance concerning the composition of protest movement, which is represented both on their own web resources and in the media commentaries. According to them, the Maidan protests are supported exclusively by nationalists and radical right, and were aimed only at a coup d’etat (“fascist putsch”)."

But no such media commentory or own web site texts are quoted by the opponents of Borotba. Reading the official Borotba siet one can instead read following statement: "Hundreds of thousands came out to the streets of Ukraine so that to protest against the corrupt regime of Janukovich late 2013. Naturally, not all Maydan-­protesters are right­wing radicals (as it was ludicrously claimed by some reactionary propagandists of great­ Russian ­chauvinism – esp. notorious Russian TV star Kysylev and the like). The protest against the bankrupt ruling has gathered people of various beliefs. "

As long as no evidence is presented while the direct contradictory itstatements can be found is it clear that the attack against Bortoba on this point is false. The banner evidence is no evidence for two reasons, the banner does not claim anything about who exclusively represent Maidan protests, it is a statement exclusively concerning the character of the change of government. If AWU and the left signing this statemnt do not understand the difference between the Maidan protests and how the state power was achieved they make themselves legitimating the present government. Any accusation against the form of the present government and how it came to power becomes then a direct accusation of the whole Maidan movement.

Furthermore is the accusation that what took place was a coup d'etat correct in terms of democratic constitutionalism. The change of power was not according to the Ukrainian constitution. One can argue that the change of power was legitimate anyway due to the large and broad participation in the Maidan insurrection, but one cannot claim that is wrong to state that formally the way the power was changed was unconstitutional and thus formally can be labelled a putsch or coup d'etat. Furthermore it is also clear that fascists provided the violent strength to make this change of power a reality. It is equally true that the fascists could not have organized their violent overthrow of power without help from many sources and decisevly so the broad popular support to overthorw Janukovitsch. Thus one can claim that stating that the coup d'etat was facsist is to make the broad popular support invisible. But it is still not untrue, the international agreement on February 21st was violently rejected by the fascists which was used by the opposition parties to establish a new government. Thus the placard raised by a Borotba leader is no proof neither as accusation against the whole Maidan protest movements nor is it untrue although other statements can also be made from other point of views of the change of powers.

What is also very worrisome is that the accusations were put forward in a situation were Borotba were under deadly threat (and still is) in the new situation when facsist could act more in direct complicity with authorities and treatened the lives of Borotba members, storming their offices and stealing membership lists. This political terror makes the material condition for those accusing and those responding to the accusation dramatically different. In such escalating situation any organization or individual members may make  statements or act in a way that is the result of the escalating situation were all parties, and especially those who live under more secure circumstances, should be careful before stating others as the main problem not seeing their own role in the emerging conflict.