A conference of the (genuine) lefts of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus in Minsk has issued the declaration translated below
On the weekend of 7-8 June socialists from across Ukraine, Russia and Belarus came together to oppose the growing threat of war in Ukraine.
Meeting in a hamlet outside Minsk, the capital of Belarus, the conference was called in order to allow socialist activists from the three countries to exchange information and to come to some common positions.
Informally the gathering was referred to as Zimmerwald 2014, after the conference held in the Swiss town of the same name during the First World War by socialists opposed to the Social Democratic parties collaboration with their own governments war efforts.
The conference brought together activists of the new left which has grown up in recent years in the three countries, and their main groupings; the Russian Socialist Movement (RSD), the Left Front and the United Communist Party (which has no connection to Putin’s tame “official opposition”, Gennady Zyuganov’s KPRF) in Russia, the Left Opposition and the group Borotba [Struggle] in Ukraine. It was hosted by the Belarussian journal Prasvet.
The discussions were fraternal despite some serious disagreements on some recent issues, in particular on the nature and attitude to take to the Maidan and Anti-Maidan movements between Borotba and the Left Opposition in Ukraine.
Also participating were members of the editorial boards of the journals such as the journals Spilne [Commons] and Liva [Left] based in the Ukraine, Skepsis[Skepticism] in Russia and the hosts Prasvet.
Sessions were held on subjects such as During and after Maidan: the experience leftist groups in Lviv, Zhytomyr, Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, After Maidan: How to shape public consciousness in the most right wing country in Europe (led by the well-known Ukrainian journalist Andrei Manchuk), The impact of the crisis in Ukrainian on Russia, and Crimea after the referendum.
A final declaration was drawn up and issued in the name of the participants which has now also been endorsed by a variety of figures and groups on the left in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and other former Soviet Republics.
Declaration on the website of the RSD
We, the participants of the organizational meeting of left and Marxist groups and organizations from Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine, believe that our primary task is to stop a civil war in Ukraine. The military conflict that followed the victory of the neo-liberals and nationalists in the Kiev "Euromaidan" protests has claimed hundreds of lives and contributed to an unprecedented growth of chauvinism and xenophobia in Ukrainian and Russian society. This war allows the ruling class to consolidate Ukrainian society around the political regime, distracts workers of the Western and Eastern parts of the country from struggle for their social and political rights, and pushes them towards the interests of the bourgeoisie. The Russian government, the European Union and the United States are using the civil war in Ukraine for the same purpose. People dying in the Donbass are just pawns of their competition.
We express our solidarity with all participants of the Ukrainian left-wing movements that fight against war, nationalism and xenophobia. We consider it necessary to provide them all possible information, political and material support. We oppose oppression by all parties to the conflict of the conflict, pogroms, torture and abduction, which Ukrainian leftists, anti-fascists and all Ukrainian citizens, regardless of their political views, have fallen victim. We oppose the political persecution in the Crimea as well.
Stopping the war is the primary task of all democratic, left movements, regardless of differences on various other political issues. So, we believe it is necessary to coordinate the efforts of all the opponents of the war in Ukraine to form a mass and anti-war movement.
Our demands are:
- We demand the government of Ukraine to immediately end the "Anti-Terrorist Operation", withdraw troops from the territory of Donetsk and Lugansk regions, and conclude a truce with the militias of the Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic.
- We demand that all the parties of the conflict sign a peace agreement for a complete cessation of hostilities, the release of all political prisoners and prisoners of war, and the disbandment of armed groups
- We urge the Ukrainian government to dissolve the regular armed forces, consisting of involuntary mobilized soldiers, whose families are now organizing protests in various regions of Ukraine.
- We demand from Russia, the EU and the U.S. completely stop interfering in Ukrainian conflict, and not to support the participants.
- We demand the end of the chauvinist campaign in the Ukrainian and Russian mass media, who’s use of hate speech has put them amongst the main instigators of war.
- We demand the adoption of a new Constitution for Ukraine, elections to the authorities of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, a real right to self-determination and self-government for Donbass and all regions of Ukraine.
We believe that informational and organizational consolidation of leftist groups in the former Soviet space is a necessary condition for the formation of the anti-war movement. To this end, we are initiating joint development of "Red Cross" initiative to help the left activists and conscientious objectors to military service, and establishing an information network for left and Marxist groups in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.
Vladimir Ishchenko, magazine Spilne [Commons], Ukraine
Andrew Manchuk, editor LIVA.com.ua, Borotba [Struggle] organisation, Ukraine
Ivan Ovsyannikov, member of the Central Council of the Russian Socialist Movement (RSD), Russia
Taras Salamanyuk, magazine Spilne [Commons], Ukraine
Sergei Solovyov, scientific and educational magazine "Skepticism", Russia
Rustam Sadykov, scientific and educational magazine "Skepticism", Russia
Sergei Kozlovsky, a member of the Central Council of the Russian socialist movement, Russia
Dmitry Subbotin, scientific and educational magazine "Skepticism", Russia
George Komarov, "Workers Platform", the Russian socialist movement, Russia
Mikhail Piskunov, the Russian Socialist Movement, Russia
Artem Kirpichenok, International Marxist tendency (MMT), Russia
Alexander Ivanov, the Russian Socialist Sovement, Russia
Tatiana Chizhov, Internet magazine "Prasvet" [Break], Belarus
Dmitry Isayonok, Interent magazine "Prasvet"[Break], Belarus
Denis Denisov, Left Opposition, the Russian Socialist Movement, Ukraine-Russia
Lyudmila Barkov, Russia
Sergei Odarich Journal LIVA.com.ua, Ukraine
Ilya Znamenskii, Russia
Elena Kuzmenok, Belarus
Catherine Ruskevich, Belarus
Alexander Oparin, Left Club, Belarus
Yuri Glushakov, the organizing committee of the Belarusian Social Movement "It's Time!".
Oleg Jasinski, journalist, translator, Chile
Alexei Sakhnin, a member of the executive committee of the Left Front, Sweden
Alexander Markevich, RSD, Russia
Kirill Vasiliev - a member of the Central Committee of the United Communist Party (OKP), Russia
Stanislav Khudzik, RSD, Russia
Dmitry Ryder, RSD, Russia
Bulat Gilmanov, RSD, Russia
Georgi Ivanov, RSD, Russia
Vlad Milevsky, RSD, Russia
Leonid Rodin, chairman of the Interregional Trade Union New Unions, a member of the Central Committee of OKP
Eugene Valikov, OKP, Russia
Eugene Lyufanov, RSD, Russia
Ivan Volohov, a member of the Central Committee of OKP, Russia
Yaroslav Shvetsov, first secretary of the regional committee of the Vologda OKP
Asyunkin Denis, the first secretary of the regional Komi branch, OKP
Sergei Biets, Central Committee member OKP, Russia
Vladimir Avramchuk, a member of the Central Committee of OCP, Russia
Andrew Burma, First Secretary of the Orenburg Regional OKP, Russia
Gulyanitsky Dean, a member of OKP, Russia
Ivan Antokhin, Secretary of the Union of Communist Youth (SKM), MGK , Russia
Alexander Ivankov, a member of OCP, Russia
Denis Khoprov, coordinator SKM, Balashov, Russia
Dmitry Sidorov, a member of the Central Committee of the OKP, Russia
Alexander Tsvetkov, a member of the board of Borotba, Ukraine
Olzhas Kozhakhmet Foundation E. Hoffman, Kazakhstan
Alexander Kommari, Finland
Dmitry Kolesnik, International Editor LIVA.com.ua. Ukraine
Daria Mitin, Russia.
Tim Nastin, Latvia
Sherstneva Irina, Russia
Nicholas Hare, Russia
Stanislav Sergienko association "Borotba" magazine writer LIVA.com.ua, Ukraine
Nina Dmitrieva, scientific and educational magazine "Skepticism", Russia
Olga Ghazaryan, the site editor Communist.ru, Russia
Alexander Averyushkin, scientific and educational magazine "Skepticism", Russia
Sergei Zalepugin, Belarus
Oia Koretskaya, an online magazine "Wild tramp", USA
Elena Patyaeva, scientific and educational magazine "Skepticism", Russia
Michael Dremov, scientific and educational magazine "Skepticism", Russia
Julia Malkina-Boguslavskaja, Ukraine
Andrew Vanyukov, Russia
Maxim Vazhenin editor historic portal "Latvian riflemen", Latvia
Konstantin Efimov, Latvia
Ilya Gutin, Russia
Anna Chizhov, Russia
Catherine Vikulina, Latvia
Maxim Stelmak, Russia
Dmitry Lisov, Workers Platform, RSD, Russia
Daniel Dybenko RSD, Russia
Andrei Factory, Workers Platform, RSD, Russia
Vasily Vostrikov, Workers Platform, RSD, Russia
Dmitry Lisov, Workers Platform, RSD, Russia
Alexander Markov, Workers Platform, RSD, Russia
Natalia Zhuravlev, Workers Platform, RSD, Russia
Sergey Zhavrid Workers Platform, RSD, Russia
Sergei Danilovich, Belarus
Oleg Novikov. Editorial Left.by. Belarus
Anton Skhivi, RMP, Russia
Yuri Dergunov magazine of social criticism "Spilne" Ukraine
Anton Baryshnikov, Russia
Paul Mozzhukhin Charitable Foundation "Hope for Tomorrow", Russia
Katya Kazbek, Russia
Eugene Mishchenko, association "Borotba", Ukraine, Russia
George Merry, Weierstrass function, Ukraine
Movchan, editor LIVA.com.ua. Ukraine
Yevgeny Kozlov, coordinator, St. Petersburg Branch, Left Front, Russia
Joseph Abramson, a member of the executive committee of the PKK, member of the executive committee of the Left Front, Russia
Jaroslav Koklyunov, RSD, LF, Russia
Sergey Vilkov, journalist, RSD, Russia
Alastair Stephens has been a socialist his whole adult life and has been active in Unison and the TGWU. He studied Russian at Portsmouth, Middle East Politics at SOAS and writes regularly for the Counterfire website.