To citizens of Ukraine and the world: No war in Ukraine!

TPQ carries a letter that featured in People and Nature on 11 May 2014.

This letter by Oleg Yasinsky, a Ukrainian socialist, was published on 6 May in Russian on the web site of Spil’ne [Commons], a socialist journal based in Kyiv.

For Ukraine. Urgent letter to my country. To sign, distribute and add to.

Suddenly our country, Ukraine, has been turned into an unknown planet. At the start of all this I thought that at least I understood the language. But then, when I listened carefully, not even the language was comprehensible. The very same words turned out to have no permanent meaning: what they meant yesterday was completely different from what they mean today.

"It's always the people who pay for war".
“It’s always the people who pay for war”.

Apart from the problem of government, and of the forces that support it, Ukraine has also changed because its people have changed. My love for friends and family alike has not changed, but I already have no idea how to express it. Yesterday, we could laugh together at our political differences. Today, I can not even gather my closest friends around a single table to talk to each other. And I would never have dreamed that I could hear from them the things I hear now.

What has happened to us?

Looking at our country from outside, I see it broken into pieces by big imperialist predators in the course of their endless geopolitical struggle for power. Ukraine has been turned into a theatre of military operations between the decadent and arrogant US-EU empire and the cynical, calculating and equally arrogant capitalist Russia.

With all that in mind, I know that the real power in Ukraine – where we are constantly reminded of loyalty and independence – actually lies with oligarchical groups who were, are and always will be collaborators with one of the foreign great powers.

There is no justification for the military and economic pressure being put on Ukraine by Russia, and no justification either for the forthcoming loan programme of the IMF, which will become a “kill shot” in the head of our already mortally wounded national independence. All that will be left of that independence will be the national anthem and little flags with ribbons of the right colours.

In all the conflicts in Ukraine, we feel the presence of a hidden hand, pushing one part of the population into conflict with the other, to divert attention and energy from the fight against those who are really guilty of taking the country into this tragedy. By sowing death, they provoke the most awful emotions, and by controlling our indignation they push it in the directions that profit them. The next step is civil war – for which the people will pay with their lives, as usual, and those who are responsible will be awarded with new political appointments and with the trophy of a stolen country, as usual.

Maybe now – while tomorrow’s victims are still breathing, and smiling ironically at these “naive” words that “don’t reflect Ukrainian realities” – maybe there is still a little time to do something. Notwithstanding all the gloomy prophecies and all the professional lies of the official press, maybe we are able to do something together.

Before we are Ukrainians, Russians, Australians, left, right, Christians, Muslims, atheists, men, women, etc etc, we are all people. And so we can never, not under any “exceptional” circumstances, justify either the right to murder or the shameful celebration of people’s deaths.

What was the point of three or four thousand years of human civilisation, if in the prehistoric darkness of our times we want to physical destroy another person just because he thinks or feels differently?

The fate of Ukraine must be decided by its own people, not by the governments of the foreign great powers. The authorities in Ukraine, and the traditional political parties – before, during and after the government of Viktor Yanukovich – continue to demonstrate their helplessness and shortsightedness. While the foreign great powers interfere, the current Ukrainian government has done nothing but redivide power between old and new economic groups – without touching the essence of the system against which the people rose up.

If we talk about our homeland, or about independence, the first and basic condition to achieve that is the real power of the people – the democratic election of all authorities and the reimposition of national control over the fundamental natural wealth of the country. All flags, hymns and words are secondary.

We appeal to the wisdom of the people because we have a profound faith in it. Answers to the questions facing Ukraine today will only come from there, not from above.

The popular uprising against the Yanukovich government was aimed against lies, corruption and the overwhelming cynicism of an authority that was controlled by oligarchical groups. I was thrilled by the civic wisdom of those who went peacefully into the streets at that time. I think that people who have risen up today in the south-east regions did so for the sake of the same ideals – and when they came to understand that the new authorities in Kiev do not represent their interests.

On both sides of our divided society are armed groups, who are setting out violently to compel the rest of the country to do what they consider to be right. These armed groups, on both sides of the conflict, have committed crimes. Both sides are being manipulated – politically and militarily – by Russian and western imperialism, who pursue interests that are very far from the interests of the Ukrainian people. But on both sides of our artificially divided population, the absolute majority are honest and decent people, who love their country and are honestly striving for aims the justice of which they believe in.

And these people, real Ukrainian people, need to wake up, to unite, and to put a stop to the fratricidal nightmare that is being forced upon them.

Dear friends, this is my letter – the start of our international campaign for peace in Ukraine. Please read it, and, if you agree – sign it. If you agree to starting working with us on concrete projects and definite ideas, please write to us at

In response to articles on this site about Ukraine, many people have asked what can be done. Oleg Yasinsky has tried to answer that question in this letter, so I translated it. Please distribute and repost. GL.

■ See also “For an independent social movement! For a free Ukraine” (statement by the Left Opposition).

■ In London, the Ukraine crisis will be discussed at the Real World War I Freeschool on Sunday 18 May. See here.


  1. A friend send me this youtube video from the Ukraine.

    Can some one explain what have they done to deserve this..

    Statement by the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign (UK)
    Pro-Russian para-militaries are surrounded in the cities of Luhansk and Donetsk but peace in Ukraine is far from certain, the remaining inhabitants are in a perilous position. Since April more than 1,543 military and civilians have been killed, some 4,396 confirmed wounded, across Ukraine there are up to 400,000 internally displaced persons.
    The Ukraine Solidarity Campaign (USC) declares its solidarity with the Ukrainian labour movement that stands for unity and all efforts to reinstate peace. USC supports the anti-war movement in Russia and demands the release of all political prisoners and an end to the repression in Russia.
    To stop the war USC campaigns for the following as path for independence, peace and democracy:
    • for the self-determination Ukraine as a whole, free from the intrigues and corporate business-interests of Russia and the western powers
    • for an immediate ceasefire by all opposing armed forces, including irregular forces
    • for the deployment of neutral observers to monitor ceasefire lines, and the opening of humanitarian corridors supervised by bodies such as the International Red Cross
    • for the immediate withdrawal of Russian and pro-Russian para-military forces from Ukraine
    • all military personnel and civilians detained as a result of the hostilities to be either exchanged or released under the supervision of the International Red Cross
    • the creation of a wide demilitarised zone around Ukraine’s borders.
    • the return to barracks of the Ukrainian armed forces, disbandment and of removal of ultra-right nationalist organisations from positions in the Government of Ukraine, the Armed Forces and the interior ministry organs.
    • the restoration of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea with a fully democratic referendum on the status of Crimea
    • a leading role for trade unions and community organisations independent of oligarchs and ultra-right nationalists, in sustaining peace in Donbas
    • for an independent inquiry into the violence and killings at the Kyiv and the Odessa trade union buildings, all those responsible for war crimes and extra-judicial killings to be brought to justice.
    • the creation of an all-Ukraine system of autonomous, local self-government and abolition of regional governors
    • for a neutral Ukraine, cessation of NATO involvement in Ukraine, repeal Yanukovych’s agreement to the program of cooperation with NATO
    • the restoration of the Budapest Treaty and recognition of Ukraine as a united, nuclear free, neutral state.
    • For the cancellation of all IMF and EU debt and payment of reparations by Russia for the reconstruction of Donbas
    USC calls for full solidarity with the Ukrainian labour movement, and not those who would seek to divide workers to serve the vested interests of rival powers.

    We oppose the attempt of Russian imperialism to dominate Ukraine, just as we oppose the efforts of Western and American imperialism to do the same thing.