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Hero of the USSR, Sniper Liudmila Pavlichenko: Fascism – What It Is And How I Fought It

Soviet History: The Great Patriotic War
Lieutenant Liudmila Pavlichenko to the American People

From “Soviet Russia Today”; volume 11, number 6 (October 1942).

These simple, strong words of Liudmila Pavlichenko bring home to us in America the epic struggle that our great Russian allies are waging for us today. I wish you could hear them in Lieutenant Pavlichenko’s own ringing voice. I wish you could see that beautiful face with its warm brown eyes that glow with such love when she talks of her comrades that have fallen before Odessa and Sevastopol, that burn with such hatred when size talks about our enemies and their beastly deeds. I wish you could see hat sturdy, valiant figure—a figure that has been a shield to us. This girl has stood alone, in deadly danger, day after day from dawn till after dark, picking off our enemies—309 of them. Four times she has felt in her own flesh the steel of our enemy. Her wounds only stiffen her will. I wish you could feel the warm clasp of that firm hand whose unerring aim has meant so much to us. I wish you could see what happens when she pronounces the word Fritz.” Her whole being is filled with outrage against the monstrous crimes she has seen committed, and with the determination that unites her countrymen today in the flaming purpose to wipe the horrors that Hitlerism has brought on humanity forever from the earth.

Liudmila Pavlichenko knows that her visit here is a contribution to the winning of the war. But she does not feel very good about being safe and comfortable over here while her comrades keep on fighting. And I am afraid she does not feel very good about our part in the war. She knows it is our war. She knows that the heroic defenders of Stalingrad are fighting for us as well as for themselves, that their defeats are our defeats, their victories our victories. But she is not sure we know this. We must help to make her visit here worth while—these precious weeks she is spending away from the fighting front where she feels that she should be. We can do that first and foremost by multiplying n hundredfold our efforts toward the immediate opening of a Second Front—the only way we can discharge our debt to our allies, to ourselves, to the future. We can do it, each one of us, by multiplying a hundredfold our efforts in. whatever sphere of work we are making our contribution to the war. Not many of us are called upon for as difficult a task as Liudmila Pavhichenko’s. Let us dedicate ourselves to winning the war as wholly as she and her people have done.

We salute you, Liudmila Pavlichenko, for all that you have done and will do in our common cause. The strength and inspiration we draw from your presence among us will help each one of us to be a better fighter against the enemies of mankind. Your visit here, with your fellow—heroes, Lieutenant Pchelintsev and Lieutenant Krasavchenko, is a new link in the friendship between our two countries which is so essential to winning the war and building an enduring peace. To your victory—and ours!

JESSICA SMITH

*****************

You ask me first of all to say something about the urgency of the Second Front. Of course there is nothing more important. The opening of a Second Front is the only way we can be sure of a speedy victory over the enemy who threatens the freedom not only of my country, but of America, England, China—all the United Nations. There is much talk about a Second Front. Our people are still hoping and counting on it—but they are wondering when the talk will be translated into action. One thing must be clearly understood. We urge a Second Front not because we are weak, not because we lack confidence in our own strength, but because we want to bring this bloody war to an end more quickly. Think of how much blood has been shed, how much destruction and horror has been spread, how much cruelty and torture inflicted on innocent people— on old people and children. The sooner the monster fascism can be destroyed, the less blood will be shed—and that means your blood as well as ours.

Every day that passes without a Second Front increases the danger to you, increases the cost you will have to pay later for the defeat of Hitlerism. Remember that right now nine-tenths of all the armies of Hitler are engaged in our country—and not only the German armies. Hitler gathers his troops from all of Europe—from Hungary, Denmark, Italy, Rumania, Finland. Now, before our armies are further weakened, is the time to strike in Europe.

Stalingrad is a vital point for us and for you. I know our people are fighting and will keep on fighting as they did before Odessa, before Sevastopol, before Leningrad. Do not forget what each day of fighting means to our common cause. All the roads to all these cities were heaped with German corpses—the dead and the dying. The Germans do not rescue their wounded quickly from the battlefield, as we do. They advance over the bodies of their own wounded. It is that way at Stalingrad. It is important to you in America that we are killing so many of the enemy. Yes—we shall keep right on. But do not expect miracles of us. Our people are dying by the thousands too. The blow from the West must be coordinated with ours without any delay. Of course we have received help from your people, war supplies and medicines, for which we are very grateful. But the scale of the battles that are going on is very great history has never seen anything to compare with them. And the help we have received from outside is not enough. It is not only technical and material help that is important today. We need the help of people—of the armies of our allies fighting in the field.

I can’t help feeling that the American people are still too indifferent to the war and what it really means. I do not believe the American people as a whole entirely understand what war is like. Most of you so far only feel it as an inconvenience—doing without gasoline, being a little limited in the amount of sugar you use. You do not know what it is to have bombs falling all around you. You do not know what it is to see babies murdered, women and girls ravished by the Hitlerite beasts. You do not know what it is to find the charred bodies of your own comrades burned and tortured beyond recognition, to see rows of brave, fine people—people you knew—hanging along the roadside. You do not know what it is to walk into a home for old people won back from the Germans, as I did on the Sovkhoz Ilyichka, near Odessa. It was early morning, and the sun was just rising, and we went in to set the people there free. But what we found were the bodies of 108 old people, shot and tortured, slashed to pieces, blown up by grenades .

108 people, all of them old and ill. And so depraved are those Hitlerites that the old women had all been raped. Things like this could sometime happen to you if Hitler wins more victories.

And yet so many Americans still think of the war as something going on somewhere a long way off, where Russians and Germans are fighting each other. But we fight for your freedom too, we fight for the freedom of all the countries of Europe, of all the United Nations. And we are fighting alone.

Some people with whom I have talked seem to think the ocean is an obstacle of some kind. I think it is like a road—like your good American asphalt roads—perhaps better. You can go under it as well as over it. Look at all the submarines Hitler has sent to your shores. You have the great stretches of the ocean itself, you have the air above it to fly through, and the undersea passageway. I think you have a broad highway to a Second Front in Europe.

We have always admired you Americans for your great fighting qualities. You fought gloriously for freedom in your Revolution and Civil War. It is good to have such fighting traditions. But we feel that now also you must wish to fight for freedom as you fought in the past. Hitler threatens not only the USSR, he threatens you. I read your papers, and I do not see anything written there about the great danger to your country. It is all about the danger to Stalingrad. But that is your danger, too. How can we make the American people understand? It is not enough to write and talk—cry out at the top of your voice, tell about those children and old people, the millions of Hitler’s victims and what they have suffered.

And you must learn to hate the enemy as we did. Hatred did not come to us all at once. We are a peace—loving people, and we had to learn to hate. But fierce hatred rose within us after we saw with our own eyes what the Hitler beasts could do. Now we hate the enemy too much to fear him. When you are out there at your post you know that it is either you or your enemy who is killed. Our whole people know that today.

I have been asked often since I have been here how I feel when I kill a German. The feeling I have after killing a Nazi is the feeling of a hunter who has killed a beast of prey. Every time my bullet fells a Nazi I have the feeling that I have saved lives. Any people who have had Nazis trampling over their land know that. For the Nazis kill children, women, old men. To let a Nazi remain alive in your land is to abet the murder of your own people. Only the dead Nazi can be trusted to leave the innocent unharmed. Every Hitlerite killed is a step forward on the road to the liberation of mankind.

I have been asked to write something about my own life. If this will help in any way toward a better understanding of our people and our present struggle, I am glad to do this. Here is my story.

I am a Ukrainian. I was born twenty—six years ago in the town of Belaya Tserkov near Kiev. I have a younger sister, Valentina, who is now working in a munitions factory. I am proud to say she is reckoned as one of the best workers on the staff. My mother was a teacher. My father was a worker in a St. Petersburg factory when the revolution occurred. He took part in it and also in the Civil War. After we won and the country settled down, he was given an executive position which required traveling from place to place in the Ukraine. We all traveled with him. Every year of my early schooling was spent in a new school in a new city. But all this traveling around taught me a lot, and I finished school a year and a half ahead of the average. And this in spite of my being a tomboy and rather unruly in the class room. I’m afraid I was a trial to my teachers.

I was keen on sports of all kinds, and played all the boys’ games and would not allow myself to be outdone by boys in anything. That was how I turned to sharpshooting. When a neighbor’s boy boasted of his exploits at a shooting range I set out to show that a girl could do as well. So I practiced a lot.

When I was eighteen we finally settled down in Kiev. I had a choice of continuing my studies or going to work. I chose factory work and got a job in an arms plant, becoming a skilled turner. While at the factory, I continued my athletic activities and kept up my marksmanship. A funny incident occurred at this time, when my friends dragged me off to a nearby shooting gallery one day. Twelve prizes were offered. There were the usual stationary and moving targets. I bought fifteen bullets and won all the twelve prizes. The man who ran the place turned pale with alarm and astonishment as he unfastened one prize after another, and piled them up beside me. After letting him hand me the twelfth, I felt sorry for him and gave him back all the prizes.

After a few years in the factory, I was given an opportunity to enter the Military Engineering School. But war and military affairs were far from my thoughts in those days. I was interested in history and entered Kiev University in 1937. I dreamt of becoming a scholar, a teacher.

At the university I continued my athletic activities as before. I was a sprinter and a pole vaulter as well as a marksman. To perfect myself in shooting, I took courses at a sniper’s school.

I was in the city of Odessa when the war broke out. I had gone there to complete researches on my diploma thesis on Bogdan Khrnelnitsky, a great Ukrainian patriot and an important figure in the history of my country. At the very moment of the German invasion I was in a sanitarium where I had gone to recover from an illness. The moment I heard the news I stopped feeling ill. When I applied to the doctors of the sanitarium for a discharge, they refused. I didn’t feel that the time could be spared for arguments and appeals. I knew the war had done more to cure me than they could. So I took French leave.

They wouldn’t take girls in the army, so I had to resort to all kinds of tricks to get in. But I finally managed it. I served first with one of the volunteer detachments called “destroyer squads” organized in cities and districts close to the front, to dispose of German paratroopers. My detachment was later merged with a regular Red Army unit. I was a member of the 25th, the Chapayev Division.

Two Rumanian mercenaries of the Nazis helped me to become a sniper. To prove that I could qualify I was told to show my skill on a group of Rumanians. When I picked off the two I was accepted. They are not figured in my score total because they were test shots.

I have to admit I was scared in my first real baptism of fire. I was in range of hot German fire and I cried out to our machine gunners to cover me with return fire and save me. But I soon learned the steadiness and coolness required of our snipers. My sniper’s score began when I intercepted a German scouting party of three men. The Germans had laid down annihilating fire on a certain spot that they were determined to sweep bare. When they thought nothing there remained alive they sent out these scouts to reconnoiter to see if they could safely occupy the place. I spotted them and asked for the assignment to pick them off. Receiving permission I crawled to a spot from which I could cover them. I got two of the three. They started my score which now stands at 309.

Sniping is dangerous because we are hunted as well as hunters. The presence of a sniper can demoralize troops and everything is done to get rid of him with concentrated fire from all arms, even artillery, when his exact position is known; or by setting snipers of their own against him. A considerable part of my action has consisted of duels with enemy snipers.

It requires great endurance and willpower to be in exposed and difficult positions for fifteen or twenty hours at a stretch. And when you are in your position you must be under rigid self—control not to waste a shot or a movement. The slightest start may mean death. Your day begins before dawn, so that you can reach your position and build up your camouflage before there is light, and it ends after nightfall so that you can return under cover of darkness.

The Nazi hunters have often stalked me. One duel with a German sniper lasted three days. It was a hunt to the death. If either of us had a suspicion that the other had detected his position that position was shifted. That was one of the tensest experiences of my life. Finally he made one move too many.

Another time they assigned a squad of five Tommy gunners to get me. They camouflaged themselves and decided that they had set a clever trap for me on a road they thought I would pass on. They were right but I had my own way of using the road. I detected the trap, got into a position where their bullets couldn’t reach me and poured lead into what became a trap for them. I got three and when the two survivors ran for it, I got one of them. I searched the four bodies for the papers of the men and brought them back together with four tommyguns.

Once another sniper, Leonid Kitsenko, and I got quite a haul of Nazi officers. Following their communication wires to a dugout we took a position that commanded that particular field headquarters. Two officers came along to submit reports. Our shots dropped them. A man ran to their aid and we got him. An officer dashed out to see what the shooting was about and he joined them. The others fell into panic and for a while offered us perfect targets, as they milled around. Finally they concentrated protective fire around the spot while they abandoned the dugout, lugging out their files, and other equipment.

Our chief quarries were the enemy scouts. They and their snipers used many tricks to fool us or to get us to reveal ourselves. A German tin hat would appear, just a fraction of it, and we would think “I’ll get that Fritz !” Then the tin hat would waggle like the head of a toy elephant and disappear. We soon learned not to fall for this. One of their scouts whom I was hunting, after trying the helmet trick sent a cat out, either to distract me or to fool me into belief that nobody would be around where a cat could parade by so unconcernedly. Finally the scout tried his last trick. A dummy of a German soldier, in full uniform and even with a rifle in position, was raised and dangled before me. Then I knew that my man was there. I kept the spot covered but held my fire. The puppeteer now felt safe. He put his field glass to his eye. I shot at the flash of the lens. And that one had his last look at Soviet soil.

Yes, it is dangerous work, but things went better as I got used to the fire and German tactics. I have been wounded four times, twice rather heavily. I carry a scar, over the bridge of my nose, from the fourth wound, which I received during the evacuation of Sevastopol. In addition to the four wounds I suffered shell-shock which temporarily affected my hearing, but I was able to take treatments right on the front lines, and stayed in action.

Odessa and Sevastopol will remain in my memory forever. We defended Odessa till October. Then orders came to evacuate. We took positively everything with us aboard ship. The airmen took all the old airplane parts they could carry with them, and the cavalry took even old horseshoes. So we went aboard and started for Sevastopol.

Much has been written about Sevastopol. The history of wars can show nothing to compare with its defense. We were but one Russian to every ten Germans. Fifteen hundred planes flew over the long-suffering town every day. The air shook with incessant cannonading, exploding shells and bombs. The sun was blotted out by clouds of dust and earth. We hadn’t enough shells or food, but we hung on. The city had ceased to be—there was nothing save a heap of ruins—but still we hung on, battling from our stand on the ruins, shooting from behind every building, every elevation or mound.

Not a clod of Sevastopol ground was given up without a fierce fight not a step did we retreat without orders! We mowed down the Hitlerites like ripe grain. Drunk with blood as with ,vodka they swept headlong to death. Fresh German divisions were driven in to take the place of those fallen—there was no end to them! The Germans had to pay a high price —too high—for the heaps of brick and ash, the ruin that was once Sevastopol. Our 150 snipers alone accounted for a 1,080 of them. By that time I had trained a considerable number of snipers. Up to now I have trained eighty snipers and their combined score is well over the two thousand mark. By that time even the Germans knew of me. With their German stupidity they tried to bribe me. Their radios blared into our lines: “Liudmila Pavlichenko come over to us. We will give you plenty of chocolate and make you a German officer.” When they got no answer to that, they turned to threats. Their last message to me was: “Liudmila Pavlichenko, you will not escape us. When we catch you we will tear you in 309 pieces.” They even knew my score!

They might have known that they would not have that opportunity. Ten Germans managed to ambush a comrade of mine, Nikolai Koval. They didn’t get him alive. He blew himself up with a hand grenade and took six of the fascist beasts with him. Now I have come to America, the country which my people admire as one of the most advanced and democratic countries of the world. We are proud to be united with the American people in the fight against fascism.

Pavlichenko during her American tour, Washington, D.C., 1942.

There is a long tradition of friendship between our two countries. The United States and the Soviet Union have never fought against each other. This friendship must be deepened and strengthened after Hitlerism has been defeated by our common efforts. I think our country has understood America better than America has understood us. Our people have always been interested in the Americans, in studying their history and their life. I have studied quite a lot of American history myself, and I do not feel strange here.

I have come to your country as the representative of Soviet youth. I hope my visit may have some useful results. I am troubled to be idle now when everything and everyone is required by my country in the fight against the Hitlerites. I am impatient to be back. Later, when peace comes, I want to visit your beautiful country and see many things there is no time to see now—and enjoy myself a little and get to know your people better.

There isn’t time now. Perhaps then your people will get to know me better, too. Now I am looked upon a little as a curiosity, a subject for newspaper headlines, for anecdotes. In the Soviet Union I am looked upon as a citizen, as a fighter, as a soldier for my country. Yes, I am impatient to be back. I have 309 Hitlerites on my score. But the score is not finished, my work is not over.

In closing I have a special message for American women. I would like them to know first about our mothers. Soviet mothers love their children enormously. I know how much my mother loves me—and yet she writes to me: “I want to see you more than anything—but don’t come home until you come with victory.” And when their sons are killed our mothers do not stop to mourn—they work all the harder. Soviet mothers send their sons to the front, and if necessary their daughters too, without tears in their eyes. They know that it is necessary. While women are not regularly a part of our armed forces, many are fighting in one way or another. There are many, many cases where mothers whose sons are at the front become guerrilla fighters. Our women were on a basis of complete equality long before the war. From the first day of the Revolution full rights were granted the women of Soviet Russia. One of the most important things is that every woman has her own specialty. That is what actually makes them as independent as men. Soviet women have complete self-respect, because their dignity as human beings is fully recognized. Whatever we do, we are honored not just as women, but as individual personalities, as human beings. That is a very big word. Because we can be fully that, we feel no limitations because of our sex. That is why women have so naturally taken their places beside men in this war. We have a tradition, too, to live up to. There was Durova, the Russian woman guerrilla, who fought against Napoleon’s invading armies in 1812, and Dasha Sevastopolskaya who fought in the heroic defense of Sevastopol in 1854-55. So in today’s war our women have carried on these traditions—and added something. The names of many of them have already been immortalized Lisa Chaikina, Tanya (Zoya) Kosmodemianskaya, Maria Baida, Nina Onilova, Valya Phillipova—and scores of others. Our women have proved that we can master machines and technique as well as men can, that we can have as much will and determination as men can, that we can kill our enemies as well as men can. It seems strange to many Americans that women go into battle. They seem to think the war has changed them into some strange kind of creature between a man and a woman. But we are still feminine beings. We can still wear nice clothes and have polished fingernails in the proper time and place. We remain women and human beings as before. The war has made us tougher, that’s all.

Women behind the lines have almost entirely taken the place of men at machines. They are locksmiths, turners, locomotive engineers, miners. Now they do all the things that used to be men’s specialties—and they even manage to increase productivity 500 to 1,000 per cent. They know they are working as we are all working for our victory, for our army, for our freedom.

And on behalf of all these Russian women fighting in our common cause, I express the wish that American women should replace the men at the machines as our women do, that American women should understand as our women do that their sons and husbands at the front are fighting for universal freedom. That they should hurry and help defeat our common enemy—and do away with Hitlerism—and that such help can come only through opening the Second Front! American women must understand that if the Second Front is not opened now, the United States will face much greater suffering and losses later.

SOURCE: https://www.marxists.org/archive/pavlichenko/1942/10/x01.htm

CIA NAZI WAR CRIMINALS FILES: UKRAINIAN FASCIST PRIEST IVAN HRINIOCH

We are pleased to present to our readers the latest in our series of declassified document collections from the CIA’s Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room.  Our series so far has featured documantary proof that the US Government and its secret “intelligence agencies” have been deeply involved in protecting and promoting the Ukrainian fascist movement since the end of World War II.  The US Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and its successor organization, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) conspired to first protect key wanted Ukrainian war criminals – fascist leaders from the Ukraine – from capture and trial by the USSR at the end of the war, and then provided these fascist scum with false biographies and aliases in order to enable them to emigrate to the United States, where they lived out their lives to a ripe old age, all the while providing material and financial support to the fascist underground in the Ukraine.

The primary organization that the CIA decided to enlist in their “holy war” against the Soviet Union were elements of the notorious OUN/B – the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists/ Bandera faction – led by war criminal and collaborator with Hitler’s Nazis Stepan Bandera.  These fascist paramilitary units were responsible for the mass murder of Jews, Poles and communist activists throughout the Ukraine.  Their organization was always supported by the United States since at least 1946 and continues to the present day, as the United States today backs the Svoboda Party in the Ukraine – an organization that traces its roots directly to the OUN/B.

In today’s publication, we present the CIA’s released dossier on Father Ivan Hrinioch – a Ukrainian fascist priest ordained into the Greek Catholic Church in 1934 who later became a lecturer in Theology at the Academy of Theology in Lemberg.  Among his major “accomplishments” as a fascist priest was his proclamation via radio of his church’s blessings upon the new Hitlerite “Ukrainian State” proclaimed by Bandera and his followers in 1941.

Hrinioch was an envoy to the Vatican during the immediate postwar period; this tripartite alliance between the CIA, the Vatican and Eastern European fascist movements has been a difficult subject for researchers of the Nazi era to obtain documentary proof on.  We are happy to provide a small contribution to these studies in the form of these documents.  They have been released since 2010 but to our knowledge have not been given the attention they deserve from anti-fascist writers and scholars.

We heartily recommend that readers new to this subject first take a look at the National Archive’s companion essay to these documents that was produced at the time of the document release:   “Hitler’s Shadow: Nazi War Ciminals, U.S. Intelligence and the Cold War”  by Richard Breitman and Norman J.W. Goda.  Chapter 5 will give you a fine introduction to the fetid swamp of US Government collaboration with these Ukrainian Nazis.  Far from being an new development, these documents show that from the OSS’ William Donovan to Sen. John McCain, there is an unbroken thread of US Government support being given to the Ukrainian fascist movement.

— IWPCHI

CIA WWII NAZI WAR CRIMINALS FILES: UKRAINIAN FASCIST PRIEST FATHER IVAN HRINIOCH

CIA WWII WAR CRIMINALS FILES: UKRAINIAN FASCIST MYKOLA LEBED

[UPDATE: We have come across a pamphlet issued by the National Archives on 10 December 2010 to accompany the release of the cache of declassified CIA documents we present here. The pamphlet, entitled: “Hitler’s Shadow: Nazi War Criminals, U.S. Intelligence and the Cold War” was written by Richard Breitman and Norman J.W. Goda; it is an indispensable explanatory guide to the documents you will read here. You will find the chapter on the CIA’s use of Ukrainian fascists in Chapter 5, page 81 – IWPCHI]

We publish here the 301-page U.S. Office of Strategic Services/Central Intelligence Agency dossier on WWII-era Ukrainian fascist leader and wanted war criminal  Mykola Lebed, released to almost no acclaim at all on 10 December 2010.

Lebed, who was allowed to escape justice for his WWII-era war crimes with the help of the OSS/CIA  “Rat Line” that provided him with a new identity and which enabled him to obtain US citizenship; he died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA in 1998 at the ripe old age of 89.  These documents are extremely valuable as they comprise a station-to-station proof of how the CIA’s “Rat Line” worked.  They may well be unique in that regard.  Even a cursory glance through the first 20 pages of this dossier brings home that fact with a vengeance.

CIA_WWII_Nazi_War_Criminals_Files_LEBED_MYKOLA_CIA_RAT_LINE_DOC_1

Lebed was the man in the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) who was responsible for training the assassin and providing the weapons for the 1936 murder of Polish Interior Minister Bronislaw Pieracki.  The Wikipedia article on Lebed charges that “[a]s leader of OUN-B he is responsible for the “ethnic cleansing” of Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia.”  [Source: Wikipedia, “Mykola Lebed”]

We have not yet had the opportunity to review these documents which we retrieved from the CIA website’s Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room.  As soon as we get the chance, we’ll post “highlights” from these files in a more easy-to-download format.  Meanwhile:

CIA_WWII_Nazi_War_Criminals_Files_LEBED_MYKOLA complete 301 pages

Highlights:

CIA_WWII_Nazi_War_Criminals_Files_LEBED_MYKOLA_CIA_RAT_LINE_DOC_1

CIA_WWII_Nazi_War_Criminals_Files_LEBED_MYKOLA_CIA_RAT_LINE_DOC_2

CIA_WWII_Nazi_War_Criminals_Files_LEBED_MYKOLA_CIA_RAT_LINE_DOC_3

DEFEND UKRAINE! DEFEAT RUSSIAN IMPERIALISM! SMASH FASCISM: FOR WORKERS SOCIALIST REVOLUTION IN UKRAINE! US/EU/UN/NATO HANDS OFF UKRAINE!

Well, that was easy!  Yes, writing that headline was quite straightforward; over the past few days, the political formulae fell into place as we watched the ominous events unfold on the Crimean peninsula.

So what does it all mean?  “Defend Ukraine”?  But the Ukrainian government is teeming with rabid Ukrainian nationalists and outright fascist scum!  “Defeat Russian Imperialism”? Isn’t that the slogan of the US/EU/NATO/UN brigands who you want to keep their “hands off the Ukraine”?  Is Russia an imperialist country?  Aren’t there still many in the Russian government and military who honor the USSR?  And aren’t the Russians moving into the Ukraine because they are upset at seeing Ukrainian fascists tearing down statues of Lenin and beating up Russian-speaking Ukrainians?  Aren’t the Russians standing up against the fascists by defending the memories of the heroic Red Army soldiers who kicked Hitler’s Nazis out of the Ukraine and sent them back to a fiery and well-deserved death in Berlin?

The main crisis facing the revolutionary workers movement of today is the crisis of leadership!

We are not Marxist theoreticians of the calibre of Lenin and Trotsky – not by a long shot.  But we should have learned enough Marxism to take a crack at parsing this not very complicated political question posed in Ukraine.  (By comparison, the war in Syria is much more complicated). A socialist party should be composed of worker-militants every one of which can step forward at any time and lead the party in a revolutionary Marxist manner in a time of crisis.  The idea that some “great leader” must arise before the working class can even begin to take a step forward is commonly-held… hogwash!  The purpose of a revolutionary Trotskyist party is not to elevate a handful of “infallible leaders” to a ridiculously lofty position above the entire population of the world.  We have seen far too much of that kind of political ladder-climbing in the past century and a half!  Most of the once-revered “great leaders” turn out to have been not at all great – in fact they were downright repulsive when you look at them up close.  There have been notable exceptions, all of whom have been slandered and whose names have been traduced – even by honest working men and women, in the most shameless fashion  – Lenin and Trotsky to name two of the greatest; but for a successful workers revolution to take place it must have, not leaders who seek some day to have monumental sculptures erected in their honor in public squares everywhere, but humble fighters who dedicate their lives to the struggle for the emancipation of the working class worldwide and who seek no personal glory or fame whatever.  Marx, Engels, Liebknecht, Luxemburg, Lenin and Trotsky were men and women of this type.  They all earned their honors through their lifelong, selfless work on behalf of the working class and peasantry all over the world; as great as they were even they made mistakes – some very serious.  They were not afraid to make mistakes, and they never pretended that they were infallible; and when they made mistakes, they frankly admitted them, corrected themselves publicly and renewed their journey on the new path.  We too will make mistakes and we are not afraid to admit that; we hope that we will be able to honor our illustrious predecesors, if not by achieving the level of their brilliant theoretical work, then at least in their fundamental honesty..  We do not have all the answers to all the world’s questions in a trophy case in our offices; nor will we find answers to all the world’s future problems in the century-plus-old writings of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky.  They proved their mettle and their intelligence and the overall correctness of their political leadership through battle after battle – and to victory over Tsarism.  No socialist in the US has ever led such battles as they did.  Revolutionary Trotskyists do not seek personal glory and immortality, we are seeking the emancipation of the world’s toilers from capitalist wage-slavery!  And in the case of the crisis in the Ukraine, we must determine, not the path to the most widespread popularity through flattery and lies, but the most promising political road for the workers in the US, Ukraine and Russia and the rest of the world to follow in the long term – a path on which every single step taken by the working class of all these countries, working in closest revolutionary internationalist co-operation, will blaze a trail towards the victory of the workers and peasants of the world over capitalism!  We must find that political road to follow along which the workers movement of the world will surge forward, smashing fascism, racism, imperialism along the way, blocking every attempt made by the capitalists to pit worker against worker in predatory wars  and avoiding all the many other snares being constantly set before the revolutionary socialist workers movement.  THAT is what we have tried to do with these slogans.  As heroic whistleblower Edward Snowden told an interviewer last month when he was asked “Why did you do this?”: “It was the creeping realization that no one else was going to do this.”  That is why we formed this party: because the United States doesn’t have a revolutionary Trotskyist party worth a damn, sadly.  There are parties out there, but they have proven to be absolutely incapable of inspiring the workers of the United States with the majesty of the original Marxist ideal: to create a world where the exploitation of man by man no longer exists.  Where war, poverty, homelessness, and needless human suffering is relegated to “the dustbin of history”.  So here we are, suddenly become “Marxist theoreticians”!  Somebody’s got to do it; and anyone CAN do it who has studied and learned the lessons of the great workers revolutions of the 20th century and who believes, as we do, in spite of all the disasters that have befallen the Marxist movement in the past 100 years of its “success”.  While it may be true that all the edifices that have been built so far by Marxist construction workers (utilizing tools and methods that had never been utilized in the real world before!) have proven for the most part to have been poorly built and faulty, we have examined the blueprints and find that it was not the original architects of Marxism/Leninism that failed, but its construction superintendents.  We can and must do better – either that or we can just count the days until the capitalist greedheads launch WWIII.  Sitting around wringing hands will accomplish nothing; begging the capitalists’ bought-and-paid-for politicians to “do the right thing” is a waste of time.  The working class must produce Marxist leaders who, learning from all the errors and tragedies and betrayals committed by our predecessors, will do the job RIGHT this time!  It CAN BE and it MUST BE done!

“The workers of the world have no country” so long as they live under the wage-slavery system of capitalism.  This law of Marxism – which was written before the great proletarian victories in Russia, China, North Korea, Cuba and Vietnam – is the formula that the revolutionary socialist workers movement raises upon its banners in order to destroy nationalism and petty national chauvinism, and to unite all the workers of the planet as the sisters and brothers that we truly are.   Revolutionary socialists, if they are truly Marxist/Leninist/Trotskyist – do not rally to the national flag of any capitalist state.  Marxists seek to overthrow “their” bourgeoisie, who are the true “owners” of every capitalist country.  In the US, this means that we do not support the US military, no matter where they go and no matter what they do, because we realize that the US troops – though they include our own sons, daughters, brothers and sisters – do not answer OUR orders, but instead answer the orders given by our mortal enemies: the US capitalist class, the  US billionaires, in whose service our children and grandchildren have been either economically drafted into the military or  forced to enlist.  The American capitalists and their counterparts in every other capitalist nation-state use THEIR military forces, not to benefit the workers here or anywhere else, but to DEFEND THEIR INVESTMENTS, FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC!  The US imperialist capitalist class doesn’t give a shit about “the rights of the Ukrainian people” any more than they care about the rights of any other group of workers anywhere, including the United States!  All the US capitalists see in the Ukraine are raw materials, land and an exploitable workforce, which, if it was in the hands of the US capitalist class, would be filling the US billionaires’ vaults with even more money instead of all that wealth going to their economic and political counterparts in Putin’s Russia.

So, it is the duty of revolutionary Marxists in the US and Russia to say: “down with our ‘own’ bourgeoisie and its government and military!”  That means we as revolutionary workers in the US give not one iota of support to the US capitalist military killing machine that is using OUR CHILDREN to murder our SISTERS’ AND BROTHERS’ CHILDREN all over the world!  We want to rip the military forces of the world out of the hands of the capitalist classes of the world and place them “under new management”: the revolutionary working class!  And so, in the Ukraine we say: DEFEAT RUSSIAN IMPERIALISM! and we call on revolutionary Marxists in Russia and the Ukraine to say the same thing!  We say to “our” bourgeoisie: “US/EU/NATO/UN HANDS OFF THE UKRAINE!” because we KNOW that the US and European capitalists are all too willing to engage in the bloody slaughter of our Russian and Ukrainian brothers and sisters in order to seize the raw materials in those countries and to enslave the survivors of the war, placing the workers of Russia and the Ukraine into vassalage under the greedy capitalists of the US and western Europe!  This longstanding Marxist/Leninist policy is called “revolutionary defeatism”: it is very unpopular while the workers of the world are still under the spell of nationalism and while they still reflexively salute the flag of their capitalist masters and slavishly “rush to the colors” whenever the capitalists see an opportunity to seize some new territory, and enroll the workers of their respective nations to slaughter their brother and sister workers in every other nation!

To our Ukrainian brothers and sisters we offer the hand of friendship by opposing the Russian imperialists’ intervention into the Ukraine in search of  raw materials, profits, and to secure the markets for Russian goods that exist in the Ukraine.  But we do not hold out the hand of fraternal friendship to the Ukrainian fascists, whose racism and vicious nationalism, whose anti-Semitism and love for Nazi war criminals like Bandera places them outside of human civilization! So we say to the Ukrainian workers: yes! we will fight side by side with you against the Russian imperialists: but we will not have fascists in the ranks of the revolutionary socialist workers!  Drive the Nazis out of your organizations!  “SMASH FASCISM! FOR WORKERS SOCIALIST REVOLUTION IN THE UKRAINE!”

“For workers socialist revolution in the Ukraine”? YES!  This is the only real solution to the economic and social crisis in the Ukraine; capitalism not only has no solution to the problems of unemployment, poverty and war, it is the chief cause of all these things.  Only when the greed-based system of capitalism is overthrown and replaced with an egalitarian, democratically-run socialist workers republic can workers finally be freed from the endless struggle for survival that characterizes life under capitalism.  Ukrainian nationalism has no solutions for the economic crises facing Ukraine: on the contrary: their “Ukraine for the Ukrainians” nonsense and their “Ukraine uber alles” philosophy would serve to cut Ukraine off from the rest of the world economically and politically and would exacerbate the economic hardships facing Ukrainians.  The Bandera-worshipping Ukrainian fascists would turn the Ukraine into an ethnic cleansing zone, pitting workers of different nationalities against each other in a fratricidal bloodbath.  Marxism, which recognizes the scientific fact that every human being on this planet is actually a “long=lost-relative” of every other human being on the planet, and which seeks to unify the working class population worldwide is the ONLY political philosophy that makes sense in a globally interconnected world.  SMASH FASCISM!  WORKERS OF THE WORLD, UNITE!