Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/803/18322

From The Socialist newspaper, 19 March 2014

Crimea referendum will not deliver peace and stability

Niall Mulholland

Crimea's 16 March referendum saw an overwhelming majority vote in favour of joining Russia. According to the claimed official result, 96.77% voted 'for' integration and turnout was 83.1%. Tens of thousands celebrated in Simferopol, the capital of Crimea.

On 17 March, the regional parliament declared the Republic of Crimea. President Putin and Crimea's leaders signed an agreement on 18 March formalising the region's absorption into Russia.

Crimea's de facto leader, Sergei Aksyonov, stated that next week Crimea will officially introduce the ruble as a second official currency along with Ukrainian hryvna.

The Crimean parliament ruled that Ukrainian state property in the peninsula will be nationalised and Ukrainian military units on Crimean territory are to be "disbanded".

The referendum was denounced by western leaders as "illegitimate and illegal" and they condemned Putin for stirring up ethnic divisions.

Largely toothless travel bans and asset freezes against officials from Russia and Crimea were imposed by the EU and US, with other sanctions threatened.

But western powers are divided on how far to punish Russia. Many EU states fear that tit-for-tat sanctions with Russia could badly damage the weak EU economy.

History of 'intervention'

Despite their outrage at Russia's intervention in Crimea, the US and European powers have a proven record of similar actions, only on a much larger and more bloody scale.

Violating their own international laws, the western imperialist powers invaded and occupied Iraq and Afghanistan, overseeing 'elections' in both countries.

Months of Nato bombings against the Serbian regime in 1999 were the prelude to a western-supported independence referendum for Kosovo.

Certainly the Crimean referendum was not held under conditions that allowed for free democratic debate and choice.

Following the western-backed ousting of Ukraine's prime mininister, Victor Yanukovych, 'self-defence' militias (both locally raised and those which are widely believed to be unidentified Russian troops), took control of military bases and other key strategic points in Crimea.

Democracy?

The parliament of majority-Russian speaking Crimea voted to leave Ukraine and to join Russia. The referendum was only then put to voters to rubber stamp the decision and only gave two options - for integration with Russia or for enhanced autonomy.

All pro-Ukraine media was shut down and weeks of state-run media blasted out pro-Russian nationalist propaganda.

Crimea's minority Tartar and Ukraine-speaking populations (40% of the population) complained of an intimidating atmosphere and most of them boycotted the referendum.

Yet is also the case that the vote for union with Russia was hugely popular among the majority of Crimeans.

This is in large part due to the reactionary character of the new Kiev regime and the manner in which it came to power.

The months-long mass protests against Yanukovych were fuelled by years of economic stagnation and growing poverty, as well as deep anger at the corrupt, authoritarian regime and its oligarch backers.

The revolt, which displayed elements of a revolution, quickly revealed the lack of support for the rotten Yanukovych regime.

Riot police brutality towards protesters in Maidan Square provoked widespread revulsion and the regime fell apart.

However in the absence of mass workers' organisations that pursue an independent class line, reactionary opposition politicians, including Ukrainian ultra-nationalists and the far right, dominated the protest movement.

Members of the anti-Semitic Svoboda party and fascistic Right Sector acted as shock troops on the ground in central Kiev and elsewhere.

They physically attacked trade unionists and left activists who attempted to join the protests.

The new Kiev regime's anti-Russian rhetoric and the involvement of the far right, which holds key ministerial positions, provoked fear among the ethnic Russian minority, who are mainly based in Ukraine's east and south.

Among the Rada's (Ukraine parliament) first decisions was one to downgrade the use of the Russian language and to vote to outlaw the 'Communist' Party.

Poverty

With Crimea already one of the poorest parts of Ukraine, many Crimeans also feared that the new Kiev regime would agree financial aid deals with the EU and IMF, linked to harsh austerity measures, resulting in their living standards falling even further.

But the outcome of the referendum will not deliver peace, stability and prosperity for the people of Crimea.

Living standards will not be transformed by Crimea's integration into a weakening Russian economy.

The authoritarian Putin regime and its oligarch-backers are only intervening in Crimea, whipping up Russian nationalism in the process, to defend their 'near abroad' geo-strategic interests.

The peninsula is the focal point of growing tensions between Russia and Kiev and its western backers - who aim to extend imperialist power and influence right up to Russia's borders.

This has led to a dangerous build-up of military forces. Last week, Washington ordered military exercises in Poland, Lithuania and in the Black Sea.

After the Crimean referendum, Ukraine's parliament approved the partial mobilisation of 40,000 reservists.

Both sides say they are not going to go to war over Ukraine but a deepening of tensions can lead to 'localised' conflict nevertheless.

Working people across Ukraine will pay the price for an escalation of the crisis. Several people were killed last weekend when fighting broke out between pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian protesters and militias in the eastern cities of Donetsk and Kharkiv.

If some clashes develop momentum it could lead in majority Russian ethnic areas to calls for more referendums, attempts to break away and the horrific possibility of bloody break-up of the country.

Alternative

Only the organised, united working class, with independent and internationalist policies, can decisively counter reactionary nationalism and end big capitalist powers' meddling.

The demagogic nationalist politicians in Kiev, Simferopol and Moscow may be enjoying popular support at the moment by exploiting fears but their pro-market policies and nationalism will not improve living standards or end corruption and oppression.

Already many of those who opposed Yanukovych complain bitterly about the new gang of crooks who seized power and handed out regional governorships to their oligarch friends.

As the recent revolt of workers and youth in Bosnia Herzegovina shows, new upsurges against dire economic and social conditions and corrupt politicians are inevitable but they require organised, political expression to provide a working class and socialist alternative.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 19 March 2014:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Smash the pay freeze

Tony Benn: steadfast in speaking out for socialism

After Bob Crow and Tony Benn: We fight on!

No to bosses' EU - For a socialist Europe

Unite to end racism and cuts

Osborne's more cuts budget

Oxfam report: A tale of capitalist inequality

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

Crimea referendum will not deliver peace and stability

South Africa: WASP registers for the 2014 elections

Activists in the US demand $15 Now!


Socialist Party workplace news

Defend education: Solidarity with teachers' strike

Doncaster care workers determined to win

Ealing hospital workers fight miserly Medirest

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Fight for real jobs for young people

Election Appeal: Put your money where the struggle is!

Get your May Day Greetings in

Pensioner jailed for non-payment

TUSC campaigning in Derby

Obituary: Stan Pearce, a Militant miner


Readers' comments and reviews

Review: Call the Midwife

Genetic Modification: A contribution to the debate


 

Home   |   The Socialist 19 March 2014   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Ukraine:

triangleTV Review: Chernobyl - Workers' heroism vs sclerotic Stalinism

triangleEurope and the workers' movement after Brexit

triangleYork Socialist Party: Ukraine and Russia - the history

Russia:

triangleThe striking relevance of Leon Trotsky's Theory of Permanent Revolution

triangleMueller report underlines Democrats' weakness

triangleCaerphilly Socialist Party: Russia - The rise of Stalinism

Russian:

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: The Russian Revolution's 'July Days'

triangleCardiff West Socialist Party: Anniversary of the Russian Revolution

Parliament:

triangleDefend the right to strike! RMT and NSSN lobby parliament

EU:

triangleWakefield Socialist Party: Splits in the EU

International

International

24/6/20

South Africa

South Africa: Building jobs and living wage campaign

10/6/20

France

France: 20,000 rally against Paris's killer gendarmes

10/6/20

US

Black and white youth rise up against racism - US protester speaks to the Socialist

3/6/20

USA

USA - another cop killing of unarmed black man sparks widespread protests

31/5/20

US

Outrage spreads globally following US police murder of George Floyd

27/5/20

Hong Kong

Chinese state's imposition of draconian law reignites Hong Kong protests

27/5/20

Lebanon

Economic collapse leads to renewed protests across Lebanon

20/5/20

US

Trump, coronavirus, capitalism, and the presidential race

6/5/20

India

India: Fighting the curse of capitalism and coronavirus

6/5/20

Trump

Trump puts profit before safety (again)

6/5/20

US

US: Trump's public health cuts have condemned thousands worldwide

29/4/20

May Day

A CWI May Day 2020 statement

29/4/20

Ireland

Irish police use Covid-19 emergency powers to disperse Dublin shop workers' protest

22/4/20

USA

US private healthcare system in meltdown

14/4/20

Coronavirus

Rapacious capitalism and the spread of coronavirus

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999