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

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

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

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

to have no permanent meaning: what they meant yesterday was completely different from what they mean today.

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.


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

  1. tompainesghost says:

    Reblogged this on Colonel Despard's Radical Comment.

  2. Keith says:

    Yarosh, leader of Right Sector, has been on Ukraine TV calling for a guerrilla war against the eastern Ukraine population that rejects the Kiev regime that elected itself in Maidan Square. This leader of a murderous fascist militia would most likely be locked up in most ‘democratic’ countries, but in Ukraine his forces and their allies in the newly recruited National a Guard are the main hope of the Kiev usurpers and their US/NATO/EU backers in regaining control over the east. A massive ‘blind eye’ is being turned to the shooting up of towns, 20 killed in Mariupol, random killing of civilians, shelling of towns, siege tactics against towns like Slavyansk and Kramatorsk, food supplies cut off, water plants hit, factories destroyed. It is now reported that the mob that killed nearly 50 in Odessa were hired by oligarch ‘Governor’ Kolomoisky to attack his opponents. While appeals for unity are valid, those under immediate threat from the fascist gangs and armed forces are fully entitled to defend themselves by whatever means at their disposal.
    The Kiev usurpers cannot forestall the economic disaster bearing down on Ukraine. If they remain In power they will be seen as nothing more than the enforcers for and collaborators with international exploiters, the bailiffs for the international banks, and soon be hated and detested by all.

  3. […] also Oleh Yasinsky’s statement here, and Marko Bojcun’s Observer Ukraine blog, which has been covering this re-emergence of […]

  4. Gabriel Levy says:

    Keith, you say “It is now reported that the mob that killed nearly 50 in Odessa were hired by oligarch ‘Governor’ Kolomoisky to attack his opponents”. I don’t know where it is reported, and you don’t say. I do know that most reports from Odessa, from all sides, are disinformation and misinformation. Why do you believe this one and not the others? I don’t know what happened in Odessa. I have avoided commenting further on this blog, apart from Sergei’s initial article, because I don’t know the truth. And I’m sure you don’t either.

    You say: “While appeals for unity are valid, those under immediate threat from the fascist gangs and armed forces are fully entitled to defend themselves by whatever means at their disposal.” I think you’re missing the point. There are fascist gangs on both sides. Of course people are “fully entitled to defend themselves” (as though anyone’s asking your opinion, or mine). The point of Yasinsky’s letter is to urge socialists, while there is still time, to persuade working people to turn away from violent confrontation with each other. It’s a shame that in response to this far-sighted Ukrainian socialist, who argues that “both sides are being manipulated – politically and militarily – by Russian and western imperialism”, you point to manipulation only on one side.

  5. Keith says:

    Gabriel, it appears that all you can see is ‘people being manipulated by both sides’ and not the fundamental attack on Ukrainian workers and people by the gangster alliance of oligarchs and fascists who have seized power. It was reported that Kolomoisky had hired ‘ultra’ football fans as enforcers soon after he was appointed Governor to lord it over an eastern region. The connection with Odessa was reported on RT. It has to be noted that RT journalists are now being rounded up to stop them reporting, including Brit journalist Graham Philips who was seized by National Guards. Kolomoisky has previously had posters put up offering a reward for the HEAD of Philips, denouncing him as a Russian spy. Perhaps you think all this is disinformation too? Appeals for unity have not helped unarmed civilians shot down by Kiev forces in Slavyansk, Kramatorsk and Mariupol.

  6. Keith says:

    Just a point in addition, following the murderous attack in Odessa not a single rightist has been arrested and held responsible, though they are undoubtedly known by the authorities. This amounts to de facto support for the massacre by the Kiev cabal, a regime relying more and more on such ‘Black Hundred’ methods.

  7. Keith says:

    Kiev proclaims a new President, one who vows to continue the ‘anti terror’ war on opponents in the east. Fighter aircraft have shot up Donetsk airport killing an as yet unknown number of civilians plus 40 ‘self defenders’, mortar bombs are fired at urban areas in Slavyansk hitting a school, church and railway station. Grad missiles are now being placed to bombard these towns. Gabriel has previously cited Putin’s bombardment of Chechnia, now east Ukrainians are to get this treatment from the Kiev regime. To whom should appeals be addressed to avert a war? The war has been launched, by Kiev to crush anti nationalist resistance in east Ukraine. Miners have now marched in Donetsk against Kiev aggression. The time is not to plead for ‘peace’ but to solidarise with workers and people under attack from state and fascistic forces.

  8. Gabriel Levy says:

    Keith, there ARE people in the UK organising solidarity with workers, i.e. the miners in Kriviy Rih who are demanding better pay and conditions and trying to establish a working-class peace movement. If you mean what you say about solidarity, get involved in that. Marko Bojcun blogs about it here. As far as I can see that campaign is opposing “state and fascistic” forces whether Ukrainian, Russian or so-called “pro-Russian separatist”. But you seem to see “state and fascistic” forces only on the Ukrainian side.

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