Ideological Opponents of the Ukrainian Government Are Waiting for Prison or Death


This article was submitted to the WSWS by Maxim Goldarb, the head of the Union of Left Forces (For a New Socialism) party, which has been banned by the Zelensky government. The World Socialist Web Site unequivocally opposes and denounces the persecution of left-wing and oppositional tendencies in Ukraine by the NATO-backed Zelensky regime. We call on our readers to distribute the information about the state-backed repression of anti-war opposition in Ukraine as widely as possible.

Ukraine has long been proclaimed the freest country in the post-Soviet space. In the pro-NATO media, the country is even portrayed as a bulwark of democracy. But this is a lie. The right-wing oligarchic regime that came to power in the Western-backed coup in February 2014 has severely persecuted its opponents, using terrorist methods.

The most tragic example of not just persecution, but murder by the ruling regime in Kiev of its ideological opponents took place in Odessa on May 2, 2014, when far-right nationalists, with the full connivance of and open assistance from the authorities, blocked anti-fascist activists in the building of the House of Trade Unions and set fire to the building. To escape the burning building, many jumped out of windows to their death. Even on the ground, some of those who had survived were then murdered by neo-Nazis. In total, more than 40 people died, among whom were Vadim Papura, a member of the Komsomol (Communist youth union), as well as Andrei Brazhevsky, a member of the left-wing Borotba organization.

The Trade Union house in Odessa after the fire and massacre in 2014. [Photo by Lsimon / CC BY-NC-SA 4.0]

The Trade Union house in Odessa after the fire and massacre in 2014. [Photo by Lsimon / CC BY-NC-SA 4.0]

For this crime, no one was ever punished, even though those responsible were recorded in many photos and videos. One of the organizers of this massacre subsequently became the speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, another one became a member of parliament on the lists of the party of former President Petro Poroshenko.

In the same way, the killers of a number of well-known opposition politicians and journalists who have died since 2014 have not been punished. This includes the ex-deputy of the Socialist Party of Ukraine, Valentina Semenyuk-Samsonenko (her murder on August 27, 2014 was disguised as suicide); the ex-deputy and organizer of opposition actions Oleg Kalashnikov (he was killed on April 15, 2015); the popular writer and anti-fascist publicist Oles Buzina (killed on April 16, 2015), and many others.

The Communist Party of Ukraine, one of the largest parties in the country, was banned in 2015.

In addition, opposition-minded politicians, journalists and activists, many of whom are left-leaning, have been beaten, arrested and imprisoned in recent years on trumped-up charges of “high treason” and other overtly political charges. This happened, in particular, with journalists Vasily Muravitsky, Dmitry Vasilets and Pavel Volkov, as well as human rights activist Ruslan Kotsaba and others. It is telling that even in the courts, which are under heavy pressure from the authorities, the accusations of “high treason” as a rule fell apart and turned out to be completely untenable.

The situation has become more and more aggravated with each passing year, especially after Volodymyr Zelensky became the president of Ukraine. The formal reason for the complete elimination of the remnants of civil liberties and the start of open political repression was the military conflict in Ukraine that began in February 2022.

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