The Ukrainian Left during and after the Maidan Protests

Volodymyr Ishchenko

The paper seeks to present a balanced, well documented and nuanced discussion covering the full range of positions of the Ukrainian left and activities in relation to the Maidan and Anti-Maidan movements and the war. It covers all the major groups and parties who at least identify with the socialist and/or anarchist tradition: from ‘old left’ parties originating from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) to ‘new left’ organisations, unions and informal initiatives that did not have any relation whatsoever to the CPSU.

The paper gives a brief overview of the most important (and often still unresolved) questions about major political events in Ukraine starting from2013. Then it describes and explains the positions and political activities of the various Ukrainian organisations on the left towards the Maidan uprising, the Anti-Maidan movement and the war in eastern Ukraine.

The paper attempts to answer thefollowing questions. How did different left wing organisations try to intervene in the Maidan and Anti-Maidan movements and how successful were their interventions? To what extent were they able to defend the left agenda against liberals and (both Ukrainian and Russian) nationalists? To what extent did they rather follow the agenda of their political opponents? What were the differences not only between the different left wing organisations but also between groups in Kiev and in the provinces? What was the real scale of repression by the new government and by the far right against various left wing organisations? To what extent did the repression specifically against the left or rather against separatist forces challenge the state’s integrity?

What are the current prospects and opportunities for left wing politics now in Ukraine both in the parliamentary and extra-parliamentary spheres? Are there any prospects for a ‘left turn’ in the separatist republics? What political lessons should the European and the international left draw from the political events in the Ukraine and what were their results for the local left?

Full paper in .pdf