War in the Ukraine, Tragedy and Hope (Part III)
Ukraine, as it once was, is an industrialized and technologically advanced republic of the former USSR.
Ukraine was once one of the most advanced and industrialized republics of the former USSR, well integrated into the former multinational state of the USSR, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. It is also true that for the first time after the Russian Revolution of 1917, the first Socialist Revolution, that the Ukrainian Republic was constituted as one of the republics of the former USSR, before that it was an integral part of the territories of Tsarist Russia. It is necessary to recall that the peoples of all the republics of the Soviet Union lived in harmony, in a closely-knit society sharing culture, inter-marrying. It was not uncommon for one spouse to be Russian and the other Ukrainian. There was even more exotic pairing, such as Tartar and Cossack, Daghestani and Ukrainian, and so on. The Ukrainian Republic of the USSR had regions that were culturally Russian-speaking regions, integrated for administrative and other reasons into the Ukrainian Republic. Ukrainian and Russian languages are similar as is the culture of both people, there was never any problem of co-existence. It was much more than co-existence; it was a mutual culture and life shared over a thousand years. The Russian-speaking nationality and, to a lesser extent, other nationalities settled in different parts of what was earlier an integral part of the Tsarist Russian Empire. This continued in the USSR.
For those of us living for almost a year on the Black Sea in 1982-1983, awaiting the commissioning of the destroyer built by the once-famous Nikolayev Shipyard to be handed over to the Indian Navy by the Soviet Navy after completion of trials in the Black Sea and military exercises off the Crimea, the cities of Sevastopol, Mariupol, and Odessa were all Russian. The Indian contingent/ Team or ‘Ekipazh’, was not the only contingent there. There were seven other contingents from different countries, including Libyan and Cuban, awaiting the delivery of ships and boats of all sizes. None of us used the politically correct term ‘Soviet’, for us everything was Russian. Citizens from our host country from different republics of the USSR did not dissent or frown on or attempt to correct our expression or to explain or distinguish what was Ukrainian from what was Russian, or what was Crimean from what was Russian, and no one from the host country complained about ‘Great Russian National Chauvinism’.
To me, a ‘ Soviet watcher’, a legacy from my father, an Indian Muslim by birth, religion, and culture, who believed that the Russian Revolution of 1917 was one of the most important events of the 20th Century, influencing National Liberation Struggles around the world, including those that led India’s freedom struggle, with some Indian revolutionaries in exile crossing over from Afghanistan into Uzbekistan after the 1917 Revolution, as recorded by Soviet scholars... to me, what seemed remarkable was that for decades the USSR from 1922-1953 was led by Josef Stalin, a Georgian and Asian by nationality. Josef Stalin, a former student of a religious seminary training to be a priest, before he became a revolutionary, as a Commissar after the revolution, was directed to implement the Bolshevik policy of autonomy for ‘nationalities’ to be reorganized into Republics of the USSR, by the famous Russian revolutionary, visionary, and first head of state of the revolutionary government, Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov or Lenin, as he is widely known; still loved across Asia, Africa, and Latin America; even today considered a leading authority against ‘Imperialism’. Ukraine was a beneficiary of this policy as President Putin correctly asserted.
Lenin was determined to abolish the oppression of all subject nationalities by empires and colonialists. On the other hand, Josef Stalin’s reservations on aspects of this policy were known, though he implemented the policy deferring to his leader. Josef Stalin personally witnessed the misuse of Russia’s ‘nationalities’ in the famous Oil city of Baku, a beautiful city now in independent Azerbaijan on the Caspian, then a part of the Tsarist Russian Empire in the pre-revolutionary period. In Baku, murderous attacks took place to divide workers' movements; one nationality was used against another. It was because of this direct field experience that Stalin understood, as did Rosa Luxemburg, the famous German Revolutionary, of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, later of the ‘Spartacus’ group of the SPD, that Imperialism would ‘pervert this policy for autonomy for Nationalities’ to divide people in every country targeted for plunder of resources and the working class.
This is predictably what occurred in Western Ukraine during the Second World War, in those regions of Ukraine earlier occupied by the Polish – Lithuanian Kingdom and later the Second Polish Republic – and in Hungary and Romanian territories of the Austrian-Hapsburg Empire. The Nazis at the very outset of their infamous military invasion, ‘Operation Barbarossa’, used Stepan Bandera, the Ukrainian fascist, and other extreme right-wing Ukrainian nationalists for the killings and genocide of Slavs, Poles, and Jews, manipulating the theory of a Ukrainian ‘Superior Race’. This was a barbaric attempt by the German Nazi Army to divide people in Ukraine to weaken the national defense of the Soviet Union. This cynical and cold-blooded Nazi policy, though it inflicted death and destruction on people of different nationalities in Ukraine in millions, in what was clearly genocide, could not defeat the USSR, as the majority of the Ukrainians defended the Soviet Union, serving selflessly and courageously in the Red Army. Every republic of the USSR, including Ukraine, made a heroic contribution to the victory of the former USSR in what is known as the ‘Great Patriotic War’, during which the Soviet army faced not only the might of the German Army, but also the combined military and technological might of the advanced countries of Europe, closely allied with Hitler and the Nazi party. It was a ‘Fascist Europe’ with its contingents led by Nazi Germany which was defeated by the Soviet Union’s Red Army liberating one country of Europe after another; one of the remarkable achievements in military history. The United States was to enter the war in its last stage with the Normandy landings, to participate in the spoils of a tragic war that destroyed Europe.
Aspects of this more than 75-year-old history of the use of fascism in Ukraine have been repeated by the descendants of those who created Hitler and the Nazi party. How many know that it was the United States of America’s Rockefeller’s New Jersey Standard Oil Company which supplied fuel to the Nazi Army, without which the fascist subjugation of Europe and the invasion of the USSR by Nazi hordes was not possible? IBM among other US companies equally collaborated in maintaining an efficiently compiled data of Slavs, Jews, Romas, and other minorities in Nazi Germany to be targeted. Some US companies used slave labor in Nazi Germany like the best and brightest German Corporations, which even stole whole factories from occupied territories; similar to what happened recently when Syria was occupied by Turkish troops and ISIS legions of NATO and its alliance partners who stole whole factories from Syria, from Aleppo and other occupied regions. The United States and Turkey have been regularly looting Syrian oil after unleashing ISIS hordes on Syria for invasion and occupation, stationing their troops in Syria.
After the Second World War, even as the ink on the Judgments of the Nuremberg trials was hardly dry, ‘Operation Paper Clip‘ began by the United States, to rehabilitate Nazi war criminals, intelligence agents, scientists, doctors, and others in the United States for use in the so-called “Cold War”, a continuance of the war on the Soviet Union by other means, and to use the scientific and medical expertise of German and Japanese scientists and intelligence agents, who were war criminals. Many former Nazis were successfully rehabilitated along with East European fascists, who subsequently, along with their descendants, held high-ranking posts in National Security Councils and the State Department of the United States. Significantly, a leading member of President Trudeau’s cabinet in Canada, prominent during the crackdown on the democratic struggle of the ‘Truckers’ Resistance’ to indiscriminate vaccine mandates, is the progeny of one such Nazi collaborator. Is it surprising that those who made small donations to the ‘Truckers Movements’ had their bank accounts blocked by a government decree?