a review of
Ukraine & the Empire of Capital: From Marketisation to Armed Conflict by Yuliya Yurchenko. Pluto Press, 2018
This book was written four years before Russia massively invaded Ukraine, but is in some ways even more relevant now.
Yurchenko is a democratic socialist, yet takes a more rigorous neither/nor position regarding Russia and the West than some figures associated with the Western anarchist left, such as Noam Chomsky.
She is harshly critical of Ukraine’s integration with the European Union, the attempted aborting of which by Moscow-leaning president Viktor Yanukovich led to the 2014 Maidan Revolution against his rule. She faults the Maidan movement for its illusions about the EU and the West.
But she spares no opprobrium for Russia’s cultivation of oligarchs and warlords in Ukraine, turning the country into a playing field for rival world powers.
Moscow’s aim, she writes, is only to “beat the USA at its own game, the capitalist competition/ world dominance game.”
Seeming to address the Chomskyan left as well as the isolationist right in the West, she writes: “What advocates of Russia’s ‘right to defend its interests’ fail to acknowledge is that Ukraine is a sovereign state, and that Russia’s disagreements with its foreign and trade policy choices do not grant the Kremlin rights to violate Ukraine’s borders.”
She rejects this “rhetoric of geo-political self-defense,” instead calling for resistance to Russia’s “imperialist ambitions.”
Since the invasion, Yurchenko’s group, Sotsialniy Rukh (Social Movement), has called both for the defense of Ukraine, and for revolution in Russia and the overthrow of the Putin regime.
Bill Weinberg blogs on global autonomy struggles at CounterVortex.org
See other Fifth Estate articles on Ukraine and anarchist resistance in our online Archive.