Mediapart (France): in the Donbas Putin = Thatcher. Support the miners!

As can be seen from several Russian and Ukrainian news sites, and social network “Vkontakte”, in “people’s republics” of Donetsk and Lugansk, which are kept afloat only because of Russia Vladimir Putin, held large-scale unrest.

June 5 employees of the coal mine refused to work and demanded to pay their delayed salaries (for the second time in 21 April). The money they promised to pay before may 15. On behalf of the movement made by the Independent trade Union of miners of Donbass (“independent” means not controlled by the state and the mafia).

Mine “Komsomolskaya” (its name literally breathes USSR) is one of the largest in the Donbass, the historical cradle of Russian industrialization, the colonization of Ukraine and the workers ‘ struggle in 1917-1918 and 1989-1992. Mine became a state-owned company after the independence of Ukraine in 1991 and has maintained this status in the “people’s Republic” in 2014, although the system of its management has become openly private and mafia. Unpaid wages, the scourge of Russia 1990-ies (Putin is eager to show that coped with him), became especially frequent in the Donbass 2018-2019 as “public” or “private” enterprises, which are the hands of oligarchs like the richest Ukrainian Rinat Akhmetov capitalist, expelled people from Kiev in 2014 former President Yanukovych and representatives of the Russian “authorities”. The murder of the head of DND Zakharchenko, fascist and anti-Semite, 2018 is common for such entities…

In April 2020, these gentlemen launched the law on “liquidation of unprofitable coal enterprises” and “social protection of their employees.” In this case, “social protection” involves the reduction of at least 3 000 employees. The strike in the mine “Komsomolskaya” can be perceived as a reaction to the news. Moreover, since the official proclamation of the LC number is directly related to mines jobs has dropped from 40,000 to 30,000.

The evening of the same day came the threat of the security, and on June 6 the management of mine made the black list to be laid off employees (130 people). Mine is considered a state enterprise, but in fact is controlled by mafia groups representing Vladimir Shatohin, the General Director of company “Vostok-Ugol”. Like any other Manager, he said that such sacrifices are necessary to “improve profitability” and called the demands “exorbitant” (although it is only about unpaid wages!).

7 Jun Internet and telephone communication between this area and the rest of the “people’s republics” was broken. In the latest report said that 124 miner’s wives had taken refuge in a police cordon surrounded the mine. Then there was declared a “quarantine” with the suspension of traffic and closure of shops in the Donbass mafia likes the insulation is not less than abroad.

On 8 June there was a rumor that Russia needs “someone” to come to deal with the miners and find those responsible. Alexander Vaskovsky of the independent trade Union told the site that the CEO left sitting in the mine the miners without food and water, and that this was the purpose of “quarantine”. It should be noted that the movement was not limited to the heroic group of miners with the “Komsomolskaya”. Underground trade unions (the trade Union movement banned in LC) launched activities in the social networks until it was covered on 7 June. In response (dependent on Russia) the government has blocked the whole city Anthracite (50 000 inhabitants, in 2014 it represented a stronghold of Russian resistance to the “Ukrainian Nazis”) with a curfew and sent troops in Rovenki (40 000 inhabitants) and “preventively” surrounded the mine “Frunze”. In Krasnodon, Rovenko, Red heaven and Belorechensk, have been arrested, and the police thugs were stolen computers. According to Alexander Moskovskogo in the night from 7 to 8 June in the building of the Ministry of internal Affairs had beaten and tortured at least seven workers, including two women (one was pregnant).

In the mine “Belorechenskaya” employees expressed solidarity with the “Komsomolskaya” and demanded news. In response, the Directorate and security services blocked the shaft.

In this explicit social struggle, met the legendary old guard of the working class and Pro-Russian mafia structures of Donbass. They are a policy in the style of Thatcher, as the Western labor movement have either forgotten about the existence of workers of the Donbass, or believes that the Donbass miners joined in 2014 to the fight against the “Ukrainian fascists” and still provide the resistance. Actually it is not so: as their colleagues from Krivoy Rog in the independent Ukraine, they have to fight with mafia and oligarchic leadership, came from the bureaucracy and the police. Let’s be honest: Ukraine Zelensky is not a “Nazi” country, and a corrupt parliamentary regime where fundamental freedoms, including the rights of trade unions exist only on paper. While DND and LNR represent the occupied zone, which Putin wanted to transform into a small Northern Ireland: his plan failed, and they give hope for the democratic struggle in Russia (it must begin with a condemnation of Putin’s imperialism). The unity of the working struggle should be an important component of the unity of the democratic, independent and working Ukraine.

This fight is very close to us and therefore it is so important to talk in France, here and now.

Support Donbass miners! Long live the independent trade unions!