Two days from the May 11 referendum in Donetsk and Luhansk, the Kiev authorities, unable to crush the uprising in the Donbas, are stepping up the war hysteria, curtailing democratic rights and incorporating fascist paramilitaries into the state apparatus. Meanwhile there are signs of growing working class activity in the areas under the control of the rebels.
In a rare moment of candour, recently, Ukraine's acting President Turchynov admitted that his forces were "helpless" to quell the unrest in Eastern Ukraine, as the pro-Russian insurgency is on the rise. Furthermore he admitted that the Ukrainian security forces were not reliable and “some of these units either aid or co-operate with terrorist groups.” Now the goal would be to prevent the pro-Russian insurgency from spreading in the Kharkiv and Odessa regions. This amounts to a declaration of defeat.
Ukrainian president Oleksandr Turchynov declared yesterday in a live televised address that a full-scale operation involving the army will be launched to regain control over Eastern Ukraine. Whether it is a bluff or a real threat, which the Ukrainian government has the will and means to enforce, is yet to be seen. But today, the same Turchynov has declared that the Kiev government is not against holding a referendum in Eastern Ukraine and set a date for May 25. Meanwhile, there is talk of Kiev asking for UN peacekeepers. This all shows the insoluble mess the Ukrainian authorities have got themselves into.
Donetsk regional admin building (City Hall) this morning, Soviet flag flying (PIC: Graham W Phillips)
The epoch of world growth fueled by globalisation is over. Two giant free trade deals are being thrashed out which would place the United States at the centre of its own strategically drawn up domain, stretching from both sides of the pacific to Eastern Europe. But far from being a means to open up the world to a further intensification of trade and to liberate capitalism from its own fetters, these deals engineered by US imperialism in its own interests would carve up the world into two or more power blocs waging economic war with one another. It is protectionism masquerading as free trade.
As Ukraine slides deeper into chaos, the sound of war drums gets ever louder. On Saturday President Vladimir Putin secured his parliament's authority to send the Russian army, not just into Crimea but also into Ukraine itself.