Call for solidarity with Ukrainian leftists under repression

Since the Russian intervention in Ukraine, representatives of the far-right and liberal milieu have been spreading calls for violence and even for the killing of those who had previously publicly advocated the implementation of the Minsk agreements, against “decommunisation” and for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Donbass. Activists of left-wing groups were the first to be threatened.

Lists of unreliables have emerged. Some “left-wing activists” also started compiling lists of “wrong leftists.”

On March 3, officers of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), with the participation of neo-Nazis from the Azov group, detained leftist activist Alexander Matyushenko from the Levitsa association in Dnipropetrovsk (Dnipro).

He was charged under Article 437 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code – “waging aggressive war.” And, as the courts in Ukraine do not work now, he was arrested for 30 days without trial – on the prosecutor’s order.

The details of the criminal case are not known because the SBU refuses to introduce it to anyone but his lawyer. But most lawyers refuse to defend him or demand U.S. $3,000 for their services, a rather large sum for Ukrainians.

On the same day, 12 people were detained in Dnipro on similar charges. On March 4, 14 people were detained. On March 5, 11 people were detained.

In Kiev, arrests had begun even earlier. On Feb. 27, brothers Mikhail and Aleksandr Kononovich, leaders of the Ukrainian Communist Youth, ethnic Belarusians, were detained.

It is not known where they are and what they are accused of, as there is no contact with them.

On March 4, Vladimir Ivanov, a left-wing activist from Zaporozhye, disappeared. His whereabouts are unknown. Posts that are uncharacteristic for him are appearing in his Telegram account.

On March 7, journalist Dmitriy Dzhangirov, a member of the New Socialism party, Vasyl Volha, a former leader of the Union of Left Forces, journalist Yury Dudkin and publicist Aleksandr Karevin were detained in Kiev. Karevin managed to write on his Facebook page: “The SBU has come.”

Where all of them are now and what they are accused of is also unknown. Dzhangirov’s Facebook page posted a video of him, possibly under physical duress, saying things that are not typical of him.

On March 11, left-wing activist Spartak Golovachev disappeared in Kharkov. “The door is being broken down by armed men in Ukrainian uniforms. Goodbye,” he managed to write on social media.

It should be noted that there is fighting for Kharkov, but in general it is under the control of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

On March 11, in Odessa, the SBU detained Elena Vyacheslavova, the daughter of Mikhail Vyacheslavov, who died on May 2, 2014, in the fire at the Odessa House of Trade Unions.

On March 12, the SBU detained Olena Lysenko, the wife of Andriy Lysenko, a volunteer from Donetsk. On March 13, she was released, having previously recorded a video in which she slanders her husband.

On March 13, in a village near Odessa, neighbors with nationalist sentiments burned down the house of left-wing activist Dmitry Lazarev.

The whereabouts of several members of the left-wing New Socialism and Derzhava parties are also unknown. They have stopped making contact or writing anything on social media. They may be in hiding, but they may also have been detained.

All indications are that as the fighting continues, the repression of dissenters and leftists will continue. Our capacity to defend the rights of the politically repressed in Ukraine is now very limited. And solidarity with Ukrainian political prisoners by the left and human rights defenders in all countries is very important to us.

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