Parliamentary Elections in Ukraine

By Peter Krasnopyarov, Northstar Compass, March 1998

The Communist Analysis of the Situation

On the 29th of March, 1998, the elections to Ukrainian parliament will take place. I would like to describe to the readers of “Northstar Compass” the situation in the 2nd largest republic of the former USSR—both in general and concerning the left-wing movement (and communist especially) in particular.

The 7 years of capitalist restoration has turned simply into a catastrophe for the people of Ukraine. After the getting of the so-called “independence” (bourgeois-nationalistic counter-revolution) Ukraine (which was one of the most developed and rich republics of the USSR) has simply degenerated to the level of the Third World countries. The country's GDP has dropped more than 60%. The industry, agriculture are in a great depression. People do not get their wages and salaries in time, and they may have no wages for a period of over 6 months and even longer. All the high-technology sectors of the economy are simply destroyed (due to the plans of IMF on the de-industrialization of the country). The beggars hide simply in the over-crowded underground stations. Unemployment which was earlier an unknown phenomenon in the USSR, is now, by the official level, something like 2–3%, but that is because people who lost their jobs do not register themselves on the labour exchange, so if we will take all these people into account, the real level of unemployment will become 30-40%. The inflation since 1991 shot up more than 15,000%. So this is, in brief, the economic situation in Ukraine.

What must the Ukrainian communists do in this situation? Firstly, if one calls him (or her) self a communist or Marxist, he (she) must have a clear understanding of tactics of the party calling itself “communist” in the elections to the bourgeois parliament. Reading the works of Marx, Engels and Lenin, we first of all must understand quite well that it is simply impossible to create socialism using the bourgeois parliament. There must be no illusions! So then, maybe it is good simply to boycott the elections to the bourgeois parliament? No! Communists must use bourgeois parliament as a means, as a tribune on propaganda and popularization of socialist ideals, and the aims of this or that communist party. This is a very important question. Because we all know that many communist parties, especially in Western Europe, were captivated with parliamentary games and simply forgot about the one and the only path to socialism—the revolutionary one. The so-called “Eurocommunism” has simply buried those communist parties! But it is also not correct to boycott parliamentary elections if there is no revolutionary situation in the country. The tactics of boycott is correct if there is a revolutionary situation and participation in the bourgeois elections is betrayal of the revolution.

If one will analyze the programmes of two main left-wing parties of Ukraine, the Socialist Party of Ukraine (SPU) and the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU), I must say that none of these parties give us correct understanding of this problem.

The programme of the SPU is pure liberalism. There are no words even about the wish of this party to construct socialism in Ukraine. The programme is full of abstract and obscure phrases like “Let's create a better life for Ukraine”, “All together to a better life”. Certainly there are no calls for constructing a planned economy. There is the so-called “mixed economy”—which is capitalism in other words. It also says that “we’ll lead Ukraine into European and International institutions”. What does this mean? Does it mean that SPU will lead Ukraine into international bourgeois institutions as a colonial country? Looking after the policy of this party during the last years and reading the programme of this party I can only come to the conclusion that SPU is a typical social-democratic party.

As for the Communist Party of the Ukraine, I must also say that both the policy of this party and its pre-election programme are opportunistic. The programme of this party is in most items identical with the programme of CPRF (Communist Party of Russian Federation) in December 1995 elections to the Duma. The revolutionary path to socialism is simply excluded. The private sector is represented in the economy. The problem of reconstruction of the Soviet Union is described in a quite misty way.

Unfortunately, here in Ukraine, we have no party or bloc of parties which can be called really communist, just like “Communists—Workers Russia—For the Soviet Union” as it is in Russia.

On my accounts, the CPU will win approximately 30 or more percent in the elections, but that will not be the victory of the real socialist forces. Because this party is parliamentarized, is sick with the so-called “parliamentary cretinism”.

Some members of this party had voted for the new reactionary bourgeois constitution in June 1996, and some of the leaders of this party simply struggle with the labour movement. The real communists cannot support this party.

Unfortunately, the AUCPB will boycott the elections (as well as in Russia)—for no good reason!

I think that it is necessary to create a real communist party in Ukraine, which will use the parliamentary means of struggle in the correct Marxist-Leninist way.

In the letter accompanying this article, Peter states the following:

“Another problem we have in Ukraine is growing fascism. The Ukrainian fascist organization, called UNA-UNSO, is using demagogic populism and social slogans in which to raise its popularity, playing on the discontent of the majority of people of Ukraine in the present situation.”