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Class War in Ukraine: Krasnodon Miners’ Strike in armed antifascist uprising

Martin Kraemer Liehn | 25.04.2014 08:56 | Analysis | Repression | Workers' Movements | World

BREAKING NEWS Eastern Ukraine, 25th April 2014. Workers in 5 mines belonging to the strategic coal basin around Krasnodon (Eastern Ukrainian Oblast of Lugansk) are on strike since 22nd April. Just one hour ago official media confirms, that public transport and other sectors in town have joint the strike in solidarity

October 2013 activists' wall painting on working class housing
October 2013 activists' wall painting on working class housing

Class War in Ukraine: Krasnodon Miners’ Strike within the armed uprising against the new Euro-Fascist Junta of 22.02.2014 south and East of Kiev.
Now Capitalist privatisations targeted by anti-fascist mass movement

“At my workplace, the shift from Soviet rule at work to the regime of private investors taking over after 1991 was drastic. In Soviet times we could negotiate and re-negotiate every rule and order at work because we had the power of calling go-slow-strikes and other half-informal industrial action. As soon as the privatisers moved in on us, this was over. They fired relentlessly, building a reserve army of desperate fellows ready to cross any picket-line. As strange as this sounds in the mouth of an anarcho-syndicalist worker, Soviet rule at the coal face under earth meant considerable bargaining power for us workers, while the privatisations were basically a move by capital to brake just that power of wage workers.”
a miner activist of Donetsk on Mayday 2010

material compiled by Martin Kraemer Liehn, social activist, for the last 15 years living and working in the Ukrainian anti-capitalist and labour movement (no ambition to be a journalist in the bourgeois sense)

Eastern Ukraine, 25th April 2014. Workers in 5 mines belonging to the strategic coal basin around Krasnodon (Eastern Ukrainian Oblast of Lugansk) are on strike since 22nd April. Just one hour ago official media confirms, that public transport and other sectors in town have joint the strike in solidarity (, oppositional comrades from Kazahstan: Miners are on the pay-role of the private cooperation Krasnodonugol (belonging to Metiinvest, a part of SKM) operating the mines. The enterprise is an asset stolen from public ownership by the comparably “moderate” capitalist Ahmetov recently accused of financing the Donetsk uprising by Kiev political police (

Workers decided to shut down operations and occupy the space in front of the administrative building owned by the company. They demand pay rise to the regional average to balance the hyper-inflation of recent weeks. Their meeting place and mobilisation is related to longer-term protest in support of the antifascist uprising in Lugansk and Donetsk ( Yet, official media stress that it is "not a politcal strike". All 4 shifts are now involved in striking and occupying, however there is no data on strike-breakers. Repression of this inter-sector strike movement in and around Krasnodon now can turn out another rather difficult task for the Kiev based Euro-Fascist Junta. Since 8th April 2014, the preliminary front line of what is rapidly now turning into a full-fledged civil war remains stay put around Slavjansk, 130 km west of Krasnodon. The ad-hoc Kiev government installed by far-right paramilitaries (Pravy Sector) in an armed coup on 22nd of Febuary 2014 and hailed 3 months in advance by US and EU neo-liberals (televised Majdan-zone) has practically no counter-insurgency police at hand for the moment. Its only resort are improvised shock troopers of fascist paramilitaries and the political police (SBU, exKGB with its commander probably personally acting as a CIA resource). The Kiev junta has opted for hit-and-run-assassinations and blatant lying about the real situation on the ground (counter-information from close to the uprising: follow focussing on the insurgent towns of Slavjansk and Mariopol (both Donetsk Oblast) while regular army units deployed into the civil war zone are now rather kept out of action. This consecutive turn of Euro-fascist counter-insurgency from policing to military show-down and further to random assassinations of anti-fascist activists was chosen after regular army units deployed into the urban war zones dramatically melted away within hours surrendering their arms in fraternisation with the anti-fascist armed uprising of Donesk and Lugansk since 6th April 2014.

The illustration of this article is a giant wall painting on working class housing right in the centre of the industrial town Har’kov, finished just before the Euro-Majdan hysteria in October 2013 by a collective of anarchist and communist artists and poets. The lyrics translate as:
Carbon Transformations

We were released like carbon dioxide from the Red Planet,
Then we became formable like graphite;
We were to be burned for Them like coal,
In their flames we turn crystal-clear and organised, like diamonds.
Anonymous wall painting collective 2013 “


Until a few hours ago you could arguably explain the Euro-fascist internal war of Ukraine as a mere internal conflict within its ruling class. On the one hand, the owner of Privatbank, Kolomojskij, officially holding 17 Million Ukrainians in pay-check to pay-check debt bondage, has promised kill-premiums for every “Moskovite” murdered by the Nazi-shock units he sponsored right through the temporary Euro-fascist Majdan-hysteria (23.11.2013 – 22.02.2014). Now their storm troopers and fatal snipers, once posing as “color revolution civil society” are the only remaining armed support of the putsch government of Kiev, which appointed Kolomojskij in person to govern and police the crucial front region of Dnepopetrovsk oblast. He does so with an openly fascist informal squat of his own. On the other hand Renat Ahmetov, his criminal privatisation counterpart and industrial magnate, heavily invested in Ukrainian coal and steel based in the insurgent East of the former state, has kept a lower profile.
Throughout March, the working-class town of Har’kov developed the profile of a social revolt against the Euro-fascist central take-over which culminated in the declaration of the first week of April to “prioritise collective property instead of private property”. Characteristically, this revolt and its occupation of administrative buildings (no corporate strongholds yet, at that time) was crushed by parachuted shock troopers in conjunction with irregular pro-fascist fighters in the first place. A particularly surprising development of this counter-insurgency was the militancy of a self-declared “anarchist workers’ union”, AST, in the armed conflicts of Har’kov on the side of the pro-fascist government.

The uncanny elasticity of “Anarchism” as a looking glass on the micro-fibre of recent Ukrainian polarisations

The rising civil war of Ukraine can actually be understood quite well by looking at polarisations within the marginal liberal-to-Anarchist micro-cosmos. AST and its leader Vladimir Zadiraka have officially figured as collaborators for the Kiev Interior Ministry as far back as March 2011, with Janukovich still building up his corporate police-state with flying colours then ( number12 Vladimir Zadiraka (leader AST, with number 12 (Mihail Kamenev) in the list being a frontman of the associated so-called “student’s union Direct Action”, PD).

Liberal bourgeois “Anarchism”

AST was a micro-formation of hardly more than 20 fighters, according to a self-portrait affirmatively promoted by Ashville media-collective in January 2014 (, note that "Denys" in January had many sensible points and there is a notable disconnect between rank-and-file members like Denys and the politics of their accepted leader Vladimir Zadiraka). Its latest outreach to semi- and pseudo-politicised liberal (bourgeois anarchist) milieus in Western Europe and the US has reached considerable scope as they serve the shifting tides of ruling class interest with a rare international network of contacts and have a considerable apparatus for multi-language information-disinformation. Producing professional texts in Polish, German, English simultaneously, since the beginning of 2014 AST since quickly sensed the shifting necessities for the ruling industrialists of the country and their grip for state control (, contested by When bourgeois anarchy and its transgressions by armed “civil societies” are the rule of the day in US and EU’s political investments into the country, bourgeois Anarchist “trade unions” have a role to play as well. Besides bragging of its pro-government arsenal of “chemical warfare” and computer-like “algorithms” in the command execution of para-military operations in Har’kov street battles of the last week, AST does a good job on the fronts of international propaganda wars. It cleverly identifies the current main obstacle of popular mobilisation in Ukrainean anti-fascism to target it with phony disinformation designed for Western liberals. End of January 2014 they launched a propaganda attack against the very moderate officialist Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU). In march they reached out further left to target, a movement supported by the Swedish left party. The common denominator of its attacks (widely reiterated on Western indymedia resources, e.g.) is a curious mock-copy of left criticism against the pro-fascist sponsors of the Majdan uprising, November 2013 to February 2014. As far-right networks and leading white pride hate-criminals were revealed to be a major asset in the Ukrainian nationalist Kiev offensive, AST reverts the argument and states the same for social forces of anti-fascist resistance, filling in Putinist chauvinism for Ukrainian claims on racial superiority (see e.g. the current Kiev junta minister of education, outed as member of a KKK-like fascist secret society “Trizub” which set up the fighting formation “Pravy sector”). Curiously, the Russian federation is firm not to let itself be annexed once more as orchestrated by Crimean-based business owners in March 2014. Lugansk and Donetsk are of-target for the privatiser Putin, as argues Boris Kagerlickij (, based in Moscow, for the anti-oligarchical and anti-fascist uprising in Donetsk and Lugansk is precisely a future scenario for their Eastern neighbour regions Putin visibly fears by far more than his just recently contracting G7-counterparts and business associates. Cynically, since taking to attack, AST communications for Western liberals highlight a supposed “network of fascist forces primordial in the Russian chauvinist uprising of the East and South of Ukraine” which has practically no importance on the ground. Maybe they just do not dare to investigate on the other side of the front-line any more. When fascists became primordial in openly Ukrainian chauvinist armed action in Kiev at the beginning of the year 2014 AST “decided” to join them “hiding their identity” as liberal Anarchists. Accusing the Swedish left party partner of fascist sympathies and radicalism is the more absurd as both organisations until 2013 had the same sponsor, the Ukrainian chauvinist liberal Chimiris. Still in January, would not distance itself from Chimiris, though the other side openly attacked members privately agitating for a yellow trade union (by political entrepreneur Volynets) in central Kiev (

National “Anarchism”

Interestingly, the openly chauvinist “National Anarchists” of Western Ukraine are already a step further than their phony AST communicators for Western liberals though they as well “chemically equipped” for any street battles against partisans of collective property, as AST promotes itself in present-day Har’kov. Presumably, power consolidation in the Kiev Junta back-waters of Western Ukraine, their primordial mobilising ground in the February armed uprising instating the new Kiev government, is in such an advanced state that it can easily dispose of any “Nationalist Anarchist” support already and shift them away from their promised posts and income opportunities by now.

Working class anarcho-syndicalism in the region of Donetsk

To complete our micro-analysis of the Anarchising socio-tope, it is notable that at least 4 active members of the Ukraine-based international anarcho-syndicalist formation RKAS have participated in the Donetsk anti-fascist revolt and its seizure of administrative buildings since March. While the leading figure of this, equally highly centralised, formation is playing on Ukrainean chauvinist rhetoric for the time being, his formerly strong Donetsk branch has obviously changed sides. Interestingly enough, this is linked to the strong working-class base of this branch. On Mayday 2010, e.g. I interviewed a miner who took part in the RKAS defile column (dress-code exclusively black, for having a red flag with me, though walking on 4 metre stalks, I was at the order of RKAS leadership discretely placed outside of their column at the mercy of police and paid blue-region party student “activists”. At the consecutive RKAS conference venture this miner privately told me fascinating details of his work-life and activism underground. He has joined the coal work-force during the last years of the Soviet union. In 1994 he had joined the ranks of anarcho-syndicalists when rather traditionally mobilising coal miners took to prolonged strike action and marched on Kiev. What has motivated him to join the miners’ movement back in 1994? “At my workplace, the shift from Soviet rule at work to the regime of private investors taking over after 1991 was drastic. In Soviet times we could negotiate and re-negotiate every rule and order at work because we had the power and class-relation of power to call go-slow-strikes and other often half-informal industrial action. As soon as the privatisers moved in on us, this was over. They fired relentlessly, building a reserve army of desperate fellows ready to cross any picket-line. As strange as this sounds in the mouth of an anarcho-syndicalist worker, Soviet rule at the coal face under earth meant considerable bargaining power for us workers, while the privatisations were basically a move by capital to brake just that power of wage workers.”

The novelty of industrial action in the Ukrainian mayhem of the last 6 months/23 years

Interestingly enough, the whole Majdan hysteria promoted and canonised by Western media outlets November 2013-Febuary2014 did announce but could never mount any real industrial action. After the dramatic rhetoric in major corporate media calling for a nation-wide general strike through the yellow trade union leader Volynets (pro-fascist Batkivshina, until October funded by the Rosa Luxenburg foundation of the German “Left Party”) in the first week of December, at the height of public calls for political industrial action there was literally no show of working class support for this mobilisation. Strikes were soon declared by the yellow trade union leaders to “happen during lunch break for the time being because of the difficult situation of the nation”. There were some heads of the far-west and ultra-right Ivano-Frankovsk regional administration not turning up to work and instead turning up on television screens at Kiev Majdan. It soon became clear that these top-end salary earners had taken “strike leave, i.e. regular leave, paying themselves during the days off work” a privilege not attainable by ordinary wage workers in present day Ukraine. All the while, working class participation at Majdan events was never higher than 7% according to statistical data provided by the political technicians and engineers of the Majdan enterprise themselves.

The Krasnodon industrial action of the last hours is a decisive turn of events. A strike movement within an armed rebellion fit to seize corporate property actually last surfaced in 1916/1917 in this region of the world.


Outside of the insurgent zone of Ukraine’s far east, especially in both the East and South of the country, sympathies with the anti-fascist revolt and recent industrial action are high as far as my comrades an me can soberly assess during the last hours. However, the amount of intimidation in still Euro-fascist-dominated zones of the country has reached levels rendered famous by Columbian and Guatemalan ruling classes. Large parts of Kiev commercial life has fallen under the mafia-type control of far-right paramilitaries settling accounts in open gun battles in the Euro-fascist capital. One part of the Donetsk uprising can surely be explained by the fact that in their desperation rivalling business structures started suddenly investing in real anti-fascism, at least in the far east region. However the main oligarchs of Donetsk, including the relatively “moderate” large-scale post-Soviet privatiser Ahmetov are now clearly on the other side of the dividing line.
Anti-fascism thus could evolve to its real potential of strength as a working class interest movement.
Mind the crystal-clear definition of working class I was instructed by my mentors of the General and Transport Workers fighting-back union organising migrant workers around Manchester before being put under arrest warrant for the United Kingdom (G8 2005):
Who is a real fellow of the working class? The one who never crosses a picket line.
So, forget about bourgeois anarchism, join the working class interest, be it anarcho-syndicalist, communist or traditional. We have an enemy who makes class unity a necessity for political survival.

Possibilities to support working-class agency in the current anti-fascist uprising nationwide

Disarm the liberal propaganda machine, including its “Anarchist” outlets with information. You can find much more than this article proposes. Search actively, counter-check everything (including my own arguments here), use translation machines, some work fine for Ukrainian Russian TO American English.

Visit the region. Activate all contacts beforehand (links below). Let trusted activists on the ground instruct you what you could best bring to the hot-spots.

Rote Hilfe e.V. has opened an emergency help account to support anti-fascists against state and warlord repression in current Ukraine:

account no.: 56036239
BLZ: 260 500 01
at "Sparkasse Göttingen"
IBAN: DE25 2605 0001 0056 0362 39
mention: "Antifascism Ukraine"
news channels
powered by trusted comrades of ours, supplying hourly updates:

contributions on antifascist resistance, published by Martin:
EN (Ukraine telegraph № 3)
GE das Ukrainetelegramm № 14:
das Ukrainetelegramm № 13: backup-ressource at
das Ukrainetelegramm № 12:
das Ukrainetelegramm № 11:
das Ukrainetelegramm № 10:
das Ukrainetelegramm № 9:
das Ukrainetelegramm № 8:
das Ukrainetelegramm № 7:
das Ukrainetelegramm № 6:
das Ukrainetelegramm № 5:
das Ukrainetelegramm № 4:
das Ukrainetelegramm № 2:
das Ukrainetelegramm № 1:
BE CRITICAL: mingle with German language Open draft workshop
on Ukrainen Left forced underground:
recent graphic sketching:
a little essay in communication guerilla for Vancouver 2015 MLA:

Just weeks before the implosion of social demands in the East of Ukraine:
project no. 133 at Har'kov downtown
ressources (quality print, screen view pdf, digital text for copyriot use):

for a comparison and the state of the art, check out our last Portuguese fresco:
first photos:
commented and documented in Portuguese:
documentation text:

and see the inauguration of our preceeding mural a-secco on 16th March 2013
--> this is our E-catalogue with thrillingly colourfull compositions

against G8 in Japanese deportation arrest:

For further interest, I have compiled an English directory of links on painting-writing-action in reverse chronology, with some yet unpublishable (secret) texts at the end -->

........the Red zone ----------------------militant investigation into working class future................
the Babeuf 1790 (French, English remarks) I discovered in a Moscow cellar in 2007 now gets attention by a French publishing effort: (see commentary)

join in the debate over my decade long research project results are now coming forward in print, step by step...THE PROCESS GETS ALIVE WITH YOU COINTRIBUTING YOUR CRITICISM AND OBSERVATION

first sketches for discussion are available in English (check a review in Ukrainean at and contribute your own comments)

there is a slightly more recent draft essay in English on Har'kov developments:

further English elements for discussion of unorthodox left approaches to class war:

a more comprehensive approch, vol. 1 of 12 is on its way in German language publishing: (reviewed in as (go to:)"Klassendruck aufheben, aushebeln", further reviews welcome)

"Agitatorka" recently had a family meeting with "Agitators" in Frankfurt:

consequences of a missing ending(-:

and my even older, almost dinosaur, PhD from 2001 is available for slaughter as well:

and sensational source material, first published here: Marchlewski 1920 (Polish, Russian, German):


^^^^the Yellow zone ^^^^collective painting reclaiming public spaces internationally ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ here comes our giant wall painting project, soon at YOUR convergence site for our forthcoming social revolution, just drop us an invitation, as did our comrades in:

2011/ project 4 - Salzwedel - FRG ( German Radio production from the freco workshop: explaining words in the mural painting:

2011/ project 3 - Halle (Saale) - FRG recent fresco action in May 2011 in Halle Vereinigte Linke / Infoladen: and its preparation process

2011/ project 2 - Istanbul - Turkey first photos from our construction site in Turkey, in Febuary and March 2011:

2011/ project 1 - Pescomaggiore (AQ) - Italy check our latest Italian project, completed on 30th Jan 2011: fresco painting action in the Italian earthquake zone: collecting our documentary pictures

and a brıef Russian text on our recent fresco work in Italy:

Let the writing collective know some of your critical observations on this venture:

fresco update on

paintings and philosophical remarks on revolutionary aestetics in the Eastern Ukrainean provincial capital Sumy

*****the Blue zone*************the most unrewarding fun of advancing our revolt for life after capitalism **

hello from Siberia prepared as

...and some links about our collective work in Ukrainean:

starting into a new season: radical left Kiev carnival 2012

professional footage of happily unprofessional public action

a summer action that was targeted with police repression aiming to produce a sentence of 5 years forced labour camp in the Ukrainean prison of Konotop. Check for the appaling scenes of revolutionary violence police was forced to deal with that day(-; Russian background on the repressiona fter the march

visual public action for the international day against violence on women, 25th Nov.

a combined demonsatration for LGBT rights and against capitalist crisis politics in Ukraine

a drumming farce...on ice

the choices of Ukrainean ruling class

a collective analysys on student protest today in Ukraine and its pertracted class contradictions (in German language)

//////// a contribution for evaluating anti-capitalist protests in Frankfurt (Main), shedding some light on patriarchal legacies on the German left which surfaced grossly during the campaign "block G8" in 2007, already... and the protagonists of selling-out left stances to pure symbolism are actually exactly the same as half a decade back interestingly enough ... censored on but made available on

occupy Bavaria, a test run about 1919

an excursion to Murnau, with drawings and comments on the making of revolutionary collective art

draft contribution for a book project on the wider anticapitalist implications of resisting the nuclear waste cycle agitTheatr on canvas (latest work in progress) photos: moving images: //////////////////////////////////////

Martin Kraemer Liehn
- e-mail: kiev (aett)
- Homepage:


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