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Vol. 78/No. 10      March 17, 2014

‘Russia out of Ukraine,’ demand protest actions

New York
Some 400 protesters demonstrating against Russian intervention in Ukraine marched to the Russian Consulate on 91st Street March 2 with chants that included “No war in Ukraine!” “Putin. Hands off Ukraine!” and “Crimea is Ukrainian!”

“I’m against any military action,” said Evgeny Ryabov, 23, who is from Izhevsk, Russia. “I came to the demonstration along with my wife, who wanted to support her country.” Ryabov and Angelina Dziuba, 24, who moved to the U.S. from southern Ukraine three years ago, live in Brooklyn.

“Russia is provoking Ukraine,” said Dziuba. “They have their military forces there and Ukraine will push back.”

“In Crimea there is no reason for Russian military people to be there. The Tatars there are against the Russian occupation. They support Ukraine,” Dziuba said.

Razom, a Ukrainian group that has been organizing support for popular demonstrations in Kiev’s Independence Square for the past three months, sponsored the action. Razom also called a rally here the previous Sunday to honor those killed by police in Kiev and to celebrate the overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

“The Russian invasion is consistent with Putin and is the logical conclusion of the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008,” said Stanislav Bardinok, who came to the U.S. from Ukraine 15 years ago. “Part of Georgia is still under occupation. Putin wants to re-establish the previous borders of the USSR.”

Georgian, Byelorussian, and Tatar flags mixed in among the Ukrainian flags.

“Our independence for the past decades was just on paper,” said Inna Rentur, a housecleaner. She and her friends heard about the protest on the radio while in a car and immediately decided to come. “Yanukovych stole the country’s money and resources,” said Rentur. “He is a criminal. It is very painful. One of my classmates died in Independence Square.”

— Dan Fein

More than 500 people rallied outside the Russian Embassy here March 2 to protest Russian domination of Ukraine and military moves against the country by the Vladimir Putin government in Moscow.

Chants included, “Stop the war in Ukraine,” “Putin is a criminal,” “Crimea is Ukraine” and “Glory to Ukraine, glory to the heroes,” referring to those who recently died at the hand of the riot police in Ukraine.

Protesters included people from Georgia, Latvia and Lithuania, nations dominated by Russia under the czarist empire and under the Stalinist government of the Soviet Union.

Many Russians in solidarity with those fighting for independence in Ukraine and opposed to the Putin government attended the rally, as did a number of Syrians opposed to the tyranny of the Bashar al-Assad regime. Syrian flags mixed with those of Ukraine.

“Putin doesn’t know what he is doing, uniting people from around the world for democracy and against dictatorship,” said Bohdan Ciapryna, a protest organizer and retired surgeon.

“People are uniting,” said Andriy Lototskyy, a carpenter in south London. “I have been part of weekly meetings, but this is the biggest event we’ve had, and it includes people from all over the U.K. and from many different countries as well.”

“I was part of the demonstrations over there” said Andriy Chornyy, 15, who had just returned from Ternopil in west Ukraine. “There were many young people there like me, because everyone wants to participate in the demonstrations and discussions taking place.”

— Ólöf Andra Proppé

Des Moines, Iowa
About 25 people braved bitterly cold temperatures to attend a ceremony here March 2 honoring those killed in the struggle in Ukraine to oust the pro-Moscow government of Viktor Yanukovych.

The action was organized by Roman Serebryakov, a young Ukrainian who has lived here for eight years. Serebryakov said he called the “candle ceremony” to honor those who gave their lives fighting for “freedom, future and democracy.” Several Ukrainian exchange students, along with their host families, made up the majority of those attending the event.

Although he is Ukrainian, Serebryakov was brought up speaking Russian. On Feb. 28, he told an audience at the Militant Labor Forum here that he “learned how to survive, how to cheat the government, because the government treats humans like animals.” When he moved to Kiev, he said, he met young people “who valued Ukrainian culture.” He learned to speak Ukrainian and developed a sense of pride.

While growing up in a Ukrainian mining town of 40,000, “bullies would come in from the capital and just take over businesses. There is no labor protection or unions.” Government officials “used ‘free markets’ and ‘democracy’ to launder money. Yanukovych controlled most of the banking system. The head of the special forces took charge of the one gold mine in the country. This is how state capitalism works.”

— David Rosenfeld

Related articles:
Russian troops occupy Crimea in Ukraine
Putin targets popular overturn of Yanukovych
Russian troops out of Ukraine!
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