May 30, 2018


How Right is the Left?: The German radical Left in the context of the 'Ukraine crisis' (KYRYLO TKACHENKO, 15 May 2018, Eurozine)

In summary, the German radical Left has accepted the Russian master narrative about Ukraine, including the most blatant propaganda lies. At the beginning, many people (including this author) supposed that this was just an aberration, albeit deplorable, and one subject to correction by factual critique. But four years on from the beginning of the Maidan, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that this impression was wrong.

No German leftwing newspaper ever apologized for spreading so many lies about Ukraine, although the great bulk of them could have been avoided by simple fact-checking (even without any knowledge of Ukrainian or Russian).

Dietmar Bartsch, the co-chair of the Die Linke faction in German parliament, has never withdrawn his statement that there is an institution to train political activists in Ukraine which is named after Joseph Goebbels. Moreover, he was never admonished, at least not openly, by his colleagues from the party. The allegation that the Maidan was financed by five billion dollars from the US, made by another Die Linke co-chair, Sahra Wagenknecht, during parliamentary debates, is still to be found on her official website, without any comment.13The statement is simply a lie produced by the Russian propaganda machine, still circulating in the leftwing milieu despite being comprehensively refuted.14

To the best of my knowledge, nobody from Die Linke has ever apologized for calling the Ukrainian trident a 'Nazi symbol'.

As of the beginning of 2018, basically nothing has changed since 2014. The item on the agenda of Die Linke which demands the dissolution of NATO and the creation of a collective security system with the participation of Russia remains unchanged despite Russia's redrawing of borders by means of war.15

The pro-Russian stance goes so far that another prominent member of the party, the ex-chairman of its parliamentary faction, Gregor Gysi, can state that it would be better for the rest of the world if Trump and Putin were to come to an agreement about the division of their respective spheres of influence16

whereas another high-ranking representative of Die Linke, Alexander Neu, has denied Russia's bombing of Aleppo - at a point when Russia had been bombing Syria, more or less openly, for eleven months.17Each time Assad's regime is accused of using chemical weapons, representatives of Die Linke never tire of casting suspicion on the facts. They demonstrate 'against the bombing of Syria' only when the United States threatens to intervene. At the same time, their silence about the bombing carried out by Russia and the regime itself is deafening.

Notwithstanding some remarkable exceptions, the narrative about Ukraine as generally accepted by the German Left can be summarized as follows: Maidan is a putsch financed by the western forces; Ukraine is currently ruled by radical nationalists and fascists; Russia was provoked by western intrusion and was forced to protect itself; even if Russia does support the breakaway 'people's republics', the conflict in the Donbas is an instance of civil war instigated by NATO; Russia never invaded Ukraine; and so on, and so forth. As contradictory as this narrative is, it's vivacity and even a kind of a peculiar coherence becomes clear in the light of some intrinsic features of the leftwing worldview and its correlation with the relevant agenda of the far right.

Posted by at May 30, 2018 12:07 AM