The Kalashnikov politicians in Eastern Ukraine


By Vitaly Portnikov, May 17, 2014

Is it any wonder that the head of the “government” of the Donetsk separatists is a political strategist with Russian citizenship? After all, the annexation of the Donbas is following old Bolshevik templates. These are exactly the types of “governments” that were designed in Moscow when it was preparing the occupation of any country or territory.

For example, let us examine the puppet government in the “Democratic Republic of Finland,” which arrived in the Finnish city of Terijoki together with the Soviet occupiers.  The head — Comintern activist Otto Kuusinen, who after the failure of the occupation plan remained in the USSR and was promoted to membership in the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The defense minister — Red Army soldier Akseli Anttila, who was promoted from a junior commander of the Red Army to lieutenant general of the “Finnish People’s Army.” The Minister of Karelia — Pavel Prokkonen– in actuality Pavel Prokofiev, deputy chairman of the People’s Commissars of Karelian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. This is the company in question!

Now let’s try to find 10 differences between the “Democratic Republic of Finland” and the “Donetsk People’s Republic,” between the “Finnish People’s Army” and the “Army of the Southeast,” between the Kremlin of Joseph Stalin and the Kremlin of Vladimir Putin. Incidentally, the Kremlin signed a treaty of friendship with the “Finnish government” that was created in Moscow. Stalin himself attended the ceremony. Western diplomats were told that Moscow no longer recognized the legal government of Finland, as it no longer controlled the situation in the country. However, two other countries, in addition to the Soviet Union, had recognized the new “Democratic Republic of Finland” — the People’s Republic of Mongolia and the People’s Republic of Tuvan, which 4 years later was incorporated into the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic as an autonomous region. No other willing country could be found.

Few now remember the collaborators from Terijoki simply because the Finns succeeded in defending their sovereignty with weapons — and the aggressor realized the futility of a “winter war.” However, had the Soviet Union occupied Finland, the activists of the “Democratic Republic of Finland ” would have become real ministers and would have ensured the transformation of the country into a colony of Moscow. However, despite the failure of the Finnish scenario, it has been used many times in similar circumstances. Donbas has become another testing ground for the old techniques that demonstrate utter contempt for the democratic will of the people. In Russia, where elections of any kind have for many decades in a row been transformed into a common profanity, they simply do not believe that in other countries people really do want to choose their own government and will not accept an imposed thug with party tickets or a flag of the “Dnipropetrovsk People’s Republic” instead of a leader they vote for themselves. And that people can resist such blatant disrespect. However, in this case, the most promising argument of the Russian political culture enters the picture — the Kalashnikov automatic rifle.

By Vitaly Portnikov, Kyiv journalist and political commentator, columnist for Radio Svoboda

Translated by Anna Mostovych




2 thoughts on “The Kalashnikov politicians in Eastern Ukraine

  1. The tactic described by Portnikov can be traced back to Lenin and the Bolsheviks in their attitude towards Finland just before, and in Ukraine, just after the October putsch: recognize a pro-Bolshevik government and then send the Red Army to help it impose Bolshevik rule.

  2. This is a fantastic little piece of putting anything and everything in the same political “bag”. There is nothing “Bolshevik” in the actions of the CAPITALIST (my emphasis) government of Vladimir Putin, actions that are directed against the social interests and democratic rights of working people in Ukraine – east and west – AND Russia.

    There is NO political continuity at all between the policies of the workers and peasants government led by the Bolsheviks in the days of Lenin (and even some years after, during the Ukranization policy) and the terror unleashed by what became the Stalin regime against all the genuine communists, working people and oppressed nationalities of the former Soviet Union. The diffence is a river of blood, best exemplified by the forced collectivization and the so-called Moscow Trials 1936-38 (after wich most of the generation that led the October revolution together with Lenin were executed, falsely accused of being “agents of Hitler”.)

    Its very dishonest, and not very helpful att all for the struggles of working people in defense of their political rights and Ukraines self-determination, to equate – as the writer of this article does – the civil wars in Ukraine (and Finland) during 1918-1920, with the indefensible invasion of Finland in 1940 by the Stalin regime. Perhaps the author does not know, or chooses to ignore, that there was revolutions against capitalism in both Ukraine and Finland during 1918-1920, and that both countries were occupied by the remnants of German imperial army.

    For an honest account of the true – and not distorted – Bolshevik position on Ukraine and the rights of the oppressed nationalities of the former czarist empire and prison-house of nations I recommend the article “Ukraine nation flourished in ’20s after revolution” in the May 5, 2014, issue of the socialist newsweekly the Militant, a paper that has defended honestly and with facts the aspirations of working people in Ukraine (and beyond) for political rights and national sovereignty. (

    Ernest Oleinik, Stockholm – Sweden.

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