Socialist Worker

Rulers’ squabble as new deal means deep cuts for working class people in Ukraine

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2396

Russia was booted out of the elite club of rich economies on Monday of this week. 

World leaders were punishing Russian president Vladimir Putin for his land grab in Crimea.

As world leaders convened an emergency summit in The Hague, Russia announced that its military takeover of Crimea was complete.

Ukrainian forces had either surrendered, joined Russian forces or been ejected from all military bases.

At the same time the build up of Russian forces on Ukraine’s eastern border continued.

The Western response to the crisis has been divided.

The US has issued sanctions against Putin’s inner circle while European leaders have targeted more junior figures with travel bans and asset freezes.

This is partly because of splits among European Union (EU) leaders.

Behind the rhetorical flourishes, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov agreed to meet his Ukrainian counterpart Andriy Deshchytsya.

There is no “lesser evil” in this global manoeuvring. Most importantly there is no such thing as progressive imperialism. 

The West has no right to try to impose the interests of neoliberal capitalism on Ukraine in order to weaken Russia.

Annexation

But Russian armed expansion and annexation keeps the region trapped beneath the interests of the big powers.

European leaders who are more exposed to Russian markets are calculating the consequences of further sanctions. The EU does ten times as much trade with Russia as the US, and is the biggest customer for Russian oil and gas.

The US announced it is boosting its spying operations across Russia, Ukraine and the Baltic. 

US general Philip Breedlove claimed that Russia could seek to take control of Transnistria, a Russian-speaking part of Moldova.

Putin hopes he can restrict Western advances and show Russian dominance. 

No side really wants an all-out war, but the situation could spiral out of control.

Ordinary Ukrainian people gain nothing from Russian intervention or Western interference.

Meanwhile the EU and Ukraine signed the core elements of a political association agreement on Friday of last week. 

It essentially commits to the same deal that former president Viktor Yanukovych rejected last November, leading to his overthrow.

The pact commits the Ukrainian government to “embark swiftly on an ambitious programme of structural reforms”. That means deep cuts and austerity for ordinary people in Ukraine.


If you enjoy Socialist Worker, please consider giving to our annual appeal to make sure we can maintain and develop our online and print versions of Socialist Worker. Go here for details and to donate.

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.