Contradictions in Ukraine’s decommunization reform

Author : Denys Pilash

14:29, 30 May 2016

Contradictions in Ukraine’s decommunization reform

Author : Denys Pilash

Ukrainians question list of historic figures that are to be ‘banned’ under decommunisation initiatives

14:29, 30 May 2016
Read the original text at

"It is forbidden to forbid!" proclaimed the "new left" in May 1968 in Paris. During that time the so-called rebel boys and girls of the undemocratic Soviet model of so-called "real socialism" was unacceptable, as well as capitalism; and their own ideas can be also criminalized and characters According to the new law "On the condemnation of the communist and national socialist (Nazi) regimes, and prohibition of propaganda of their symbols."

Fry and Laurie comedy show, known in Britain for its leftist sympathies, presented a lovely sketch about a rich man and a beggar. Here is one of the most vivid moments:

- It's not a crime to be a communist.

- Not a crime? Not a crime? Have you gone howling mad, not a crime. This is 1988, of course it's a crime. Communists are the enemy of democracy, they are criminals.

- Well what's so good about democracy?

- What's so good about democracy? What's so good about democracy he asks? It's freedom of speech and thought and belief, that's what's so good about it, you degraded heap of smelliness. Now get out of my way before I set fire to you.

The Ministry of the historical truth named after Volodymyr Vyatrovych (official name - the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory) issued a "list of persons subject to the decommunization" (respectively, all geographic and topographic objects named in their honor should be rename).

Related: 137 newspapers and magazines to be decommunizated

The urgency of these initiatives is undeniable; the utility rates are so high that the next round against "the specter of communism" should refocus people’s attention from the problems caused by oligarchic capitalism. Being the country with the lowest average incomes in Europe, Ukraine must somehow find the money to rename a huge number of streets and even a region (Dnipropetrovsk). For example, renaming of the Kyiv streets requires at least 9 million.

It is not surprising that 89.5% of the population find the decommunization initiatives questionable (or, as the authors of a national survey "The conflict in the media, media in conflict," conducted by the sociological agency "Fama," "people have a bias towards reform of decommunization"). Every fifth Ukrainian agrees with the hackneyed mantra "While there are monuments to Lenin, Ukraine cannot develop."

Karl and Clara: rampant "de-communization" and its victims

Now let us talk about the list prepared by subordinates of Vyatrovych, our "national Commissioner of memory." Quite half of all the names belong to ordinary workers or sailors who participated in the revolutionary events (and not necessarily in 1917; for example, the worker Ivan Babushkin died in 1906, and Mykola Bauman was killed by Tsarist secret police agent in 1905).

According to this list, streets and squares named after Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels should be also renamed. Notorious law on decommunisation does not ban these philosophers, whose contribution in modern social science and philosophy just cannot be overestimated. However, the law says that their names were "used to promote the communist totalitarian regime."

Here are the other people after whom the streets cannot be named in Ukraine:

Rosa Luxemburg. Of course, compilers of the list are not interested in her political activities or her polemics with Lenin; she is a founder of the Communist Party of Germany, that is why she is an enemy.

Mykola Skrypnyk. Fortunately, the Institute of National Memory has already excluded him, but it turns out that the list of "prohibited" can be arbitrarily changed at any time and in any direction. Names of the other prominent figures of while the list remained less known figures of "Executed Renaissance" - Ivan (Israel) Kulyk, Petro Dyatliv, - are still in the list.

Christian Rakovsky. Bulgarian revolutionary and essayist who during the formation of the USSR defended the rights of the USSR from Stalin’s "autonomy" project. He was one of the most enduring figures of anti-Stalin opposition within the Bolshevik Party.

Mykhailo Pokrovsky. Marxist historian who openly debunked Russian imperial myths.

Creators of the world's public health system Vira Velichkina(a writer and a doctor who died of flu in 1918 in Spain) and Mykola Semashko.

Related: Ukrainian MPs approve renaming Dnipropetrovsk under ‘decommunisation’ drive

Maryna Raskova. Pilot that organized the female aviation units; she died in 1943.

Soviet partisans: Sydor Kovpak, Olexander Saburov, Mykola Popudrenko.

Petro Shelest. Actually, the post-Soviet historical narrative usually emphasized on his "patriotism," but the entire regime and all its figures are declared "criminal."

Members of the first Ukrainian Soviet government (People's Secretariat) - Yevgenia Bosch, Yuriy Lapchynskyy, Volodymyr Aussem.

Commander of the 1st Ukrainian Soviet regiment Mykola Shchors and commanders of workers' Red Guards - Bozhenko Vsevolod Dovnar-Zapolskiy, Olexander Belenkovych (all of them, except the last one, were killed during the civil war, and then canonized by the Stalinist regime, which was likely to kill them, as it happened to Belenkovych and other Red army commanders).

All Ukrainian Communists repressed during the Stalinist terror – from Volodymyr Zatonsky to the founder of the Red Cossacks Vitaly Prymakov or former Borotbists Panas Liubchenko and Eugene Terlecky,

True Bolsheviks who respected for their positive activity even by their foes: Olexandra Kollontai, Anatoly Lunacharsky, Maxim Lytvynov, Leonid Krasin, Georgy Lomov (Oppokov), George Chicherin, Mykola Ostrovsky, Yan Fabritsyus (Red Army commander who died saving the victims of the Black sea plane crash), Volodymyr Bonch-Bruevich (historian, published the first volume of works of Skovoroda), Glib Krzyzanowski (chairman of the State Planning Committee), Mykhailo Olminsky (literary critic), Sofia Sokolovska (director of Mosfilm), Nariman Narimanov (one of the leading novelists of Azerbaijan)

Foreign Communist leaders, Clara Zetkin, Ernest Thalmann, Dolores Ibarruri, Palmiro Togliatti, Moris Torez, writer Henri Barbusse, founder of Bulgarian Marxism Dimitar Blagoev, Klement Gottwald (whose name was misspelled).

Soviet diplomats, who were killed, Vatslav Vorovsky (literary critic and diplomat; he was killed by White Guard), Theodor Nette (Diplomatic Courier).

All the participants of the January Uprising (sorry, rebellion), workers of the plant "Arsenal" - Isaak Kreisberg, Ivan Fialek, Andriy Ivanov, Mykola Lukashevych, etc.

Perhaps the only Hungarians after whom are named the streets in Kyiv: Lajos Gavro (Hungarian Socialist that fought with Denikin; shot dead in 1938) and Máté Zalka (writer and revolutionary, killed in battle with Franco in Spain).

Some Kudryavtsev, whose "fault" is that he gave land to the peasants ("engaged in the distribution of land in Mykolaiv region after the October Revolution").

Related: Poroshenko: We must complete decommunization, it is a matter of national security

Avarice and concise bias of the "biographical information" about the "communist villains" really excites. Their past achievements have been concealed, but their sins are bloated (or even imagined):

Nadezhda Krupskaya - "initiator of mass repressions."

Mykola Skrypnyk – it is stressed that he was a member of the board of Cheka (Emergency Committee); not a single word about Commissariat of Education or the USSR State Planning Committee.

Arkady Gaidar - "Communist Party activist, a member of the KGB" (and nothing about the author of children's books)

Ivan Papanin - "investigator of the Crimean Cheka," and not a word about his contribution to the study of the Arctic,

Karl Liebknecht - "organized communist insurgency in Germany." This is the man who was imprisoned and killed for his stance against World War I (he was murdered by extreme Freikorps by acquiescence of his former comrades fromthe Social Democratic Party).

Miner Stakhanov - "Chief of the People's Commissariat of socialist competition in the coal industry in 1943" – that is all.

Moisei Uritsky - "organized terrorism," in fact, he was the opponent of the death penalty, but who cares?

The local authorities are beyond this "official ban-list." Thus, Dnipropetrovsk officials “decommunize” streets named after the anarchist Mikhail Bakunin, Ivan Kaliayev (a member of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, known for his role in the assassination of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich; The Just Assassins by Albert Camus is dedicated to Kaliayev), and the Czechoslovakian Communist Julius Fucik (whoseNotes from the Gallows, written in a Nazi prison before his execution, became a symbol of anti-fascist resistance).

We need more "decommunization"!

Institute of National Memory notes that the proposed list is not ended yet.

Indeed, it can include many figures such as:

Taras Shevchenko - advocate of the social revolution, "his identity was used to promote the communist totalitarian regime."

Ivan Franko - one of the founders of the socialist ideology in Ukraine, "his identity was used to promote the communist totalitarian regime."

Lesya Ukrainka - promoter of Marxism, "her identity was used to promote the communist totalitarian regime."

Monument to Lesya Ukrainka, Kyiv (2015)

Jaroslav Hasek - red commissioner, member of Central Committee of RCP (b) (Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks).

Pavlo Skoropadsky - organizer of an armed rebellion against the Ukrainian People's Republic.

Symon Petlura - organizer of an armed rebellion against the Hetmanate,

Vyacheslav Chornovil - a member of the Young Communist League, organizer of "People's Movement for Perestroika," he supported a process that launched by the criminal totalitarian communist Gorbachev (let us not forget his criminal actions committed before 1991).

Theodore Dreiser - American communist activist, etc.

In general, the global and Ukrainian culture of the last century are full of contenders for decommunization. Remeber Italian Communist Gianni Rodari and his Cipollino? This is the direct promotion of illegal socialist revolution! You can take the example of excellence decommunisation processes in Russia that removed from the theater performance the piece about revolution. But certainly this is not enough and we might go further; we are fed up with this communist domination! Let us remove from libraries books of Mayakovsky, Khvylovy, Efremov, Fucik, Brecht, Garcia Marquez, Doris Lessing, Saramago, Aragon, Breton, Rolland, Kobo Abe and Stieg Larsson!

Related: Duda signes law on decommunisation in Poland

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