This quick blog post is a response to a discussion (actually a couple of discussions) I’ve had on Twitter, relating to Jeremy Corbyn, his associates in Stop the War, and their positions on Russia/Ukraine. My comment got a bit long so I have semi-polished it (not much) and am posting it here. Take it as provisional thinking aloud not as a definitive statement of position.
The context is the claim (e.g. by Tom Porter, James Bloodworth, Edward Lucas, Anne Applebaum, and the Telegraph) that Corbyn is excessively pro-Putin, a claim dismissed as a "smear" by his supporters.
I have updated it three times now, the first time to engage more closely with Corbyn's own position, the second time to add more links, and the third to correct a misreading I made of one of Corbyn's comments (see end of post for the correction).
Corbyn says "We must defend the right of people to demonstrate against their governments, but it was remarkable that the EU leadership in the person of Baroness Catherine Ashton and the US political Establishment in the guise of Senator John McCain both chose to give very strong support to demonstrations in Kiev which were far from representing all Ukrainians." But can any demonstrations represent "all" of a nation's citizens? Is it remarkable when liberal democracies support demonstrations focused on restoring the constitution and eradicating corruption? Did Ashton actually do anything to back up her words?
Extending free trade with the EU to Ukraine does not constitute an act of aggression.
In my first re-edit of this post, I added in the following:
Corbyn says that "The far-right is now sitting in government in Ukraine." Note the odd formulation "sitting in government": the government is not a far right government, although there are far right MPs in its coalition - but there are no fascists or far right politicians in the cabinet at present.The article is from the reliably pro-Moscow Morning Star. I misread the date in which he wrote it, which was April 2014. At that time, Corbyn was right; there were three Svoboda ministers in the short-lived interim coalition government. To see what happened to Svoboda in the Autumn 2014 elections, read Anton Shekhovtsov's post. Also read his excellent analysis of the state of the Ukrainian far right from January.
- Mark Harrison “Jeremy Corbyn and the Uninvited Guest”
- Paulo Canning posts on Russia/Ukraine
- Shiraz Socialist posts on Russia/Ukraine
- Cathy Young on Stephen Cohen, the Russia “expert” Stop the War recently republished
- Natalie Nougayrède: "Corbyn’s ‘talking to bad guys’ diplomacy is an ideological sideshow"
- On Russia Today: Adam Holland, Eric Lee, James Bloodworth
- The Interpreter: inside stories from Russia and Ukraine
- Peter Pomersantsev’s Atlantic articles
- Timothy Snyder’s New Republic articles
- OpenDemocracy Russia
- Voices from Ukrainian and Russian anarchists
- Facts on NATO-Russia relations