They are anti-fascists and libertarians, organized in the resistance committee. “We are facing an imperialist invasion”. So Ukrainian anarchists join the war against Putin’s army.
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The Russian invasion of Ukraine has produced a totally asymmetric war compared to the armed conflicts we know in the new millennium. The anarchist component is also fighting against Putin’s army in Ukrainea movement that has always opposed conflict in the West.
In the universe of volunteer factions participating in the conflict, there are those resistance committee (in Ukrainian Kamitet Supratsiv), which brings together about a hundred anarchists from different collectives or individuals who have joined the armed resistance. Right now they are active right on the hot front of the war, in Donbass, and thanks to support networks from abroad, they also support the civilian population through some unions by donating humanitarian aid and electricity generators. They called it “solidarity collectives”.which collects contributions and aid mainly from Germany and the United States.
Through social networks, in particular on Instagram with the page @theblackheadquarter, they have launched a call to mobilize against the Russian invasion, which today is considered the main enemy of everyone’s freedom. “Today the epicenter of the struggle against slavery is here in Ukraine, the struggle of Ukrainians gives hope of liberation to all those oppressed by Putinism,” they write in their political manifesto, in which they specify that “justice for us without the equality of… gender is unthinkable, environmental protection and overcoming all forms of discrimination”.
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They also write that after the war they will fight for the establishment of self-governing people’s assemblies for self-government of the regions, cancellation of Ukraine’s foreign debt and free social services, among other things. In addition to the armed struggle and activities in solidarity with the civilian population, the Resistance Committee also engages in media activism, publishing videos and commercials. Fanpage.it could interview one of the fighters of the resistance committeeit is a boy of Russian descent, nom de guerre Ilya Leschi.
What is the current situation on the battlefield in the regions where you are fighting the Russian army?
We are fighting in the east of the country, in the Donbass. In the last two months, the situation where we are has become more difficult and intense. The enemy has concentrated many forces and is holding fairly strong positions. All these months, both sides tried to advance intensively without noticeable changes on the map. Fighting here is really hard, painful and exhausting. But we are not giving up and believe that the forces of tyranny will break their spine here.
You have a coalition, how is it composed? And how is your relationship with the regular Ukrainian army?
The Resistance Committee is a coalition of libertarian individuals and small groups engaged in armed resistance to the imperialist invasion of the Russian state. All of us who participate in combat are either regular or “volunteer” soldiers with a certain status. We operate in the ranks of the “Territorial Defense”, which are volunteer groups, or the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which are currently two combined units. Our will to resist the invader really comes from below, organized almost entirely through defense structures within volunteer units. We are organized independently from the army, but we are subordinate to it in military operations.
What prompted Ukrainian anarchists to go to war?
We have comrades from different backgrounds in the Resistance Committee, including from Belarus and Russia. For all of us, the political nature of this invasion is one of imperialist aggression, of a dictatorship run by Putin that wants our enslavement and must confront violence as legitimate self-defense. We are part of the Ukrainian people and their struggle for freedom, which today is a struggle for the existence of the Ukrainian people. This is a basic requirement for any political positioning in Ukraine in the current context, the whole country is taking part in the fight against the invasion and we are a part of it.
What were your activities before the war?
We conducted various anarchist and anti-fascist activities. We had an anarchist club, we distributed books, we ran a film club. Being of Russian origin, I have personally focused heavily on networking in the anarchist/dissident diaspora with the community of political exiles living in Ukraine. With some comrades we started working on reworking movement strategies.
Right-wing extremists are also fighting, how is your relationship with them?
Yes, right-wing extremists are also present in the defense forces of Ukraine. Our dealings with them are limited to sporadic and occasional contacts during our service. We believe that our ability to deal with the extreme right in Ukraine depends on our ability to structure ourselves as a combatant and as an organized force in this military conflict. Before the war we had many arguments with right-wing extremists, including physical ones. We remain clearly antagonists now, but we happen to run into them sporadically in the military. But if we emerge from this war in a more structured way as anarchists, that will be a good basis for politically fighting right-wing extremism in Ukraine.
In addition to anarchists, the LGBTIQA+ community is also fighting in Ukraine, the armed resistance is made up of many political souls, what is your point of view?
To be sure, the Ukrainian resistance is made up of an incredible variety of political views and currents. However, when we speak of armed resistance, all this diversity is manifested within the framework of the army, which even today generally leaves little room for the expression of political positions.
You also have a support network in Europe, can you explain how it works?
Many comrades in Europe and the United States have begun to help us since the beginning of the great war. Mainly because they have seen some organized libertarian initiatives, like solidarity initiatives towards civilians, linked to our anti-authoritarian component. The connections and connections with western comrades, thanks to the relationships some of us had already established in previous years, helped to organize a network of support: “solidarity collectives”. It is an action that has seen dozens of events and our comrades have made considerable efforts, all the help that has come from these initiatives is difficult to estimate, it was also very important from a material point of view, not only from a political point of view . Many of the collections were donated to civilians through the unions. However, we have to say that over time interest in the war in Ukraine has waned, and with it international support and solidarity. Not quite, but visible.