The Guardian March 15, 2000


Bitter struggle in the Ukraine

The reactionary Ukrainian government led by President Kuchma has made 
the destruction of the powerful Communist Party group in the Ukrainian 
parliament (Rada) its primary goal. There have been numerous attempts 
before but the present anti-communist campaign is closely connected with 
the Ukrainian budget and the demands of the IMF. In the longer term, the 
western imperialist countries want to entice the Ukraine to join NATO.

The Ukraine has received IMF loans to the tune of US$12.5 billion dollars 
in six years. The money has been spent to enrich a few people while 
throwing millions of working people and farmers into poverty. 

An IMF team visited Ukraine in January to decide whether to postpone the 
payment of the interest on the debt (US$3.2 billion dollars this year) and 
whether the IMF should extend another credit of US$300 million which would 
enable the Ukraine Government to borrow from other world financial 
institutions.

The IMF was not impressed with the failure of the Ukraine to stick to the 
conditions which had been part of previous loan schemes. 

The IMF demanded a deficit-free budget, cuts to all welfare payments 
(including pensions paid to war veterans and Chernobyl victims), a user-
pays system for municipal services, public service reforms, the 
privatisation of land with the right of foreigners to sell and buy land and 
the privatisation of industries.

For ordinary citizens the picture is not bright. If the IMF budget is 
accepted all municipal service charges and rents would go up by 50 per 
cent, there would be price rises for essential food items including bread 
and public transport, the further erosion of pensions, the cutting of 
veterans' entitlements and so on. It is estimated that an additional one 
million people would become unemployed.

The strong growth of the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU) and its 
substantial vote in the recent presidential elections despite widespread 
skullduggery and falsification, has sent cold shivers down the collective 
spine of the parasites in government.

A big campaign is taking place in an attempt to undermine and discredit the 
Communist Party of the Ukraine. The pro-government press launched a 
misinformation campaign falsely alleging that the Party was about to split. 

During the last three months a group of rich and powerful created a new 
communist party in an attempt to give their allegations some semblance of 
truth. The new creation has called itself the Ukrainian Communist Party. 
The obvious intent is to confuse voters.

Dirty tricks

It was difficult to create a party without at least some known political 
figures. To get over this difficulty, more than US$1 million dollars has 
been allocated to bribe weak and unprincipled elements from the Ukraine's 
genuine Communist Party.

* To leave the Communist parliamentary fraction one gets US$30,000 
immediately, plus

* a monthly allowance of US$3,000 and,

* a car, a unit in Kiev, and a mobile phone.

This is the modern equivalent of the 30 pieces of silver.

There are also threats to ban the legitimate Communist Party.

Unfortunately five CPU deputies did accept the bribes. Their acceptance is 
rightly regarded as treachery and letting down not only the Party 
parliamentary group but the rank and file members who worked tirelessly to 
have them elected in the first place. It is rank and file members that the 
authorities want to confuse and dishearten. 

However, these dirty tricks and the revelation of bribery has backfired 
against the authorities. Meetings which have been called to discuss the 
situation show that the rank and file members of the Party have become more 
united and consolidated together with the leadership of the Party.

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