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Association "Borotba"
Leader Serhiy Kirichuk
Founded May 1, 2011 (2011-05-01)
Headquarters Odessa
Ideology Communism
Political position Far-left
Official website
Politics of Ukraine
Political parties

The Association “Struggle” (Ukrainian: Об'єднання "Боротьба" Ob'yednannia “Boroťba”; Russian: Объединения “Боротьба”) is a left-wing organization operating in Odessa and Kharkiv, Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk in Ukraine. The Draft Manifesto of the Organization declares: Union “Borotba” stands for Revolutionary Marxism, and its most important task – to extend Left ideology implementing Marxist methodology in the political discourse of Ukraine. The Manifest also states that the organization will support principles of anti-capitalism, internationalism, anti-fascism, political radicalism and gender equality.[1] The organisation cooperates with Russian opposition Left Front.[2]


Taking the name of oppositional political party in Soviet Ukraine, from 1920 until 1925, which had merged with the Ukrainian Communist Party in 1920,[3] Borotba has been described as part of the emerging heterogeneous New Left in Ukraine.[4] Its leader is the Russian, Victor Shapinov, formerly active in Russian Communist Workers Party before moving to Ukraine in 2005.[5] The association was established in May 2011 by former members of the "Organization of Marxists" (Ukraine) (a Marxist-Leninist group formed in 2007[6]); the Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU) and its youth wing the "Leninist Communist Youth Union of Ukraine; the "All-Ukrainian Union of Workers"; the "Youth Association Che Guevara"; and the "Youth against capitalism" movement, with some individual leftist activists also joining.[5][7] The founding congress was attended by delegates from across Ukraine. International guests from Sweden and Russia were also present.[7]

Borotba has cooperated with and received support from Germany's Die Linke[8] and the Swedish Left Party's VIF aid organization.[9]


When the Euromaidan movement started in 2013, Borotba were critical of it from the outset. Some members of Borotba, including Dennis Levine, attempted to recruit protesters to the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Ukraine to fight against increased public transport costs in Kiev. According to Svetlana Tsiberganova, they were attacked by the far-right.[10]

Borotba has condemned what they considered a "Western-backed"[11] and "fascist" February 2014 coup in Kiev and called for a socialist revolution in Ukraine against the government of "ultra-nationalists and Nazis".[12] Borotba's analysis of the authorities that replaced former President Viktor Yanukovych and his second Azarov Government after the 2014 Ukrainian revolution of 22 February 2014 is that far-right nationalists received too much power and control over important ministries and agencies including defense, anti-corruption and national security, education, agriculture and the environment, as well as the office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine.[13]

Borotba's members took an active role in political events in Kharkiv in March 2014.[14] On March 15, Borotba, the "People’s Unity" and other groups called a public meeting in Kharkiv. Borotba joined Anti-Maidan protesters in storming the regional administration building,[15] which at that time was occupied by pro-Maidan activists, and their members are accused by some liberal left organisations for taking part in the beating of pro-Maidan activists, including anarchists and the well-known Ukrainian author Serhiy Zhadan.[16] Borotba justified their action by calling the occupants members of Right Sector.[17][18] On April 15, and May 8, 2014, Borotba's office in Kharkiv was raided by police.[19]

In Kharkiv, Borotba activists claim to have printed 100,000 leaflets and 10,000 posters persuading the voters to boycott the presidential election in May 2014, since they considered it unrepresentative, radical rightist, and illegitimate.[20]

On May Day Borotba members staged a rally in Kovalska Street in Odessa.[21] Later in May, Borotba joined other Anti-Maidan parties (Yury Apukhtin's "Southeast" movement, the Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine and the KPU) in rallying against the presidential elections.[22] The leader of the Odessan regional organisation of Borotba, Aleksey Albu, fled to Russian-annexed Crimea, where he founded a "Committee for the Liberation of Odessa" on 24 May 2014 together with representatives of the Russian nationalist party Rodina and of the organization "Slavic Unity".[23][24] On September 12, a Borotba activist was arrested in Odessa by the Internal Security Service (SBU), under the accusation of terrorism.[25]


On March 3, 2014, several left and anarchist organizations in Ukraine, including the Autonomous Workers Union, the "Direct Action" Independent Student Union and the Left Opposition socialist organization, criticized Borotba for alleged cooperation with conservative pro-Russian groups in Ukraine and allegedly spreading "overt lies and fact manipulations".[16] In a rebuttal, Borotba rejected the accusations as "hypocritical" and "irrelevant".[26] Borotba states that it has regularly criticized Russian authorities and organized in solidarity with left-wing Russian organizations that met with repression from the Russian authorities.[27]

After the circulation of these allegations, the regional coordination office of the German federal Die Linke party distanced itself from Borotba and its founding member Serhei Kirichuk, who is currently living in German exile.[28] Die Linke cancelled several events with Kirichuk, such as a panel discussion in Hamburg on the 2 July 2014[28] and in Kiel 3 July 2014.[29] A book presentation which Kirichuk had helped to organise was also cancelled due to the author's ties to Russian neo-Nazi groups such as Russian National Unity and the anti-immigrant DPNI.[30]

Kirichuk responded to many of the accusations levelled against the organisation, especially with regard to their support for separatists in the South and East of Ukraine, in an interview with Andrej Hunko of Die Linke.[31]

See also

External links


  1. "Ideology". Retrieved 29 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Our partner in Russia is the Left Front, many of their activists are in prisons now and we are showing our solidarity with them"
  3. Draft Resolution on the Ukrainian Borotbist Party 6 February 1920
  4. Volodymyr Ishchenko (NaUKMA, Department of Sociology). Ukrainian New Left and Grassroots Social Protests: A Thorny Way to Hegemony, presented at the "Making the World Working Class" Tenth Annual Historical Materialism (journal) conference, London, 7–10 November 2013.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Greg Butterfield "The left in Ukraine and the origins of Borotba Workers World 22 October 2014
  6. International Council of Friendship and Solidarity with Soviet People ""Organization of Marxists" Is Born in Ukraine" North Star Compass July/August 2007, Vol. 15, No. 11-1
  7. 7.0 7.1 History of the organization, Official site of the "Borotba" Association, accessed on 15 May 2014.
  8. "DIE LINKE in Bremen: Authentische Informationen und Einschätzungen aus der Ukraine". Retrieved 29 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Röstlund, Lisa; Putilov, Egor (11 March 2015). "AFTONBLADET AVSLÖJAR: V gav bistånd till pro-ryssar". Aftonbladet.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Not My War, by Svetlana Tsiberganova
  11. Bill Van Auken, "The International Socialist Organization and the Ukraine crisis", World Socialist Web Site (16 April 2014). Retrieved 24-08-2014.
  12. The government of ultraliberals and Nazis, Official site of the Borotba Association, accessed on 15 May 2014.
  13. Roger Annis. "Popular Rebellion Deepens in Eastern and Southern Ukraine as NATO and the Kiev Government Step Up Attacks", (13 May 2014). Retrieved 24-08-2014.
  14. (Russian) Григорий Пырлик. «Боротьба» за Юго-Восток. Кто, сколько, зачем, Mediaport, 22 March 2014.
  15. Borotba during the protests in the Southeast Kommunique Nr.6, accessed 4 July 2014 (Russian). Russian text: Координатор харьквоской «Боротьбы» Денис Зайцев: «Сегодня, ударная группа харьковской «Боротьбы», вместе с другими антинационалистическими силами взяли штурмом областную госадминистрацию. Translated: Coordinator of Kharkiw group of Borot'ba, Denis Zajcev: "Today the hit group of the Kharkiw Borot'ba took over the regional administration together with anti-nationalist groups"
  16. 16.0 16.1 Statement of left and anarchist organizations about Borotba organization, Official site of Autonomous Workers' Union, March 3, 2014, accessed on 20 May 2014.
  17. Facenews: "Police abandoned administration building, it is guarded only by Right Sector"
  18. Borotba during the protests in the Southeast Kommunique Nr.6, accessed 4 July 2014 (Russian)
  19. (Russian) Маски-шоу в офисе партии «Боротьба» в центре Харькова,, 21 June 2014
  20. Ukraine: 'Socialist prospects in south-eastern Ukraine', Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, May 25, 2014.
  21. May Day rally of 'Borotba' union in Odessa, GuardianWitness.
  22. Rally in Ukraine's Kharkov calls for boycotting presidential elections, promises referendum; "East Ukraine’s Kharkov region to hold independence referendum - movement “Southeast”" Tass 18 May 2014. Apukhin, the leader of the “Great Russia” NGO, is a pro-Putin activist ("Yuri Apukhtin: “We have nothing to do with the European civilization. We are completely different.”" 20 December 2013
  23. (Russian) "On Crimea, a committee for the liberation of Odessa was founded Website of Borot'ba", accessed 11 July 2014
  24. (Russian) Representatives on the run founded a "Committee for the Liberation of Odessa" on Crimea. Quote: "The Organisation was created by a member of the city council of the party "Rodina" (homeland), Aleksandr Vasilev, a member of the regional council, leader of the regional organisation of Bor'ba (Russian name for Borot'ba) Aleksey Albu and the leader of the "Odessian Squad" Dmitry Odinov, who at the same time is member of the extreme right wing 'Slavic Union'." (22 May 2014). Accessed 11 July 2014.
  25. Left wing activists arrested and tortured in Odessa
  26. Statement of the union ‘Borotba’ over recent smear campaign against anti-fascists in Ukraine: "We are not part of the movement that takes sides according to orders given from NGOs. We are not part of the movement that tries to hide left symbolic and social slogans in current situation. We are not part of the movement that buys into nationalist and patriotic hysteria spreading all over the country. We are not part of the movement that tries to defend the coup on behalf of Nazis, oligarchs and IMF. We are not part of the movement that tries to diminish the role of Nazis in Euromaidan or even whitewash their image when even mainstream western media show far-right paramilitaries roaming over the streets."
  27. "БОРОТЬБА солидарна с протестами в России (+ВИДЕО)". Retrieved 29 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. 28.0 28.1 Vom Maidan in den Bürgerkrieg? From Maidan to civil war? (German) DIE LINKE Landesverband Hamburg, accessed 4 July 2014
  29. Bündnis Friede, Freiheit, Brot Kieler Friedensarbeit, accessed 4 July 2014
  30. (Russian) От мелких мошенников до убийц. Очерк о политической эволюции сталинистов на примере организации Боротьба From petty criminals to murders. Essay on the political evolution of the stalinists at the example of the organization Borot'ba. English translation
  31. "They hate us because we are communists", Interview with Sergei Kirichuk by Andrej Hunko (09.07.2014). Retrieved 24-08-2014.