Ukraine Invasion – The view from Eastern Europe

Most coverage of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has been dominated by views from the West. Here is how the Eastern European Left has reacted


There has been much discussion about Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and many Western leftists have focused on an attack on NATO. This is only in part correct. Those originating from Leftists in Eastern Europe have tended to focus on calling Russian imperialist what it is – imperialism.  The danger of making the Left response only a Western narrative is to ignore the voices of those who are directly affected by the war. For this reason, theleftberlin is publishing here links to a number of articles which have been written by journalists and activists in Eastern Europe.

Our website does not have a single editorial line — on Ukraine or anywhere else. Our aim is to provide a breadth of articles representing the views of the international Left. Our editors and journalists have different opinions. Just like the international left as a whole, we are trying to understand a difficult and dangerous situation. For this reason we do not necessarily endorse all the opinions in the following articles, but believe that they deserve to be read and discussed.

Publishing these articles is intended to open debate, so we are very interested in hearing your reaction. If you would like to respond to any of the articles, please contact us at Please let us know if you would like us to publish your response in article format.

theleftberlin Editorial Board

A letter to the Western Left from Kyiv by Taras Bilous

I am writing these lines in Kyiv while it is under artillery attack. Until the last minute, I had hoped that Russian troops wouldn’t launch a full-scale invasion. Now, I can only thank those who leaked the information to the US intelligence services. Yesterday, I spent half the day considering whether I ought to join a territorial defence unit. During the night that followed, the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyi signed a full mobilisation order and Russian troops moved in and prepared to encircle Kyiv, which made the decision for me. But before taking up my post, I would like to communicate to the Western Left what I think about its reaction to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

US-plaining is not enough. To the Western left, on your and our mistakes by Volodymyr Artiukh

Do not let half-baked political positions substitute an analysis of the situation. The injunction that the main enemy is in your country should not translate into a flawed analysis of the inter-imperialist struggle. At this stage appeals to dismantle NATO or, conversely, accepting anyone there, will not help those who suffer under the bombs in Ukraine, in jails in Russia or Belarus. Sloganeering is harmful as ever. Branding Ukrainians or Russian fascists only makes you part of the problem, not part of the solution. A new autonomous reality emerges around Russia, a reality of destruction and harsh repressions, a reality where a nuclear conflict is not unthinkable anymore. Many of us have missed the tendencies leading to this reality. In the fog of war, we do not see clearly the contours of the new. Neither do, as it seems, the American or European governments. 

We present this article composed by anarchists in Ukraine to give context for how some participants in social movements there see the difficult events that have played out there over the past nine years. We believe that it is important for people everywhere to grapple with the events they describe below and the questions that those developments pose. This text should be read in the context of the other perspectives we have published from Ukraine and Russia.

‘We need a peoples’ solidarity with Ukraine and against war, not the fake solidarity of governments’

Shaun Matsheza and Nick Buxton of TNI spoke to two activists on the editorial board of the left Commons journal that explores and analyses Ukraine’s economy, politics, history and culture. Denys Gorbach is a social researcher currently doing his PhD in France on the politics of Ukrainian working class and Denis Pilash is a political scientist and activist involved in a social movement, Sotsialnyi Rukh.

Appeal by the independent labor unions of Ukraine

To the workers of the world: we need your help! The Independent Trade Union of Ukraine “Zakhist Pratsi” is directly involved in the resistance to the invasion by Russian imperialism. We are fighting along side the working class and the Ukrainian people on various fronts of resistance. Some organizations of our union, such as the “Zakhista Pratsi” miners’ union at the “Selidov-ugol” firm, are protecting us and our future with weapons in their hands and in the most difficult conditions of the hostilities. Many activists of our union are now resisting the rocket and bomb attacks of the Russian troops, supporting the difficult conditions of the bomb shelters, saving their children and their families from certain death.

The war in Ukraine: no choice but to resist by Oksana Dutchak

The situation is very complicated. During the first days it seemed that Russian military forces were trying not to target civilians. They were trying to destroy the military infrastructure of the country supposing that the government and society would just give up. But this didn’t work. I’m wondering how stupid the intelligence was: their calculation was a total mistake. It didn’t work because the Ukrainian army and people on the ground started to act. It gives some hope, but it definitely changed the Russian army’s tactics dramatically.

The war in Ukraine is not a local conflict, it is a fight about the future of democracy on a global scale. A conversation on Putin’s imperialism, the anti-war movement in Russia and defiance in the face of state repression.

Enough with the struggle of superpowers. Voices from Central and Eastern Europe

In a recent article in Berliner Zeitung, Michael von der Schulenburg argues that Russia’s deployment of more than 100,000 troops to its border with Ukraine was a direct response to NATO’s announcement that Ukraine could one day become its member. This opinion reflects numerous voices on the Western left – some of them also from German government circles. Russia’s fear for its security is used as the main argument to justify Russian military action. A critical gaze shifts from Putin to NATO,  accused of disturbing the balance of power in Europe with its „expansion” or even „aggression” and of interfering in Russia’s „sphere of influence”

Bulgaria: Between Pro-War Consensus and the Need for an Anti-War Movement by Stanislav Dodov