The Ukraine Solidarity Network (U.S.) is sponsoring a national tour of Ukrainian and Russian anti-war socialists opposed to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The tour will take place in Chicago, New York, and the San Francisco Bay Area, from September 3 to 13, 2023.
While the narratives of Western and Russian imperialism have dominated commentary on the war, this tour will amplify the voices of progressive Ukrainians and Russians who have experienced first-hand the ravages of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and his effort to silence anti-war and democratic opposition in Russia. The speakers will discuss the nature of the war, why progressives should support Ukraine’s just resistance, and the need for a progressive rather than neoliberal reconstruction of Ukraine.
Hanna Perekhoda is an ethnic Ukrainian who grew up in the Russian-speaking the city of Donetsk in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. A researcher at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, she studies the political imagination of Ukrainian and Russian national narratives. She is a founder of the Swiss-based Committee of Solidarity with the Ukrainian People and with the Russian Opponents of the War. She is a member of the Ukrainian democratic socialist organization Sotsialnyi Rukh (“Social Movement”). Her articles and interviews have appeared in Democracy Now!, Green Left, Jacobin, New Politics, Open Democracy, OpenLeft.ru, Zabrona, and other publications.
“Americans need to know,” Perekhoda says, “that, regardless of political disagreements, all of Ukrainian society is united in the view that the Russian invaders must be expelled from their territory. Unfortunately, even as they defend themselves from an external enemy, Ukrainian workers are facing attacks from their own government. Ukrainians need solidarity in both of these struggles!”
Denys Bondar, a native of Ukraine, is a professor of physics at Tulane University. He is involved in a variety of initiatives to help Ukraine, including solar technology. He is also a member of Sotsialnyi Rukh, for which he co-authored their statement, “The Left View on the Prospects for Peace.” He also co-authored an article on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant crisis that appeared in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
Bondar says, “The responsibility for the fact that peace negotiations are not currently underway lies entirely with the Russian Federation, which has not provided any public proposals that the majority of Ukrainians could even hypothetically accept.”
Ilya Budraitskis is a Moscow-based historian, political writer, and spokesperson for the Russian Socialist Movement. He went into exile shortly after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine and crackdown on domestic dissent. He is a co-founder of Posle (“After”), an online journal by Russians who oppose the war against Ukraine. His book Dissidents Among Dissidents (Verso, 2022) is a study of the Left in post-Soviet Russia. His articles and interviews on the war have appeared in CounterPunch, Jacobin, LeftEast, Spectre, Tempest, and other publications.
It is Budraitskis’ view that, “The Putin regime is unreformable. The only hope for rebuilding a peaceful, democratic Russia lies with the Russians, exiled or jailed, who spoke out against the war.”
Ilya Matveev is also a recently exiled Russian socialist who was a political scientist in St. Petersburg. He is a founding editor of OpenLeft.ru, an editor of Posle, and currently a visiting research scholar at the University of California at Berkeley. His articles and interviews have appeared in Green Left, Jacobin, LeftEast, Open Democracy, Posle, Socialist Register, and other publications.
Matveev says, “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was an act of imperialism, which needn’t be a simple extension of capitalism to be deserving of opposition. It was an act of violence and domination driven by an unaccountable political class and, as usually is the case, its victims are predominantly the working classes – both in Russia and Ukraine.”
Sunday, September 3, 3:30 p.m. – A panel featuring Hanna Perekhoda, Ilya Budraitskis, and Denys Bondar at the Socialism 2023 Conference (https://socialismconference.org).
Tuesday, September 5, 6:30 p.m. – Hanna Perekhoda, Ilya Budraitskis, and Denys Bondar speak at Loyola University’s Lakeshore Campus (6511 North Sheridan Road) in the Damen Student Center Cinema.
New York City:
Saturday, September 9, 7:00 p.m. – Hanna Perekhoda, Ilya Budraitskis, and Denys Bondar speak at the LGBT Community Center on Saturday, 208 West 13th St. (between 7th & 8th Avenues). This event will be livestreamed and available online afterwards. For details, go to https://linktr.ee/ukrainesolidaritynetwork.
San Francisco Bay Area:
Wednesday, September 13, 5:00 p.m. – Hanna Perekhoda and Ilya Matveev speak at the University of California at Berkeley, in Dwinelle Hall, Room 370.
Ukraine Solidarity Network (U.S.)
The tour is being organized by the Ukrainian Solidarity Network in the U.S., an independent group of progressive activists from the labor, peace, feminist, and civil rights movements. The network builds moral, political, and material support for the people of Ukraine in their resistance to Russia’s invasion and their struggle for independence, democracy, and social justice. It fosters links between progressive labor and social organizations in Ukraine and the U.S.
The Ukraine Solidarity Network statement of principles, information on the tour, and links to writings and interviews by the speakers and other Ukraine solidarity activists is available at https://linktr.ee/ukrainesolidaritynetwork.