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Ukraine: "France must speak with a distinctive voice of its own for peace and democracy" (PCF)

Translated Friday 7 March 2014, by Richard Pond

The French Communist Party (PCF) today requested that President François Hollande not take any decision about the Ukrainian crisis without prior consultation with party leaders and chairs of parliamentary party groups. The Party made its views known via its national secretary, Pierre Laurent, a member of the French Senate representing Paris.

Ukraine has been under the spotlight over the last three months of a pitiless struggle for power among its oligarchies; all as greedy and corrupt as each other, they have enriched themselves thanks to the neoliberal policies supported by both the EU and Russia.

The European Union, Russia, and the United States have contributed directly or through NATO to excesses, the use of force and military escalation. It is the Ukrainian people who are caught between the Devil and the deep blue sea.

The context is the strategic prize Ukraine represents for the great powers that are confronting each other in a ferocious economic war. 70 per cent of Russian oil and gas pass through Ukraine, and Europe buys 90 per cent of Russian oil. We are witnessing not a return to the Cold War but rather a conflict within the G8 between, on the one hand, the United States supported by the EU and assisted via NATO, and on the other hand Russia. Each aims to keep or win its place among the world powers.

Following the example of Germany, which put together the contact group, France should play a key role in distancing itself significantly from NATO and in halting military escalation. France’s goal should be to contribute to a process leading to the eventual withdrawal of all foreign military forces present today on Ukrainian soil.

France must also aim to put in place an authentic democratic process in Ukraine, allowing the Ukrainian people to regain full control of their destiny.

The new oligarchic faction now in office plans to hold a presidential election on 25th May in a highly tense situation where the far-right and neo-Nazi groups are dictating to the opposition their political line and are creating a reign of terror in the country.

Neither France nor the EU must sign up for this sort of approach, when it is, on the contrary, a question of assisting democratic forces targeted by far-right violence, taking the initiative in order that a genuine process of democratic, social and constitutional reforms might begin.

We must extricate ourselves from the logic of war and of this cynical head-to-head confrontation of "the West" and Russia. With the goal of supporting the efforts of the UN and of its Secretary General (who is today meeting the Russian foreign minister), France should take the initiative in calling for a round-table discussion to be held under the aegis of the United Nations and its Security Council. This would bring together - along with Ukraine - the European Union, the United States and Russia, in order to find an agreement on a political solution to the crisis based initially on two points: an end of the military build-up and the putting in place of a democratic process.

Finally, France has a particular responsibility to get the European Union to review thoroughly its relations with Russia and to work with Russia in putting together a neighbourly policy. Such a policy would overcome the tensions and ruptures of the past through the construction of a high-level partnership founded on economic, political, and cultural exchange within a shared security framework that calls for the withdrawal of foreign armed forces from Ukraine.

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