Talk given by Greg Butterfield of the International Action Center at the memorial for Commander Alexei Mozgovoi and the Ghost Brigade martyrs, at the statue of the Liberator Simon Bolivar in Central Park, New York City, May 27, 2015.
Sisters and brothers,
We are here today to honor the memory of Novorossiyan militia Commander Alexei Mozgovoi, along with four other members of the Ghost Brigade who died in a brutal assassination last Saturday. Two innocent civilians were also killed.
Sadly, there are no monuments to the Soviet Red Army and the Soviet people’s defeat of fascism in New York. The U.S. rulers have done everything possible to erase the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany from history. But we felt it was very appropriate to gather here, at the statue of the Liberator of Latin America, Simon Bolivar. Like him and the modern movement that takes his name in Venezuela and throughout Latin America, Mozgovoi was devoted to liberating his people and all of humanity from imperialism and oppression.
Mozgovoi was one of the most committed and radical leaders of the anti-fascist resistance in the Donbass people’s republics. He was not only committed to defending the people of Lugansk and Donetsk from the war unleashed by Ukrainian fascists and U.S. imperialism. He was committed to building a new society based on freedom and social justice for all working people.
Commander Mozgovoi was also an internationalist who understood that Novorossiyan and Ukrainian workers must unite on a class basis to destroy the fascist junta in Kiev.
We hear all the time from the U.S. corporate media and Washington officials that the people of Donbass live in fear under the rule of “Russian invaders” and “terrorist separatists.” These are lies meant to distract people from the fact that both Democrats and Republicans are united in sending billions of dollars and weapons to the illegal regime in Kiev, while cutting desperately needed social programs here at home. It is meant to distract us from the fact that U.S. troops are training neo-Nazis in Ukraine to kill civilians in Donbass, while racist police murder Black and Brown people from New York to Baltimore to Ferguson.
The best answer to this lie was demonstrated today in the city of Alchevsk, where the Ghost Brigade is based. Thousands of people came out into the streets in pouring rain to mourn for Mozgovoi and his comrades. They followed the funeral procession to the burial site. The people see Ghost as their protectors, and we are sure that its ranks will swell with new volunteers in the days to come.
We stand in solidarity with the new leadership of the Ghost Brigade, who have vowed to continue Alexei Mozgovoi’s ideas of anti-fascism, liberation and people’s power. We stand with the people of Donbass and the opponents of the fascist regime inside Ukraine, many of whom are held as political prisoners. We demand that the U.S., European Union and NATO immediately end all aid to the Kiev junta and get the hell out of Ukraine, Eastern Europe and everywhere!
In the past month, Donetsk and Lugansk have reported dozens of violations of the Minsk ceasefire by Ukraine every single day. This shows that the ceasefire is just a figleaf for Kiev and Washington as they prepare for the next stage of war. Just last night, an 11-year-old child, Katya, and her father were murdered by Ukrainian shelling of the city of Gorlovka. Her 2-year-old brother was seriously wounded.
This is why Commander Mozgovoi and the Ghost Brigade took up the fight against fascism. This is why we will continue to stand by them until victory is won.
Photos by Greg Butterfield and Sara Flounders