Appeal of the Ukrainian communists to the fans of the football club Rayo Vallecano
We, Ukrainian Marxists of the Union Borotba (Struggle), thank you for taking a principled stance against the Ukrainian footballer Roman Zozulya.
Roman Zozulya is indeed a Ukrainian nationalist and has never hidden his views because they helped his career inside Ukraine. He supported the Ukrainian events of early 2014 that were actively supported by the ultra-right fans of Ukrainian football clubs that formed theparamilitary wing of Euromaidan. His main reason: the football club “Dnipro“, where he played earlier, belongs to one of the largest Ukrainian capitalists, Igor Kolomoisky — a sponsor of the right-wing fans who launched the May 2 Odessa massacre and many other violent actions.
For several years Zozulya supported a paramilitary unit of the ultra-nationalists. He starred in the video of the Azov battalion, which gained notoriety in Europe because of its Nazi and racist ideology and later was integrated into the Interior Ministry of Ukraine. (One of the leaders of Azov, Vadim Troyan,heads the national police in Ukraine.) In this video Zozulya calls for continuing the war “up to a victorious end.”
Zozulya participated in the persecution of the well-known veteran of Ukrainian football Victor Leonenko. When Leonenko criticized Zozulya’s failures, Zozulya wrote a post questioning why the Security Service still hadn’tconscripted Leonenko into the army. Finally, Zozulya has never concealed his sympathy for Stepan Bandera – a leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), which enthusiastically supported the dictator Franco.
The Ukrainian left knows and respects the history of “Rayo Vallecano” – a club with its own traditions, which expresses the class spirit and history of the famous working-class Madrid neighborhood. We know that for many years the fans of Rayo Vallecano have been successfully developing social movements, providing solidarity to all who fought against exploitation and discrimination, and fought back against the Nazis on the streets of the Spanish capital. Your nailing Roman Zozulya is important for the Ukrainian left, which has had to confront the far-right regime in Kiev — the most brutal in modern Europe. After Euromaidan, left-wing organizations were repressed and brutally stamped out of the political sphere. Several activists were killed, offices of left organizations were destroyed, and many people were arrested, interrogated and assaulted by the right-wing militants integrated into the army, police and intelligence services.
The so-called law on de-communization (introduced by the ultra-Right MPs) let them ban the Communist Party of Ukraine, leftist symbols and ideology. According to official data, thousands of monuments were destroyed, including monuments of great cultural and historical value. In the center of Kiev they desecrated the mass grave of the workers of the Arsenal plant, who were killed during the revolution by Ukrainian nationalists. And it has not been restored so far. The heritage of the anarchist movement was destroyed, too. Hundreds of streets were renamed — in particular those named in honor of the proletarian revolutionaries, communists, anarchists, and anti-fascist partisans. Even entire cities were renamed — like the city of Dnepropetrovsk, where Zozulya lived and played earlier, as the city was named after the workers’ activist and the fighter against tsarism Grigory Petrovsky. Neoliberal reforms and a monstrous increase of public utilities tariffs (because of IMF demands) have forced millions of people below the poverty line and enforced mass labor migration. And even the club “Dnipro,” where Zozulya played earlier, is to be closed by its owner, oligarch I. Kolomoisky, who has profited from the civil war but doesn’t want to pay out salary debts to Spanish coaches.
These are the socio-economic and political consequences of domination by the nationalists. It is not surprising that your protest against the reactionary views of Zozulya helps the democratic forces in their struggle against Ukrainian regime. Ukrainian nationalists are outraged by your actions – the right-wing media portrays the fans of “Rayo Vallecano” as agents of Moscow (although the anti-fascists never supported the Russian government and Russian nationalism), or writes contemptuously that the club supposedly represents “the uneducated and illiterate residents of the working poor neighborhood indoctrinated by communists.” However, a lot of people see that the people of Spain consider your protest against R. Zozulya a resounding slap to nationalism, and are convinced that modern society should not tolerate chauvinism and militarism.
We see that today you are under enormous pressure. Your opponents use slander, distortion of the facts and hypocritical attempts to portray leftist fans of “Bucaneros” as dangerous criminals – even though it is the Ukrainian regime which came to power due to the rightist fans who killed and raped people during the war in Donbass. We understand that the leadership of your club thinks more about money and may concede to this pressure, along with the bosses of the football organizations and media. But we believe that you will win in your just struggle, which is being watched by the anti-fascists and anti-fascist fans of Europe.
Down with chauvinism, racism, clericalism, sexism, and capitalism!
Long live the Republic! Long live democratic Europe!
Union Borotba (Struggle)
English translation by Dmytriy Kovalevich