Spartacist South Africa No. 11

Winter 2014


Clarification on East Ukraine Population

In the above article the use of the term “interpenetrated peoples” in regard to eastern Ukraine was misleading. This heavily assimilated, predominantly Russian-speaking area, inhabited by both ethnic Ukrainians and ethnic Russians, is more accurately described as a territory of mixed population. The term “interpenetrated peoples” for us is not simply a sociological characterization but has programmatic significance, describing situations where two or more antagonistic peoples have claims to the same territory (e.g., Israel/Palestine or Northern Ireland). In such cases, the democratic right of national self-determination—that is, the right to form a separate state—cannot be achieved for one people under capitalism without violating the rights of the others. In eastern Ukraine, there is no national conflict between ethnic Ukrainians and ethnic Russians, as indicated by the turnout and overwhelming vote for “self-rule”in the May 11 referendums in Donetsk and Luhansk provinces.