Progressives condemn the persecution of Ukrainian communist leader Georgi Buiko

77-year-old veteran communist and anti-fascist activist Georgi Buiko was arrested by the Ukrainian Secret Service (SBU) on August 16. He is accused of participating in “anti-Ukrainian activities” and possessing communist and “pro-Russian” publications

August 21, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
Arrest of Georgi Buiko
Veteran Ukrainian communist Georgi Buiko

Leftist and progressive groups have condemned the arrest of veteran communist and leader of the Ukrainian Anti Fascist Committee, Georgi Buiko, by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). On August 16, the SBU announced that they had arrested Buiko, who is accused of participating in “anti-Ukrainian activities” and having communist and “pro-Russian” publications in his home.

The persecution of Buiko is a continuation of the crackdown unleashed by the post-Euromaidan regime in Ukraine which has been marked by de-communization attempts, and the banning of communist party and its publication.

Georgi Vladimirovich Buiko, who turned 77 this August, was born in Zhytomyr and got acquainted with the Komsomol — the youth wing of the Communist Party of Soviet Union (CPSU) — during his student days at  Donetsk State University. He became a member of the CPSU in 1967.

He was active in the Donetsk regional committee and was a key figure in the Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU) in the post-Soviet period. He was the first secretary of the Donetsk Regional Committee, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Communist Donbass, and was also elected as deputy in the Donetsk Oblast Council or the regional legislature. Between 1998 and 2006, he was elected twice as a member of the Ukrainian parliament.

Since 2007, he has been the chairman of the Anti-Fascist Committee of Ukraine and from 2008, has been the Secretary of the Central Committee of the KPU. Buiko was also an active member of the Union of Journalists of Ukraine and the International Federation of Journalists.

With the onset of the Russia-Ukraine war in February 2022, the Volodymyr Zelensky regime intensified its attack on communists and critics within Ukraine, labeling them as Russian collaborators.

In March 2022, the SBU arrested Aleksander Kononovich and his brother Mikhail Kononovich, leaders of the Leninist Communist Youth Union of Ukraine (LKSMU), from the capital Kiev. The SBU accused them of being propagandists, holding pro-Russian and pro-Belarusian views with the goal of destabilizing the internal situation in Ukraine.

On July 5, 2022, the Eighth Administrative Court of Appeal in Lviv upheld the ban on the KPU and ordered the state to seize the properties of the party. In the same month, a show trial of the Kononovich brothers started in the Solomensky District Court in Kiev.

The court sessions were continually postponed and the brothers were put under house arrest and are facing death threats from Ukrainian nationalists. Progressive youth groups across the world, including the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY), continue to organize campaigns demanding the release of the Kononovich brothers.

Ukraine has also started judicial proceedings against the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine, Petro Symonenko, who is currently said to be in exile in Russia.

The Communist Party of Spain (PCE) condemned the arrest of Buiko and termed it part of the ongoing persecution of communists and opponents of the Zelensky-led regime in Ukraine under the guise of national security.

In its statement on August 16, PCE also denounced the persecution of the Kononovich brothers, the banning of the Communist Party of Ukraine, and the persecution of communists.

PCE reiterated that diplomacy and dialogue are the only ways out of the conflict, and said it will continue its opposition to the shipment of weapons to Ukraine and Eastern Europe, since it will only serve to increase the escalation of the war in the area.