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Death of a freedom fighter: Alexei Mosgovoi was murdered

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He was probably the most prominent figure among the commanders in the eastern Ukrainian resistance. He was an artist, a Leftist, a man who rejected the war as an end in itself and at the same time related to the combatants on both sides and campaigned for a common future. He understood himself to be part of an international movement that he promoted and for which he fought. On May 24, Alexi Borisovich Mosgovoi was killed, removing one of the best in this Civil War.

Born and raised in the Luhansk region, Mosgovoi served 7 years in the Ukrainian army. By profession he was a musician and singer, but he himself said that he had only really begun to live with the civil war. When that war began in the eastern Ukraine and the resistance against the fascists and government forces began to form, people were needed who could cope with the chaotic situation, build structures and give leadership. This was what Alexei could do and, thus, he started his new life.

When the corporate media talk about those they consider their enemies, those who have identified themselves as the opponents of the ruling class and its imperialist goals, they like to refer to them as “self-appointed”. So the people's republics of Lugansk and Donetsk are "self-appointed", the will of the local population does not count for these "democrats". For them, Mosgovoi was also "self-appointed".

Of course, it is true that, in a civil war situation, anyone can call themselves a Brigadier. What matters is whether they have a brigade behind them. Several thousand men and women looked to Alexei as a good military and political leader. Those who put their lives at risk believed that they could fight most effectively in the “Ghost Brigade” and they became his brigade.

Mosgovoi first formed the Lugansk militia and this grew into a brigade. He first gave it the name “Prisrak”, that is, “Ghost”, after the Kiev media had repeatedly reported its complete destruction. In fact, they suffered few losses, thanks to his abilities.

In his new life, Alexei Borisovich not only became a military leader but was also politicised. He was frustrated by the inaction of the political leadership, the old cadres of the "Party of the Regions" and the Ukrainian Communist Party, whose main concern was to save their own privileges, which were threatened by Kiev, in “Novorossiya”. Their passivity was responsible for the weakness of the resistance. They were more concerned with maintaining good relations with the oligarchs than with the population.

This politicisation brought him so far as to set up a Communist battalion in his brigade, a very internationalist battalion in which Communists from many countries fought under red flags. He organised a political department, to which he appointed socialists and communists, for the training of fighters and for the production of propaganda.

He repeatedly appealed to the opposed soldiers of the Ukrainian Army to end the war and to liberate the whole of Ukraine from the oligarchs and to take all privatised property back into communal ownership. He was one of the few in this country, alongside the organisation "borotba", who formulated an anti-capitalist perspective for the whole country. The rest of the left, including anarchists and the "Left Opposition", would not go beyond a few democratic demands, while remaining steadfastly loyal to the "anti-terrorist" operation of the government and the fascists.

Mosgovoi made a start on implementing his political perspectives in Alchevsk, where his Brigade was based. An agricultural business, abandoned by its owners, is now farmed collectively to supply the population. A metal factory has also been taken over. There is a public canteen that provides 800 free meals for the poor and the elderly every day.

Mosgovoi certainly was not a Communist, at best he was developing in this direction. He was a populist, a kind of "popular" socialist. Alongside his anti-capitalism, which was born out of necessity, he also expressed typical reactionary ideas such as a rejection of same-sex partnerships or a glorification of "Slavic defensive action" against “Teutonic” oppression. His socialism was not at all clear or Marxist. On the one hand, he turned vigorously against the oligarchs and the big monopolies and demanded their expropriation. On the other hand, however, he also idealised the agricultural commune that was really a response to the emergency. No doubt in eastern Ukraine, where large parts of the industry have been destroyed and markets have been lost, the only option left is cooperative subsistence production, but that does not make it a long term viable alternative.

Whether Alexei would have overcome these reactionary and impracticable utopian ideas in the course of time, we cannot know. What we do know, however, is that that is precisely why a Communist revolutionary international is necessary so that, in times of war and revolution, when people develop politically very rapidly, they do not get stuck in reformism and left nationalism.

In a purely practical sense, Alexei Borisovich did a great service for the international struggle. On May 8 and 9, the Communist Party of Lugansk called an international conference to coordinate the fight against fascism. The League for the Fifth International could not participate directly in that conference but our welcoming address was delivered. When the political authorities tried to prevent the conference taking place, Alexei took it under his protection and ensured it took place in Alchevsk.

He had many enemies. Of course, the Kiev government and the fascists, who have often reported him eliminated, but also the nationalists in the Governments of the People's Republics and, of course, the Putin people in Russia and Ukraine, who do not want to give up "Nowarossija", but in no way want it to become a base for the "Reds". These he often defied and criticised publicly, providing a good example of the way in which a military alliance with other political forces not only does not preclude political criticism, even political struggle, but actually demands it.

Thus, it could be that his murderers, who used mines and machine guns and killed a further 5 comrades, are to be found in Russian nationalist circles. On the Internet, a pro-Kiev sabotage group, "Shadows" has claimed responsibility. That, however, means nothing.

If it were "Western" forces, then more than just Ukrainian military forces were certainly involved. They have proved themselves incapable of successfully performing any such action. US specialists, the best and most experienced in this kind of operation, would have been needed. Of course, US imperialism always sees its position in the world as threatened by the Left, because it wants to dominate the world. But it also has a special interest in Ukraine, namely exacerbating the conflict between German / European imperialism and Russia. As a result, the Minsk truce was not welcomed by the US administration, so collaboration between Washington and Kiev is the most likely explanation for the cowardly murder conspiracy.

Alexei Borisovich Mosgovoi was 40 years old. His new life lasted just 14 months. His death is a great loss. But his deputy, Alexei Markov, was right to say "A person can be killed, but not his ideas. The ideas that Alexej Mosgovoi represented since last year, have brought thousands of people to join us. These ideas will not die with the death of one man.” In fact, ideas only have power when they are taken up by the masses. Alexei Mosgovoi took those who had taken up the ideas and formed them into a powerful unit that will continue to fight. It is a fight in which we are also involved and will continue to be involved!