Did the Ukrainian far right deploy a Leninist party structure to seize power? Four models have been deployed in analysis.
1. It was simply a peaceful protest by concerned citizens who wanted peace, prosperity and freedom. To do so they had to overthrow an evil ‘dictator,’ planted there by ‘the Kremlin’ (note the use of that term and all its evocations). He robbed billions for himself and his cronies and lived in a ‘presidential palace.’
2. It was the deployment by Washington of the ‘hybrid Color Revolution-Arab Spring regime change template.’ In this case, Washington outsources ‘regime change’ by channelling funds through NGOs that then find their way into arms for militant groups. This has happened in the earlier ‘Orange Revolution’, in Serbia, in the Arab Spring uprisings, and is happening today in Venezuela. It also took place in the Ukraine.
3. It was Gene Sharp’s model, which was also used by the Occupy movement to a limited extent.
a) Seize a central square and organise a mass peaceful sit-in.
b) Speak endlessly of the danger of violent dispersal.
c) If the government does nothing, provoke bloodshed by attacking government forces.
d) Scream blue murder to anyone who will listen and proclaim ‘martyrs’ from government repression.
e) The government is horrified and paralysed.
f) The government falls.
g) New powers take over.
You also need on your side the Western mainstream media, which has been stunningly one-sided. This approach does not preclude outside assistance (model 2). The key here is that the movement involves a coalition of liberals and fascists, the former for the friendly face and the latter for fire power. It enables one to claim that the movement is ‘complex’ (ultimately everything is ‘complex,’ even Adam and Eve). Once again, this model is proposed for all those recent movements.
4. Or is it perhaps an example of the continued validity of the Leninist party structure? Here I mean the form rather than the content of an approach to revolutions that was first perfected by the communists in Russia – although this does not preclude elements from items 2 and 3 (see earlier). In this case, you develop both legal and illegal sections of the party. The legal section enables you to propagate your views, while the illegal section foments revolution. The social situation has to be nearly catastrophic, with rampant unemployment, economic collapse, a weak and wavering government, so that plenty of disaffected people may be attracted to your cause. You also develop a military wing, which the Bolsheviks first realised as they prepared for revolution. The illegal section of the party is able to obtain arms and enable training of the militants. It matters little how you obtain arms, whether through ‘expropriations’ (Stalin was a master at this) or through external funds (see #2 above). Then you seize the moment, when others are clamouring for change.
Obviously the content is different, for the Ukrainian coaltion of parties is dominated by neo-fascist groups, but I would suggest that they have borrowed the Leninist model. After all, this is in their political history. Significantly, it reveals the continued viability of the Leninist model precisely when many on the Left had decided it was no longer viable.
But now the comparison falls short; or rather, the Ukrainian fascists have failed the follow the model to its full extent. First, they never gained mass support and had to rely on other groups that they sought to bully in their direction. In Ukraine, of course, they were never going to get support in the eastern regions, where protests are ongoing against the seizure of power, and where places like Crimea have rejected the revolution completely. Second, they missed the crucial need to prepare an adequate armed force to deal with those who want to defeat you. Enter Putin.