Unite Community branch in Greater Manchester, England demands freedom for Bogdan Syrotiuk

Members of the Greater Manchester Unite Community branch in northwest England have unanimously passed a resolution demanding freedom for Ukrainian socialist Bogdan Syrotiuk, jailed for his opposition to the Zelensky regime and the NATO-led proxy war in Ukraine.

Unite is one of Britain’s largest trade unions with 1.2 million members. It also operates a network of community branches that includes retirees, the unemployed and community activists.

Around 25 members of Unite’s Community branch voted to adopt a strongly worded resolution on May 28, proposed by Unite member John Pearson and seconded by Paul Morrison.

The resolution states:

This meeting of Greater Manchester Unite Community Branch notes:

That, on April 25, Bogdan Syrotiuk – a socialist opponent of the Zelensky regime and the NATO-instigated Ukraine-Russia war – was arrested by the Security Service of Ukraine, the SBU, in his hometown of Pervomaisk in southern Ukraine.

Bogdan, who is 25 years old and in poor health, is being held in a prison in Nikolaev under atrocious conditions on fraudulent charges of serving the interests of Russia. In fact, Bogdan is an intransigent opponent of the capitalist Putin regime and its invasion of Ukraine. He fights for the unity of the working class in Ukraine, Russia and throughout the former Soviet Union.

If found guilty by a kangaroo court of these charges, Bogdan is threatened with a prison sentence of 15 years to life, which is equivalent to a death sentence.

The arrest of Bogdan is the latest example of the Zelensky regime’s brutal repression of left-wing movements, whose opposition to the war is finding a growing response within the Ukrainian working class. The fight for Bogdan’s freedom is an essential component of the struggle against imperialist war, genocide and fascism.

This branch resolves: to add the Branch’s voice to global demands for the immediate release of Bogdan Syrotiuk.

Following adoption of the resolution, the proposer and seconder will request that the branch makes a donation to the campaign for Bogdan’s freedom and that the resolution be forwarded to Unite’s North West Community Branches Regional Forum and local Trades Union Councils for discussion.

After Tuesday’s branch meeting, Pearson spoke to the World Socialist Web Site about his reasons for moving the resolution. He said:

John Pearson

“It is important to support the fight to free Bogdan because it is atrocious to see the situation where the working class of one nation is being forced by conscription to join the military forces, serving their capitalist class to slaughter the working class of another nation. This goes against the founding principles of the workers’ movement—workers have no nation.

“This fundamental principle has been shredded by what is happening in the Ukraine. Apart from this, the suppression of political opposition to the war is a serious step.

“Bogdan is a supporter of the international working class. My resolution’s seconder said that what has happened to Bogdan is happening to others abducted by the SBU and disappeared. Journalists who are not political activists have also been disappeared.

“Bogdan is imprisoned because he is a supporter of the working class. Bogdan’s situation is appalling. If there is any independence of the court, the prosecution evidence should be laughed at.

“I read in the World Socialist Web Site leaflet that the SBU is claiming that it found a Russian military coat, a backpack with the letter ‘Z’—a symbol associated with Russian military chauvinism—and a gas mask in the office. I agree that only dull-witted fascist police will expect people to believe that such items will be found in an office that prominently displays a photo of Leon Trotsky and offers a wide selection of Marxist-Trotskyist literature.

“The position of the International Committee of the Fourth International on the war is absolutely correct. There’s no room for nationalism. It goes without saying it’s independent working class politics.

“I am disappointed in other left tendencies such as the ISL [International Socialist League], who are supporting Ukraine and calling on the imperialists to send arms to Zelensky. It’s appalling.

“I think this call to reintroduce national service in Britain is appalling. The ruling class clearly see the Ukrainian model as the model for here. It’s shocking the type of warfare in Ukraine. It is like something from the First World War trenches, workers being slaughtered. Zelensky is driving a tank through hard-won workers’ rights and is using the war to smash workers’ rights.

“The war is about a redivision of the world. I read the pamphlet on Zionism [The Logic of Zionism: From Nationalist Myth to the Gaza Genocide] and David North is right to say the wars there are about the exhaustion of the nation state in a globalised production world.”

Unite Community branch members in Greater Manchester have taken a principled stand. It is a lead that must be followed by workers and union branches everywhere.

The demand for Syrotiuk’s release must spearhead a campaign to mobilise working class opinion against NATO’s reckless actions in Europe. NATO powers led by the United States, Britain, France and Germany are escalating their proxy war in Ukraine into a direct military confrontation against Russia.

Please send resolutions against the frame-up and imprisonment of Bogdan Syrotiuk to: https://www.wsws.org/en/special/pages/freebogdan.html