Workers and youth in Britain demand freedom for Bogdan Syrotiuk: “These charges are bogus!”

The campaign for the release of 25-year-old Bogdan Syrotiuk, jailed by the Zelensky regime for opposing NATO’s war on Russia, continues to win support in Britain among workers, youth and other defenders of democratic rights.

Syrotiuk—a socialist opponent of both the Zelensky and Putin regimes—was arrested by the Security Service of Ukraine, the SBU, on April 25. He is a leading member of the Young Guard of Bolshevik-Leninists (YGBL), a Trotskyist organisation fighting to unite the Russian and Ukrainian working class against the war.

Bogdan Syrotiuk, April 2023

During Britain’s snap general election, the Socialist Equality Party’s (SEP) candidates Tom Scripps and Darren Paxton campaigned against Syrotiuk’s imprisonment, bringing his plight to the attention of thousands of workers and young people. The global campaign for Syrotiuk’s freedom is being waged against NATO plans to escalate war with Russia, and to build a socialist anti-war movement based on the unity of the international working class.

Jonathan Hall, London, a retired lecturer: “The arrest of Bogdan Syrotiuk should be condemned by everyone aware of the risks presented by the developing war in Europe, but the most immediately affected will be the working class who will be made to bear the costs. Bogdan is accused of treason by the Ukrainian nationalists in power there, but the same accusations are faced by the anti-war protestors on the Russian side.

“This intensifying nationalism is a global phenomenon. The only beneficiaries of the increasing belligerence of the nation-states are the large international corporations. They hope to resolve their crisis by expanding their scope for exploitation on a global scale, partly at the expense of their rivals but mainly at the expense of the overwhelming majority. To defend Bogdan Syrotiuk is to prepare that majority, i.e. the global working class, for the revolutionary struggle to prevent the impending disaster of global war.”

David Atkinson, Liverpool: “I am an NHS [National Health Service] healthcare worker in the UK. I strongly condemn the arrest of the young socialist Bogdan Syrotiuk of the Trotskyist Young Guard of Bolshevik-Leninists in Ukraine and his imprisonment in Nikolaev in Southern Ukraine. Bogdan has been charged by the Ukrainian Security Services (SBU) of participating in the distribution of ‘Russian propaganda’. These charges are bogus! Bogdan calls for the unity of Ukrainian and Russian workers to end the war. This is not a crime!

“The arrest of Bogdan is part of a global clampdown on all opposition to war and genocide by the ruling elites. Students, academics and artists are being criminalised for citing opposition to war and mass murder. The right to protest is not a crime but a basic democratic right! I call for the immediate release of Bogdan Syrotiuk and for all charges to be dropped.”

Erica Steenkamp, a musician based in London: “Bogdan Syrotiuk is a socialist seeking to unite the working class of Ukraine and Russia against the war. It is utter madness that he has been imprisoned by the Zelensky regime for his pacifist stance. The United States, advocate of the first amendment should demand his immediate release in defence of democracy and freedom of speech.”

David Kirkham, Sheffield, an SEP supporter:I send my solidarity to Bogdan Syrotiuk, a true socialist who has been jailed by a fascist Ukrainian regime under the control of US/NATO imperialism simply for revealing an objective truth that the ruling class of Ukraine and its imperialist backers do not want the world to know: that the war in Ukraine is a war of US/NATO imperialism and Russian national chauvinism, part of a global capitalist redivision of the world that threatens to condemn humanity to World War III and nuclear annihilation.

“Bogdan is clearly opposed to Zelensky’s fascist regime, US/NATO imperialism and Putin’s reckless, reactionary nationalism.

“He is opposed to yet another futile war that is killing and disabling hundreds of thousands of people. His arrest by the Security Service of Ukraine is part of a huge global suppression of free speech and protest by the global ruling class who do not want the working class to be aware of the objective truth about our situation because they know that once armed with that truth, we threaten to be an unstoppable global force that will end all national chauvinism, nation states and the rancid capitalist system that threatens to annihilate us.

“I urge all socialists to call for Bogdan’s immediate release, to build a global working-class movement to end the war in Ukraine, the US/NATO backed genocide in Gaza, and all the wars of national chauvinism and imperialism taking place around the only planet that supports human life.”

Tim Wade, Sheffield: “The jailing of Bogdan Syrotiuk is an absolute disgrace. The Zelensky regime claims to be defenders of democracy and freedom against Putin’s reactionary invasion of the Ukraine, yet Zelensky is guilty of exactly the same reactionary persecution of Syrotiuk based simply on his political beliefs. Zelensky’s persecution of Syrotiuk is the product of complete desperation and fear of the strength and power of the political perspective that Syrotiuk offers for the workers of the world, particularly in Ukraine and Russia. Syrotiuk needs to be released immediately and compensate for the horrendous treatment he has had to endure.”