Commons Journal, №13. The Russian Invasion and the Ukrainian Left: the Struggle for a Social Ukraine


Issue Editor: Stas Serhiienko

Download the thirteenth issue or pre-order the printed version of the thirteenth issue of Spilne

Profits from the sales of this journal will go to fundraising initiatives for humanitarian support of leftist and trade-unionist soldiers


The idea of creating an English-language issue of Commons journal has been discussed for a long time, and it became especially acute in connection with the Russian full-scale invasion and the emerging significant interest in Ukraine among foreign audiences. For various reasons we have been postponing this issue, but the idea came up again during discussions with the editorial staff of the Swedish magazine Glänta, which invited us to a residency in Gothenburg. They offered to help us with printing — we agreed to gather the essential materials.

The war has affected each of us. Some of our friends and relatives were under occupation, captured or killed. One of our editors volunteered to join the army, several of our authors died in action on the frontline, fighting against the aggressor. Some fled the country as refugees and together with those of us who were already abroad — joined various volunteer networks and public discussions about what has been happening. We were struggling to manage and survive — some as refugees, and others staying in Ukraine, all going through the stress and not everybody being able to handle it. Our editor, comrade and dear friend Oleksandr Kravchuk, who was just 37 years old, died in June 2023 in his sleep.

All the while, we have never stopped analyzing the unfolding events. The materials presented here are not original articles written for this issue. They are either selected texts that we have published since the beginning of the full-scale invasion on our website or publications with members of the editorial board on other resources. The main part of the issue is conventionally divided into three blocks. The first contains texts that are our intervention in the Western left’s discussion on Ukraine. The second, most heterogeneous block is devoted to the experiences of war — primarily occupation and refugeeism, but also the experience of solidarity and mutual support. In this section one can also find texts about the reaction of Ukrainian leftists to the war and on the situation with Ukrainian right-wing radicals. The third and final block contains articles that criticize neoliberal solutions to the country’s economic problems, calling for a just and socially oriented post-war reconstruction. The interview immediately following this foreword serves as a short presentation of our journal to a foreign audience.

We would like to thank the Glänta editorial team, without whose assistance this issue would not have been possible. We want to thank Katya Gritseva for the cover and Mariia Boiko for the layout of the journal. Despite the very tight deadlines they did a wonderful job.

We want to thank Ira Yatsenko, Lila Badekha and Zhenya Stepko — people from our team, without whom our work over the past year and a half would have been impossible.

We would also like to thank our comrades — trade unionists and left-wing activists from all around the globe, who have supported us during these hard times. We express our gratitude to Medico International and Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung — without their cooperation many of the texts included in this issue would not have been published.

We dedicate this issue to the memory of Ukrainian anthropologist and our author Evheny Osievsky, and to the memory of our editor, friend and comrade Oleksandr Kravchuk, without whose painstaking editorial work most of these texts would not have seen the light of day.



Interview with Commons: A Ukrainian Left-Wing Collective Intellectual 


To the Western Left

A Letter to the Western Left from Kyiv
Taras Bilous

Ten Terrible Leftist Arguments against Ukrainian Resistance 
Oksana Dutchak

The Right to Resist: A Feminist Manifesto 
The Feminist Initiative Group

The War in Ukraine, International Security, and the Left
Taras Bilous


Between Survival and Resistance

Resistance and Solidarity: The Left Volunteer Movement in the Russo-Ukrainian War
Vladyslav Starodubtsev

We Must Fight for the Future of Ukrainian Education 
Interview with the Priama Diia (the Direct Action) student union

Experiences That Should Have Never Happened Again: How Ukrainians Survive the War 
Alona Liasheva

Six Cats, Thirty People, Four Mortar Shells. Two Weeks in the Occupied Kyiv Suburb 
Evheny Osievsky

Destruction of Signs, Signs of Destruction 
Volodymyr Artiukh

Together We Stand: Enforced Single Motherhood and Ukrainian Refugees’ Care Networks 
Oksana Dutchak

52 Apartments for Internally Displaced People: The Gap between Housing Policy and the Shocks of War
Alona Liasheva

The Far Right in Ukraine
Interview with Taras Bilous


For a Just Reconstruction

To Help Ukraine, Cancel Its Foreign Debt
Interview with Oleksandr Kravchuk 

Ukrainian Economy and Society: Whither the (Postwar) Country?
Yuliya Yurchenko

Principles for Ukraine’s Post-war Reconstruction in the Energy System. Workers and Social Movements Approach
Simon Pirani

Together in Trouble: Social Policy for a Just Reconstruction in Ukraine
Natalia Lomonosova

Download the thirteenth issue or pre-order the printed version of the thirteenth issue of Spilne

Profits from the sales of this journal will go to fundraising initiatives for humanitarian support of leftist and trade-unionist soldiers

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