Postal workers in Britain demand: Free Bogdan Syrotiuk!

The following resolution was adopted by a meeting of the Postal Workers Rank-and-File Committee (UK) on Sunday May 12, 2024. It calls for the release of Ukrainian Trotskyist Bogdan Syrotiuk, an opponent of NATO’s proxy war in Ukraine, who was jailed by the Zelensky regime on April 25.

The World Socialist Web Site and the International Committee of the Fourth International have launched a global campaign demanding Syrotiuk’s freedom. Sign the online petition here.

Bogdan Syrotiuk in mid-April 2024.

The Postal Workers Rank-and-File Committee calls on Royal Mail workers to urgently support the global campaign to demand the release of Bogdan Syrotiuk from a Ukrainian prison.

Bogdan is a political prisoner who has been targeted as a socialist opponent of the Zelensky regime and NATO’s proxy war against Russia. He was arrested by the secret police—the Security Service of Ukraine—on April 25 in his hometown of Pervomaisk in southern Ukraine.

Just 25 years of age and in poor health, Bogdan is an opponent of the bloody war waged by the regimes in Kiev and Moscow that has already claimed more than half a million lives. He has advocated for the unity of the Russian and Ukrainian working class.

Bogdan is being held prisoner on trumped-up charges of undermining the territorial integrity of Ukraine and serving the interests of Russia. His life is in immediate danger in a prison system where torture and abuse are rife, even according to the US State Department.

The Ukrainian regime’s frame-up of Bogdan as a supporter of the Putin regime and its invasion of Ukraine is an absurd lie. He is a leading member of the Young Guard of Bolshevik-Leninists (YGBL), a Trotskyist youth organisation active in Ukraine and throughout the rest of the former Soviet Union. The YGBL opposes the Russian invasion and the NATO proxy war. This is based on the principles of class unity against the governments and oligarchs in both countries.

What the Zelensky regime fears is not a “Putin agent” but the development of mass political opposition from the left among Ukrainian workers and youth who refuse to be used as cannon fodder in a fratricidal war.

Defending Bogdan means challenging the endless pro-war propaganda by the British media that the NATO-backed conflict against Russia is being waged to defend democracy and human rights. Ukraine is a police state under martial law with all opposition parties banned.

The proxy war for imperialist interests to conquer Russia is being waged down to the last Ukrainian. Conservative Foreign Minister David Cameron stated in a recent trip to the US: “I argue that it is extremely good value for money for the United States and for others. Perhaps for about five or 10 percent of your defence budget, almost half of Russia’s pre-war military equipment has been destroyed without the loss of a single American life.”

Hundreds of billions of pounds are being funnelled into the military, while the National Health Service and social programmes are starved of funds. Austerity is being enforced by capitalist governments across the world to implement a war economy.

The war against Russia in Ukraine, like the war on Gaza, is being armed and financed by the US, Britain and other NATO powers. Israel and Ukraine are proxy states backed by their imperialist sponsors in Washington and London which have embarked on a new redivision of the world to seize control of energy supplies, mineral resources, supply chains and markets.

War abroad means a war against the working class at home. The Zelensky regime’s dictatorial measures are being replicated in NATO countries. In the United States, peaceful student protests over Gaza are facing a martial law-style crackdown, with riot police launched onto university campuses to carry out mass arrests.

Hundreds of Jewish people have been arrested and detained for protesting the Gaza genocide, exposing the crude smear that opposition to Zionism equals anti-Semitism. The real sponsors of anti-Semitism are the imperialist powers themselves. Washington, Berlin and London have armed and backed the Zelensky regime in Ukraine which officially honours Stepan Bandera, the Holocaust collaborator during WWII.

The fight for Bogdan’s freedom is inseparable from the struggle against austerity, dictatorship and war. We support the call made by the International Workers Alliance of Rank-and-File Committees (IWA-RFC) for the working class to oppose the state crackdown on university protests in the US, Britain and internationally against Israel’s genocide in Gaza. The courageous stand of students and faculty members must be defended against the frontal assault unleashed on the right to protest and freedom of speech. The police-state methods used today against students will be used tomorrow against every form of protest and strike action by the working class.

The threat of World War III is more urgent than many working people realise. State repression and censorship is being used to silence anti-war sentiment and conceal the preparations for direct military confrontation against Russia and China, which includes war gaming the use of nuclear weapons. The leader of the Labour Party Sir Keir Starmer is fully complicit in these plans and declares openly his readiness to press the nuclear button. The working class confronts a joint party of austerity and war.

We support the call issued by the International Committee of the Fourth International and the World Socialist Web Site for the immediate release of Bogdan Syrotiuk and for the development of an international anti-war movement uniting workers globally. As the IWA-RFC states “The working class, the most powerful social force on earth which creates all wealth through its labor, must leverage that power to force an end to genocide and war.”

We urge postal workers to sign the online petition, post a statement on that Change.org site, bring this campaign to the attention of your co-workers and pass resolutions demanding freedom for Bogdan Syrotiuk.