“His arrest is part of a process to silence all left-wing and socialist opposition”: Workers in Canada demand freedom for Ukrainian socialist Bogdan Syrotiuk

The World Socialist Web Site is leading a campaign for the freedom of Ukrainian socialist Bogdan Syrotiuk, who was arrested April 25 by the Ukrainian secret police (SBU) for his opposition to the US-NATO war on Russia. The far-right Ukrainian government, which lauds the legacy of Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera and his fascist Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, has slandered Syrotiuk as a stooge of the Russian nationalist regime led by Vladimir Putin. In fact, he is a fighter for the program of socialist internationalism represented by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI), which provides the only way forward in struggle against imperialist war.

Bogdan Syrotiuk, founder and leader of the Young Guard of Bolshevik-Leninists

The campaign to free Bogdan has already won the support of thousands of workers, young people, artists, and intellectuals around the world. We post below further statements of solidarity from workers across Canada calling for his freedom. These statements demonstrate that, against the united front of the Trudeau government and all political parties in parliament, who fuel the bloody war in Ukraine by arming the fascistic Zelensky regime and give standing ovations to Nazi war criminals, opposition to imperialist war and authoritarian forms of rule is mounting in the Canadian working class. We encourage everyone to join the campaign by signing the petition and sending the WSWS your statements of support.

Jory, a worker in the energy sector in western Canada, said, “In the strongest terms, I condemn the frame-up of comrade Bogdan Syrotiuk and demand his release. The charges of high treason are a complete sham. Any investigation of Bogdan’s courageous work against war identifies him as a socialist and an internationalist. He is as irreconcilably opposed to the nationalist adventurism of Russia as he is the ruinous servitude of Ukraine to western imperialism. By fabricating these charges, the Zelensky government and its NATO backers explode their own myths of defending freedom or human rights. Their hypocrisy is obvious when a champion of peace like Bogdan finds himself silenced in prison! Free Bogdan Syrotiuk!”

Sterling wrote:

I’m Sterling, an education worker in Toronto, and I support the campaign to free Bogdan Syrotiuk. He was arrested for simply being a member of the Trotskyist group, the Young Guard of Bolshevik-Leninists, which fights to educate and raise the class consciousness of the Ukrainian working class in opposition to the US/NATO provoked war against Russia in Ukraine. Bogdan’s arrest is an attack on the international working class.

The government in Canada is at war not just against Russia but against the working class here. Public education and social programs are being gutted to pay for war against Russia, the genocide in Gaza and provocations against China. The quality of public education is diminishing rapidly, while students and staff have to bear with a lack of resources and school buildings in desperate need of maintenance. However, according to the imperialist politicians, this is the price to pay for “defending democracy” against autocracy. 

Bogdan’s imprisonment is a threat to workers in Canada who oppose the war to be quiet, but we will not be silenced. His arrest also tears apart the lies of the imperialist powers justifying their war of aggression against Russia and using the working class of Ukraine as cannon fodder for the predatory interests of imperialism. The only social force able to free Bogdan and stop the reckless escalation of the war is the international working class. Canadian, Russian and Ukrainian workers share common interests against our own governments and we must unite to sweep them aside and the capitalist system they defend to reorganize the planet on a socialist foundation.

Nathan, a bus driver from British Columbia, wrote, “Bogdan must be freed! He is simply a young comrade trying to do some good in his country and the world. We cannot allow BS charges to be grounds for detention and imprisonment! Stand united!”

Terry, a young worker from Montreal, stated,

The arrest of comrade Bogdan Syrotiuk is the latest act in a long dictatorial repression orchestrated by Zelensky’s mafioso-political regime since the Russian invasion of 2022. 

Assassinations, kidnappings and arbitrary imprisonment are the language used by this criminal regime to assert its domination and stifle all opposition. Examples of this are Daria Dugina, the daughter of Russian ideologist Alexander Dugin, killed in a bomb attack, and a former Ukrainian MP, Illia Kyva, shot dead in his home in December 2023, for having crossed over to the Russian side. All fomented by the SBU, which uses the same accusation to justify its crimes: being pro-Russian! 

Supported by its imperialist backers, Canada, the United States and Europe, Zelensky’s right-wing regime has carte blanche not only to wage a murderous war that is wiping out Ukrainian youth. It also doesn’t hesitate to conduct a veritable witch-hunt against anyone it deems to be close to Russia or supporting a different ideology, on unfounded and empty evidence, as they did against comrade Bogdan, based on a 17-page indictment document which supposedly proves that he is pro-Russian, pro-Kremlin and supports the Russian invasion. 

First of all, the arrest of comrade Bogdan Syrotiuk is part of the cynical and perverse logic of the right-wing Zelensky government’s attempt to continue concealing the reality of the war and the many crimes it is committing against the Ukrainian working class by imposing martial law and kidnapping citizens in broad daylight to send them to the slaughter at the front. Comrade Bogdan is fighting to bring this to light and is being persecuted for being the leader of the Young Guard of Bolshevik-Leninists, a socialist organization based in Ukraine and Russia, which campaigns for the unification of the Ukrainian and Russian working classes to stop the current war. His arrest is part of a process to silence all left-wing and socialist opposition, and comes in a context where the Ukrainian president has cancelled elections and suppressed all opposition parties, thus posing as a true autocrat. 

We cannot allow the capitalist bourgeoisie to attack our class brother, because in attacking him they are attacking all the readers of the World Socialist Web Site who want the end of capitalism. They are attacking Marxist thought and all those, like Bogdan, who fight for the legacy of Leon Trotsky, above all the ICFI. 

The idea of a proletarian revolution frightens the corrupt capitalist aristocracy, which can no longer justify its unreasonable behavior. That’s why they conduct a witch-hunt against those who want an end to the Palestinian genocide, and those who have a different analysis of the war in Ukraine and wish to see an end to NATO’s endless expansionism. When an opinion or discourse differs from their own, they resort to censorship and persecution. 

Finally, the arrest is linked to the mass arrests across all capitalist countries against peaceful demonstrations for an end to the massacre in Gaza. In my view, it is imperative to link these two repressions, one in Ukraine and the other in Gaza, which are complementary in terms of imperialist objectives.

I therefore demand the immediate release of comrade Bogdan Syrotiuk, who is in grave danger being held in the clutches of this fascistic regime.