This statement was originally posted on this website in the year 2003.
After thorough investigation in collaboration with other organizations, the League for the Revolutionary Party of the United States (LRP-U.S.) and the Communist Organization for the Fourth International (COFI) have conclusively determined that the “Revolutionary Workers Organization” (RWO) in Ukraine, which we had recently accepted as a full member organization of COFI, has in fact never existed as a genuine organization. Its “members” and “leaders,” some of whom we had met more than once, were part of the overall scam. Therefore the “RWO” was not and is not a member section of COFI.
We warn readers of Proletarian Revolution magazine that reports and articles that we have published by or about the RWO of Ukraine, as well as its affiliate, the RWO of Russia, are at best unreliable. The activity reports have proved to be untrue and no one should rely on their assertions about political events in those countries.
Incontrovertible evidence has been uncovered demonstrating that a group of purported “revolutionaries” in Ukraine has perpetrated a fraud upon at least ten far left organizations internationally, and probably far more. These sinister elements have misrepresented themselves as members of political groups in Ukraine which claim to be in agreement with a wide variety of different and opposing left tendencies. The same individuals passed themselves off as members and leaders of multiple organizations. To convince international organizations of their false political identities and affiliations, they published fake leaflets and periodicals purporting to express their views and criticisms of various international organizations and other non-existent Ukrainian groups. They reported on activities they supposedly carried out in furtherance of their purported views and participated in extensive political discussions with their international affiliates. The RWO introduced us to an alleged member of another non-existent group in order to demonstrate the multiplicity of far left organizations in Ukraine.
By means of this present statement we wish to warn the workers’ movement and far left organizations everywhere that a criminal fraud by sinister elements located in Ukraine is being perpetrated upon the working class and the socialist movement around the world.
The scam began to unravel when the Socialist Party of Great Britain exposed the fact that they were among the organizations deceived. Their statement is available on the internet at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/spintcom/message/2767. Other groups have informed us that they will shortly release their own statements to the same effect. We expect to issue a joint statement with some of the other affected organizations in the near future. And we will issue a fuller statement detailing the affair at greater length; it will appear on our website and will be available in printed form upon request.
Oleg (Oleh) Vernik, a prominent member of the Ukraine section of the Committee for a Workers International (CWI), a pseudo-Trotskyist organization based in Britain, has been identified as one of the leading perpetrators of the scam. It was reported in early August that the CWI has suspended the leadership of its Ukrainian section and has announced that it will conduct a full investigation as to whether or not this group was behind the sinister operation.
One evident reason for the bizarre conspiracy was to obtain money from abroad, cashing in by pointing to the very real poverty of the Ukrainian working class. Given the sums involved, it is likely that theft was not the only reason for the scam. We do not know at this point whether it was organized by the Ukrainian secret police or the agencies of other governments. Nor do we know yet whether the perpetrators were simply common thieves. Whatever its motivation, this conspiracy has dealt a blow to the revival of the proletarian movement, to Marxism in general and to Trotskyism in particular, not only in Ukraine but throughout the former Soviet Union and around the world. The heritage of Stalinism was already a massively inhibiting factor affecting the attitude of workers in the former Stalinist-ruled states toward revolutionary communism. These liars have added their own contribution to that distrust.
If and when we are able to determine exactly the nature of the forces behind this scam, we will publicize that information. We and other organizations will soon publish photographs of the criminals, together with their alternative names and the multiple organizations they have ostensibly founded and led. Let workers beware of these charlatans.