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Aurora: Communist Women in the Donbas Resistance

A 3-part interview with Svetlana and Katya, from the Donetsk Marxist-Feminist organization

May 13, 2022


Katya and Svetlana show off their Soviet-themed redesign of the DPR flag


Nearly two weeks ago, I spent the May 1st, International Worker’s Day, with six members of the Donestk-based Marxist feminist group “Aurora.” The group is part of a larger Marxist collective in Donbas and Ukraine, and when it is possible, hosts study groups, events, and various forms of collective labor. Many of the men in their larger collective are fighting on the front now.

We walked all over the city, visiting a number of parks and monuments, learning about the history of the workers’ movements, especially the miners, and getting to know one another. We also stopped at a small memorial to the victims of the May 2nd, 2014 Odessa massacre, when Ukrainian fascist vigilantes murdered at least 40 anti-Maidan protestors. Two of those killed in the massacre, Andrey Brazhevsky and Vadim Papura, were close friends of the women in “Aurora,” and they laid flowers for them with their photos at the memorial. They chose Mayday, a day before the anniversary of their death, because as they put it, it was “the last day they marched with us as comrades in struggle.”

Aurora laid photos of Andrey Brazhevsky, 26, and Vadim Papura, 17, both killed at the trade union building in the Odessa Massacre

Yesterday, May 12th, I was able to catch up with Svetlana Valkovich and Katya Ladnova, the founders of Aurora, to interview them more extensively about their group, and their perspectives on Donbas. I’ve organized that interview into three parts, below:

Part One focuses on the reason the group was founded, and the issues facing working-class women in the post-Soviet world:

Part Two is the fascinating personal narrative of Svetlana and her husband, how they escaped Kiev, and the Kharkov, under the persecution of Ukrainian Nazi groups:

Part Three is a discussion on the reality that Donbas has faced under attack by Ukrainian forces, and how the International Left ought to view the conflict:

Find Katia and Svetlana on Telegram:

Katya Ladnova:

Svetlana Valkovich:


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