There's a Bolshie Born Every Minute


A small band of Ukrainian con artists have spent the last few years bilking English and American Leninist parties by pretending to be each group's comrades in Kiev:

Five young Ukrainian conspirators—seemingly with a background in the "official communist" Komsomol and well able to pick up the vital factional nuances of left politics in the Anglo-Saxon world—managed to pass themselves off as "sections" of anything up to 12 different organisations. A feat which might be explained by the claim that they first met each other in an "amateur acting troupe."…

[The Ukrainians] recreated in fictional microcosm the factional struggles and rivalries that plague the left in Britain and the US. Negotiations, polemics, splits and all. This doubtlessly pleased their "masters" in London and New York no end.

How was the fraud exposed?

The penny dropped for the [International Bolshevik Tendency] and Workers Power on August 14. A leading WP comrade was boastfully displaying a photograph of the organisation's recent world congress to an IBT member. Standing on either side of the said WPer were two Ukrainian comrades—they were instantly recognisable. They were the IBT's key comrades in their own Ukrainian section. Photos and information were quickly exchanged between factional centres—everyone had been conned.

The Communist Party of Great Britain, which was not among the defrauded, describes the affair as "The Sting meets Life of Brian."

[Via Ken MacLeod.]