There is a war in Ukraine. Outwardly, it looks like an armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine. All political forces, including Left, have spoken out about these events. The range of assessments: from humanistic-emotional (“people are dying, stop the war”) to purely class (“The West is pushing two oligarchic regimes”). In fact, this conflict has deep roots. When analyzing the situation, we must take into account both the national content of the class struggle and the class content of the national struggle.
What is Ukraine? The territory of present-day Ukraine until the middle of the XVII century was a sparsely populated space, contested by neighboring countries. By the beginning of the XX century the lands of present-day Ukraine were divided between Poland, Austria-Hungary and Russia. After 1917 revolution some of these lands temporarily declared independence. However in 1922 they joined the USSR as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. So Ukraine gained statehood, although limited.
Ukraine was an agricultural country. To ensure its development in 1918 at the suggestion of Vladimir Lenin six Russian industrial regions including Donetsk and Lugansk which had never been part of Ukraine were transferred to Ukraine. In 1939 Galicia (Western Ukraine) was annexed to Ukraine, previously part of Poland. The current territory of Ukraine is the result of its entry into the USSR. It consists of disparate pieces: from Galicia (Lviv) with a strong influence of Catholicism to Eastern Ukraine, which strongly gravitates towards Russia.
Socialist Ukraine developed powerfully. Aircraft and rocket building, petrochemistry, electric power industry (4 nuclear power plants) and defense industries were added to the extraction of metal and coal. As part of the USSR Ukraine received not only the bulk of its current territory, but economic potential making it 10th largest economy in Europe. Ukrainian politicians were dominant in the Soviet leadership. N.Khrushev, L.Brezhnev, K.Tchernenko run the USSR from 1953 to 1983.
After the collapse of the USSR in December 1991, Ukraine became an independent state for the first time in its history. But this destroyed centuries-old economic integration with Russia. The “market” model led to the de-industrialization of Ukraine, to sharp drop in the standard of living of the population. On the basis of predatory privatization, an oligarchic class arose.
Now it is the poorest country in Europe. The level of corruption and social differentiation is of the world highest. The manufacturing industry except metallurgy, is practically destroyed. The economy rests on Western loans and money transfers from migrant labour who left for Europe and Russia in search of work. (about 10 million out of 45 million people), basically qualified specialists. The degradation of human capital has reached its limit. The country is on the verge of a national catastrophe.
The population of Ukraine is strongly dissatisfied. However this dissatisfaction with pro-Western authorities is manipulated in such a way that each time even more pro-Western forces win the elections. In February 2014, a US and NATO-backed state coup was carried out in Ukraine. The US State Department has publicly stated that it has invested $5 billion in its preparation.
Neo-Nazis came to power. These are, first of all, people from Western Ukraine (Galicia), which for centuries was under the rule of Poland and Austria-Hungary. Extremely nationalistic, anti-Semitic, anti-Polish, Russophobic and anti-Communist sentiments are historically strong there. After Hitler’s invasion of the USSR, German troops were greeted in Western Ukraine with flowers. SS divisions were formed there fought against the Red Army. Local nationalists, led by Hitler’s admirer Stephan Bandera, set about exterminating the Jewish population. In Ukraine about 1.5 million Jews were killed – one fourth of all Holocaust victims. During the “Volyn massacre” in 1944 about 100,000 Poles were brutally murdered in Western Ukraine. Banderas destroyed Soviet guerillas and burned alive the men, women and children in hundreds of villages in Belarus. Ukrainian nationalists who served as guards in German concentration camps became notorious for monstrous cruelty.
After the war from 1945 to 1953, US and UK-supported anti-Communist and anti-Soviet rebels in Western Ukraine unleashed terror against civilian population. During these years Banderas killed about 50 thousand civilians. This is the nature of forces – descendants and followers of fascists – which came to power after the 2014 coup. The traditions of anti-Polish, anti-Semitic and anti-Russian terror are very strong among the neo-Nazis who now really govern Ukraine. 42 opponents of Nazi were burnt alive in the Trade Unions building in Odessa on May, 2, 2014.
It is an alliance of neo-Nazis with oligarchic capital. Banderas (like the SS stormtroopers in Germany) serve as a shock detachment of big business. The only difference is that Banderas refrain from outright anti-Semitism, having established a class unity with the local oligarchy. Banderas tightly control every move of state power, constantly blackmailing it with the threat of a coup. On the other hand, the policy of Ukraine is determined by the US Embassy in Kyiv.
The nature of the current Ukrainian state is an alliance of big capital and the state bureaucracy, relying on criminal and fascist elements under the full political and financial control of the United States.
After 2014 Nazi ideology is being implanted in Ukraine. Day of Victory over fascism on May 9 has been canceled. Ukrainian fascists – organizers and participants in the atrocities of the war – are officially recognized as national heroes. Every year torch marches are held in honor of fascist criminals. Streets and squares are named after them. The Communist Party of Ukraine operates underground. Intimidation and political assassinations of politicians and journalists became constant. Monuments to Lenin and everything related to the memory of life in the USSR are being destroyed.
At the same time an attempt began to forcibly assimilate the Russian population of Ukraine with the suppression of the Russian language. An attempt to introduce Afrikaans instead of English in South Africa led to the Soweto uprising in 1976. The same thing happened in Ukraine. An attempt to transfer school education from Russian into Ukrainian gave rise to powerful resistance in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. People took up arms. In May 2014 a referendum was held there, in which 87% of citizens voted for independence. This is how the Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk people’s republics (LPR) arose. After several unsuccessful attempts to invade the LPR-DPR, the Nazis from Kyiv switched over to terror. During 8 years of shelling from large-caliber guns, more than 13 thousand civilians, including children, women and elderly people were killed in LPR-DPR. With the complete silence of the world community.
The Communists of Russia take an active part in the defense of the LPR-DPR. Hundreds of communists are fighting the Nazis as part of the troops of the people’s republics. Dozens of communists died in this struggle. In 8 years the CPRF sent 93 convoys with humanitarian aid to these republics with a total weight of 13,000 tons, received thousands of children for rest and treatment in Russia. All these years the CPRF headed by Gennady Zyuganov demanded from the leadership of Russia the recognition of the independence of Donbass.
In March 2015 at the initiative of Russia (with the participation of Germany and France) the Minsk agreements were concluded, which provided for the special status of the LPR-DPR within Ukraine. However, Ukraine evaded their implementation. With the support of the United States, Kyiv was preparing to crush the LPR-DPR by force of arms. The US, UK and other NATO members provided training for the Ukrainian army. They constructed over 30 major military installation in Ukraine including 15 Pentagon laboratories for the development of bacteriological weapons (cholera, the plague and other deadly diseases). Ukraine with its four nuclear power stations and huge scientific-technical potential is able to construct an A-bomb. This intention was publically declared. There was a danger of deployment of US cruise missiles. The situation in Ukraine increasingly threatened Russia’s security.
In December 2021 Russia proposed to the United States to talk about non-expansion of NATO. The US and NATO ignored the proposal. In January 2022 Russia warned that it would be forced to take additional measures to protect its security. At the same time it became known that Ukraine had concentrated 150,000 servicemen and Nazi battalions in Donbass. Kyiv, backed by the USA was preparing to regain control over Donbass through war this March.
On February 22 President Putin announced the recognition of the independence of the LPR-DPR. On February 25 the Russian Armed Forces operation of began.
Russia is not going to occupy Ukraine. The purpose of the operation is the liberation of Ukraine from the Nazis and its neutrality (refusal to join NATO). The tactics of the Russian troops is, while attacking military facilities, to minimize the casualties among civilian population and Ukrainian military, to avoid destruction of civilian infrastructure. They are brotherly people. We will continue to live together. However, the Bandera Nazis use the most disgusting tactics of the German fascists, using civilians and their houses as human shields. They install artillery and tanks in residential areas, forbid citizens to leave war zones, turning hundreds of thousands of people into hostages.
This nefarious Nazi tactic is not condemned in the West. It is the United States, waging an information war through the media controlled by them (only Russia Today resists), that are interested in the war. The United States strikes not only at Russia but also at Europe. The NATO war against Yugoslavia in 1999 was a means of destabilizing the European Union. Today the US main goal is to prevent Russian gas supplies via the Nord Stream-2 pipeline to force Europe to buy more expensive liquefied gas from the United States, thereby sharply weakening Germany and other EU countries. The volume of trade between Russia and the EU is 260 billion dollars a year. With the US – 23 billion USD . 10 times less. Therefore the sanctions imposed at the request of the United States hit, first of all, Europe. The events in Ukraine are yet another American war for control of the world.
By the way, the claims about global nature of boycott of Russia are false. BRICS countries (Brazil, India, China and South Africa) constituting 43% of the world population did not support sanctions. China is the 1st and India – 3d biggest economies of the world. Sanctions were not supported by Asia (excluding Japan and South Korea with their US military bases), by the Middle East, by the largest countries of Latin America and by the majority of the world.
For 30 years I have been one of the most active critics of the domestic and foreign policy of the Russian elite. In its class character, the oligarchic-bureaucratic power in Russia is not much different from the power in Ukraine (except without fascism and full US control). However, in those unfortunately rare cases when the leaders of Russia pursue a line that meets the historical interests of the country and the people, the principle of “automatic” criticism is hardly appropriate.
I have long argued that sanctions will have a beneficial effect on getting rid of Russia’s imposed dependence on the West in various areas of life. The Russian government is already taking the first steps in this direction. The task of the left forces is to vigorously encourage the authorities to change not only foreign policy, but also the socio-economic course, which does not correspond to the interests of the people.
Member of CC of CPRF
Doctor of Sciences in History,
Ex – Parliamentarian of the Russian State Duma (2011-2016)