Lenin’s approach to the analysis of imperialist alliances and to the use of contradictions between imperialists for developing revolutionary strategy of struggle under the conditions of modern Russia

RCWP Central Committee

Nowadays communists in Russia have been facing the problem of establishing their position regarding the conflict of Russian capitalists with a part of Western imperialistic Oligarchy. Whereas the main reason for this conflict is still the struggle for control over Ukraine that manifested itself in the invocation and support for Fascism there performed by the biggest imperialist powers led by USA, the conflict has a wider scope. We can observe the confrontation over the issue of Syria between Russia on the one hand and USA and certain European countries on the other hand. We can see Russian politics aimed at creating friendly ties with such enemies of USA as Cuba, Vietnam, Venezuela, Korean Peoples’ Democratic Republic, the creation of Eurasian Economic Union headed by Russia on the territory of the USSR, this union to be a rival of USA and EU. We can see steps directed towards establishing co-operation with China and attempts to organize BRICS countries so that they should represent a sort of alternative to the American hegemony in the world.

Communists from all countries, especially from those that don’t belong to the narrow circle of imperialistic powers robbing the rest of the world, have been facing similar questions referring to the attitudes towards imperialistic politics as well as towards the politics of their own governments. To resolve these issues we should first of all analyze the politics of Lenin and of the USSR referring to imperialistic alliances and inter imperialist rivalry.

Lenin expressed his views on imperialistic alliances (here we mean not only military and diplomatic alliances but also deep rooted tendencies for unification, for creation of politic and economical alliances of the state or semi-state type) in his famous article “On the Slogan for a United States of Europe”. While recognizing a certain progressive role that this slogan could have played under those concrete circumstances (the article was written in 1915), in case it had been linked to the revolutionary putting an end to the imperialistic war and to the overthrowing of Russian, German and Austrian monarchies, Lenin still expressed his general negative opinion of that slogan as from his point of view it created an illusion of possibility to create progressive alliances under conditions of Capitalism in its final, imperialistic stage.

Of course, temporary agreements are possible between capitalists and between states. In this sense a United States of Europe is possible as an agreement between the European capitalists …but to what end? Only for the purpose of jointly suppressing socialism in Europe, of jointly protecting colonial booty against Japan and America, who have been badly done out of their share by the present partition of colonies, …” [1] At the same time Lenin accepted and considered it necessary to use contradictions between imperialist powers and their alliances in the interests of proletarian state

In his article “The Itch” Lenin used to prove the possibility of co-operation with one of imperialistic alliance to defend the proletarian state against another one. Lenin meant the assistance from the imperialists of Britain and France against the advancing German troops (this was a moment in 1918 when Germany resumed its advance on having broken the peace talks).

If Kerensky, a representative of the ruling class of the bourgeoisie, i.e., the exploiters, makes a deal with the AngloFrench exploiters to get arms and potatoes from them and at the same time conceals from the people the treaties which promise (if successful) to give one robber Armenia, Galicia and Constantinople, and another robber Baghdad, Syria and so forth, is it difficult to understand that this deal is a predatory, swindling, vile deal on the part of Kerensky and his friends? No, this is not difficult to understand. Any peasant, even the most ignorant and illiterate, will understand it.

But if a representative of the exploited, oppressed class, after this class has overthrown the exploiters, and published and annulled all the secret and annexationist treaties, is subjected to a bandit attack by the imperialists of Germany, can he be condemned for making a “deal” with the Anglo-French robbers, for obtaining arms and potatoes from them in return for money or timber, etc.? Can one find such a deal dishonourable, disgraceful, dirty?

No, one cannot. Every sensible man will understand this and will ridicule as silly fools those who with a “lordly” and learned mien undertake to prove that “the masses will not understand” the difference between the robber war of the imperialist Kerensky (and his dishonourable deals with robbers for a division of jointly stolen spoils) and the Kalyayev deal of the Bolshevik Government with the Anglo-French robbers in order to get arms and potatoes to repel the German robber“. [2]

The peace treaty of Brest that was signed with Germany soon after, was also an example of using contradictions between imperialists in order to maintain and develop the state of proletarian dictatorship as well as the treaty with Germany signed in Rapallo in 1922. Of course, the best known of such examples is the Anti-Hitler coalition between USSR, Great Britain and USA aimed against Fascist Germany and her Anti-Comintern Pact’s allies. We can state that these were exactly the forces of Comintern with the assistance of bourgeois democracy’s forces that achieved the victory over forces of Fascism.

Current situation in the world is characterized by increasing rivalries between imperialists. USA go on dominating the world - the opportunity that became possible after the downfall of USSR. Nevertheless other imperialists strive to undermine their positions. These are the imperialists of European Union, first of all Germany and France, we should also mention China whose industrial output can be compared with the one of USA, and also Russia.

Modern Russia is the biggest “splinter” of USSR. Despite the destruction of industrial and scientific-technological potential if compared with the Soviet time, she still represents a serious enough power that possesses nuclear weapons. By the end of nineties Russian capital had completed the theft of socialized property performed by way of privatization, had quickly passed the stage of capitals’ concentration and reached the stage of monopoly capital. They had constructed their political system and as soon as they stopped feeling a direct danger of Socialism’s restoration (in particular because they knew how to use opportunists), the big Capital of Russia started to pursue more militant foreign politics while aspiring to obtain a “place under the sun”.

Nevertheless, despite all the patriotic verbiage and actual deterioration of the relations with the West, Russia actually remains a source of raw materials and a sales market for their products (nowadays for the products of China as well, in particular of the western TNC that have their manufacturing facilities there). For all the super profits from the exports of expensive oil and gas as well as of other natural resources, there has been no real substantial modernization of economics let alone reaching the Soviet level of production during the years of Putin in power. At the same time there still remain certain high tech enterprises and scientific centers surviving from the Soviet period, in particular in the field of military industry. Essentially weak and hesitant politics of the Russian state in her relations with the leading imperialist powers is determined by several circumstances. First - it’s a weak materials basis and insufficient human resources (population of Russia is less than a half of the USSR’s population and as different from USSR she doesn’t have any ideologically motivated military allies); second: it’s dependence of Russian ruling class on the West. We can see it in the case of the conflict in Ukraine: on the one hand the joining of Crimea and the support to the insurrection in Donbass – initially weak, but later a substantial one. On the other hand the promises by Putin not to let the bloodshed in the East of Ukraine remained just promises, Russia keeps making concessions to the West, signs disadvantageous agreements, makes insurgents stop their advance in crucial moments. Almost immediately after the coup Russia had actually recognized the new regime in Kiev thus helping it to strengthen itself and to unleash the war in Donbass. Russian government partially under the pressure from the West, but primarily basing on the interests of Russian capital (retaining huge properties and familiar markets) has been granting Ukraine favourable economic conditions – Russian authorities themselves outraged by the politics of Kiev claimed that they had rendered Ukraine an assistance for the total sum of about 100 billion USD (discounts, credits etc.) whereas USA only provided an assistance worth 5 billion USD. We can also add that Russian capitalists do their best to avoid a serious break with the West and they only strive to negotiate more advantageous conditions for the “partnership”. Meanwhile in reality Russian capitalists have been helping USA to implement their anti-Russian plans, in particular these plans aimed at interrupting with the economical co-operation and integration between Russia and Europe. Trade turnover between RF and EU countries before the introduction of sanctions was around 420 bil.USD in all (132 of import and 282 of export) whereas the one between USA and EU was about 500 billion USD – we can see that these two figures are quite comparable which means a real competition. The introduction of sanctions has decreased the turnover of trade between RF and EU by 12,2% (import) and by 7,1% (export). At the same time imports from USA to Russia has increased by 23% and Russian exports to USA increased by 7%. This way looks the war of sanctions carried out simultaneously against Russia and against EU.

As far as the western Imperialism is concerned, it is not united. EU is in fact a much stronger competitor for USA than Russia and the conflict over Ukraine allowed USA to destroy the emerging alliance between RF and Germany and to create a united front of western powers against Russia under the leadership of USA – this is a great success of Washington in its struggle against not only Russia but against European competitors as well, let alone the struggle for Ukraine and for the subdued status of their European allies.

Economical potential of EU still significantly exceeds its political significance that could be explained by the absence of unity in this loose structure. Apart from that, there are several states within EU that actually act as USA’s agents. Meanwhile all this helps USA go on making EU to follow their political line.

The role of China has increased. This country while pursuing her own economic interests has started to support Russia in a number of issues, still China has managed to avoid any involvement in acute conflicts with her competitors, though in the future this will most likely become inevitable.

In the political lexicon there has appeared the word “BRICS” (an abbreviation of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) this word to denote an informal alliance, a form of co-operation of fairly strong states that try to pursue politics that would be more independent from Washington and that aspire to dispose of “the single-pole model” of the world. Meanwhile this alliance is more a theoretical thing as no obliging agreements have been signed, and the interests of these states as well as their politics don’t always coincide.

When in the majority of countries there still continues capitalist reaction that has followed the downfall of USSR and the Eastern Block, and capitalists can start a struggle for the redistribution of the world without hindrances, we can observe quite the opposite in Latin America - a “left turn” that started since the end of nineties. There appeared a whole block of countries (ALBA) that proclaimed the socialist way of development and anti-imperialism, this block led by Cuba and Venezuela. Even some moderate governments of LA, like the governments of Argentina and Brazil have been trying to pursue politics that are more independent from Washington and that take into account the demands of working masses in their countries to a greater extent. Such situation in LA can be explained not only by objective social-political conditions (as early as beginning from the second half of the XX Century LA has turned into one of potential locations of social revolution), but also by the fact that after the counterrevolution in USSR and in Eastern Europe in LA there remained a socialist state – Cuba, this state being a small one, still capable of influencing the processes in the region to some extent. Left revolutionary forces have also managed to retain their potential and ideological influence. That’s why people’s uprising there lead not to an exchange of one bourgeois government for another, or even worse, as it was the case in Egypt, Ukraine, but at least in certain instances there were achieved real changes of power in the interests of working classes. We consider it essential to mention that such progressive anti-imperialist reforms are portrayed by a number of “left” politicians as the way of XXI Century’s Socialism, which in our opinion is not correct and even more than that – it’s harmful. Such fascination with reforms (in most cases the progressive ones) leads to the rejection of the basic laws of transition to Socialism, the scientific Communism itself. Venezuela in the period of Chavez presidency became the leader in carrying out such reforms. Nevertheless there are also serious weaknesses characteristic of the revolutionary movement in LA. Here we can mention the influence of petty bourgeois ideology, inconsistency in implementing socialist changes and worship of bourgeois democracy by many of the leaders there. We should also remember that ALBA countries are not the biggest and the strongest even within LA and their abilities to resist Imperialism are limited.

As it is known the process of production’s and capital’s concentration, the transition from the pre-monopolistic Capitalism to the monopolistic and later to the state-monopolistic one, are historically predetermined processes and taking this fact into consideration – they are progressive as far as they create material preconditions for Socialism. "Or, in other words, socialism is merely state-capitalist monopoly which is made to serve the interests of the whole people and has to that extent ceased to be capitalist monopoly" [3]. Of course it doesn’t mean that proletariat shouldn’t struggle against the state-monopoly Capitalism. Yes, state-monopoly Capitalism does create material conditions for Socialism, that’s why the attempts to roll back to the pre-monopoly stages of Capitalism the struggle for “small and medium range business” etc. would be reactionary. Nevertheless the second part of the Lenin’s phrase is no less important: this state-capitalist monopoly should be destroyed as a capitalist monopoly by way of socialist revolution, thus transforming it so as it should benefit all people. Until the revolution is not performed and state-monopoly capitalism exploits and suppresses the class of workers and all working people, the main task of proletariat is still the struggle for destruction of Capitalism, for turning the material preconditions into real Socialism, into public property preserved by the power of working class. This is the dialectics of social development.

All this is also applicable to international capitalist alliances like EU and the Eurasian Economic Union.

On the one hand under conditions of Imperialism international economic and political alliances promote the development of means of production, concentration of industry and capital, i.e. progressive processes. On the other hand only unequal alliances are possible under capitalism, when weaker allies are subdued and exploited by the stronger ones and the development is often lopsided and malformed. A typical example of such alliance is European Union and the Euro zone where two states, Germany and France impose their conditions onto all the rest. Such situation may lead to a regress of industry in certain countries instead of its development depending on the role allocated to the country in the labour division’s framework within the union. Greece, East European countries and the Baltic States can be demonstrated as example of degradation that followed their joining EU. In case the economic alliance is also accompanied by a political one, such new supranational entity turns into a powerful tool of ruling classes to subdue the working classes along with the national states. The transition of many powers of office from national states to the “European” bodies in EU deprived working people even of those limited possibilities to influence the politics of their governments that the workers used to have in their national states. It’s quite obvious that such unions serve the purpose to intensify the exploitation of proletariat and to increase the profits of financial oligarchy.

As far as the Customs and the Eurasian Unions lead by Russia are concerned, these are also imperialistic alliances created in the interests of the big capital from the participating countries, first of all the interests of Russian monopolistic capital that subdues itself weaker post-Soviet states (and competing in the struggle for them with USA and EU). Nevertheless it would be wrong to oppose economic integration and the tendencies to unification on the former USSR’s territory as USSR used to be a united economical complex and to some extent remains so even in a capitalist form, the more so as communists from the former Soviet republics have always called for reunification of our people.

Anyway at the moment this alliance doesn’t offer any apparently unequal conditions for the participants. We should mention that the process of the “Eurasian integration” is still at initial stages only; there is yet no discussion of common currency’s introduction or of creating a common state. Besides that, as Russian imperialists are weaker than the American or West European ones, they have to offer more advantageous conditions to attract junior partners which improves the conditions for reproduction and struggle of working class in the former Soviet republics.

Still communists should abstain from an unequivocal support of Eurasian Economic Union (as well as from ascribing to this union a possibility of progressive development and a solution of certain issues in favour of working people). They shouldn’t do it because regardless of what some “left” national-patriots claim, this union has nothing to do with the Soviet Union apart from partial overlapping of the territories. We should also remember that in this union there participate certain reactionary oppressive regimes like the one in Kazakhstan that brutally suppresses any opposition, in particular the communist one and shoot down striking workers (like in Zhanaozen).

There is yet another threat that is even more important: the active support provided by Russian communists (or to be more exact by their opportunistic part) to the pro-Russian alliances on the post-Soviet territories could eventually lure communists to the trap of bourgeois-patriotic ideology, could infect them with the virus of social-chauvinism and dull the hatred to their own oppressors. We think that even without us Russian monopolists could ensure the implementation of “progressive” features of the Eurasian integration (like economic growth, the defense against American Imperialism’s expansion) in case they are in a position to do so (if not - we cannot help them anyway), whereas there is nobody to fight with the great-power chauvinism but us.

We think that at the moment the general attitude of Russian communists towards Eurasian Economic Union should be calm and balanced. We should discuss strengths and weaknesses of the union while clarifying what is positive or negative. At the same time we shouldn’t either oppose this union due to anti-imperialistic reasons, or provide uncritical support while considering this process as an alleged return to the USSR.

We can also reasonably apply these considerations when analyzing the idea of creating the union state of Russia and Belorussia. In this case we should also take into account the fact that Russian capital strives to get hold of the large centralized economics that has been preserved (and that has even been developed) in Belorussia since the Soviet times. RCWP supports the politics of Belorussian President only aimed at repelling the attempts of different types of “privatizators” both local and foreign, at retaining the industrial potential of the republic. Communists oppose the predatory intentions of Russian capital to swallow the economics of Belorussia and by all means support the process of getting closer and combining the efforts of the working people in both countries in their joint struggle for Socialism.

At the moment European Union is a pretty powerful supranational organization that is a tool of monopolistic capital’s domination over the people of its member countries, of suppressing workers’ movement and of expansion. That’s why the demands of communists in a number of European countries to leave both EU and the Euro Zone are quite fair. Nevertheless these claims make sense only when they are combined with the demands to introduce radical social changes and to change the standing social order as it is done by the Communist Party of Greece. The slogans to quit EU or the Euro zone with the domination of capital left untouched, these slogans being put forward by various right and nationalistic forces as well as by the groups calling themselves “leftist” that are in fact pro-bourgeois and opportunist, cannot be regarded as progressive at all. In case a revolutionary situation arises in the majority of EU countries or in the leading countries there, the slogans to leave EU should be probably withdrawn. In case EU interrupts with progressive changes in a country, then to leave EU would be necessary and reasonable step.

We should separately analyze the situation in Ukraine and Novorossia. Capitalist social order was established in Ukraine similar to the rest other Soviet republics right after the counterrevolutionary coup 1985-91 and the destruction of USSR. Whereas Russian capital that got the biggest chunk of the country had managed to stabilize the situation in Russia by the end 90-ies and despite its dependency on the West even started to play a relatively independent role in the world while showing its own imperialistic ambitions, Ukraine had turned into a battlefield of competing imperialist powers (USA, EU and Russia) and the corresponding oligarchic clans. Economic co-operation between Ukraine and Russia first of all in the field of military industry significantly contributed to the maintaining and growth of Russian Imperialism’s military potential.

In February 2014 there took place a reactionary coup in Ukraine. That coup was organized by USA, EU and the groups of local big capitalists closely associated with the West. A puppet semi-Fascist regime was established in the country whereas its ideology combine nationalism, anti-communism and anti-sovietism and its politics are aimed at turning Ukraine in a sort of colony of EU and USA that is hostile to Russian Federation.

The so called “Communist Party of Ukraine” headed by Simonenko is a right opportunist party similar to Russian CPRF. In the 90-ies the party enjoyed a significant influence and Simonenko contested Kuchma in the second round of presidential elections in 1999 while having a support of about 40% of the population. Nevertheless the unscrupulousness and conciliation of that party led to their loss of popular trust, whereas there wasn’t enough time for strong and genuine communist parties to appear. These are reasons why the just outrage of the people at the abomination of Capitalism was used by right bourgeois powers including nationalists and fascists and by the agents of Imperialism, whereas the anti-fascist movement that appeared later in the South-East of Ukraine was left without class organization and was subdued to Russian Imperialism. Still we believe it necessary to mention that while having serious reasons to criticize the opportunism of CPU we strongly condemn the decision by present authorities of Ukraine to ban all Communist parties there. We show our solidarity with the struggle of Ukrainian communists against the repressions unleashed by the junta in Kiev.

We should undoubtedly consider the anti-fascist struggle of the republics of Donetsk and Lugansk as a progressive one. Despite the fact that both these republics are of bourgeois nature, that they are pro-Russian, that there can be observed various reactionary trends among the insurgents (like nationalists, monarchists, White Guards), there is maintained bourgeois democracy and communists have possibility to act and to promote their views (though to a limited extent – e.g. they cannot participate in the elections), there have even appeared left armed units within the insurgent army of Lugansk. The Soviet symbols there have been preserved, whereas the respect to the Soviet heritage, especially to the memory of the WWII has been widely practiced. All this differs so much from the deeds of the regime in Kiev where they make heroes from Hitler’s collaborators Bandera and Shukhevich, and where communist ideology has been banned.

The politics of Russia towards Donbass and Ukraine has an ambivalent nature. From the one hand Putin’s government renders certain material, information, and apparently also certain technical-military assistance to Donetsk and Lugansk Republics while unwilling to give up the struggle for at least a part of Ukraine. It’s only natural that Russian authorities ensured that the bourgeois regimes in Donetsk and Lugansk should be totally controlled by Moscow. On the other hand under the pressure of western Imperialism the regime of Putin keeps bending and backing away while not letting the resistance forces to exploit their military success. He’s actually recognized and even sponsors the Kiev junta of Poroshenko. We are of the opinion that communists both in Russia and Ukraine should show their support to the republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, though such support should also contain a degree of criticism. That is we should support the anti-fascist and democratic struggle of the working people of Donbass and simultaneously criticize the bourgeois and pro-Kremlin character of these regimes as well as the reactionary trends within them. Russian communists should demand that Russian government should officially recognize the choice of people in Donetsk and Lugansk republics and give them any help they would need. Nevertheless, communists shouldn’t similar to social-patriots consider a possibility of immediate deployment of Russian troops as there are not military reasons to do so at the moment and would only intensify the imperialistic conflict and suppress all the progressive trends in Donbass.

One might ask a question if the support rendered by Russian communists to the republics of Donbass and their demands that Russian government should assist the resistance, are in fact a support of “their own” Russian imperialism in its conflict with rival powers and coming over to the side of social-chauvinism. If Donbass and Ukraine are just another point of dissent between various groups of imperialists is there any sense, or progressive meaning in the struggle of Donbass against Fascism and western Imperialism? As it is known Lenin recognized that the struggle of Serbia against the Austrian aggression during the WWI was justified (we should mention that exactly Serbia was used as a formal cause to unleash the WWI), later though he wrote that the fact didn’t have any meaning in the general assessment of the war, as Serbia was only a pretext to start the war for the redistribution of the world among imperialist predators.

The present war is, in substance, a struggle between Britain, France and Germany for the partition of colonies and for the plunder of rival countries; on the part of tsarism and the ruling classes of Russia, it is an attempt to seize Persia, Mongolia, Turkey in Asia, Constantinople, Galicia, etc. The national element in the Austro-Serbian war is an entirely secondary consideration and does not affect the general imperialist character of the war”. [4]

We are of the opinion that in our case an attempt to find similarity between the two historical events would be wrong. Unlike the situation in 1914 we don’t currently have two groups of imperialists with comparable military potential, these groups only looking for a pretext to start hostilities. What we have is the western Imperialism that dominates in the world (though the West is pretty heterogeneous it presents a united front as to regards Ukraine) and that has been striving not only to retain its supremacy, but also to extend it while in the countries that were appointed victims the imperialists use as their tools the most reactionary movements, such as Fascists, fanatical islamists etc. On the other hand there are attempts of the Russian imperialism that has managed to get a bit stronger lately and China to somewhat curb these intentions while trying to retain the relations with their “western partners”. What is important: there is semi-fascist regime in Kiev and the anti-fascist struggle in Donbass and communists ought to support this struggle as they did in the past while supporting anti-fascist struggle in capitalist countries even before USSR entered the WWII.

Of course there exists a threat that communists could slide down to social-chauvinism and to servicing domestic bourgeoisie (that is done by CPRF). That’s why Russian communists should adhere to the class approach and while practicing this approach they should focus their attention on harsh criticism of their own Capitalism and reveal it’s predatory nature. They should criticize the oligarchic pro-Russian regimes in the republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, they should resist the nationalistic anti-Ukrainian hysteria as well. In other words they should explain that the followers of Vlasov are no better than the followers of Bandera.

The accession of Crimea is presented by Russian authorities as the biggest success of Putin, this attitude fully shared by CPRF. The slogan “Crimea is ours!” has turned into a symbol of local form of jingoism bordering a sort of nationalistic hysteria. On the other hand pro-western propaganda accuses Russian government in aggression and in annexation of foreign territories.

Sure that Crimea has always been the region of the Ukraine that demonstrated the highest hostility towards Ukrainian nationalists. That’s why it was only natural that after the nationalistic coup in Ukraine an insurrection took place there and the semi-peninsula subsequently joined Russian Federation. In the referendum the joining to Russia was supported by the overwhelming majority of local inhabitants. We should mention though that such an option as independence wasn’t presented in the ballots: one had to choose only between joining Russia or to remain being a part of Ukraine under the rule of semi-fascist junta.

Joining Russia and establishing in Crimea the rule of Russian capital and bureaucracy excluded the possibility of any progressive changes there, that could have been theoretically possible in case an independent republic similar to the ones of Donetsk and Lugansk had been established there. Russian oligarchy has taken the place of the Ukrainian one, though the properties of Ukrainian oligarchs with some exceptions were left intact as well.

The unification of Crimea with Russia has also led to the exclusion of the most dedicated and militantly ant-fascist region from the struggle with Fascism that continues in Ukraine on the territory of Donbass.

Meanwhile the “abduction” of Crimea and its unscrupulous inclusion into Russian Federation that the Russian authorities and Putin personally so much boasted about (there was even shot a special film dedicated to the event), allowed the junta in Kiev to boost up Ukrainian nationalism and hatred to Russia, all this to be used as a means to distract the attention of Ukrainians from those anti-national politics that the semi-fascist pro-western regime pursues, and as an ideological tool to mobilize the cannon fodder necessary for the war in Donbass.

Theoretical analysis could bring us to a conclusion that the accession of Crimea looks pretty ambivalent even in case we forget about the class struggle and consider the problem focusing only on the task of the development of the anti-fascist struggle in Ukraine , or even more than that – if we consider the accession of Crimea based on the interests of Russian Federation itself only. One might suppose that the creation of anti-fascist resistance center for the whole Ukraine, or at least creating there an independent republic similar to the latter ones of Donetsk and Lugansk to be officially recognized by Russia, could have brought more benefits. Still, these options are no more available. Marxism considers existing reality rather than theoretical opportunities. We have no doubts that the unification of Crimea with Russia is objectively more preferable than leaving the population there to the tender mercies of Nazis from Kiev. Examples of progressive steps taken by reactionary forces are known in history. For example Marx was of the opinion that the unification of Germany pursued by Bismarck was objectively a progressive task. Why then Marx was never listed among Bismarck supporters and went on struggling with him? The reason is that there exist reactionary forms of implementing objectively progressive movement. Lenin believed that the politics of tsarist Prime-Minister Stolypin would lead to the development of Capitalism in Russian rural areas, i.e. to objectively progressive result, which didn’t prevent him from struggle with Stolypin as uncompromising as the one led by Leo Tolstoy. Reactionary form of implementing progressive reforms could lead to Fascism, as it happened in Germany where Capitalism had been developed in the so called Prussian form.

That’s why communists have no reasons to celebrate the “reunification” of Crimea and Russian Federation and to consider it to be a prominent success of Putin’s regime. It is the more so that for us both Crimea, Ukraine and Russia are parts of our genuine Motherland – USSR.

Still we believe that communists sure have even less reasons to reject and condemn the accession of Crimea into Russia similar to certain leftist organizations closely associated with EU organizations. In case Crimea had been annexed by Russian Federation at the time of Yanukovich or even the one of Yushchenko, that would have been an obviously reactionary action. Under the given historical circumstances after the “Euromaidan” coup in Ukraine the accession of Crimea was a form of the local peoples anti-fascist’s struggle and the means to avoid the fate that Ukrainian nationalists had prepared for them and that was subsequently implemented by them in Odessa and now in Donbass.

To consider the accession we should bear in mind the fact that this was a realization of the people’s desire that was unequivocally and willingly expressed by the local population in the course of referendum and that was indeed supported by the vast majority of the Crimean inhabitants.

For all the attractiveness of the idea that in Crimea there could have been established an independent center of anti-fascist struggle with the prospects of progressive social changes, we should come to a conclusion that such idea is unrealistic if we remember that there is no strong communist party both in Crimea and Ukraine. So it’s quite natural that the people of Crimea chose the simplest way of escaping the “Maidan” regime of Kiev – i.e. flight to Russian Federation. Besides that, joining Russia allowed them to avoid a war on their territory.

We are of the opinion that the general attitude of Russian communists to the accession of Crimea should read as follows: we recognize the will of Crimea’s population and even consider the accession positively as a way to save people from a direct threat of Fascism, but that’s all to it. Meanwhile our task is to make working people of Crimea to join the struggle against Russian Capitalism, which is not easy as the majority of public at large still percepts bourgeois Russia and the person of Putin as if they were a sort saviors.

Russia and progressive states: The relations of Russia with socialist Cuba and DPRK, with the socialist government of Venezuela and the progressive regime of Syria. All these states are enemies of USA (Syria is also hostile to France and UK). Russia has been developing economic, political and military-technical co-operation with these states. Though they are not so big and powerful as USSR used to be, these states still represent centers of progress and liberation movement. American Imperialism has been striving to strangle these regimes. Under such conditions their friendship with Russia that is a nuclear power and still retains a significant potential despite 25 years of capitalist devastation acquires a special importance.

Whereas in 2011 the government of Putin-Medvedev didn’t hesitate to leave Libya to the tender mercies of NATO aggressors (though that country has never had significant importance for Russian capital), in the case of Syria Russian authorities on having understood the degree of NATO’s brazenness and the reluctance to set limit to their ambitions, rendered to Assad diplomatic and economic support. This support was not especially strong, but Russia still blocked anti-Syrian resolutions in the UN Security Council, supplied weapons and gave credits – all this considerably helped Syria to go on struggling. It’s clear though that these are Syrian people and the authorities who ensured that the battle is not lost – the rotten oligarchic regime of Yanukovich was overturned despite all the billions from Moscow.

Co-operation with Russia is also very important for ALBA countries – this a union of progressive regimes of Latin America led by Cuba and Venezuela that have been performing a “left turn” there.

Russian bourgeois regime has nothing to do with the left and socialist regimes in these countries, nevertheless strategic considerations, economic interests and the struggle with the USA competition make it “friends” with these regimes that are alien from the class point of view.

The politics of these governments directed at establishing co-operation and alliance with bourgeois government of Russia should be considered absolutely correct as an example of using rivalries between imperialists in the interests of progressive forces. Similar politics were carried out by USSR during the WWII when the alliance aimed against Nazi Germany had been created.

USA and Cuba have recently taken steps to normalize their relationship. Some people, especially those from national-patriotic circles accuse Cuba of next to treason. We consider the foreign politics of Cuban government to be correct. Cuba is not obliged to blindly follow Russian Imperialism under any circumstances. It’s only natural when Cuba while using the contradictions between imperialists not only enjoys friendship with Russia, but also gets certain concessions from USA as well.

That’s why on having taken the above into consideration Russian communists should reservedly approve the improvement of relationships between Russia and these countries and endorse further steps in this direction while putting the main emphasis on the benefits that the workers’ movement in these countries can gain from such politics.

CPRF gives its full support to the Russian ruling regime’s foreign politics. Leaders of CPRF together with the rest of various national-patriots express their satisfaction over the fact that the President has finally called to memory “national interests”. The fact that these are actually the class interests of bourgeoisie they prefer not to discuss. CPRF in fact gave up any opposition to Putin even in internal politics while claiming that they call for the resignation of the “Prime Minister Medvedev’s government” as if Medvedev was not a direct appointee of Putin, as if he didn’t report to Putin and represented an independent figure. No wonder that this party shows such attitudes: it’s always been one of the regime’s pillars, whereas not only its political practice but its ideology as well have always been that of social-democracy and bourgeois patriotism as opposed to Marxism and proletarian Internationalism.

It’s only too obvious that communists are obliged to reveal that the essence of the ruling regime’s politics, including its foreign politics, is the protection of Russian big capital’s essence. Russian foreign politics are based on the aspiration of Russian capitalist oligarchy to retain and extend its sphere of influence and to increase its profits obtained by exploitation of proletariat. On a number of occasions we can approve certain moves of the authorities in their foreign politics, like the support of Donbass, or co-operation with Cuba and DPRK, still this doesn’t in the least mean that we advocate the “class piece” or that we should give up the struggle against the ruling regime, the struggle for overthrowing capitalism in Russia and for going back to the socialist way of development.

More than that: communists should remember that as Lenin indicated, they must reveal first of all the aggressive politics of their own capitalists and not those of their foreign rivals.

Meanwhile communists should not reject all patriotic feelings and slogans as it is practiced by certain Trotskyites and Anarchists’ groups. We should understand that the ruling regime of Russia with all its patriotic rhetoric and imperialistic politics has not only failed to resolve social problems of the country, but the authorities have also failed to change the “peripheral”, depending solely on sales of raw materials character of Russian Capitalism that was established in the 90-ies and is actually an appendix to the Western Capitalism. The politics of Russian Federation aimed at integration of post-Soviet states under her control have not only been facing the resistance of imperialistic rivals. The problem is that modern Russia cannot offer any attractive idea different from the Western ideology to the peoples of these states, whereas the Western imperialists are wealthier and stronger. Western imperialists watch the spaces and natural wealth of Russia with longing, there even can be heard opinions that one state cannot control such huge territories. They wouldn’t object to Russia’s repeating the fate of USSR and her splitting into several units providing the West with energy and raw materials. The essence of patriotism of Putin and modern ruling circles of Russia is the demand that “they should perform this task themselves without splitting the bourgeois state”.

Communists, who are heirs to the great history of USSR and have a real program for genuine revolutionary resurgence of the country, shouldn’t leave patriotism to bourgeois regime or to nationalists. Nevertheless, they should take care that this patriotism takes anti-bourgeois nature, i.e. should be directed against bourgeois state and that it should be associated with proletarian Internationalism and with the struggle against domestic oppressors.


One may come to a conclusion that our views expressed on many issues in this article are complex and contradictory. For example we suggest that the republics of Donetsk and Lugansk should be given a support accompanied by criticism, rather than to give them unconditional support or identify them with Russian authorities. One can remind us that Bolsheviks of Lenin always looked for a radical solution of issues, but under no circumstances this means a search for extreme solutions only or using simplified schemes of life description. The constant aspiration to take one of the most extreme positions would mean an idealistic rather than Marxist approach that would be based on emotions rather than on political criteria. Marxism teaches us to analyze real situations and existing contradictions of the objective reality. Sometimes we need to put forward the simplest slogans based on this reality and to take a radical position (like the slogan “All power to the Soviets” in the period of getting ready for the October Revolution). In other instances a correct position may look pretty complicated and even outwardly contradictory. These contradictions though are not the result of mistakes in formal logic, they are dialectic contradictions reflecting the inconsistency of the objective reality. We can find many such examples in the practice of Lenin and Bolsheviks’ party, some of which can be found above. Marxist analysis should not make concessions to the attempts to unduly simplify issues. At the same time communist propaganda must be able to present a complicated analysis in a way that could be understood by people, to choose the most suitable images and slogans, to put correct syllables depending from the requirements of the current situation.

[1] https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1915/aug/23.htm

[2] https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1918/feb/22.htm

[3] V.I. Lenin Collected works v. 34, p. 192 (Soviet edition in Russian). https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/ichtci/11.htm#v25zz99h-360

[4] (V.I. Lenin collected works 5th edition, USSR, vol. 26 page 162 - https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1915/feb/19.htm).

Comments on the article of RCWP by the representatives of “Kommounistiki Epitheorisi” (KKE) on the Editorial Board of the ICR

Kommounistiki Epitheorisi

Taking into account the complexity of the topics analyzed in the 6th issue of the ICR and in order to further develop the exchange of views, we would like to utilize the “Space for Discussion” to briefly express certain different approaches we have in relation to the article of the RWCP.


1/ The issue of dependency amongst capitalist states in the world today.

Imperialism must be understood by taking into account all its characteristics as described by Lenin in his writings, not just as an aggressive foreign policy.

In the contemporary imperialist system, where about 200 states have “political independence”, we do not have the situation of the colonies that we had in the 19th century. A situation characterized by unequal interdependence amongst the capitalist states has been formed, which resembles an imperialist pyramid, where each capitalist state occupies a place on the basis of its strength (economic, political, military). The position of states alters due to the impact of the law of uneven development.

Communists, in our assessment, should struggle for the overthrow of bourgeois power and in this way break the relations of uneven interdependence, and of course should not to achieve “equality” inside the framework of imperialism or to enhance the position of a country (i.e. of its bourgeoisie) in the global imperialist system.

In relation to the EU, we bear in mind that it is a capitalist unification of European countries, which was established for the more effective exploitation of the workers in these countries and so that it could cope with the competition from the other imperialist powers. Clearly Germany and France, as the strongest countries in the EU, have a hegemonic role in it, but the bourgeois classes of all the countries that participate in it are responsible, in line with their respective strength, for the anti-people measures and the imperialist political line.

2/ The issue of the communists’ stance towards bourgeois governments.

At different points in the article, there is a positive attitude towards a number of bourgeois governments.

In our opinion, the criterion must be which class possesses political power and the means of production.

In relation to the struggle against fascism, the KKE notes that this can not be conducted in a way which will lead to the victory of the people under the flag of bourgeois democracy. It must be waged for the overthrow of the dictatorship of monopoly capital as a whole, which creates and utilizes the fascist current.

3/ The issue of the stance towards imperialist war and annexations.

The stance of communists towards imperialist war can not depend on whether one imperialist power is stronger (e.g. the USA) and the other (e.g. Russia) is not as strong.

Lenin very descriptively wrote: “a slave-owner who owned 100 slaves warring against a slave-owner who owned 200 slaves for a more “just” distribution of slaves. Clearly, the application of the term “defensive” war, or war “for the defence of the fatherland” in such a case would be historically false, and in practice would be sheer deception of the common people…”

In addition, the stance towards the issue of “self-determination” and “annexations” is important in these conditions. We recognize that the issue of Crimea has specific characteristics, as every such issue has in any case, but we consider that the focus of communists’ propaganda should not be on which country Crimea should belong to (Russia or Ukraine), but on the fact that neither the linking of Ukraine to NATO, nor the attachment of Crimea to one or the other state solves the basic problems of the workers as long as the capitalist development path remains in place.

4/ The issue of the stance of communists towards the new inter-state capitalist unions.

The reality clearly demonstrates that these are unions of capitalist states which, regardless of whether states with governments that call themselves leftwing participate, are based on the major economic groups and their interests. This is the starting point of the trade and other economic transactions that are being promoted amongst the member-states and also in the framework of the relations with other capitalist countries or imperialist unions.

In addition, we assess that it is a fallacy to treat the “multi-polar world” as a means of ensuring peace and the people’s interests. In essence, this approach treats the enemy as an ally, traps popular forces into choosing imperialist or imperialist union, and is damaging for the labour movement.