Athens – Massive anti-imperialist war really in Syntagma Square, 4/1/22 | Credit: KKE
“A struggle for markets and for freedom to loot foreign countries, a striving to suppress the revolutionary movement of the proletariat and democracy in the individual countries, a desire to deceive, disunite, and slaughter the proletarians of all countries by setting the wage slaves of one nation against those of another so as to benefit the bourgeoisie; these are the only real content and significance of the war. ” – V.I. Lenin, The Tasks of Revolutionary Social-Democracy in the European War, Collected Works, Vol 26, pp 1
All the above, underscored by the leader of the October Revolution more than one century ago, are absolutely true as regards the war in Ukraine. Many articles to date have highlighted aspects of the fight over markets, raw materials, and commodity transport routes.
The KKE has taken a clear position in the framework of the International Communist Movement as well. Unfortunately, some CPs, such as the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), express positions which we vehemently oppose.
A few facts about the CPRF
The CPRF, formed in 1993, is an important force in the political life of capitalist Russia. In the last parliamentary elections in 2021, it received 18.9% of the votes and became the 2nd political force, electing 57 MPs (out of 450). During the 30 years since the dissolution of the USSR, the CPRF has also held government positions, in the period 1998–1999, under Prime Minister Y. Primakov, who managed the capitalist crisis that had then erupted in the country. The very programme of the Party, which follows the line of the gradual transformation of capitalism into socialism, through many stages, favours the various governmental “centre-left” solutions. The CPRF, despite its considerable parliamentary power, has no real involvement in the regroupment of the labour and trade union movement in Russia, whose main forces are controlled by the state and employers.
The stance taken by this party before the start of the Russian invasion was in line with the ruling United Russia party and President V. Putin. On its own proposal, the State Duma approved the recognition of the “independence” of the so-called People’s Republics of Donbas (Donetsk and Luhansk), which was the trigger of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The CPRF also rehashed all official Russian government arguments about the need for the Russian army, which has launched a “special military operation” in Ukraine —a terminology imposed on Russia so that the word war is not heard— to crush fascism in Ukraine. In fact, the CPRF considers that this “anti-fascist” foreign policy must be accompanied by a “shift to the left” inside the country, calling for the umpteenth time for a government reshuffle and its participation in the government.
1. The “Clash of Civilizations”: The “golden billion” against the “Russian world”
However, the worst of all the services offered by the CPRF is the complete silence on the real causes of imperialist wars, which, like the one that has broken out in Ukraine, are waged for the interests of the monopolies and the bourgeois classes and not the peoples. They are wars over raw materials, the mineral wealth, commodity transport routes, geopolitical pillars, and market shares. It is improbable that the CPRF is not aware that the wealth-producing resources of Ukraine, its mineral wealth such as the irreplaceable for the aeronautical industry Ukrainian titanium, the ports of Mariupol and Odesa, the fertile arable land of Ukraine, the shrunk in relation to the years of socialism but equally important industrial base of Ukraine, and the huge network of energy pipelines that cross this country have great significance for Ukraine, as well as for the western capital. In addition, it is improbable that the CPRF does not see the fierce competition that is unfolding between the bourgeois states in many parts of the world over the energy resources, transport routes, and pipelines, over the shares of the monopolies in the European energy market, over the arms market shares, etc. The monopolies and states of the EU, the USA, Russia, China, and other regional “players” such as Turkey, Israel, and the Gulf monarchies intervene in this imperialist competition.
Through its stance, the CPRF stands on the side of the Russian and Chinese monopolies in their competition with the Western and other ones, which together have turned the people of Ukraine into a “punching bag”. For many years, this party has been courting nationalist approaches and forces that are presented as “patriotic”. In his book “Globalization and the Fate of Humanity” (2002), the President of the CPRF has accepted the view of the American political scientist Samuel Phillips Huntington on the “clash of civilizations”, according to which conflicts are no longer occurring between states, but between forces with different cultural traditions. Thus, in the moves of NATO, the EU, and the USA aiming to encircle Russia he sees an “all-out war” against Russia, which has been launched by the so-called golden billion countries, as the first 30 countries that are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) are characterized, including Greece, with a total population of close to 1 billion. According to this notion, we see a “mitigation” of social–class contradictions within the “golden billion” society, and now the basic contradiction is internationally expressed “on the basis of the ‘rich North–poor South’ line, which is no less sharpened than the contradictions that previously divided the proletariats from their exploiters in the framework of a separate country” .
The programmatic document of the CPRF does not recognize the imperialist character of today’s Russia, while it states that “the Russian Federation is becoming an object of another redivision of the world, and a raw materials appendage to the imperialist states” and further notes that “In the second half of the 20th century, having enriched itself by predatory exploitation of the planet’s resources, financial speculations, wars and new sophisticated methods of colonization a group of developed capitalist countries, the so-called “golden billion”, entered a period called ‘the consumer society’. Instead of being a natural human function, consumption becomes a ;sacred goal’, with the individual’s social status depending on how zealously he/ she pursues that goal. …”  According to this classless and misleading approach, the “golden billion” pits against the so-called Russian world, which is one of the main directions of the current foreign policy followed by the Russian bourgeois state. This concept is used to conceal the utilization of Russian millionaires and the Russian-speaking population by Russia in the choices of Russian capitalism. “We are all obliged to defend the Russian world (…) The Russian world has been gathering for a thousand years. And it has been gathered not only by Russians but also by Ukrainians and Belarusians. We have a common faith, common victories, one language, one culture”, stated the President of the CPRF in his speech in the Russian parliament during the debate on the recognition of the so-called People’s Republics .
On this basis, the CPRF provides full support to the foreign policy of the Russian ruling class and the transnational capitalist unions it forms in the former USSR territories such as the Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). It is characteristic that in January the CPRF supported the deployment of the CSTO forces in Kazakhstan to suppress the workers’–peoples’ uprising.
In conclusion, while the CPRF declares that it aims at socialism, at the same time its programme, which it is planning to implement through electoral–parliamentary processes, constitutes a reformation programme to manage the capitalist system and is fully in line with the goals of the Russian bourgeoisie and the bourgeois state plans, a fact which is also reflected in foreign policy issues.
2. Silence on the Russian government’s responsibilities for the situation
The CPRF, highlighting only the heavy and indisputable responsibilities of the other imperialist powers —the US, NATO, and the EU, that is, “liberal fascism” as it calls these forces— makes no mention of the responsibilities of the Russian bourgeoisie. However, following the dissolution of the USSR, millions of Russians and Russian-speaking people found themselves outside the borders of the Russian Federation, including the regions of Crimea and Donbas. When the Russian counter-revolutionary forces dissolved the USSR, did they raise the question of the rights of those people? Did they refer to which country would henceforth belong the areas in which those people had been living? Of course not! These populations were treated by the then newly-formed Russian bourgeoisie as pawns in its geopolitical plans in the former USSR territories.
At the same time, for the past 30 years, the Ukrainian bourgeoisie has been methodically poisoning the Ukrainian people with anti-communism and the Goebbels-type propaganda about the “genocide” of the Ukrainian people by the Bolsheviks, the communists, or the Russians. In 1998, the then President L. Kuchma signed the first relevant Presidential Decree, thanks to which this propaganda became the state narrative and spread throughout the education system. In 2006, during President V. Yushchenko’s term, the operation of the “international recognition” of the so-called genocide began, while inside the country a criminal ban was imposed on any dissenting opinion. In 2010, the characterized as pro-Russian President V. Yanukovych retained all the above, stating that it was not a genocide of the Ukrainian people but a “crime of the Stalinist totalitarian regime”. An entire generation of Ukrainians grew up on this myth and the fascist organizations were based on it in order to regroup ideologically and politically.
What has the current Russian leadership done during all these years to prevent this unacceptable development? The answer is business activities, while as V. Putin proudly stated “In 2011, bilateral trade exceeded $50 billion” . At the time when the Goebbels-type propaganda was spreading in Ukraine, Russia was giving Ukraine, in the words of V. Putin, “material support”. Only in the 1991–2013 period, i.e. the period when fascist ideas took root in the region, the Ukrainian budget received a benefit of about $250 billion, thanks to Russia’s soft loans and special prices on Russian energy. Russia even fully covered Ukraine’s debt obligations from the USSR era.
Are, therefore, the responsibilities for the revival of the fascist, Nazi propaganda in Ukraine unilateral? Isn’t the Russian bourgeoisie responsible for them as well? Is the CPRF aware of these facts?
3. On the struggle against fascism
Every year, the Russian state has been submitting a draft resolution to the UN that condemns the “glorification” of Nazism and calls for measures to reduce the Nazi phenomenon, especially in the Baltic and Ukraine. The US has been permanently voting against it and EU countries have been abstaining from voting. At the same time, inside the country, once a year, on 9 May, i.e. the day of the anti-fascist Victory of the Peoples, the Red Flag is waved. It is on this basis that the ruling Russian bourgeoisie attempts to arrogate the anti-fascist Victory and the anti-fascist sentiments of the Russian people.
At the same time, Russian children are poisoned by anti-communism at school, for example through the notorious anti-Soviet novelist Solzhenitsyn, who justified the Russian Nazi collaborators, was a fan of Franco, and supported Pinochet. The public and private media are replete with anti-communism, while even the Victory against fascist Germany is presented as an achievement allegedly done without, and sometimes despite, the activity of the Bolshevik party. V. Putin himself publicly states that he studies and recommends to the youth the works of Ivan Ilyin, a Russian ideologue of fascism. He has also visited and laid flowers at his grave.
It is once again demonstrated that when the struggle against fascism is detached from the womb that gives birth to it and the struggle against capitalism, it ends up being a completely hypocritical stance in pursuit of other objectives, as now in the case of Ukraine, where the Russian military invasion is supposedly aimed at its “de-Nazification”. Who will accomplish that? The admirer of the fascist I. Ilyin with the banner and the symbols of the tsarist empire, of the “prison of the peoples” in the words of Lenin? It is improbable that the CPRF is unaware of this hypocritical stance.
4. Silence on governmental anti-communism
The CPRF underscores the anti-communism of the Ukrainian “fascist authorities”, as it characterizes them, but overlooked the anti-communism that came out of the most official Russian lips, those of President V. Putin, in his initial declaration before the war. Recall that V. Putin used all these nauseating descriptions used by the EU and the US for the Soviet Union, such as “Stalinist dictatorship”, “totalitarian regime”, “red terrorism” and so on.
It is characteristic that the CPRF did not react to this unacceptable anti-communist attack launched by the Kremlin, which is the common basis of anti-communism of all imperialist forces. It did not even respond to the unacceptable accusations of the Russian President that Lenin and the Bolsheviks were responsible for the dissolution of the USSR and not the social and political forces of the counter-revolution in which Putin himself participated, alongside the then mayor of Leningrad and right-hand man of B. Yeltsin, A. Sobchak, who, together with M. Gorbachev, led the anti-communist and anti-Soviet attack against the forces struggling to save socialism and the USSR.
5. The distortion of the KKE’s positions on the war
Under these circumstances, the CPRF attempted to mislead the Russian people also regarding the positions of the KKE on the developments in Ukraine. The CPRF concealed the fact that the KKE from the very first moment denounced the Russian invasion of Ukraine, organized a rally from the Russian to the US Embassy in Athens, opposed both sides of the imperialist conflict calling upon the peoples to refuse to choose between “thieves”, and holds demonstrations against the rising maelstrom of the imperialist war with the continuing and deeper involvement of Greece and the transportation of deadly weapons to the area of conflict through it.
On the contrary, the CPRF sought to utilize the mass rallies of the KKE to further manipulate the Russian people. Thus, G. Zyuganov reposted photographs of the rally of the KKE on social media, interpreting them as support to the so-called Russian world. Furthermore, in the message of solidarity sent by the CPRF against the arrests of KKE cadres and the suppression of the demonstration in Thessaloniki, an attempt is made to reproduce the CPRF’s position on the “all-out NATO war against Russia”, which seeks to justify the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This message appeared in a bourgeois newspaper in our country, which tried to accuse the KKE of doublespeak and support for capitalist Russia.
However, the fact that the popular rallies in our country take place outside military bases, camps, ports, and railway stations through which the US–NATO forces pass is related to the fact that our country is already part of one side of the conflict, that is, the US–NATO. We demand, therefore, the disentanglement of Greece from the war and the criminal plans of the Euro-Atlantic forces that target our people. This can not be interpreted as support for capitalist Russia, which we have equally condemned, in contrast to the CPRF and some other CPs that provide ideological and political coverage to the plans of the Russian bourgeoisie.
The KKE unites its forces with 40 Communist Parties and 30 Communist Youth Organizations all over the world that:
Have condemned the imperialist war and stated that “The developments in Ukraine, which are taking place in the framework of monopoly capitalism, are linked to the US, NATO, and EU plans and their intervention in the region in the context of their fierce competition with capitalist Russia.”
Have expressed their solidarity “with the communists and the peoples of Russia and Ukraine”, calling upon them to “strengthen the struggle against nationalism, which is fostered by each bourgeoisie. The peoples of both countries, who lived in peace and jointly thrived in the framework of the USSR, as well as all the other peoples have no interest in siding with one or another imperialist or alliance that serves the interests of the monopolies.”
Have underscored that “The interest of the working class and the popular strata requires us to strengthen the class criterion for analyzing the developments, to chart our own independent path against monopolies and bourgeois classes, for the overthrow of capitalism, for the strengthening of the class struggle against imperialist war, for socialism, which remains as timely and necessary as ever.”
* The article was published in “Rizospastis” – Organ of the CC of the KKE on 23 April 2022.
In Defense of Communism, May 4, 2022, http://www.idcommunism.com/