maandag 31 augustus 2015

Is Russia imperialist?

 
The criteria used to suggest that Russia would be 'imperialist' are exclusively of a military nature; namely the fact the country has possession of nuclear arms and waged two ruthless wars against Chechnya. But military forces and aggression are not necessarily that which defines a country as imperialist.



Like Lenin already stated "imperialism is capitalism on that stage of development, in which the dominion of the monopolies and finance capitalism comes about, the export of capital has received a huge significance, the division of the world between international trusts has begun, and the partition of the entire territories of the globe between the biggest capitalist powers has been completed" (Imperialism as highest stage - 1916 - p 109-110). The dominion over the entire world by a handful of imperialists forms the biggest obstacle for the economic development and social progress of the less developed nations. The constant struggle of the imperialist powers to get access to markets, resources and cheap labour, leads towards a continuous return of imperialist wars in order to create assets and to protect it abroad.    

Russia, after the Soviet-Union, has never intervened outside the territory of the former Soviet-Union, except a very limited intervention in former Yugoslavia halfway the '90's, when the Russians acted as 'good cops' for the NATO. Moscow has waged two ruthless wars in Chechnya to squash the right on self-determination (the right of secession) of the oppressed Chechens (a right which we support by the way). However, more not-imperialist countries oppress minorities within their state-borders, for example the Tamils in Myanmar (Burma). Russia also fought for South-Ossetia during a war against Georgia; a country which is supported by the USA. During this war between two non-imperialist capitalist countries in 2008 only revolutionary defeatism was the correct position: The class interests of both the workers of Georgia as well as those of Russia had an interest in the overthrow of their own respective capitalist rulers by a socialist revolution.

Resurrected after the capitalist contra-revolution of 1991-1992, Russia after the Soviet-Union represents a historical unique and unknown phenomenon. Because the Russian industrial development primary took place in the collectivized economy of a workers state, contemporary Russia does not entirely fit the profile of the long established capitalist countries. The Russian economy, strengthened by the high prices for fossil fuels during most part of the last decennium, has largely recovered from the black hole it fell in after the capitalist 'shock-therapy' of the '90's. However, it does not have the economy of an imperialist power. Russia's new capitalist rulers have a large industrial basis and a huge infrastructure in a country with vast natural resources. However, her industry is significantly short in comparison to other developed capitalist countries in regard to technics and product quality. No branch of the Russian industrial production can compete with that of the international market, except its arnament industry (which is largely inherited from the Soviet Union). In contradiction to the imperialist countries, which are characterized by the export of capital, Russia exports natural resources, not capital. Russia's economy strongly depends on its oil- and gas sectors, which in 2013 was responsible for 16% of the GNP, 52% of the federal Government revenue and over 70% of the export. What must go through for 'investments' across borders, usually takes shape as flight of capital to imperialist centers or tax paradises.
 

Parts of the ruling class of the BRD seek for an alliance with Russia in an effort to realize that what they see as Germany's 'natural' role as ruler over Eurasia. But 'Atlanticists' such as Chancellor Angela Merkel do take a less bellicose attitude towards Russia than Washington does. However, until today the rulers of the USA and BRD have maintained their alliance to reduce or minimize Russian influence in the other countries of the former Soviet-Union. As a consequence the by the BRD dominated EU together with Washington have maintained their sanctions against Russia because of Russia's actions in Ukraine.  

The existing imperialists, with the USA on the forefront, keep on repulsing Russia out of their club. The imperialist NATO-alliance is extended to and with Eastern Europe (in the case of Estonia and Latvia right up to Russia's borders), the USA intensifies the spread of tanks and other heavy material in the region and for the first time since the end of the Cold War, NATO discusses a strengthening of its nuclear deterrents. US-imperialism also has sponsored colour 'revolutions' to install pro-Washington regimes in different former Republics of the Soviet-Union. The by the USA supported coup in Ukraine last year, which led to the installation of a fascist infected and extremely anti-Russian regime, is the most recent example. 
 
If we call upon all soldiers of all belligerents in Ukraine to 'turn their rifles around' against their own capitalist rulers: i.e. should our position be one of revolutionary defeatism? This was Lenin his position during the First World War, an inter-imperialist war, fought for the redistribution of the world among the imperialist powers. 

In sharp contrast the current conflict in Ukraine is the direct result of US-imperialist machinations; a civil war. Activists in the Eastern part of the country, which is ethnic mixed, but mostly speaks Russian, insurrected, because the ultra-nationalist regime threatened their national rights. The Kyev regime reacted with the mobilization of the army and neo-Nazist voluntary battalions - that bombarded cities, kill innocent civilians, destroy hospitals and industrial installations. It must be emphasized that although the rebels in Eastern Ukraine are supported by Russia, Moscow is not interested to annex Eastern Ukraine. In contradiction to the repeated assertions of Kyev and its imperialist patrons, that the Russian army invaded, Putin has clearly avoided a direct war with the Kyev-regime. 

Revolutionary socialists must take a clear position in this conflict: The interests of the working class - in Ukraine, Russia and on a global scale - lie in the defense of the population of Eastern Ukraine and their right on national self-determination. The fact that from a military position we are on the side of the 'pro-Russian' forces in Eastern Ukraine, does not mean we support the leaders of the nationalist rebellions or the Putin-regime (in no way, shape or form). Our defense of the people of Eastern Ukraine, is located in the extension of the approach of Lenin, who emphasized that the right on self-determination is essential for the suppression of national antagonism, thus opening the conditions in which the workers of different nations will get a chance to see that their 'own' capitalist ruling class is the enemy, not each other. 
 


 

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