Левые – против российского империализма!
We have recently seen a build-up of Russian armed forces on Ukraine’s borders. There has been an escalation of attacks in East Ukraine since January. How should the Labour movement respond to this growing tension with global consequences – instructive is the position adopted by the internationalist and anti-Putin left in Russia. Left Against Russian Imperialism unites socialists, social-democrats, anarchists opposed to Putin regime and the new Russian imperialism. Translated here is their founding statement issued at the start of Russo-Ukraine war in 2014.
Left Against Russian Imperialism
The events in Ukraine have become an excellent watershed, allowing the left movement to separate the wheat from the chaff, that is, the real left, standing on democratic and internationalist positions, from the National Socialists and Stalinist imperialists.
It is precisely the unacceptability of supporting Russian imperialism, which merges with great-power chauvinism, that can and should become a unifying idea for the democratic left of Russia. The symptoms of the current imperial psychosis risk becoming fatal to the future of both Russia and Ukraine.
In Russia, its consequence will be not only the strengthening of the “vertical of power”, which threatens tougher repressions against dissidents, but also the strengthening of the positions of Russian nationalism, fuelled by hysteria around the “gathering of Russian lands.” The inevitability of a deep socio-economic crisis is forcing the current Russian government to adopt the quasi-Stalinist ideology that is really popular among the people, which also includes the promotion of the topic of the Russian nation as a state-forming nation. At the same time, Russian nationalists act both as a protective force for the current regime and as a potential strike force for the liberal opposition.
In Ukraine, the current surge of Russia’s great-power mentality is strengthening the position of the ultra-right. Already now, in the new government, there is a split between the supporters of two vectors of the country’s development. The economic bloc of the government, headed by Yatsenyuk, is interested in preserving the current pro-Western bourgeois-conservative direction, ensuring the stability he desires, and the security forces, who have taken control, including the NSDC, are pushing Ukraine to an ultra-right turn. Precisely this explains the polarisation of opinions in the leadership of this country and on the introduction of a visa regime with Russia, and on the language issue, and on the possible war over Crimea.
The promotion of the topic of Russian expansion in Ukraine strengthens the position of right-wing radicals in this country. They are interested in aggravating the situation in the south and east of Ukraine in order to increase their weight in the future government.
It turns out that the interests of the Russian government and the ultra-right in Ukraine now objectively coincide. It is the duty of us, the democratic left, to prevent this bond. Yes, we believe that the current oligarchic government does not meet the interests of the Ukrainian people. We are confident that the task of the left is to help and organize the struggle for the social rights of the people, seeking the coming to power of socially oriented forces. But this can only be done if the Ukrainian protest goes under social, and not under Russian, banners, that play into the hands of our enemies in both countries.
20 March 2014
Translated by Bill Bowring.