In Post-Soviet Countries, Russia, На русском

© RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich

By Viktoria Nikiforova,

Originally published in RIA Novosti, July 29, 2022:

Translated from Russian to English by Renfrey Clarke and Roger Annis for New Cold War… It is no secret that there are many people with left-wing convictions in our country, Russia. This is natural – no other Western idea has coincided so well with our innate desire for justice, equality, real democracy.


It is no secret that there are many people with left-wing convictions in our country, Russia. This is natural – no other Western idea has coincided so well with our innate desire for justice, equality, real democracy.

For many decades, left-wing ideology was a powerful driver and support of the development of Soviet Russia. But in recent years, some left-wing adherents have managed to turn it inside out. ‘Formally correct, but in essence a mockery,’ as Comrade Stalin would have said.

Take, for example, the special military operation in Ukraine. This is a struggle for independence and liberation of our country and Ukraine, both, from neo-colonial oppression. In its confrontation with the giant NATO bloc, Russia appears as David, with only a slingshot to confront Goliath.  Everything in this scenario, it would seem, is in line with the Marxist-Leninist manuals. Some members of the left, however, do not get it. No, they say, the special military operation is not good. It is modern-day ‘imperialism’.

And so begins the analysis: the working class, exploitation, class interests, sinister oligarchs… A fashionable video blogger recently released a two-and-a-half hour program in which he exposes the actions of Russian ‘imperialism’ in Ukraine. In ten days, the video gained ten million views.

Let’s not focus here on how much the blogger earned through such thoroughly capitalistic resources as social networks. It’s no doubt petty. Let’s get to the main point. The video promotes a purely ultraleft narrative about how the bad Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs have for years incited hatred between Ukrainians and Russians, after which the confused and unwashed masses have gone to war with each other.

But wait. On the Ukrainian side, we have heard the cries of ‘Muscovites to the Gulag!’ sounding non-stop, while on our side we have seen only endless attempts at reconciliation and appeasement. A whole battalion of Ukrainian ‘experts’ in the Russian media and on television talk shows brought us the point of view of the other side. We grew tired of these experts, but we honestly tried to figure everything out. For seven years, we begged Kiev to come to an agreement with Donetsk and Luhansk and to start implementing the Minsk agreements. Our country’s leadership strained all its international ties at the highest level, trying to make this mechanism finally work.

What was the purpose of all this effort expended? So that the working people of Donetsk, Lugansk and other rebellious regions of Ukraine could live well, work calmly and have the right to speak Russian and teach their children in Russian. And also to stop Kiev shelling or bombing them. Where is the ‘imperialism’ in that?

Given the horrendous situation of the inhabitants of eastern Ukraine, the struggle was more of a fight against the apartheid being spread by Kiev. Regretfully, we all see that the searching and longing for peace has not worked. So it is now up to the Russian military to provide the workers of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics with a peaceful life.

It seems that all that many modern ultralefts have learned from grandfather Lenin is how to criticize the notorious ‘Russian great-power chauvinism’ of Tsarist times. For those people, anything Russia does today for its own benefit will always be chauvinism, militarism and imperialism.

In their view of the world, these comrades have a giant blind spot. It seems they fail to see that the only aggressive empire today is the United States of America. On their ultraleft map of the world, that country does not seem to exist at all.

But it is precisely in the U.S. that over the past 20-plus years, corporate capital has crushed all political institutions beneath its weight. Monopolization has destroyed competition. Banks have merged with corporations. This financial-industrial oligarchy has begun to appoint its puppet politicians, and those puppets have started wars around the globe.

This is all explained in the classics. Have you read grandfather Lenin? In his 1916 essay ‘Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism’, he describes perfectly the processes that have taken place in the United States in recent decades. One hundred years after the publication of this essay, even the names of the corporations and banks have not changed. There they are, the same old JPMorgan, General Electric, and the list goes on. The only names missing from 100 years ago were Microsoft and Facebook.[1]

Enough of this. In recent years, the ideology of American exceptionalism has taken shape and has been repeatedly declared. Under this slogan, Washington has staged wars and occupied and plundered dozens of countries. At times during the 20th century, similar merging of the army, the military-industrial complex and the oligarchy of capitalism came together under the slogan of national exclusivity. This was called ‘fascism’.

Let us recall the classic definition of fascism by the communist Georgy Dimitrov. Fascism is “an open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic, most imperialist elements of finance capital”. Where is this finance capital headquartered today? As far as I recall, not in Pushkin Square but on Wall Street.

American corporations rob the working people of the world every day without a break for lunch. In the aforementioned Ukraine, Cargill, Dupont and Monsanto have bought up one third of all agricultural land on the cheap, some 16.7 million hectares. (It is time, by the way, to return those lands to the working people of Ukraine.) But no, the ultralefts do not see the American imperialism that is staring them in the face. Instead, they have invented Russian imperialism to suit their own purposes.

What a long intellectual journey! With millions of views of the aforementioned video, Google Corporation earned a tidy sum. No, it will not share this money with the talented Russian blogger who produced the video; it will keep it for itself. It will pay taxes on its profits to the American treasury. Soon, that same treasury will fund the production of some kind of ‘HIMARS’ [precision multiple rocket launcher] and send these to Ukraine where they will kill Russian people. This is quite the unexpected result of ‘witty’ video content, is it not?

Does anyone need reminding that for years Eric Schmidt, the owner of Alphabet (which owns Google) has been serving the Pentagon, providing the American army and intelligence services with his ‘innovations’ that help the U.S. invade countries around the world?

Interestingly, during the 1930s and 1940s, the leftists of the whole world saw perfectly well where the direct and immediate threat to humanity lay. They spared no effort in fighting against it. The worldwide anti-fascist resistance to the Hitler regime is a glorious page in our common history. How did it happen that the ideological heirs in the West of these heroes, who were not afraid of torture or execution, degenerated into some kind of dull, infantile, intimidated ‘antifa’?

This is partly a general problem with the whole leftist idea. The militant and progressive ideology of the past began to turn into a dull dogmatism even in the times of the Soviet Union. Over the years, it became more and more decadent.

I’m of an age to have grown thoroughly tired of the ideology of the Soviet Union. I recognize at once the tedious intonations from modern comrades. Theirs is the typical Soviet-style hypocrisy which led the country to stagnation and collapse. It is what suppressed and froze literally all normal human desires and aspirations. Beautiful clothes, your own car, your own house, your own business – no, this is all materialism, of which a true Soviet person has no need. Any bright, private initiative, be it artistic and creative or just plain work, was extinguished by this dogmatism.

Today, the proprietary ultralefts are similarly trying to dampen any Russian desire for a better life. Protecting our own citizens, affirming Crimea’s history as Russian, establishing economic and social ties with the industrialized regions of eastern Ukraine – all this is an extremely beneficial investment in our common future. The historic goal of the special military operation is to help people in Eastern Ukraine live better, and this is what the allied forces there will achieve. The result will also directly benefit us, the inhabitants of Russia.

But no, the ultraleft ideology does not like this desire for a better life. Forget about Marx, a Russian businessman is reconstructing a plant in the Donbass and will get rich. ‘To hell with that.’ But just think: there will be jobs, infrastructure, a good life for thousands of people. ‘No, there shouldn’t be a good life, either. The masses must suffer.’

Such is the strange logic of modern ultralefts.

According to this logic, neither the state nor the individual can do anything for their own prosperity. You can only engage in class struggle. But this thinking now leads into an ambush. The working masses, frankly, do not want to mount the barricades. Millions of people prefer to take mortgages on apartments, build houses, earn money, succeed – develop their lives for the better. ‘Never mind, ‘the revolution’ will put an end to all this.’

We in Russia have been through this more than once. There is a wish to take a break from revolutions for a century or two, excuse the philistinism.

It is not surprising that degenerate left thinking has become extremely popular with the owners of factories, newspapers, and merchant shipping. Around the world, a sort of ‘caviar Comintern’ has long been established. Its members are glamorous ultralefts who sound off tirelessly about the class struggle, instructing workers in how to shake regimes and rock the boat. They are endlessly published, caressed and nourished in every possible way by transnational billionaires.  They foment class struggle all over the world, but not in Washington or London. Everything is calm there. Washington and London, of course, are where the profits from other people’s revolutions are divided up.

The paradox is that, thousands of kilometers from Ukraine, traditional old-school communists understand what is happening there much better than many of our Western compatriots. In Vietnam and Nicaragua, China and Cuba, people see perfectly well that Russia is fighting American neo-colonialism, for itself and for others. They have been through it themselves.

In much the same way, millions of leftists in Russia support the special operation in Ukraine, helping the people’s republics and our military. This is not due to party affiliation. We have millions of non-party, ‘spontaneously left-wing’ people in our country who see perfectly well that the special operation will bring peace, prosperity and a good life to the working people of Ukraine and Russia. They are chipping into fundraising networks to develop drones for our military.

It is no coincidence that monuments to Lenin, demolished by the Ukro-Nazis, are being restored today in the liberated lands of the former Ukraine. Yes, as a politician, Vladimir Ilyich made many mistakes. He fought against ‘great-power chauvinism’ by forcibly Ukrainizing ancient Russian regions. In irrational fashion, he handed over Russian territories to Ukrainian nationalists. The Donbass fell victim to his bizarre national policy.

Today, however, Lenin is not so much a politician as a symbol, understandable to millions of people from Havana to Hanoi, from Santiago to Moscow. He symbolizes equality, social justice and a peaceful life for working-class people. And without the communists, of course, the world would never have overcome the monster of fascism.

[1] The activities of the U.S. technology conglomerate ‘Meta’, including the social networks Facebook and Instagram that it owns, are banned in Russia as extremist.


RIA Novosti is a Russian state media outlet


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