Ukraine

“We’re not just at war to support the Ukrainians. We’re fundamentally at war, although somewhat through a proxy, with Russia, and it’s important that we win,” said US representative Seth Moulton during a Fox News appearance. He was perhaps being more frank than others, but the message has been coming loud and clear from official representatives of Biden’s administration. Asked what the US would consider success in the war, Biden’s Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said “we want to see Russia weakened”.

On 9 April, a group called Stand With Ukraine held a small demonstration in London. Despite receiving support from a number of trade unions, only a few hundred people took part. In true Orwellian fashion, this so-called anti-war solidarity demonstration was filled with hair-raising, warmongering rhetoric. Slogans included: “arm, arm, arm Ukraine!”, and participants were reportedly inviting NATO to “call Putin’s bluff”, i.e. to launch a full-blown military intervention and spark World War III.

In a shock announcement, Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has told Russian state media: “NATO, in essence, is engaged in a war with Russia through a proxy and is arming that proxy.” In an uncharacteristically angry tone, he accused NATO of fighting a proxy war by supplying military aid to Ukraine, just at a time when western defence ministers have gathered in Germany for US-hosted talks on supporting Ukraine through what one US general called a “very critical” few weeks.

Note from the editorial board: Today we are reproducing a pair of very important articles that blow sky high all the lying western propaganda that has surrounded the war in Ukraine from day one up to the present. The author of these remarkable documents is not a Marxist. Far from it. He is Jacques Baud, a former colonel in the Swiss army and ex-member of the Swiss Strategic Intelligence Service. He also worked for NATO, during and after the 2014 Ukraine crisis, following which he participated in programmes related to Ukraine. 

The main peculiarity of the present war in Ukraine is that it has been completely overshadowed by an unprecedented war of information. This has served to generate a lot of heat, but very little light. In fact, its principal objective is not to inform, but to conceal the real situation. In this, one has to admit, it has been highly successful.

The impact of the war in Ukraine will be felt far beyond European shores. With Russia and Ukraine together being responsible for 12% of all calories traded, and natural gas forming an important component in fertilisers, the war is exacerbating food inflation. Coming at a time when many of the dominated capitalist countries have built up massive debts in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the war is adding to a perfect storm that will provoke class struggle on a global scale.

We have received this report on the rising repression within Russia, as the “special operation” (i.e. the war in Ukraine) drags on. Even the mildest criticism of the invasion is being shut down, on pain of arrest and imprisonment. Independent news sources and social media platforms are shuttered, and anyone voicing disapproval of the war is labelled a “national traitor.” These measures are a sign of President Vladimir Putin’s weakness, not his strength, and will only cause the masses’ resentment to accumulate. 

Over three million people have now fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion on 24 February, with the UN declaring the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War. There has been an outpouring of sympathy for those fleeing war from millions of people. Hundreds of thousands of ordinary people have even offered to open up their homes to those displaced. But the ‘generosity’ of the governments of the West reeks of hypocrisy.

As people around the world watch the war unfold in Ukraine, many are left asking: “What can I do to stop it?” Following in the footsteps of state sanctions, the answer provided by politicians and official organizations has been: exclude Russians from international events, ban Russian products, and boycott Russian businesses.

We have received a brief report about the political struggle taking place in the Moscow organisation of the Komsomol (youth wing of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation) about the question of the war in Ukraine. As a result of their opposition to the official, chauvinistic line of the leadership of the party, supporters of the Marxist Tendency and others have now been expelled. 

Zelenskiy’s government continues to cynically use the invasion to justify repressing political opponents. Eleven organisations have had their political activities criminalised for the period of the armed conflict. While some of these organisations are farcical, and there are members of these groups who do have favourable attitudes toward the Russian invasion, no evidence of collaboration has been presented.

The British ruling class and its representatives are cynically using the conflict in Ukraine as an excuse to attack the labour movement and the left. We must build the forces of Marxism, and fight back against the flag-waving servants of capital.

As ever, the outbreak of war has led to all manner of hypocrisy and propaganda from the agents of imperialism. Marxists must cut through this fog, and point out the real class interests at play. To end the horrors of war, we must end capitalism.

Volodymyr Orlov is a basketball player with Benicarló, in the second division of Spanish basketball, LEB Plata. He was born in Ukraine but moved to Spain when he was 11 and has acquired Spanish nationality. His recent public statements on the Russian invasion of Ukraine  ES Radio, which have been published by La Voz de Galicia and other newspapers, have created a stir in Spain. 

As the Russian army continues to shell the cities of Ukraine, the western press and politicians are doing their utmost to conceal the role of western imperialism in the disaster. Far from being a neutral party, the West have been provoking the conflict for their own imperialist reasons.

The French philosopher Voltaire was supposed to have written the celebrated phrase: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Whether or not he actually pronounced them, these words are often cited to describe the principle of freedom of speech.

It has now been two weeks since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Since then, the hypocritical Western imperialists and their lackeys in the media have been pouring forth endless denunciations of Russia's actions.

The German capitalist class and its government are using Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine as an opportunity to advance their own militarist and imperialist agenda. The German Marxists of Der Funke expose the repulsive hypocrisy and warmongering of their ruling class, and make an appeal to combat the scourge of war with international solidarity. As the dominant power in the EU and a willing henchman in the service of the interests of US imperialism through NATO, the German ruling class has played a central role in the formation and escalation of this long-running conflict in Ukraine.

Were we to believe the war propaganda of the western imperialists, we would have to conclude that the current crisis in Ukraine began on 24 February 2022, when Putin ordered Russian troops to enter Ukraine. This is a reactionary imperialist war that we oppose, but our opposition has nothing to do with the hypocritical denunciations of the West. In fact, the crisis has a long background in which western imperialism has played an aggressive role – in Ukraine and throughout Eastern Europe.

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