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On the stance of the RCWP on the imperialist war in Ukraine
Following the article on the stance of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), we would also like to respond to some questions about the stance of the Russian Communist Workers’ Party (RCWP) regarding the war in Ukraine; questions which also arise from some unfounded remarks made by the RCWP about the Resolution of the CC of the KKE that some “well-intentioned” people, who are hostile to the principled positions of the KKE and support the geopolitical plans of the Russian bourgeoisie, took care to translate into Greek and disseminate in various media outlets.
A few words about the RCWP
Even though the RCWP has less political influence than the CPRF, it is well known to the communists of our country thanks to its participation in several multilateral activities, in which the KKE participates as well, such as the International Meetings of Communist and Workers’ Parties, the European Communist Initiative, and the International Communist Review.
We should mention that the RCWP was founded on 30 November 1991 and that one of the first parties with which it developed bilateral relations was the KKE.
The RCWP participated in the elections of 1995 (4.5%) and 1999 (2.2%) under different names, while in 2003 V. Tyulkin, First Secretary of the CC of the RCWP, was elected MP through the CPRF lists. Since then, the RCWP has not been able to run for elections due to the anti-democratic law on political parties which allows arbitrariness to the detriment of “unwanted” political forces. Thus, it has lost the status of a political party, both independently as the RCWP and as an “alliance” of the artificial “political party” that it had established under the name “ROT FRONT” (Russian United Labour Front). This fact demonstrates that not only the Ukrainian reactionary regime but also the Russian bourgeois democracy took measures against the communists.
Of course, as in the case of the CPRF, the RCWP has not been able to influence Russia’s broader labour forces to form a strong class-oriented trade union movement.
On the issue of the war in Ukraine, the RCWP, in contrast to the CPRF, considers that it is an inter-imperialist conflict, that Russia is an imperialist power, smaller than the others —as it states in its positions— which operates in Ukraine using military means for the interests of the bourgeoisie. At the same time, the RCWP believes that this development has some positive elements as well and for this reason it supports it. This eclecticism in its position ultimately leads it to support the imperialist war. Let us, however, examine the issue more closely.
The Report of the CC of the RCWP
On 26 March 2022, the Plenary Session of the CC of the RCWP was held in Moscow, leading to the adoption of the RCWP’s stance “on the acts of war by the Government of the Russian Federation and the Donbas Armed Forces in Ukraine”, approving the relevant Report of the Political Council.
In this document, among other things, it is stated that “capitalism brought the wars to the land of the Soviet Union (…) These are conflicts of the formation of a new class of exploiters, conflicts created by imperialism or, more correctly, by the desire to redistribute the world in the former USSR territories with the participation of the interests of foreign capital. The guilt of the Russian bourgeoisie for the ongoing tragedies is unquestionable (…) The RCWP underscores that the real source of the conflict in Ukraine under examination is the inter-imperialist contradictions between the USA, EU, and Russia, into which Ukraine is drawn”.
In contrast to the CPRF, which does not see the imperialist character of Russia, the RCWP considers that “the Russian Federation is a new, in its formative stage, still rather weak, dependent, with a skewed economy, but already a complete imperialist state with a large appetite and desire to grow into the size of a large predator”. At the same time, it notes that “the stronger imperialist countries do not need Russia with a strong, developed economy as an equal partner.”
In addition, the RCWP links Lenin’s words about a “handful of countries” that dominated in his time with the current theoretical approach which considers that the countries of the so-called golden billion, i.e. the most developed capitalist countries, milk the rest of the world, including Russia. Moreover, “the RCWP and its allies, based on the Leninist conception of the essence of imperialism and the definition of fascism given by the Comintern, came up with the description of the phenomenon of —fascism in foreign policy, or, as we often figuratively use in a popularized way— “exported fascism” (…) Fascism in foreign policy today is a common practice of the United States and its allies.” Let us not forget, however, that this definition was formed while there was a serious controversy on the part of the CI cadres; most importantly, its inability to highlight the relationship between fascism and capitalism and thus for this relationship to be taken into account in the strategy of the international communist movement was shown in practice.
The RCWP also considers that Ukraine is a fascist state and that in this country fascism “is Ukrainian only in terms of its place of manifestation, in terms of language, in terms of historical continuity and composition of cadres, but it is completely American in terms of origin.”
Regarding Russia’s moves, it considers that “Putin and the Russian authorities are not driven by patriotic feelings of solidarity” as regards the recognition of the “People’s Republics” of Donbas but use it “as a pretext and excuse for the demilitarization and alleged de-Nazification of Ukraine, that is, solely in response to the fact that the US, the EU, and NATO as a whole have collectively disregarded their red lines”. The RCWP also criticized Putin’s anti-communism.
At the same time, while it considers that “we have no doubt that the real goals of the Russian state in this war are completely imperialistic and seek to defend and strengthen the positions of imperialist Russia in the world market competition” at the same time it believes that “as long as Russia’s armed intervention helps save the people in Donbas from retaliation, we will not oppose this true aid. In particular, we consider it acceptable if, due to circumstances, it is necessary to use violence against the fascist-inclined Kyiv regime, insofar as it will be in the interest of the working people.” The RCWP also considers that in Russia “the alignment of the class forces is such that it does not yet allow us to consider the working class a fully fledged subject of politics (…) the communists at the current historical moment in the Russian Federation do not have, and until the labour movement rises, will not be able to have mass support by the workers.” For these reasons, it supports the imperialist Russian invasion of Ukraine and did not sign the Joint Statement of 42 Communist and Workers’ Parties and 30 Communist Youth Organizations from all over the world, which was issued on the initiative of the KKE, the Communist Party of the Workers of Spain, the Communist Party of Mexico, and the Communist Party of Turkey; in contrast to its Youth organization, the RKSM (b) - Revolutionary Communist Youth Union (Bolsheviks), which maintains bilateral relations with the Communist Youth of Greece (KNE).
The erroneous approach of the contemporary world and Russia
The above stance of the RCWP, although in contrast to the CPRF, seems to be trying to approach the developments from a class point of view; however, it slips into serious theoretical and political mistakes, even into “loans” from bourgeois perceptions and forces that the RCWP itself characterizes as opportunistic. These faults lead it to the acquittal of the unacceptable Russian military invasion, which, as it acknowledges, is carried out for imperialist reasons, in the name of the salvation of the people of Donbas.
The RCWP describes Russia as a “weak” and “dependent” imperialist state, which the other “stronger imperialist countries” refuse to treat as an “equal partner”. These are stated as if the relations between the other imperialist countries are not marked by inequality and interdependence between the countries, and the only country which is not treated as an “equal partner” is capitalist Russia. These are stated about Russia, the second largest military power in the world, the only capitalist country that can threaten today the greatest imperialist power in the world, the United States, with nuclear disaster. A country with very powerful monopolies, which ranks 5th in the number of billionaires in the world, 11th in the nominal share of world GDP and 6th in real world GDP as well as in industrial production in the world, to which dozens of countries owe $27.3 billion, and which internationally holds the 5th position of the creditor countries to the so-called developing countries, with the 1st place being occupied by China. A country that can advance its foreign policy by exercising its veto power in the UN Security Council.
Thus, the RCWP overlooks the fact that all the capitalist states today, being part of the imperialist system, form unequal relations with each other based on their power (economic, political, and military) and that Russia occupies one of the most important positions in this imperialist “pyramid”, as a function of all its capabilities (economic, political, and military). The RCWP highlights the fact that an important direction of the Russian economy is the extraction of raw materials, ignoring other scientifically advanced areas in which Russia is a world leader (construction of nuclear power plants, space missions, modern arms trade, vaccines, etc.). Based on this distorted understanding of the contemporary world, it interprets Lenin’s words about a “handful of countries”, written when the ¾ of the world were still colonies, as it sees fit and today ends up adopting the classless perception of the countries of the so-called golden billion (from which powerful capitalist countries, such as China and Russia, have been removed); a perception which does not exist in the Programme of the RCWP but is “borrowed” from the current Programme of the CPRF.
The damaging notion of “exported fascism”
In its analysis, the RCWP reiterates the damaging notion of “exported fascism”. Just like the CPRF describes the US and the EU as “liberal fascism”, the RCWP attributes the description “fascist” to some of the greatest imperialist powers (US, EU). First of all, the division of the states of the international imperialist system into pro-fascist - pro-war or not, obscures the cause of the emergence and strengthening of the fascist current, which is found in monopoly capitalism also within each country. Thus, we can not agree with this view that divides the imperialist forces into “bad” (“fascist” and “neo-fascist”) and “good”, nor, of course, with calls to form “anti-fascist fronts” in a classless direction, that is, alliances without social–class criteria, and to align with the so-called anti-fascist states.
This notion leads the communist movement and the working class to disarmament, to resignation from its historical mission, and to the formation of a line which would allegedly cleanse imperialism from “fascist forces”. While the RCWP insists on the necessity of the struggle against opportunism and the need to recognize the dictatorship of the proletariat, at the same time it calls upon the communist movement to side with the opponent, with the bourgeois forces, which use all means against the cause of socialism. In the name of confronting fascism, in practice, the way is paved for cooperation with opportunism, social democracy, bourgeois political forces, and sections of the bourgeoisie; the way is paved to chose an imperialist side. Thus, in the military imperialist conflict in Ukraine, the communist movement is called upon to support certain imperialist forces, under the pretext that the others are “fascist”.
The notion of “exported fascism” is a bourgeois notion, initially introduced by Russian bourgeois political forces during the 2006 “orange revolution” in Ukraine. It was later spread by the leader of the so-called Workers’ Party of Russia, M. Popov, who cooperates with the RCWP, and was adopted by the latter during the Russian military intervention in Syria. It was the subject of an ideological-political struggle both within the RCWP and within the framework of the “International Communist Review”. Those who consult the public debate in the pages of the corresponding issue of the ICR will see that the KKE has been fully confirmed, predicting from 2014 that this notion would lead to an erroneous alignment with bourgeois political forces.
A key argument for the notion of “exported fascism” is that the United States is violating international law in its foreign policy. In this case, the RCWP does not take into account that the agreements constituting the international law are a product of the correlation of forces and as a result it has become much more reactionary in recent years after the counter-revolutionary overthrows.
Criticism against the KKE
The RCWP criticized the Resolution of the CC of the KKE on the imperialist war in Ukraine. Among other things, it accuses our Party that “the KKE made a mistake in seeing in the defence of the Donbas people only a pretext for the Kremlin to launch an imperialist war in Ukraine. This is true if we take the ultimate imperialist goal of the war - the occupation of the “post-Soviet area” under the control of the Russian capital. However, this is not a pretext at all but a real necessity from the point of view of the peoples–victims of the fascist regime in Kyiv. (And the Ukrainian people as well). Consequently, in this anti-fascist part, we support the war of the Donbas militias and the Russian army.” In addition, the RCWP accuses the KKE of lacking solidarity with the people of Donbas.
These are written at a time when:
- The KKE is the CP in a NATO and EU country, whose 3 cadres (a member of parliament and vice-president of the Greek parliament, a former member of the European Parliament, and one more cadre) are on the official blacklist of Kyiv’s reactionary regime because in 2014 they were part of the Party’s delegation in the Donbas region expressing the solidarity of the KKE with the people of the country, whom of course the KKE does not divide on the basis of their ethnic and linguistic origin, as others do, thus strengthening nationalism and the division of peoples.
- The KKE is the Party that since 2014 has consistently and multifacetedly condemned the anti-democratic, unconstitutional overthrow that took place in Ukraine with the support of the US, NATO, EU and the use of fascist forces, also through the European Parliament. The KKE denounced anti-communism, bans in Ukraine, and the racist policy against Russian-speaking populations in Ukraine and the Baltic; it firmly stood on the side of the communists and the working class in both Ukraine and Russia, on the basis of the principle of proletarian internationalism.
- Both we and the RCWP are well aware that the nature of the so-called People’s Republics of Donbas has nothing in common with the People’s Republics which had emerged after the Second World War in Europe; that the “People’s Republics” of Donbas are bourgeois regimes which survived only thanks to the multifaceted support of the Russian bourgeoisie. It is known that the few pro-communist commanders of some militia units in the first years after 2014 were exterminated under suspicious circumstances; that these regimes are fully controlled by the Kremlin; that armed groups of reactionary and even fascist Russian political forces act among the ranks of the militias.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine so far has not only not saved the people of Donbas from the war, as the RCWP believes, but has instead turned them into cannon fodders for the imperialist war, since a general mobilization of the population has been declared in this region only. In addition, it poses the risk of turning the people of the region into the spark that lights the flame of war, which will burn many European peoples. In any case, the annexation of these regions by Russia, as in the case of Crimea, will not save the people from class exploitation and the impasses of capitalism, while it will increase nationalist hatred between the Russian and Ukrainian peoples and hamper their necessary joint struggle against their only common opponent, i.e. capitalism.
Reactions within the RCWP
While the support for the Russian invasion did not have serious internal reactions within the CPRF, there were serious rifts in the RCWP, since the adoption of the line of justification of the Russian bourgeoisie and the imperialist war, something incompatible with the RCWP’s historical course so far, it is now obvious. Thus, serious disagreements were expressed in the Plenary Session of the CC of RCWP. As a result, two members of the Political Council (Al. Batov and S. Krupenko) left the Party, as did some other members of its Central Committee.
The latest development threatens to give an overwhelming ideological–political blow to the RCWP, as was evident from the so-called “Conference in support of the struggle against fascism in Ukraine”, which took place on 20/3/22 at the headquarters of the CC of the RCWP.
The RCWP follows dangerous political paths
Apart from the RCWP, the nationalist party “The other Russia” and Vladimir Kvachkov, a former officer arrested for plotting to assassinate Anatoly Chubais who described himself as a “Russian Christian nationalist”, also attended the conference. The organization “The other Russia” informs that the title of the event was: “Conference for the victory!” (utilizing the “Z” symbol painted on Russian military vehicles in the war in Ukraine).
“The other Russia” party is a nationalist force, formerly known as the “National-Bolshevik Party” (note: as in “National-Socialist”), that was established in 2010 by former Soviet “dissident” Eduard Limonov (who died in 2016). It used fascist symbols, replacing the swastika with the black hammer and sickle. Since the death of its founder, its symbol has been a red flag, which depicts a black grenade in a white circle and bears the slogan “Russia is everything, the others are nothing!”. This particular organization, which appears as “pro-Soviet” but treats the USSR not as a socialist, but as a powerful state with many territories, could be described as far right and is known for its provocative actions. It claims to have 2,000 armed men fighting in Donbas. The relevant video of the conference shows the leadership of the RCWP, through cde. Tyulkin, calling upon the far-right “The other Russia” party to a common electoral alliance. It seems that the imperialist war is an attempt to whitewash and present far-right, fascist, or fascist-inclined organizations in Ukraine and Russia as patriotic.
It goes without saying that these developments do not comply with the historical course of the RCWP nor with the commitments it has undertaken in the framework of the multilateral forms of cooperation it participates in (European Communist Initiative, International Communist Review).
It is twice as regrettable for the KKE that a party with which we have maintained bilateral relations for many years now is led to alignment with the bourgeoisie of its country and even with far-right, nationalist organizations, due to its theoretical inability to elaborate the international developments and the position of its country in the imperialist world on the basis of Marxism–Leninism.
It turns out that the invocation of the need to struggle against opportunism as well as the reproduction of important theoretical terms such as the “dictatorship of the proletariat” are not able to protect a CP from pitfalls and the “loans” of unscientific approaches that may lead it to become the “tail” of the choices of the bourgeoisie of its country.
The article was published in “Rizospastis” – Organ of the CC of the KKE on 29 April 2022