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Russian socialist speaks out against Putin’s war

‘We assess the war as an inter-imperialist conflict between Russia and the West’
Issue 2793
Protesters including Russian socialists in the dark with anti-war banner in Russian

Russian socialists have joined protests against the war in Ukraine

Alexey, a member of the Russian socialist group aligned with the SWP, gave this interview to the Ukrainian website Black Banner. It is a shining example of courageous anti-war agitation.

What movement do you and your comrades belong to?
I am a member of the “Socialist Tendency” group. Our group is also part of the International Socialist Tendency, an association of revolutionary socialists, of which the Socialist Workers Party of Britain is the largest section.

How do you assess this war: its causes and consequences?
We assess the war as an inter-imperialist conflict between Russia and the West, in which, unfortunately, Ukraine has become a bargaining chip. We are very sorry that your people have to go through such trials. The mood in Russian society is very different from the mood in 2014. The patriotic frenzy has been greatly reduced. People don’t want war. Although it is worth recognising that there are also quite a few great-power chauvinists.

What motivated you to take part in actions against the war with Ukraine?
Rejection of the military aggression of our state, which your country has undergone. We stand for the defeat of our government in the imperialist war.

We want to build a broad grassroots anti-war movement, bring a class agenda into it. Only by attracting the masses can we really influence something.

What kind of people other than you are taking part in these actions?
In Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod and St. Petersburg, different forces took to the action. Unfortunately, the liberals dominate, but the left is also represented quite widely.

There are more liberals among the organisers and among other protesters. There are also Marxists and anarchists, but they are still on the side lines.

As for ordinary participants, they are rather “spontaneous liberals” who do not like Putin not because he is “too imperialist”, but because he is “not imperialist enough”.

They look at the citizens of the EU and the USA and complain that they live better, as if these people live better simply because of some other democratic system, and not from the developed imperialism of their countries.

What are you doing to beat the liberals?
To seize the initiative from the liberals, Marxists and anarchists need to go to anti-war actions with their own agenda, agitate among the people, work in trade unions and work collectives.

We have translated the article “On Contradictions” by the Ukrainian left-wing organization “Chernoye Znamya”, their position is close to us, they really apply a competent analysis to the current situation.

We have comrades in Kiev and Lvov. We must build an international anti-imperialist front.

Many Russians do not like war now, it’s time to say “no war between peoples, no peace between classes”! We call on all leftists to come with us to anti-war actions!

What is the moods of the protesters themselves in connection with the arrests?
There is a really fighting mood. Putin’s repressive machine tightens the screws, but the people still come out. Videos from the rallies should be shown to your nationalists and all Ukrainians so that they understand that their enemy is not the Russian nation, but the Kremlin.

  • For the whole interview (in Russian) go here
  • Emergency SWP TV livestreamWar in Ukraine: how should the left respond? Monday 28 Feb, 7.30pm with Alex Callinicos, author of Imperialism & Global Political Economy • Clare Lemlich, US socialist and regular writer on Eastern Europe recently returned from Ukraine • Russian socialist • Tomáš Tengely-Evans, Socialist Worker online editor. Tune in live via YouTube here or via Facebook here Event details here

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