One year of Russia-Ukraine war


File Photo, Kolkata

Forces of peace must come together to impose ‘‘no- war conditions’’ on imperialist sharks

On 24 February 2023, one year of the Russia-Ukraine war was completed. But there is no sign of its ending. It was initially believed by many including Russian rulers that Russia would take over the Ukraine under its political and administrative control within weeks. This optimism was based on Russia’s success in suddenly taking over Crimea and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine in 2014 without any resistance either from Ukraine or from other European countries. These annexed portions were merged with Russia. However, by 11 November 2022, Ukraine forces had recaptured around 74,443 Km2 of its land from Russian occupation, leaving Russia with control of about 18% of Ukraine territory forcibly occupied. The ongoing war has killed tens of thousands of people, flattened cities and forced millions to flee their homes. Over 18.6 million Ukrainian citizens crossed the border and took refuge in Poland and other countries as per latest records released on 14 February 2023. While migration to other countries of Europe has also taken place in large numbers, nearly 3,00,000 Ukrainians have arrived in the US since the war began, according to US Citizenship and Immigration Services. The Russia-Ukraine war has already cost the globe in excess of $70 Billion. The cost will go up further if the war persists.

What is prolonging the devastating war?

Is there any cogent reason for this war to break out and then be sustained for more than one year? Absolutely not. As we had elaborately shown in our previous article (Proletarian Era 01-03-22), this is generated out of imperialist-imperialist contradiction over extending spheres of influence and grabbing markets. The growing acute market crisis and recession made it urgent for the imperialists to look for newer markets even in the unipolar world (that is, in absence of socialist camp) and bring in more and more countries into their respective folds.
After sad dismantling of Soviet socialism due to counter-revolution organized by the capitalist-roaders and revisionists within the country, aided and abetted by world imperialism-capitalism, Russia had emerged as powerful imperialist country, advanced both industrially and militarily with a huge stockpile of arms and ammunition of the Soviet era, including nuclear weapons. It is now ruled by a bureaucrat-industrial-military complex, under the control of financial oligarchs. On the other hand, US imperialism, the chieftain of world imperialism, is always on the prowl with a view to reigning unilaterally in the world, either directly or indirectly through its lackeys.
Russia’s imperialist move was first manifested when it had forcibly occupied Transnistria part of Moldova in 1992 and then South Ossetia Abkhazia of Georgia in 2008. It then formed Russian-backed self-proclaimed republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia cut off from the Georgian territory. In February-March 2014, Russia invaded Crimea and annexed it from Ukraine. The Russian imperialist rulers want all the previous constituents of the Soviet Union-now transformed into separate countries with an association named Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)—be their zone of influence. Alongside, they have been seeking to befriend West Asian countries who are opposed to the US and its allies. Imperialist Russia, besides its hegemonic aspiration, has eyes on Ukraine’s rich mineral resources and most fertile land. Ukraine is the largest exporter of sunflower oil and has fourth place in export of corn in the world.
On the other hand, US imperialists and their allies took initiative to include the East European countries, first Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic and then Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Adriatic Sea-Albania and Croatia to join infamous North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a military alliance of Western imperialists with US at the helm. In July 2022, NATO invited Finland and Sweden, two Scandinavian countries, to join the organization and the ratification process is in progress. In September 2022, Ukraine also applied for NATO membership. Obviously, Russia viewed these developments as a ploy of Western imperialists to encircle it militarily and heave a sigh of threat at it. Thus, the battlelines are clearly drawn.

Militarization of economy warrants war

Next point is that with economic crisis gripping world capitalism-imperialism increasingly with every passing day, there is a frantic attempt on the part of the imperialist powers to somehow stave off the crisis by more and more militarization of economy i.e., boosting arms production to artificially stimulate the demand. Explaining the phenomenon in lucid terms, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, Founder General Secretary, SUCI(Communist) and an outstanding Marxist thinker and philosopher of the era, said: ‘‘Faced with such a market crisis the capitalists in the advanced capitalist countries—and even in backward countries which are being reconstructed on the capitalist lines—on being confronted with such multifarious crises, are dovetailing the whole economy with the military economy. In other words, since a market boom cannot be sustained due to the crisis, attempts are being made to stimulate it artificially. This means that the government itself turns up in the market as the buyer with the money from the government budget funded by the people’s money. But what will the government buy? To what use can those things come? So, they increase the military strength and trigger off war here and there. They go on producing armaments, increasing military strength and building up defence industries. This very act of militarization of the economy, fully dovetailing the productive system with military production—this is what we call militarization of industry.’’ (Present Situation and Main Danger to Democratic Movement, SW Vol IV) This is also another reason that the imperialist sharks orchestrate local and partial wars as well as also venture in wars of aggression and want those to be prolonged so that stockpile of arms could be released progressively no matter if that entail colossal destruction and massive loss of innumerable precious lives of innocent citizens. Hence, neither Russia nor its bete noire US imperialism and its NATO allies want the Ukraine war to be over quickly. In fact, Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared that his government was suspending its participation in the New START treaty—the last remaining nuclear arms control pact with the United States—sharply upping the ante amid tensions with Washington over the fighting in Ukraine. On the other hand, US President Joe Biden landed in Kyiv, Ukrainian capital, in a surprise visit to war-ravaged Ukraine on. 24 February which marked one year of Russian ‘‘military engagement’’ with Ukraine and reaffirm his unwavering commitment to back Ukraine. What are these moves other than provocations to prolong the war?

US equally interested in sustaining the conflict

Notably, Ukraine once insisted for a ceasefire and total withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine soil. It is believed that the UK’s Prime Minister had sabotaged the peace talks and convinced Ukrainian President Zelenskyy not to go for further negotiation with Russia. Thereafter, a host of European countries started pouring arms to Ukraine, adding fuel to the fire. Now the prospects for peace appear bleak with Russian President Vladimir Putin signalling a desire to double down on the conflict and Ukrainian President Zelenskyy maintaining a hard line on any conciliatory talks. Thus, the US imperialist played its game to fight a proxy war against Russia through Ukraine. Western countries have openly said that their final aim is to weaken Russia economically and politically and reduce its status of world power to non-entity. It is alleged that the US Government had been in touch with the Ukrainian Govt. prior to 24 Feb 2022 and had even also supplied weapons. As soon as Russia invaded Ukraine, the US started pumping the arms and ammunition to fuel the war. European countries, Sweden, Finland, UK, Germany, Poland, France also joined to supply weapons to Ukraine to fight back the Russian army. Thus, the US imperialist got an opportunity to use Ukraine as a proxy war field against Russia. Thus became the fight between two imperialist nations, at the immense cost of the Ukrainian people.
What is more, in 2014, the US Congress passed the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, which appropriated $350 million in security assistance, including anti-tank and anti-Armour weapons to the government of Ukraine on the plea to defend its territorial integrity from Russia. The US government authorized nearly $27 million of commercial defence articles and services to Ukraine in 2016 and about $68 million in 2015, portions of which are classified as lethal weapons. Although US-made lethal weapons have been in Ukraine since 2015 through the private contractors even before official approvals. In Dec 2017, Donald Trump approved a license for Ukraine to buy arms and approved the export of weapons worth $47 million. American Media published a report in December 2017, that the US would supply 210 missiles and 35 launchers of the Javelin anti-tank missile compass to Ukraine.
US arms manufacturers were not only cashing in directly from the thousands of missiles, drones and other weapons being sent to Ukraine, but they do stand to profit big-time over the long run by supplying countries eager to boost their defence against Russia. Suddenly demand for US weapons in European countries increased. The world’s five largest arms companies are all American: Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics. In fact, half of the top 100 producers of arms is based in the U.S. Twenty are European.
Since the beginning of the war and as of 15 January 2023, US imperialists have given $46.6 billion in financial aid for military purposes to Ukraine. This is more than what the US had spent in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2010. Another data indicates that the US has committed nearly 37 billion euros in December 2023 and have earmarked a total of just over 73.1 billion euros for Ukraine support. Just two days after Russia invaded Ukraine; US President Joe Biden ordered the release of additional weapons worth $350 million through foreign Act. This was the third tranche of weapons to Ukraine. Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, said that the US committed more than $1 billion in security assistance in the past year.
The US imperialists, who are fighting proxy war with Russia, are not interested in early peace. Its aim is to destroy and weaken the military power of Russia and reduce its status from number two to last. If Russia is defeated, it will make the US an unchallengeable leader not only in Europe but the world over. In that case it can threaten, invade any country and force them to bow before its military might. Even the European countries are not showing any interest in peace proposals, or initiatives. They think that a weakened Russia would pose no serious military threat in future.

War crimes of US imperialists

Many wonder if this conflict would lead to an untidy conclusion. Ukraine might be another divided country like Korea or Cyprus. A de facto partition of Ukraine would be a fragile flashpoint prone to insurgency and partisan activity backed by intelligence, weapons, monetary and logistical support that would make life in the Russian-absorbed enclaves difficult. Therefore, even a Russian face-saving outcome would prove pyrrhic. On the other hand, a unilateral ceasefire by Russia would be viewed as its surrender before the military might of the US and its allies. So, Russian imperialists are in a fix and the only alternative to it is continuation of the war and refrain from withdrawal unless a stage arises to assign even partial success to it.
On the other hand, after initial setback in creating another ‘front office’ state in Taiwan in Asia like Israel in the Middle East, US imperialists are contemplating to turn Ukraine as a ‘client’ state in East Europe. In that case, Ukraine could be a launch pad of its military operations in the entire Europe and a watchtower for keeping surveillance on two other formidable imperialist powers, Russia and China as well as socialist North Korea. US rulers and their European allies are crying hoarse against Russian aggression in Ukraine. No doubt, the act of Russia is condemnable. But do the US imperialists and their associates have any proprietary to denounce Russia? What have they been doing? Way back in 1964, the US rulers had circulated news of a phony ‘‘attack’’ by Vietnamese PT boats on a US warship in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964 and then on that pretext triggered the most heinous war of aggression against Vietnam. The US had carried the design of establishing a safe haven, an unchallengeable base in this poor and backward, yet strategically positioned Afghanistan, for asserting and exerting their military-cum- political power over the countries of South Asia as well as the Middle East, including India and the Arab world. So, it continued military operations in that country for twenty long years. Defying the UNO directive, US imperialists militarily occupied sovereign Iraq under fraudulent pretext. Within few years, it was the turn of Libya, another oil rich Middle-East country where US pressed notorious CIA to assassinate Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan President, an ardent proponent of pan-Arab nationalism and lent all necessary support to various anti-Gaddafi disgruntled groups and elements and then combine them in a planted rebel organization named ‘National Transitional Council’ (NTC). Pentagon rulers are fully backing Zionist Israel in suppressing the legitimate liberation struggle of Palestinian people. Syrian President Assad has long been refusing to bend down before US dictates. So, the US imperialists and its allies planted trained armed insurgents to precipitate a rebellion under the cover of a so-called movement for democracy with a view to ousting Assad. They even moved military to buttress that agenda. US imperialists in one more demonstration of brazen overlordism and brigandage, forced a change of regime in another sovereign democratic country, Haiti, in Western hemisphere through direct military intervention and US marines stormed into the official residence of the president, abducted Bertrand Aristide, the democratically elected president and took him to an unknown destination. The list is without end. Sudan, the oil-rich mineral-rich East African country became a prime target of US imperialists. Here US imperialism played the dirty trick of engineering racial conflict, arming the rebels and finally succeeded in dividing the country into two parts to its advantage. The list is unending. The US has roughly military bases spread across 80 nations.
Naturally, those who have their hands soaked in blood and establishing military installations on foreign lands have no authority whatsoever to point fingers at similar offences by others. Because of one-sided media propaganda against Russian aggression on Ukraine, this black history of US imperialism and its allies is not coming to the fore. Russian imperialists by attacking Ukraine have, in fact, indirectly helped US imperialists to put a lid on all their crimes and pretend to be staunchly opposed to wars of aggression and annexation. Once again, we reiterate that this Ukraine episode is a fallout of imperialist-imperialist contradiction and both US and Russia are equally responsible for sustaining this devastating war.

World countries are divided between two imperialist power camps

Out of 30 members of NATO, 12 countries who have come forward in support of Ukraine are Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, United Kingdom, and the United States. A few countries are also supporting Russia in the invasion of Ukraine either directly or indirectly. Belarus is the biggest supporter of Russia and has allowed Russian Troops to enter Ukraine from its territory. Other countries supporting Russia are Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Kyrgyzstan. Syria has expressed its support for Moscow’s reorganization of the republics in eastern Ukraine. Iran has justified Russian invasion saying that the root has been in NATO provocations. Kazakhstan has not favored Russia and chose not to send troops for a joint military activity. Armenia has kept a low profile on the invasion. Notably, China and India, two imperialist super-powers, have refused to condemn Russian actions. Both China and India, who are getting benefits of cheap oil imports from and many other advantages in trading with Russia are just showing lip sympathy for peace with Ukraine. Surprisingly, the US had welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s position on the Ukraine conflict which calls for the cessation of all kinds of violence and the pursuit of the path of diplomacy. In a candid remark, Blinken, US Secretary of State said ‘‘India’s relationship with Russia has developed over decades at a time when the United States was not able to be a partner to India’’. Washington also acknowledged that Russia is India’s biggest defence supplier- accounting for more than 60% of its imports.
It is obvious that US imperialist rulers do not want to antagonize India, they are cementing their bond with her for long, even if that warrants justification on their part to India’s refusal to denounce Russia. Evidently, the US wants India to be its ally against China in case of conflict in the South China Pacific region. China does not want to say anything against Russian invasion of Ukraine, because it is aware of being under radar of the US in the South Pacific region as well as on the issue of Taiwan. Two weeks back, the US Navy chief in the South Asian Pacific Region, has indicated to his sub-commanders that war in the next two years would be with China. So, tactically, China does not want to antagonize Russia for geopolitical reasons because it may need the support of Russia against belligerence of the US.
These are all manifestations of internal contradictions among the imperialists, their respective economic-political interests and collusion as well as collision on issue-to-issue basis. Needless to say, none of these has anything to do with people’s interest. People of all the countries are equal sufferers of global imperialist-capitalist oppression which is becoming more and more ruthless with every passing day. It is the common people who bear the cost of imperialist wars, economically-politically as well as by laying their lives.

Silver lining amidst darkness

Most redeeming feature is that common people of both Russia and the European countries are raising their voice against this imposed war and demanding peace. Widespread demonstrations had broken out since President Vladimir Putin announced plans to draft 300,000 men to fight in Ukraine. In Moscow, news agency AFP reported witnessing one demonstrator shouting ‘‘we are not cannoning fodder’’ as she was arrested by officers. And in St Petersburg, Russia’s second city, one man told reporters: ‘‘I don’t want to go to war for Putin’’. Thousands of people have taken part in a demonstration in central Berlin to protest against giving more weapons to Ukraine, urging the German government to deescalate the crisis by paving the way for negotiations with Vladimir Putin instead. In fact, people across Europe have marched to protest against the war in Ukraine. Thousands of demonstrators gathered in Brussels and Paris to show support for Ukraine on Saturday, while a demonstration against supplying Ukraine with weapons attracted 10,000 people in Berlin and London. Hundreds of protesters gathered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC on 21 February last, for an anti-war event. The speakers at the ‘March Against the War Machine’ rally called on the US government to end its military support of Ukraine in favor of diplomacy and slashing the Pentagon budget to address numerous domestic issues. Indian people have also joined them in registering anti-war anti-imperialist stands and demanding peace.
No doubt peace-loving people must condemn it in one voice. People of the world need peace not war. But they need to go beyond that. So long, the Socialist camp was in existence, it worked as a bulwark against imperialist war machination. But for the sad collapse of the socialist camp, the war-monger imperialists could not have ventured such dastardly acts. In absence of that, toiling millions round the globe must rise up to develop, release and step up organized integrated powerful anti-imperialist militant peace movements under correct revolutionary leadership which alone can be an effective deterrent against imperialist over-lordism, brigandage and generation of war. People must act, act consciously, to develop their own power of resistance against the imperialist intrigues. Forces of peace must come together to impose ‘‘no- war conditions’’ on the imperialist countries, thus saving the world from further disaster.

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