Lenin against Putin

Willem de Kooning, de Kooning, 1965


NATO's role is not to defend Ukraine's independence, much less democracy, because NATO is a US cannon..




“Lenin, they went crazy” (Graffiti on the walls of Prague in 1968, during the Soviet invasion).


Russia's invasion of Ukraine is not an anti-imperialist war

Russia's defensive interests do not legitimize Ukraine's ruin. It's not a just war. Putin's decision is defended by a portion of the most combative sectors of the Brazilian left, remembering, rightly, that NATO came closing in on Russia with the integration of thirteen bordering countries: the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary (1999), Estonia , Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia (2004), Albania, Croatia (2009) and Montenegro (2017). Self-defense is legitimate.

Russia has every right to make it clear and non-negotiable that the deployment of NATO missiles in Ukraine is unacceptable. NATO's role is not to defend Ukraine's independence, let alone democracy, because NATO is a US cannon. Nor is it relevant a priori who takes the first initiative in a war. But Russia's nuclear arsenal is still more than enough to protect it from any country in the world.


Neither Russophilia nor Russophobia

Russia is not just defending itself against NATO, but extending its area of ​​influence. We don't need to be “campers” and choose one of the two fighting camps. The USSR has not existed for over thirty years. Its defense against imperialism was for seventy years a matter of principle for Marxists. But Putin's Russia is not just a country in which capitalism has been restored with wild and monstrous aberrations and an ultra-authoritarian Bonapartist regime. Much worse and more importantly, it is an imperialist power, albeit in a subordinate position. Both Russophilia and Russophobia are harmful to the left.


Multipolar equilibrium is a utopia

It is not true that, when a war breaks out, it is necessary to choose which is the “lesser evil side”. Being against the invasion is not the same as supporting NATO's strategy. The war against Ukraine will not pave the way for a less unfair or dangerous world. The struggle of the socialist movement must not be in support of one Empire against another, but against capitalism. Defending subaltern imperialism is not political “realism”. Our strategy cannot be the “multipolar balance” between imperialist states. It is a reactionary utopia.

As long as an imperialist order exists, there will be a danger, albeit a latent one, of a Third World War. The project of all imperialism is to become dominant, economically, politically, militarily and ideologically. The Marxist program is internationalism. Today this flag is embodied in the defense of an immediate ceasefire, for the end of the war, against the presence of NATO troops in Eastern Europe and Russian troops in Ukraine.

At the same time, it should not be indifferent to those who fight for socialism in Brazil that, in the context of the world order, our country is in the area of ​​influence of US imperialism. The Brazilian bourgeoisie maintains a close historical alliance with Washington. NATO's implacable denunciation is imposed. The tradition we must defend is the unblemished flag of Marxism that was defended by those who gathered in Zimmerwald during the First World War: Rosa Luxemburg, Lenin and Trotsky.


A war of conquest

In the last thirty years, the dynamics of relative weakening of US hegemony in the international system of States, although slow, did not prevent the US from advancing NATO's military device over Eastern Europe, and Ukraine became a semi-colony of the US . The permanence of a Washington-led world order is a structural threat to world peace. The US is the main state committed to the defense of world capitalism. They have already invaded and will invade again when their interests are in danger.

But aggression against Ukraine is not pre-emptive action against the danger of imminent invasion. Manipulation of the patriotic sentiment of the Russian people, recalling the Nazi invasion of 1941, is a political maneuver, or “propaganda”. Russia is also an imperialist power. Whatever the interpretation of imperialism, in the Marxist tradition, Russia is not just an independent country. Although economically much weaker, a State with thousands of atomic weapons is not a dependent country. It is a dispute between Russia and the dominant imperialist power and its NATO allies for control of resources, markets, labor force and domain of zones of influence. It is a war of conquest and plunder.


Putin and His Pyrrhic Victory

The lightning war tactic confirmed Russian military superiority, and Kiev is on the verge of falling. But the overthrow of the Ukrainian government will only be the epilogue of the first chapter of the war, therefore a “Pyrrhic victory”, because it cannot be ruled out that there will be guerrilla resistance and a mass civil boycott. There are tactical victories that are the anteroom of strategic defeats. Putin disregards that the project of an occupation of Ukraine is, to say the least, dangerous. military victory in Blitzkrieg does not amount to political victory.

The Chinese abstention, followed by India, in the vote on the resolution against the invasion in the UN security council is a sign that there will be no unconditional alignment with Moscow, if the operation proves to be unsustainable. It is not even unthinkable that the threat of its own overthrow will be posed in Moscow if the oligarchy of billionaires concludes that Putin has gone too far.


It's not a defensive war

It is not a “just” war, but a war of conquest. Ukraine is the victim of an inter-imperialist dispute over the division of “areas of influence”. Putin made the calculation that the weakening of the US allowed the recovery of dominance over its geostrategic zone. It is true that the Ukrainian government, led by Volodymir Zelensky, signaled, before December of last year, the aspiration to join NATO.

It would be an unacceptable provocation because it would make possible the location of nuclear missiles in the vicinity of Moscow, but no more dangerous, qualitatively, than in the Baltic countries, or in Poland where NATO is already present. Russia's nuclear weapons device, equivalent to that of the US, would not lose, or even diminish, its deterrent capability.


an imperialist war

The invasion was an aggression of an imperialist nature. The socialist left cannot support war against an oppressed nation, even when its government accepts the humiliation of being reduced to the status of a US protectorate. Russia is not freeing Ukraine from American oppression. Russia is not a country on the periphery that carried out an offensive tactical military maneuver at the service of a defensive strategy. It did not anticipate an imperialist aggression by NATO. There was no "real and imminent" danger of deployment of missiles by NATO, a US-led coalition.

This is not a war to overthrow a “Nazi” government. Russia maintains excellent relations with the government of Hungary. It is not a war in defense of the Russian-speaking population of Donbass. It was not only criminal against Ukraine, but a miscalculation by underestimating the US from the point of view of Russia's interests. Criminal, because a nation that accepts that its State abuses the superiority of its power to oppress another people cannot be free. A miscalculation because there were other ways. The Ukrainian government had even been retreating, albeit in a partial and “exploratory” way, in the face of Putin's ultimatum. France and Germany also admitted their willingness to put pressure on Biden to find a negotiated solution.


NATO is a US cannon

But the truth is that Washington had an interest in pushing Russia against the wall, and it instigated a rash adventure by Putin. The invasion facilitated an immediate cohesion of the European powers with the US. Germany has finally admitted to giving up gas supplies via the new Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, thousands of troops have been deployed to countries bordering Ukraine, the Rapid Action Force, up to 40 men has been placed on standby, economic sanctions increased (although, happily, Italy managed to spare the ban on the sale of luxury goods, and Belgium and the Netherlands tried to protect the trade in polished diamonds, much consumed by the Russian bourgeoisie), and even the exclusion of the payment system Swift, as a financial choke weapon. Now even Sweden and Finland are threatening to join NATO. The possibility of a neutrality status for Ukraine similar to that of Austria became much more distant.


Ukraine has the right to exist

The invasion of Ukraine is an unjustifiable military adventure for Putin. It was preceded by an imperialist speech, in which he denounced Lenin for defending Ukraine's right to self-determination as a nation and irresponsibly denied the legitimacy of its existence as an independent state. The nationalist romanticization of an “indivisible” and unbroken common tradition, since immemorial medieval times, is a sinister ideological operation because it means denying the right of existence of an independent Ukraine.

Ukrainians are not Russians. There are many Slavic nations that are not Russian. There is no military outcome that is not apocalyptic. Even the blackmail of nuclear weapons is dangerously placed, due to the military escalation of NATO financing and transferring weapons to the Kiev government. The US offensive through NATO is also a provocation and must be relentlessly and fiercely denounced as a strategic US encirclement maneuver to maintain world supremacy. NATO is a counterrevolutionary monster. Ukraine must not be destined to be a US protectorate, nor a Russian semi-colony.

*Valério Arcary is a retired professor at IFSP. Author, among other books, of Revolution meets history (Shaman).


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