Bp Hitting Russian Rocks

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MANY senior foreign executives at oil giant BP’s Russian partnership TNK-BP are to be forced to leave Russia after their requests for work permits were refused.

The Russian authorities have turned down more than half of the requests made by managers of TNK-BP as the battle for control and then ownership of the company sharpens.

BP described the latest blow as ‘surprising and disappointing’. In fact it is following along the path blazed by Shell which had its holdings expropriated, and received what it termed inadequate compensation, after being taken over by a specially established state-owned company, Rosneft.

What is happening is that the Stalinist bureaucracy, (particularly in the KGB) which is running Russia found out the hard way that the bulk of those (mainly Communist Party second-rank leaders) who seized valuable state property or bought it for a pittance from the Yeltsin family, at the time when the USSR was decreed to be dissolved, were very susceptible to becoming agents of US imperialism inside Russia, that is comprador capitalists.

There was also the question that the masses of Russian workers were furious with the capitalist ‘shock therapists’ and a revolutionary uprising was developing.

The oligarchs had to be purged. The one-time right-hand man of Yeltsin, Boris Berezovskiy, has currently got asylum in the UK, along with a brace of Russian oligarchs who were run out of Russia.

It turned out that not only did the Bolshevik revolution save Russia from being divided up between the major imperialist powers as part of the spoils of victory, but as the Gorbachev-Yeltsin counter-revolutionary experience proved, the continuing existence of an independent Russian state depends on its vast resources being nationalised, and being defended by world revolution.

Today with the US-UK imperialists desperate to secure large-scale oil and gas resources throughout the world, and more than prepared to make war to seize them (Iraq), the nationalisation of Russia’s energy industries is a strategic necessity.

Putin is on record as regarding the decree to dissolve the USSR as an unmitigated disaster, and the correctness of this position is more than proven by the subsequent developments.

But Putin remains a Stalinist, wedded to the remnants of socialism in a single country and Russian nationalism.

The Putin-led bureaucracy essentially balances between the Russian workers and the ‘patriotic’ sections of the capitalists, while on a world scale he balances between the imperialist powers and the Russian workers, alongside the anti-imperialist forces in the world.

That this is a transitory position is clear. It cannot last for long and will be replaced either by a successful counter-revolution in Russia, or the Russian working class overthrowing the bureaucracy and its capitalist supporters through a political revolution that restores rule through workers soviets.

Trotsky pointed to this development in his works Revolution Betrayed and The Permanent Revolution.

In the introduction to The Permanent Revolution he points out ‘that the democratic tasks of the backward bourgeois nations lead directly, in our epoch, to the dictatorship of the proletariat and that . . . puts socialist tasks on the order of the day.’

He described the second aspect of the theory as having to do ‘with the socialist revolution as such’.

He adds: ‘Society keeps changing its skin. Each stage of transformation stems directly from the preceding. . . .Outbreaks of civil war and foreign wars alternate with periods of ‘peaceful reform . . . .’

He continued to describe the ‘International character of the socialist revolution’ as the third aspect of the theory’. He adds: ‘The socialist revolution begins on national foundations – but it cannot be completed within these foundations. . . .If it remains isolated, the proletarian system must finally fall victim to these contradictions. The way out of it lies in the victory of the proletariat of the advanced countries.’ Precisely!

The Russian working class have fought desperately to halt the bourgeois counter-revolution in Russia. It needs the victory of workers revolutions outside Russia to win its struggle. The world capitalist crisis is today driving forward the world revolution, especially in the most advanced countries. This will make the third aspect of Trotsky’s theory a burning reality – the victory of the proletariat in the most advanced countries.