No war with Russia – Bring capitalism down with socialist revolutions!

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ON TUESDAY Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced sanctions against Russia over the decision by Russian President Vladimir Putin to recognise the Republics of Lugansk and Donetsk and pledge that he would order Russian troops to intervene in order to prevent any massacre of workers and youth by Ukrainian fascist militias backed by the imperialist powers.

The sanctions Johnson announced amounted to a package of asset freezes on five small Russian banks and three wealthy Russian oligarchs.

Immediately this was met with a storm of protests from both Labour and Tory MPs screaming that this was not enough, with Labour leader Keir Starmer demanding that ‘Russia should be excluded from financial mechanisms, such as Swift and we should ban trading in Russian foreign debt.’

Tory MP Iain Duncan Smith weighed in saying: ‘If we are going to hit them with sanctions, we need to hit them hard and hit them now.’

In response to these accusations of weakness, Tory foreign secretary Liz Truss was sent out yesterday to insist that the sanctions were the most severe the UK had ever placed on Russia, and that ‘we will escalate these sanctions in the event of a full invasion into Ukraine’.

She said that the Tories would target ‘without prejudice’ anybody who is helping ‘prop up Vladimir Putin’s appalling regime.’

One group of oligarchs will clearly escape being targeted without prejudice. These are the ones who have given millions of pounds to the Tory Party over the years.

Truss insisted that this money will not be frozen or paid back and that the oligarchs who funded the Tories ‘are part of the British political system.’ This one statement reveals just how entwined capitalism and the Stalinist bureaucracy in Russia have become.

These oligarchs made their vast wealth from looting the socialised industries during the failed attempt by Gorbachev and Yeltsin to overthrow the property relations established by the socialist revolution in 1917 and re-establish capitalism in the USSR.

As for Putin, he has gone out of his way to accommodate the imperialist powers after the US-backed coup in 2014, that ousted the democratically elected president Yanukovych and installed a puppet regime supported by fascist militias.

While workers in eastern Ukraine refused to accept this coup, Putin stabbed them in the back by signing up to the Minsk agreement that was supposed to end the fighting between the coupists and the workers in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

In signing up to Minsk, Putin formally recognised the Ukrainian regime as legitimate.

He placed the interests of the Stalinist bureaucracy first, by proving to imperialism that he could control the revolutionary workers in east Ukraine.

The Minsk agreement was a fiction from the beginning, with Ukraine bombardments killing 14,000 people, including many civilians, and thousands of Ukrainian troops massed to overrun Donetsk and Lugansk and massacre workers who resist. This has incensed Russian workers and piled pressure on Putin to act.

The Stalinist bureaucracy has long been in bed with capitalism, fostering the reactionary belief that it was possible to peacefully co-exist with imperialism.

The Ukraine crisis has demonstrated conclusively that there can be no peaceful way out for a capitalist system that in its death agony is attempting to re-order the world and assert its imperialist domination over the entire planet.

The working class of Britain, Europe and the US – who will be hardest hit as sanctions drive up the cost of gas and oil, sending inflation spiralling out of control – will see that the enemy is not Russia but a capitalist system that can only survive today through invasion and war.

The only way forward is for the working class to take action against this rotten capitalist system by organising general strikes to bring down the ruling classes and take power.

To lead this fight, workers and young people must build sections of the International Committee of the Fourth International in every country to lead the world socialist revolution to victory and inspire the Russian working class to mount a political revolution to overthrow the Stalinist bureaucracy and restore rule through workers’ soviets in Russia.