AT the St Petersburg Economic Forum, President Putin has revealed the basis for both his domestic and foreign policies. It is to seek to live and let live with world capitalism and the imperialist powers.
At the Forum he spoke to the assembled magnates of capital about the crisis in Ukraine. ‘I really would not like to think that this is a beginning of a new Cold War,’ he said. He added an element of self-delusion, saying a new Cold War is unlikely as ‘no one is interested in it.’
Vladimir Putin cited Crimea as Moscow’s ‘reasonable response’ to ‘the language of force’ the West was trying to use, but added it should not happen again.
Speaking of the Crimea, he said: ‘We think that the West tried to talk to us in the language of force, and we, using the same logic, gave a reasonable answer. But I hope that this will never, under any circumstances, happen again anywhere.’ Putin was alluding to his pledge to accept the result of the Ukraine presidential election.
He continued: ‘Tools are good when they are used … If we have platforms for mutual work, these are not platforms for having tea or coffee all together. These are platforms for finding solutions and compromises.’
Reason, compromises and respect for the law should be the norm says Putin!
As further reassurance for his audience, he added: ‘They try to stick this label on us — a label that we are trying to restore an empire, the Soviet Union.’ In fact, it is the Ukrainian and Russian workers that want the USSR reinstated, but as a full workers’ state, not an empire.
Again, appealing to reason, he said of the Kiev coup: ‘Some events which happened in Ukraine threaten Russia’s interests, first of all in terms of national security.’
He added: ‘This could have been followed by not only acceptance, but also deployment of assault systems on the territory of Ukraine, including Crimea … If this had happened, it would have had serious geopolitical consequences for Russia; our country would have been forced out from the Black Sea region, and Russia has been fighting for centuries for the legitimate right to a presence there.’
He pleaded: ‘Okay, our partners didn’t like something about how the crisis was unfolding, including Crimea, and so they imposed sanctions. Now we are being blamed for something else and told that second and third instalments will follow. I don’t quite understand – in connection with what? Quite recently there was an earthquake in Thailand that resulted in loss of life. Maybe we are to blame for that as well? Civil war is breaking out in Ukraine, but what do we have to do with it?’
Lenin in his work ‘Imperialism’ written in 1916, just before the Russian revolution, defined the epoch as the highest stage if capitalism and one of wars and socialist revolutions.
The history of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st have shown that his analysis is completely correct.
Lenin understood that there was no point in appealing to reason at the height of World War I and that the only way out of the crisis was through the victory of the world socialist revolution.
From 1917 to 1924, Lenin’s attitude to granting concessions to capitalists to invest in Russia was that these should be allowed as part of gaining time to allow the world revolution to develop.
In 1924, Stalin took over the German social democratic theory of socialism in a single country and used it to promote the interests of the Russian workers’ state, with the working class of the world turned into a force whose purpose was to aid in the defence of the USSR, not to take the power in their own countries.
Putin, a protege of Yeltsin, has dumped socialism in a single country in favour of balancing on opposite forces within Russia, with one foot on the working class and the other on the gang of oligarchs that grabbed state property in the 1990s, but are willing to let the Kremlin handle politics. It is a very unstable perch!
Internationally, Putin seeks to win allies amongst the imperialist powers by becoming their business partners, and urging them that wars and coups, and revolutions are very bad for business.
Compromises and reason and policies that take different interests into account are much better. What Putin leaves out completely from his perspective is that the world crisis of capitalism is driving imperialism forward like a mad bull, to reorder the planet and grab all of its resources.
This drive to war is already forcing Russia and China, the chief foreign targets of imperialism, together in an alliance.
This alliance can provide a limited military defence for the Russian and Chinese workers. However, it cannot prevent a new war, however much the imperialists are appeased. Allowing the Kiev coupists to run Ukraine will, in fact, only strengthen the war drive of the imperialist powers, not pacify them.
The only way that imperialism can be defeated is through the victory of the world socialist revolution, that is the victory of the Ukrainian workers and the workers of every country.