Putin lays down law to Soviet states

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THE Putin regime has infuriated the British bourgeoisie by its strengthening of the state owned gas and oil sectors of the Russian economy, at the expense of Shell, BP and other western capitalist groups.

The ‘Telegraph’ newspaper is the representative of the most alarmed sections of the British bourgeoisie, with its call to ‘Stand up to the Russians’, and then its analysis that what is happening in Russia is not the prelude to the return of Bolshevism, but an exhibition of bolshy behaviour which has to be curbed, if Russia is to be accepted as a ‘great power’ in the 21st century.

The ‘Telegraph’ accepts that the imposition of state control over what was the property of Shell in Sakhalin does smack of Bolshevism.

The reality is that the heady days brought in by the Yeltsin coup in 1993, when Russia was being served up in cheap lots to oligarchs, representing the interests of the imperialist powers, have gone. In fact its political driving forces, Gaydar and Chubais (who were going to restore capitalism in 100 days of shock therapy), are the ones who got shocked, when the Russian working class would not accept their policies.

Gaydar is now recovering from an alleged poisoning attempt, while Chubais has recovered from an assassination attempt and has resumed his duties as a bureaucrat in the state-owned electricity industry.

The whole restorationist drive was subjected to massive hostility from the entire working class before it broke down.

In 1993, before Yeltsin’s autumn coup, over 75 per cent of the 80 per cent of the Soviet population who voted in a referendum organised by Gorbachev, voted to support the retention of the USSR.

It was this all-out opposition of the masses of the working class and the Republics to the restoration of capitalism that saw Putin pushed forwards to jail or exile the pro-imperialist oligarchs, while cultivating the pro-Kremlin business groups who were ‘loyal to Russia’, and to strengthen the state control of the vital gas, oil and electricity industries.

Putin is a Bonaparte who balances between the new bourgeoisie which swears allegiance to the Kremlin, and the Soviet workers who want to see the expropriation of all sections of the new bourgeoisie.

Internationally, he balances between the imperialist powers and the working class at home, using the new bourgeoisie as a counter-revolutionary weight against the working class.

Putin is a temporary phenomenon. He will either have to stage a coup to be able to stand for a third term as President, or try to pass the post on to one of his circle. Both manoeuvres are fraught with risks, the major one being that a crisis will bring the working class and the masses openly onto the scene in a red revolution, as opposed to the orange variety in the Ukraine.

The question whither Russia still remains to be resolved.

The choices are either the organisation of a political revolution to overthrow the Stalinist bureaucracy and the new bourgeoisie that it has spawned, as part of the world revolution to go forwards to socialism, or that the Stalinists and the new bourgeoisie are given the opportunity to drive forwards the counter-revolution once again, this time aided by NATO forces on Russia’s frontiers.

The Stalinist policy remains a variation on a single theme – opposition to world revolution. Now instead of defending socialism in a single country, they are putting the interests of the Russian state first.

The bureaucracy from Stalin to Breshnev sought to defend Soviet ‘socialism’ by the defensive measures of the Warsaw Pact and by aiding bourgeois anti-imperialist states such as Angola, Egypt and Syria, to hold up imperialism’s drive to war.

This ‘national road’ policy collapsed under Gorbachev and Yeltsin.

Under Putin it has been amended to ditch ‘socialism in a single country’ in favour of charging allies such as Belarus and Armenia the market rates for gas and oil, with the threat that they will be cut off if they cannot pay.

Both national lines are strains of the same policy, opposition to world revolution, and both serve the interests of imperialism.

The only way forwards for Russian and Soviet workers is once again through the organisation of the political revolution to overthrow the bureaucracy and the new bourgeoisie as part of the world socialist revolution.

Treating the Soviet republics, many of whom want to see the reconstitution of the USSR as dead weights or subject peoples, and not as brother allies, aids imperialism.

Only the Trotskyist movement can provide the revolutionary leadership that Russian and Soviet workers require.

We call for the building of soviets to defend the gains of the October revolution under attack by the Stalinist bureaucracy and the new bourgeoisie.

We urge the defence of the rights of the Russian workers and peasants in a struggle to defend education, pensions and health care by expropriating the new bourgeoisie and renationalising the land.

We call for the political revolution to restore power to the soviets as part of the world revolution. This is the way forward.