RUSSIAN president Vladimir Putin opened his annual State of the Nation address on Wednesday by highlighting that Russia has been able for the first time in history to become the world’s leader in advanced weapons.
He said: ‘We are not threatening anyone and are not seeking to impose our will. At the same time I can assure everyone that our steps for strengthening national security were made timely and in a sufficient volume.’
At the same time, Putin had to show the strain that this has placed on the Russian workers. He said that the birth rate in the 1990s was worse than that in the period of the Second World War.
In fact, women workers, and workers as a whole, have seen their pensions cut in recent times, no doubt to provide the finances for this advanced weaponry to defend Russia against imperialism.
It was in 1917 that Lenin described the position of Russia as a ‘besieged fortress waiting for the armies of the international socialist revolution to come to its rescue’.
Russia today is still a besieged fortress, hit by all kinds of sanctions which the imperialists have imposed to try and damage the country.
It is still a besieged fortress but, thanks to the enormous sacrifices and devotion of Russian workers, it is a fortress that is really well armed and well defended.
However, there is not just an enemy without, there is an enemy within. This is the new bourgeoisie that emerged under Gorbachev, Yeltsin and then Putin, who did their best in the early 1990s to return to capitalism, with state officials seizing state property and a new bourgeoisie emerging making billions out of this theft.
In fact the ‘shock therapists’ of the 1990s, who pledged to restore capitalism in 500 days, were pushed back by the massive anger of the working class, who were, and are still, demanding the restoration of the Soviet Union.
Putin’s constitutional proposals would place himself and the ex-Russian prime minister Medvedev in charge of the Russian ‘security council’.
In fact, Putin, who balances between the revolutionary working class of Russia and this new bourgeoisie, is very well aware of the threat of a continual counter-revolution from within.
He wants to change Russia’s constitution and have a special requirement that candidates for the position of the Head of State should be a resident of Russia for no less than 25 years and have no foreign citizenship or residence permit, not only at the moment of participation in the election but ever in the past.
The issue remains, as analysed by Leon Trotsky, that the counter-revolutionary new Russian bourgeoisie will continue where Gorbachev, Yeltsin and Putin left off in the 1990s and seek to organise a counter-revolution to restore capitalism and rule by a capitalist class ensconced in the new-style parliament that Putin is proposing for the days ahead.
In fact, the Russian working class is opposed to the restoration of capitalism, is opposed to new-style bourgeois parliaments and wants to see the restoration of the Soviet Union and rule through workers’ and small farmers’ soviets.
Trotsky showed in his writings how the revolutionary workers movement in the West, as it erupted, would create the conditions where the Russian workers would not feel that a workers revolutionary cleansing of the bureaucracy and its bourgeois friends would lead to western intervention and counter-revolution.
The workers of the world are fighting in Europe, the Americas, throughout Africa and Asia for their rights.
It is these developing revolutionary struggles in which the working class takes its own bourgeoisie by the throat, that will create the conditions for a workers’ political revolution in Russia to restore the Soviet Union and rule through workers’ soviets.
Trotsky founded the Fourth International to lead this struggle. We must build sections of the Fourth International in every country to overthrow the capitalist class in the West and cleanse the workers states, such as Russia and China, of the bureaucrats that have been able to temporarily seize the reins of power.
Build sections of the Fourth International everywhere! Forward to the victory of the world socialist revolution!