LENIN wrote ‘The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self Determination’ in July 1916, just months after the Easter Rising in Dublin and just 15 months before the great October Revolution when the working class seized the power in Russia.
In it he states: ‘British socialists who do not demand freedom to separate for the colonies and Ireland . . . Russian socialists who do not demand freedom to separate for Finland, Poland, the Ukraine etc etc that such socialists act as chauvinists and lackeys of bloodstained and filthy imperialist monarchies and the imperialist bourgeoisie.’
In fact, the Bolsheviks took the power under the banner of the ‘enemy is at home’, and that nations had the right to self-determination and to secede. The Soviet state and Soviet power had as its essence this right to secede. Lenin smashed the Great Russian state which was known as ‘The Prison house of the Nations’. Millions fought and died to defend this Soviet state from 1941-45.
Putin and the Oligarchs want to return to the Prison house of the Nations! The Soviet state has now been condemned as an ‘atomic bomb’ that Lenin placed under Russia.
Speaking at an inter-regional forum of the All-Russia People’s Front, President Putin said that Lenin had a fundamental discussion with Stalin over the principles a future state should rest upon. (see page 5). Stalin’s ideas were rejected, and the country was built on ideas implying the possibility of secession of constituent territories. ‘That right to secession was the delayed action mine planted under our statehood. This is what caused the country’s eventual breakup,’ Putin claimed, covering up for the Stalinist bureaucracy which, in fact, liquidated the USSR in 1991.
Just months before, on March 17th 1991, a referendun was held by Gorbachev on whether to maintain the USSR. This was carried by 77.85% with the biggest votes in the national republics. The right to secede held society together and did not break it up. It was the capitalist roaders of the bureaucracy that did that!
Putin reminded the People’s Front meeting of the execution of the royal family, priests and ‘even servants of the royal family’ to further ingratiate himself with the Church and the right wing. He asked: ‘Why did they kill Dr Botkin, why did they kill the servants, people of proletarian origin by and large? What for? Just for the sake of concealing a crime.’ He also condemned the October revolution stating: that as ‘a result of a power struggle Russia lost to the loser country’ – referring to Germany.
Putin was also critical of the Soviet Union’s economic policies but had to recognize that the planned economy managed to mobilize resources and address problems in the health service, in education and in the defence industry. In fact, this is the economy that was the basis for the defeat of Hitler in 1941-45 and that put the first man into space ahead of the USA!
Putin also sought to promote the issue of disposing of Lenin’s body which still lies in state. He urged that such issues as the future of Vladimir Lenin’s body should be approached cautiously so that the society might not be split. ‘The way I see it, this issue of reburial must be approached carefully. There should be no steps that might split our society. On the contrary, it should be consolidated,’ Putin said.
He also revealed some of his own double accounting stating that he still kept his Communist Party card at home and, unlike others, had not torn it up. Putin’s statement is rooted in the present world crisis. Having got rid of the monopoly of foreign trade and encouraged the rise of the billionaire Oligarchs, legalising their seizure of state property, Russia has been hard hit by the world capitalist crisis and Putin is under pressure from the Oligarchs to move much further to the right, and to open up new ‘Free Economic Zones’ in the Far East, and to cut workers’ rights and benefits.
Up till now he has managed to balance between the Oligarchs and the masses of workers that want to see them expropriated and the USSR restored. Now with the Oligarchs demanding a major right turn, he has responded by supporting Stalin, mourning the ‘murdered Tsar’ and slamming Lenin – while still keeping his party card at home!
Putin will not be able to carry on with this balancing act for much longer. The working class will restore Lenin and the rule of workers soviets through the organisation of a political revolution!