THE bourgeois media and bourgeois political leaders have made it perfectly clear in the last few days that Boris Yeltsin, the just deceased Stalinist leader was and is their hero. He took Gorbachev’s policy of weakening the USSR, with his perestroika and glasnost policies, and his abolition of the monopoly of foreign trade, forward to the point of the counter-revolutionary restoration of capitalism.
They accept that he was a drunk, completely corrupt, and murderous in his wars against the Chechens, and in his treatment of the Russian workers (his period of rule shortened the average Russian’s life span by 20 years), after the economy was handed over to Stalinist upstarts who became millionaire and billionaire bourgeois overnight.
They see humour in his drunken greed and virtue in his savagery, implying correctly that just such a figure was necessary to make the attempt to strangle Bolshevism and destroy the Soviet workers’ state.
They cheered when Yeltsin decreed the dissolution of the USSR on December 8 1991, and illegalised the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
They cheered when his appointed government of the new bourgeoisie, led by Prime Minister Gaydar and Chubays (now both ultra loyal supporters of President Putin) launched their shock therapy campaign to restore capitalism, at first, in 500, and then in 100 days, a campaign in which millions of workers received no wages and starved.
When the revolutionary reaction to this policy emerged in the working class, Yeltsin’s base split, out of fear of a working class political revolution. His Vice- President, Rutskoy called the policy ‘economic genocide’ in February 1992.
A period of conflict between the two forces emerged with Yeltsin being pushed back. This was resolved when Yeltsin gave the order to tank-led forces to open fire on the Supreme Soviet building in September 1993 and to storm it with Rutskoy and workers who supported him inside.
However the December 1993 parliamentary elections were a defeat for Yeltsin with his supporters being in a minority, weaker than the Communist Party and the nationalists.
The Russian working class fought Yeltsin to a standstill, while the middle class had its savings wiped out in the 1996 financial crisis.
The workers’ epitaph for Yeltsin yesterday was that he was ‘a drunk who gave our country to gangsters’.
The working class is now involved in a struggle to take the country back, and restore the USSR. It has forced the renationalisation of the gas and oil industries, and is in the process of pushing BP and Shell out of the country. A section of the Stalinist oligarch capitalists is already in exile in London.
Yeltsin’s heir Putin has been forced by the working class to move to the left and now balances like a Bonaparte between that section of the bourgeosie that has pledged loyalty to the Kremlin, and the working class which is seeking to restore rule through workers’ soviets.
It was Leon Trotsky who prepared the working class for the treachery of Gorbachev, Yeltsin and the Stalinist bureaucracy as a whole, with his analysis of Stalinism as the most counter-revolutionary force in the working class, and its theory of socialism in a single country as a theory leading to the restoration of capitalism.
In his book ‘The Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International’, written in 1938 Trotsky wrote ‘either the bureaucracy, becoming ever more the organ of the world bourgeoisie in the workers’ state, will overthrow the new forms of property and plunge the country back to capitalism; or the working class will crush the bureaucracy and open the way to socialism.’
Trotsky called for a political revolution in the USSR to overthrow the bureaucracy and restore rule through workers and peasants’ soviets, as part of the development of the world socialist revolution.
Workers in Russia, Belarus, the Ukraine and Kazakhstan are today being driven forward to the political revolution. What is required is the building of the Trotskyist movement in all of the Soviet Republics to lead this political revolution and restore the USSR by revolutionary means.
This revolution is now developing. Its victory will show that the combined forces of Stalinism and world imperialism were not powerful enough to drive back the world socialist revolution.