STATEMENT by the INTERNATIONAL WORKERS LEAGUE-FOURTH INTERNATIONAL
Sept. 25, 2022— The advance of Ukrainian troops in the Kharkiv region presupposes a major reversal of Putin’s war, the quick and “easy” occupation by “special forces” and mercenaries has been defeated. Putin’s response: to impose a fake referendum under the boots and rifles of the occupying troops and to decree forced conscription in Russia! He is reacting to defeat.
If in Ukraine the task of boycotting and obstructing the holding of the fake referendum is urgent, it is no less important to redouble military support to the Ukrainian resistance to continue the offensive: Arms to the Ukrainian resistance!
Putin now turns his war against the Ukrainian people into a war against the Russian people and the people of the region. The massive response against the forced mobilization is a testament: 1,300 arrested, actions of discontent in the military commissariats in the regions of the oppressed nationalities of Russia such as Dagestan and the Caucasus, and the major exodus of those who can defect. All these might just be the tip of the iceberg of a deeper break with Putin’s government.
The advance of the Ukrainian troops in the Kharkiv region is indicative of a new situation in the war. The defeat of Putin and the territorial integrity of Ukraine depends on the continued transformation of the military balance of forces on the ground.
The announcement of these “referendums” are aimed at trying to legitimize the mobilization of the Russian army to resume the military occupation of the lost areas and to threaten the eventual use of all its military power, including the nuclear option, in what according to Putin would become a war of defense of the Russian territory.
Putin is increasingly isolated at the international level and needs a partial “victory” for a war that has already failed in its objectives. And that is why Putin’s escalation accentuates more and more the oppression in the region: because the “mobilization” is also an aggression against the proletariat of the region and in particular the Belarusian proletariat under the dictatorship of the collaborationist Lukashenko.
On the other hand, U.S. and European imperialism want to avoid the “humiliation” of Putin and the collapse of his regime. They need the end of an economically costly war for imperialism because of the energy crisis and the arrival of winter, that is to say, they put their interests above those of the Ukrainian people.
Support the Ukrainian resistance!
We must denounce the fake referendum as a maneuver to legitimize an annexation and occupation of the Ukrainian territories of the Donbas and the south of the country and to continue their plundering. These referendums are held without any democratic guarantees. On the contrary, these are votes under the boots and guns of the occupying troops. Russia has seized one of the richest parts of the Ukrainian territory in mineral deposits and valuable metals (titanium, gold, lithium and coal) valued at billions of dollars in energy resources (gas and oil) . To this end, Russia has taken over the factories and mines.
The Ukrainian oligarchs, associated with the Russians, have done the same with the crops produced by the Ukrainian peasants, and have imposed a dictatorial regime in the occupied areas without any real democratic freedom, let alone freedom of organization or free movement. Putin has imposed puppet mayors and governors on the payroll of the Russian state, excluding the Ukrainian language from schools and returning to the racist and colonial past of oppression of the Ukrainian people. These are occupation zones militarily administered as detention camps.
In the face of these referendums that seek to legitimize an annexation, we must unconditionally support all the initiatives and possible mobilizations of the Ukrainian people to boycott and obstruct the holding of the referendums in the occupied zones and redouble the military support to the Ukrainian resistance. The U.S. and European imperialisms have announced and celebrated the shipment of more arms by voting budgets of billions of military aid of historic proportions. Their war propaganda is very clear: the counter-offensive must be used to weaken the Russian military apparatus as much as possible without expanding the conflict. But the propaganda is not being translated into the delivery of the necessary heavy weapons to the Ukrainian resistance. These are budgets to rearm their own armies and stimulate their respective countries’ arms industries. They promise weapons yet to be produced knowing they will most likely arrive next year, but the resistance needs weapons today.
Moreover, the astronomical military budgets clash more and more with the daily reality of the workers in these countries, victims of runaway inflation and austerity policies, which is provoking outbreaks such as the strike in Great Britain. That is why we must continue to mobilize in support of the slogan “arms for Ukraine” in all countries and at the same time combat the imperialist armies’ own rearmament and the expansion of NATO. In Ukraine in particular, we must demand that the Zelensky government hand over arms to the workers and popular resistance organized in the “Territorial Defenses” and immediately suspend the anti-worker measures passed this spring and summer, which are a stab in the back to the workers in the midst of war and weaken materially and morally the war efforts of the resistance.
That is why in Ukraine, in response to the “referendums” and forced “mobilization” in Russia, all measures are needed to strengthen the struggle for the complete liberation of the country:
• Expansion of the military organization: general training of the people in the handling of weapons.
• Establish the production of the necessary weapons and all necessary products in the factories within the framework of a single national defense plan.
• Complete provision of workers and their families with everything necessary, arrest with confiscation for all dealers in humanitarian aid, abolition of all anti-worker laws of the Zelensky government in the interests of the oligarchs.
To achieve this, it is necessary that the tasks of defense at the front and in the rear be placed in the hands of the working class, and that they advance in organizing their struggle and resistance to the Russian invasion without relying on Zelensky. This is the only way to win: through the organization of the workers independently of the government.
All support to Russian people’s protests against the mobilization
Putin intends to send the workers to slaughter in order to preserve his power and defend the interests of the FSB2 and the oligarchs. With these partial mobilization measures, the first since the end of World War II, he intends to drastically increase the occupation army and use the Russian working class as cannon fodder to continue the war (as the most ultra sectors of his regime have been demanding for a long time). In reality, this flight forward to ensure that the conflict reaches the winter (which is in Putin’s interest given his aggressive tactics over gas prices in the EU) is to recognize the defeat of his strategy of seizing the territories of Ukraine by mercenary forces from marginal strata, hired in prisons in exchange for a purge of the sentence, or by private companies. In other words, the quick and “easy” occupation by using only “special forces” has been defeated.
The idea that Putin is massacring only Ukrainians while supposedly protecting the Russian people is deeply flawed. For Putin’s regime of oligarchs and the FSB, he cares as much about the life of Russian workers as he does Ukrainian, Syria, Kazakhstan, and Chechnya, whom they killed, or Belarusians under Lukashenko’s dictatorship. According to some sources, it is estimated that between 50,000 and 70,000 Russian soldiers and mercenaries died in these seven months of the war. The moral and political crisis for Russian troops is real. Several sources point out, for example, that the mobilized soldiers are sent to the front without equipment or uniforms, and that the soldiers themselves have to buy them, often with family contributions. Putin has offered state financial aid to the mobilized to refinance the loans and debts of those who are called to the front and has imposed severe sanctions on deserters. Deserters or soldiers who refuse to fight now face sentences of up to 10 years in prison. And those who decide today to go to the front lines to fight are the management and commanders of the companies in alliance with the government.
Putin’s escalation has qualitatively increased discontent with the government, and sectors of the working class are understanding that Putin’s regime is willing to send them to the front to die in a war that does not defend their interests, but those of the oligarchs. There is nervousness and uncertainty among bourgeois sectors and the military command. The main proof that the Russian workers do not want to go to fight in Ukraine are the new spontaneous mobilizations in 38 cities the day after Putin’s announcement, and there were more than 1,300 arrested, but also the important exodus of those who can desert, the plane tickets are sold out. There were also actions of discontent in the military commissariats in the regions of the oppressed nationalities of Russia such as Dagestan. These actions are probably the tip of the iceberg of a deeper break with the Putin government of the Russian masses that cannot be expressed in the short term with mass mobilizations because of the highly repressive character of the regime. That is why we must organize a big campaign of solidarity with the Russian activists demonstrating against the war and with the soldiers who choose not to go to the front or to lay down their arms, organizing protests in their support and demanding the release of all political prisoners in Russia.
Mass mobilizations and strikes by workers against the military aggressions of their governments have historically played a key role in defeating the invading front in wars. The Ukrainian war will also be won by the undermining of Putin’s bloody regime by its own people. Putin’s war against the people of Ukraine is turning into a war against the Russian workers themselves. Putin’s defeat in this war is good for the Russian working people.
For the working people of Belarus, this means that new units can re-occupy Belarus to increase aggression against Ukraine from this territory under Lukashenko’s collaborationism and under the pretext of “fulfilling allied obligations” during an “attack on Russia” (in the form of occupied territories annexed with fake referendums). Lukashenko constantly declares: “We are with Russia,” “We will not allow Russia to be stabbed in the back,” and “We have a common armed force.” The full-scale war in which the Belarusian government is involved and the increased pressure will inevitably affect Belarus even more. Any threat to Ukraine is also a threat to Belarus. The dictatorship and dependence of Belarus are inextricably linked to the victory of Ukraine over the occupiers. This is why we say that the struggle of the Ukrainians is the struggle of the people of Belarus.
For Putin’s military defeat or a “just peace for all parties”?
There is no doubt that the U.S. and the EU want to weaken the state in the region it aspires to control. When they speak of a “just peace for all sides,” Biden and Macron suggest a way out for Putin that will inevitably be at the expense of Ukraine, since they never committed to defending Ukraine’s national sovereignty to the end . Putin and the imperialist NATO governments, while in competition for control of Ukraine, have collaborated in suppressing workers’ uprisings in Ukraine and the territories of the former USSR. The Western governments fear the total victory of the Ukrainian people over them; they fear the armed working class of Ukraine, which will not give up the independence of the country and is unlikely to want to work for the Western oligarchs and finance.
What imperialism and Zelensky fear most is that the Ukrainian, Belarusian and Russian workers will take control of the situation to fight for their interests. Now it is the speed of the Ukrainian offensive to prevent the reorganization of the occupation troops that is most important to consummate Putin’s military defeat. Failing that, the negotiated peace would be by “diplomatic means” and behind the backs of the Ukrainian people. We want the defeat of the Russian invaders to be in the hands of the armed working classes, and they must struggle to defend full and complete national sovereignty.
That is why we affirm that there is no just solution “for all parties,” since the “just” solution that we defend is the victory of the Ukrainian resistance and the recovery of its entire national territory to affirm its independence, which would be a victory not only for the Ukrainian proletariat but also a victory for all the pro-Russian oppressed peoples in the region and for the Russian proletariat which would be encouraged to rise up against the cruel dictator who officiates as its president. But such an exit would also be a categorical defeat for Putin and the Russian bourgeoisie as well as for the interests of U.S. and European imperialism in Ukraine. For us, a just peace is a peace without annexations and without the economic indebtedness that the IMF and the EU are imposing on Ukraine. That is to say, a peace that establishes a free, sovereign, and truly independent Ukraine, and that peace today can only be guaranteed by the Ukrainian proletariat allied with the proletariats of the region, of Russia, Europe, and the USA.
For Putin’s defeat! All for the victory of Ukraine!
Down with “referendums” and “mobilization”! Immediate release of all political prisoners in Russia!
Weapons for the Ukrainian resistance now! Material solidarity with the Ukrainian working class!
For a sovereign, free and independent Ukraine! No annexation! No to indebtedness!
Dissolution of NATO and OSTC!
- FSB. Servicio Federal de Seguridad. Policía política rusa heredera de la KGB. Ver https://litci.org/es/rusia-bajo-putin/
- In the UN assembly this week Turkish president Erdogan, charged with negotiating peace, said out loud what Washington and the EU is thinking: “We need a dignified way out of this crisis, and that can only be possible through diplomatic solution which is rational, fair, and which is applicable.” https://www.nytimes.com/video/world/100000008543509/erdogan-turkey-united-nations.html
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