There are not a few outdated people who consider that in the confrontation between Ukraine and Russia a battle between capitalism and socialism is at stake. Consequently, they flood social networks with memes and slogans that describe the Kiev government as genocidal and Nazi, and accuse the United States and its allies of being puppet masters who manipulate their pawns to put Russia against the wall. Most of this criticism does not dare to explicitly defend the invasion, but punctually reproduces the arguments used by Putin to carry it out. It would seem that there is still an “anti-capitalist” press and a left linked to the Cold War that considers that in any international dispute it is their duty to go against the Evil Empire, the United States, and fight for the heirs of real socialism.
And while it is true that in all this there are no innocents but rather interests and that there is a lot of amnesia in Washington’s rending of clothes, which a decade ago went to Iraq to do the same thing that it now accuses its rival of, it is also It is true that viewing the Putin regime as a successor to socialism requires a triple cognitive somersault. The former KGB official consolidated his power in the Kremlin not to rescue the flags of the workers, if the Soviet Union ever meant that, but to develop a state capitalism linked to a powerful privileged and enriched business elite, which in turn helps you conserve power. The use of the spoils of the Soviet State and the corrupt privatization have very little to do with the benefit of the masses or the workers and everything to do with the scandalous formation of an oligarchy. The Mexican economy is slightly smaller than the Russian one; Neoliberalism and our tropicalized capitalism generated 24 billionaires in 30 years capable of entering the Forbes lists; Putin’s regime managed to place 116 new “entrepreneurs” in less time, that is, five times more. It is estimated that the accumulated wealth of this oligarchy is equivalent to 80% of Russia’s annual GDP. And despite the enormous oil and gas wealth that fuels this elite enrichment, GDP per capita in Russia fell by more than 50% between 2012 and 2020 at constant prices ($16,000 to $10,000 in round numbers).
So no, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is not yet another chapter in the global confrontation between left and right, capitalism and socialism (or anti-capitalist forces). In any case, it would be a clash between the geopolitical interests of market capitalism and capitalism protected by the State in favor of an oligarchy. It has rightly been said that although Putin appeals to the Leninist discourse when it is convenient for him, in reality his ambitions refer to the imperial pretensions of the old tsarist Russian and his enriched court.
Second, from this pseudo-left, videos of the abuses of the Israeli forces against the Palestinian population are shown again and again on social networks, not as a reminder that there are also other grievances that cannot be ignored, but as an argument to weaken the strength of the protest against the invasion by the Russian army. As if there were no moral reasons to oppose the destruction of cities and the murder of civilians on Ukrainian soil because something similar was done before against the Serbs or the Palestinians. A genuine left, not to speak simply of an elementary humanistic sense, would have to side with the victims condemned to the tragedy by decisions of politicians and military wherever it happens. Today, this week, a blood and fire occupation is underway that will unleash the suffering of millions. Regardless of alleged ideologies or ulterior interests of the powers, it is imperative to protest against this infamy.
Third, it is argued that the Kiev government has harassed its own pro-Russian population in the eastern regions and failed to comply with the Minsk agreements, which committed it to granting greater autonomy to these provinces. And there are certainly documented abuses. But to use such grievances to justify an invading army demanding that citizens of another country leave their homes lest they fall victim to its bombing is asking too much. Requiring an aggressor not to resort to stabbing in the middle of a heated discussion does not mean agreeing with one of the parties, but simply considering the liquidation of the other unacceptable as a way of resolving a conflict.
In another text (The motives of the wolf) I have insisted on the need to consider Putin’s arguments, with which you can agree or disagree but they exist and as long as one of the parties supports them, a peace will never be reached durable. However, that will be for the negotiating table. At this time, regardless of the ideological position of each one, a minimum ethical imperative should lead us to be against the ignominy that is being committed against millions of human beings, regardless of the color of their hair or eyes.
I don’t know if the western governments that protest have the moral authority to be outraged and speak in the name of justice and freedom, what is clear to me is that all those who protested the aggression against the Palestinian people, the Serbs or the Kosovars would have a moral duty to oppose the aggression targeting Ukrainian men, women and children before it is too late. That does not make us “accomplices” of the United States; On the contrary, ignoring us in the face of massive aggression against standing citizens does make us accomplices in an inhuman tragedy.
Of course there is a lot of misinformation on both sides. Exaggerated grievances, fabricated scenes to bring water to his mill, invented heroics. But faced with the bombing of cities and the suffering of millions with the argument that one government does not agree with the neighbor’s, there is nowhere to lose, except for petty ideological arguments.
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