The Putin led war of Russian aggression and invasion against Ukraine that has caused the death of not a few people and the surge refugees into other countries is condemnable, so also the Ukraine state is responsible for the death of tens of thousands of people in the country fighting for their right for self-determination in the past one decade.
It is trite to state that neither the Vladimir Putin nor the V. Zelensky led governments of Russia and Ukraine respectively stand for the best interest of the working people; they are rather opposed to it. These two states formally formed part of the old USSR before its collapse in 1991. Their politics further shifted rightward after this time to enhance the competition for their respective ruling classes in the world capitalist market. It is within this economic competition and rivalries that the present war emerged as other means of resolving issues that could not be achieved by the conventional way of playing politics.
War is not unusual to capitalism; it is rather part of the system especially at the stage of imperialism. For this reason, not a few wars have been waged in the 20th and 21st centuries for the cause of imperialism. These include First and Second World Wars (1914-18 and 1939-1945 respectively). Other wars thereafter orchestrated by USA, UK, China, France and USSR include that against Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Venezuela, Libya, Korea, Haiti, Grenada, Taiwan, Chechnya, Crimea, etc. In all of these, the poor and working people including the rank and file armed forces are usually the victims that fall in the course of such wars while others faced precarious social and economic situation that one would dare not wish one’s enemies.
Apart from this category of war that stands to dispossess other peoples of their possessions, there are other kinds of war that could be regarded as just war and these take the forms of defensive and resistance against oppression such as civil war, political liberation, self determination of nations to separate as a democratic right and political or social revolution.
The present Russia – Ukraine War can be situated within the imperialist expansionist interest of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) military alliance of the West formed by USA in 1949 to check the spread of state capitalism misnamed as “Communism”. Later the Warsaw Pact was formed by the former USSR and its allies to counter NATO. With the collapse of the USSR the Warsaw Pact is no more.
Yet, the USA led NATO refused to keep to the agreement of not extending NATO towards Russia borders in line with its Monroe Doctrine. Instead NATO after the collapse of “Communism” had set for itself another agenda known as Wolferwitz strategy to ensure “no nation on earth attains enough power, either economic or military, to challenge (the almighty) US hegemony… and (the US) remains the only super power”. Hence the reason for the breach of the earlier agreement reached with Gorbachev (USSR leader) that NATO will not move an inch eastwards, if he took steps to bring down the Berlin Wall. But since 1996 to date NATO has encircled Russia having its military base in Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary etc. The policy is not only meant to checkmate Russia but also the US allies in Europe that are to be controlled and depend on US financed NATO.
The question that requires an answer is: can the issue of peace be guaranteed by the system of capitalism and imperialism? This is doubtful as the system is hinged on the distribution of power largely depending on ownership of capital. So the only alternative to such ownership and distribution of powers lies on the working class internationally putting pressure on their various ruling class.
This process might seem difficult but with the example of the Russian revolution of 1917, it shows it is possible. This possibility is enhanced in our period of imperialist war as presently unfolding in Ukraine. Especially as the world is yet again at a risk of being extinguished in the face of nuclear war as threatened by the military and industrial gladiators of the warring factions.
Statement by Socialist Labour, Nigeria, March 2022.