In the war against the Russian imperialist invasion, the recovery of Ukrainian territories is a milestone for Eastern Europe as a whole. Putin is trying to overcome his failures with new political and war decisions. Our resistance needs the support of the workers and peoples of the world.
By: Oleg Vernyk – Leader of the Independent Trade Union of Ukraine “Zakhist Pratsi”.
The operation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which began in the morning of September 6 aimed towards the southeast of Kharkiv, resulted in the liberation of 8,500 square kilometers of the territory occupied by the Russian army and about 400 settlements in the Kharkiv and Lugansk regions by September 12. Military observers believe that the Ukrainian army has applied successful tactical moves to carry out an offensive with wide coverage of settlements and forced the Russian garrisons to withdraw for fear of being surrounded. The losses of the Russian army are huge and unprecedented. For the first time in more than half a year of hostilities, the Russian army is losing hundreds of tanks and infantry fighting vehicles as well as abandoned artillery systems. Many dozens of Russian soldiers and officers, as well as fighters of pro-Russian units of the so-called DPR (Donetsk People’s Republic and LPR (Lugansk People’s Republic) were captured. These are the first victories of the counteroffensive, which, as announced, will continue.
Elements of the counteroffensive
The recovery of some territories is not only due to the supply of weapons. It is due to a successful tactical planning and, fundamentally, to the continuity of self-organization, to the strong will of resistance of the Ukrainian working people, with the moral strength granted by carrying out a just war. In the Russian army strong elements of disorganization, demoralization, shortages and inefficiency were exposed, both regarding the troops and their intelligence.
It is quite obvious that this success raised the general spirit of Ukrainian resistance and significantly increased the confidence of the Ukrainian people and its working class in the subsequent liberation of the occupied territories.
Ukraine, a different political context
At the same time, it is important to note that the internal political context in Ukraine has also changed significantly. President Zelensky could not focus all the success of this victory solely on his team. The internal contradictions in the bourgeois sector of Ukrainian politics became extremely aggravated. A few months ago Zelensky liquidated the broadcasting of TV channels of rival oligarchs which were not under his control.
In particular, in April 2022, TV channels “Pryamyi”, “5 Kanal” (the owner is an oligarch and former president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko) were deprived of their TV broadcasting channels. A similar fate befell the TV channels of oligarch Rinat Akhmetov, “Ukraina” and “Ukraina-24”, which were even forced to stop broadcasting on the Internet. Despite this filter of the information field on television, the opposition bourgeois media managed to update to a large extent the issues and obvious weaknesses of the current government on the Internet. The issue of the massive looting of funds allocated by international donors to Ukraine during the war, as well as deliberately inflated prices on the part of the Ukrainian authorities regarding arms purchases on foreign markets became the subject of harsh criticism.
At the same time, it is important for us to note that the opposition bourgeois media practically do not criticize the Zelensky government regarding its attack on the labor rights of Ukrainian citizens. There is a unity of all bourgeois “Realpolitik”, both ruling and opposition, in their attitude towards the social policy of the current authorities.
Changes are brewing in Russia
Much more important for our analysis is the foreign policy aspect of the Ukrainian army’s victory in the Kharkiv province. It is especially significant for the people of the Russian Federation and its working class. At this moment, before our eyes, in the Russian Federation the mass consciousness is being demolished in favor of the so-called “special military operation”. The Putin regime failed to pass off the defeat of the Russian army near Kharkiv with the usual “regroupment of forces” explanation. The brutal truth about this defeat turned out to be the strongest factor in the transformation of the mass attitude in Russia. The agenda of protests against the war that Putin’s regime drove underground in March 2022 by means of mass arrests and reprisals against both the left and the liberal opposition has intensified considerably.
A few days ago, Alla Pugacheva, Russia’s iconic and most popular singer, openly wrote on social media that she opposes the war and does not understand its goals and objectives. The position of this politically impartial Russian pop star turned out to be the explosion of a bombshell for Russian society, which mostly trusts Pugacheva’s opinion. And this process is just beginning, creating serious prospects for the rise of the labor and trade union movement, both in Russia and Belarus.
The Belarusian people are against Lukashenko
The Belarusian dictator Lukashenko, from the very beginning of the Russian imperialist aggression against Ukraine, gave full support to Putin. The shelling of peaceful Ukrainian cities is regularly carried out from Belarusian territory, from where Russian military aircraft take off to launch missiles into Ukrainian territory. However, the Belarusian people, despite all the reprisals, relentlessly oppose the Russian occupation of Ukrainian territory. Belarusian underground groups organized a “railway war” when they blew up several railroads to prevent the Russian army’s transportation through the territory of Belarus. The defeat of the Russian army near Kharkiv is already provoking a new wave of popular resistance to the regime of pro-Putin President Lukashenko.
Due to the defeat of the Russian army near Kharkiv, the power of the pro-Russian imperialist pro-Russian bloc “Collective Security Treaty Organization” (CSTO) is also significantly weakened. Taking advantage of the fact that the entire fighting part of the Russian army is now fighting in Ukraine, Azerbaijan launched its new offensive against the Armenian enclave Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh). Armenia is a member of the CSTO, but has not received any support from either Russia or the CSTO countries. It is obvious that Putin has chosen to strengthen friendly relations with Turkish President Erdogan, who is condescending to Azerbaijan. Following the obvious dissatisfaction of the Armenian authorities with Russia’s betrayal, the head of the US House of Representatives of the US Congress Nancy Pelossi paid a visit to Armenia and tried to strengthen her influence in this country with traditional pro-Russian political vectors.
Those representatives of the left forces who bet on the victory of Russian imperialism as the “lesser evil” have a completely wrong idea of the dynamics of the development of the situation in the region of the former USSR. It is already quite obvious that the working class in Russia and Belarus is increasingly demanding the extension of minimum democratic rights and freedoms in these countries. Which, in turn, will enable them to form an active socialist flank of current politics and possibly lead a broad anti-authoritarian protest movement.
Russia’s military victory can only preserve the situation of strengthening Putin’s and Lukashenko’s authoritarian bureaucratic capitalist Bonapartist bureaucratic regimes. It means hopelessness for the labor and socialist movement of these countries. Any preservation and stagnation of the current situation is a dead end for us.
Putin’s responses to try to overcome these difficulties.
The failures of the invasion are causing Putin military and political problems. To try to get out of the impasse the Russian president and the self-proclaimed LPR, DPR and pro-Russian authorities of the occupied territories in Kherson and Zaporiyia; have launched the call for “express” referendums from September 23 to 27. They aim to quickly annex the occupied territories to Russia. Putin also announced a partial mobilization of 300,000 reservists to counter the Ukrainian advance and, in tune with the most ultra sectors of the regime, warned that Russia has the arsenal to respond to the “nuclear blackmail” of the West.
For the triumph of the Ukrainian resistance.
But the military defeat of Russia in the war with Ukraine will, in turn, give a significant impetus to the overthrow of the Putin and Lukashenko regimes by the broad working masses of Russia and Belarus. It is very important that this air of freedom for the workers of these countries not be blocked by Western imperialism. For this, the socialist and workers’ movement must already be prepared to form a valid left sector in a broad anti-authoritarian protest liberation front. Therefore, again and again we salute the victory of the Ukrainian army and the entire Ukrainian resistance in the Kharkiv region. And we wish for the prompt liberation of the entire Ukrainian territory occupied by Russian imperialism.