February 24: One year after Russian invasion of Ukraine

Putin’s powerful army has failed to defeat the Ukrainian resistance. The workers and the people intervene decisively in the defense of their sovereignty. The actions of the old and new imperialisms make it impossible to rule out the possibility of another world war. Faced with this reality, the International Socialist League (ISL) deploys a principled policy.

By Ruben Tzanoff

From 2014 to 2016, we witnessed fighting on the territory of Donbass that later turned into isolated skirmishes. On February 24, 2022 President Vladimir Putin’s threats led to the invasion of Ukraine. The Russian command hoped to impose an unconditional surrender within a few days through its “special military operation”. It was met,however, with Ukrainian resistance that prevented a lightning triumph.

“Denazification” is an excuse to occupy territories.

By the summer of 2022, Russia occupied more than 80 thousand km² of Ukrainian territory. If we also include Crimea and the part of Donbass occupied between 2014 and 2015, the invaders’ control covers an area of 125 thousand km², about 20% of Ukrainian territory. In autumn of 2022, this percentage was somewhat reduced, but it is still significant.

There were attempts to pass off the views of the far-right sectors as popular, part of the misleading and exaggerated Russian propaganda. Behind the excuse of “denazification” the Russian army installs barbarism in the villages it occupies and in those it abandons. 

Massive and popular resistance

The determining factor of the resistance lies in the determined participation of the workers and the people in the defense of their country. Self-organization has expressions both on the combat fronts and in the rear, where the civilian population endures criminal bombardments. Ukraine is fighting a just war, that of an oppressed country facing the aggression of the Russian Federation, an imperialist and oppressor country. For this reason, the resistance to the invasion has the right to defend itself with all available means at its disposal.

The dual character of war

The war combines two processes at the same time: the just defense of Ukrainian sovereignty and the sharpening of the inter-imperialist frictions between the NATO powers and the emerging imperialisms of Russia and China. From this characterization, the axes that determine the policy are evident: the need to support the resistance for the expulsion of the Russian troops from Ukraine and the need not to support any of the imperialisms in conflict.

Blurred limits

Zelensky is politically supported by Western imperialism, that is why Joe Biden visited him in Kiev. It also provides him with financial resources and supplies him with weapons. For the time being, the powers in dispute have drawn some “limits” which, although less clear by the day, are still recognized as limits. For example, there’s no direct intervention by NATO with its troops and the refusal to deliver to Zelensky the strategic and modern weaponry he is asking for. Beyond this, it is a fact that the war is spreading and the possibility of a cease-fire agreement does not appear on recent forecasts.

For a just peace and not an escalation of the war

This reality makes it impossible to rule out the possibility of an escalation that could lead to a third world war. If there is to be self-determination of the peoples and just peace, not another generalized conflict. It is necessary to demand the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine and the withdrawal of NATO from Eastern Europe. The military blocs of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Collective Security Treaty Organization must be dissolved. As long as they exist, they will continue to threaten each other by wielding their nuclear arsenals, materializing the danger of a disaster for humanity. This week Putin raised concerns again when he announced the suspension of Russia’s participation in the latest strategic disarmament treaty and announced the forthcoming entry into operation of the new Sarmat intercontinental missiles.   

Anti-worker laws, social inequality and corruption

Movements on the international chessboard should not obscure what is happening inside Ukraine between the government and the working class. The parliamentary majority of Zelensky’s party, The Servant of the People, passed laws Nos. 5.371 and 3.663 which eliminated elementary labor rights. Social inequality is worsening and government corruption is scandalous. The government justifies any anti-worker’s measure with the excuse of the invasion.

A principled policy with internationalist activity and an urgent necessity

One year after the invasion, the International Socialist League vindicates the policy it has deployed as a whole. It reaffirms its commitment to continue calling for the unity of the peoples in struggle and to carry out solidarity campaigns. As the one that organized mobilizations to the Russian embassies, collected funds for the Union “Zakhist Pratsi” and carried out activities in Kiev, Bucha and Irpin. 

Faced with the sufferings of the war and those generated by the capitalist economic crisis, we specially show our solidarity with the activists of Eastern Europe. With the Russian and Belarusian comrades who are against the war and reject the dictatorial neo-Stalinist regimes of Putin and Lukashenko. And with the Ukrainian comrades who are part of the resistance and build the Ukrainian Socialist League. The need to build revolutionary socialist organizations throughout the world and to promote the international regroupment of revolutionaries, as the ISL is doing, is becoming more and more urgent.