Sat Feb 24, 2024
February 24, 2024

A Disaster Called “Putinism”

By Masha Chaikina

Just before the New Year, Russia carried out a massive shelling of Ukrainian cities, causing numerous casualties and destruction. Kiev, Kherson, Dnieper, Odessa, Zaporozhye, Krivoy Rog, and Kharkov. It seemed that Russia was repeating last year’s strategy as it sought to destroy Ukraine’s infrastructure in order to force it to capitulate. How many brilliant victories and brilliant decisions the state propaganda promised the Russians! 

However, as always, reality pulverized all of Putin’s “grandiose” projects. And it turns out that in the year since the conflict began, the Ukrainian people have learned to fight, repel attacks, defend against the consequences of destruction in an organized way, continue living under the conditions imposed by war, and make plans for victory, which, of course, will not be easy.

So What about Russia? 

“Suddenly” and “without warning” the country’s infrastructure has begun to collapse, including in the Moscow region. In Podolsk, Voskresensk, Solnechnogorsk, Jimki, Naro-Fominsk, and Dmitrov, heating systems are breaking down, electric wires are burning out, hundreds of apartment buildings have been left without heat and electricity, and thousands of residents are freezing in their apartments, while hospitals have been left without light and heat. The list of cities is literally growing by the day and the situation is becoming a real disaster. When these incidents develop, they cause a chain reaction. 

First, when the heat supply to residential buildings is interrupted, the load on the power grid increases as many residents turn on electric heaters. The already overburdened infrastructure then suffers significant additional stress, which in many cases can cause it to collapse.

As a result, multi-story buildings are left not only without heat, but also without electricity. At the same time, factory corridors and entrances begin to freeze. No one heats them and no water is drained from the radiators. The water in these batteries freezes and they burst. Then, in order to restart the heating system, they also need to be repaired.

For ordinary Russians, however, this situation is “nothing unusual” as these types of events are occurring increasingly often. All the causes are obvious, since there is significant and widespread wear and tear on outdated heating, electrical, and water networks. 

Russia’s housing and communal infrastructure was mainly created under the USSR. After its collapse, it was not properly maintained or renovated for many years. As a result, the infrastructure is in deep decline. At first there were not many failures in the system, but over time they have become much more numerous and frequent. And even the few attempts to correct the situation in the last decade have had little effect due to the magnitude of the problem. This has been exacerbated by the scarcity of allocated resources and organizational and bureaucratic difficulties. 

And the so-called “optimization” of the industry has resulted in a lack of sufficient equipment, supplies, and personnel to respond even to normal weather conditions throughout the entire winter. Secondly, many new housing complexes are connected to the old existing infrastructure, which itself was designed for a smaller number of consumers. 

Capitalists in the construction sector do not like to take on “extra” costs in the construction of apartment buildings. Everything from bribing local officials to rewriting regulatory documents, including building codes, is used to avoid making necessary updates. 

Unbridled construction for the sake of quick profits under the conditions of a corrupt state apparatus can only lead to accidents and disasters.

And then there is war, which the powers that be have forbidden calling war….

War exacerbates all contradictions and problems. Especially a war that has no prospect of victory.  Starting with one fact: you cannot call something a “special operation,” when it requires a third of the state budget for military expenditures; under those circumstances it is most definitely a “war.” One of the consequences of the war is the massive abandonment and destruction of cities and towns, which in turn have to be repaired at the expense of others. 

The war has caused a large number of young men and women, mostly professionals, to flee the country. This has led to the forced conscription of hundreds of thousands of ordinary workers who are being made into “cannon fodder,” as they are condemned to become killers and destroyers, who will probably return in plastic bags or with disabilities. 

All this has led to a mass exodus of immigrant workers who used to clean our streets and take care of our infrastructure in all the big cities. 

The result is obvious. And as long as this war continues, life will only get worse. The problems will only increase. Our whole lives depend on how soon the war ends. Every month, the war will become a heavier burden on the shoulders of the people.

Therefore, and first and foremost, we must put an end to this massacre in the service of the oligarchic regime of the FSB (Federal Security Service). The peoples of Ukraine and Russia need not be divided. This war is not in the interests of Russian workers; it only brings pain, death, destruction, and poverty to every household. Ordinary people will gain nothing from this adventure of Putin’s dictatorship. 

It is in the interest of our country and our people to immediately stop the war and withdraw from occupied foreign lands. 

Let us demand a court, a trial, and punishment for all those who initiated this genocide. 

Only then can our country begin to solve all the problems that have dragged on for years under Putin’s rule. Housing, agriculture, food, health, education, and security can only be improved after the defeat of Putinism.

How can the infrastructure and housing problems be solved?

Of course, it is necessary to invest money. But not in the army and its war! 

It is impossible to carry out intensive urbanization of apartment buildings on a worn and obsolete  infrastructure. The “development” was carried out only for the profits of a handful of capitalists from construction companies and banks with their high mortgages. 

A different urban planning policy is needed, one that takes into account the capacities of the existing general infrastructure and energy resources. We need policies that take into account ecology and climatic conditions. And these policies, especially housing, health, and education, should focus on the needs of ordinary residents, not the needs of capital. 

The agglomeration of massive new buildings around several large cities in our country is the result of Russia’s capitalist “boom” as a supplier of raw materials and energy for the world market. With such a policy, the standard of living has become very unequal across the country. It is better in the big cities and worse in the provinces, small towns, and villages. There, businesses have been closed and destroyed for decades, roads are worn out, schools and hospitals are closed (Putinism calls this “optimization”). Ordinary Russians have to leave their homes en masse and move to the big cities. Hence the current huge chaotic growth for profit and disaster.

We need a completely different strategy for Russia’s development: new industrialization and the real development of our whole huge country in a way that centers the interests of the majority of working people. And not this bloody war of plunder that has been dragging on for years at the whim of the capitalists and a group of murderous Kremlin bureaucrats.

Russian working men and women do not need the conquest and plunder of Ukraine. We need to live and develop our country. 

The power of Putin, the FSB, and the oligarchs has brought the country to a dead end. It is time for workers and ordinary working people to establish their power in the country. 

To do this, the workers of Russia need their own political force.

Only in this way can we put an end to Putinism and its wars and invasions and the plundering of the country’s and people’s resources.

We need our own party of working men and women, which can become part of the world party of the working class, capable of bringing peace and development to the world.

No to war! Withdrawal of the occupation troops from Ukraine!

Stop the Putinist degradation of the country! 

Russia needs a working class government!

The ordinary workers and toilers of all nationalities in the Russian Federation need their own party!

The workers of the whole world need their own International!

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