The Ukrainian city of Bucha became known to the world: first, by the image of a huge column of Russian invading tanks burning in its streets, as a symbol of the Ukrainian resistance to the Russian invasion; then, by the images of the city after it was liberated from the Russian invaders. The terrible testimonies of the inhabitants who survived the occupation became a symbol of the barbarism of Putin’s army. Together with the evidence in other regions, this raises the dilemma for the ongoing war: the genocide of the Ukrainians or Putin’s defeat and the possible overthrow of his regime.

The atrocities of the Russian army

In addition to the destroyed and looted houses, the images of dead residents lying along the streets and patios, the burned bodies of people the Russian invaders tried to incinerate to cover their tracks and mass graves. Some Ukrainians were shot in the back of the head by Russian soldiers simply for being in the street, others were executed after being tortured with their hands tied behind their backs, and some were killed at random in their homes. So far, there has been one case of gang rape of a 14-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy. A total of 340 dead have been counted, but every day new victims of the Russian army’s atrocities and terror against Ukrainians are discovered in and around the city.

Bucha is only the first evidence of the barbarity of the Russian occupation that has been revealed to the world. In Gostomel, a neighboring town, 400 people are missing; in the suburb of Irpin, 300 were shot; in Borodyanka, a Kiev region, hundreds are dead under the rubble after the barbaric shelling; in Makarovya 132 residents have been found… executed; the highway between Kiev and Zhitomir is littered with bullet-riddled cars; in the Kharkiv region, the town of Izyum is still occupied and in a state of humanitarian catastrophe. And, of course, the shelling ravaging Mariupol. The testimonies of the residents show the terror against the population: murders, tortures, rapes, generalized looting…

Putin is the 21st century Hitler

Ukraine, since 2013-14 [the so-called “Maidan revolution”] became the largest regional center of revolutionary upsurge, for freedoms and struggle for national independence against the Grand Russian oppression. For that reason, it is considered a great threat to the Putin regime and the ideology of the great power of the “Russian world”, thus justifying in the eyes of the Russian working people, so far successfully, its position as arbiter in the service of the bourgeois oligarchs. By launching the invasion on February 24, Putin hoped to easily put an end to this “focus” by means of a rapid occupation, the overthrow of the Zelensky government and the installation of a collaborationist government. This was done under the slogan of “denazification”: “the liberation of the Ukrainian people from the Nazis”.

But the invasion was met with total national resistance from Ukrainians, including those in the Russian-speaking East and South. This left Putin in a dilemma: be defeated, which would mean the almost imminent collapse of his regime, or eliminate Ukrainian resistance with whatever ruthlessness was necessary. Putin chose the latter.

The official Russian ideology: eliminate Ukraine

His purpose was officially declared by an article on the website of the Kremlin news agency RIA-Novosti: he calls Ukrainians “Nazis”, ideologically sustains their genocide and justifies the army’s barbarism:

“An important part of the population, who are passive Nazis, are also guilty….. A just punishment for this part of the population is only possible if it endures the inevitable hardships of a just war…. Further denazification of this population consists in re-education, which is achieved by ideological repression (suppression) of Nazi installations and strict censorship: not only in the political sphere, but necessarily also in the cultural and educational. Denazification can only be carried out by the victor, which implies (1) unconditional control over the process of denazification and (2) with regard to power…. In this sense, the denazified country cannot be sovereign. The denazifying state, Russia, cannot proceed with a liberal approach to denazification. The ideology of the denazifier cannot be questioned by the guilty party subject to denazification. Evidently, the name “Ukraine” cannot be retained as a title…. Denazification will inevitably also be de-Ukrainization.”

In short: since “denazification” met with national resistance, then the whole Ukrainian nation is “Nazi”. Therefore, it requires the destruction of the Ukrainian nation (“de-Ukrainization”), its sovereignty and culture by all means of “suppression”. This is a purely Nazi idea from the website of the Kremlin’s main news agency.

That is why the Russian army is indiscriminately shelling the cities and subjecting them to starvation and carrying out “land-sweeping ” tactics: destroying the country as much as possible and killing as many Ukrainians as possible. That includes the complete destruction of the port of Donbass (the city of Mariupol) and the massacre of its Russian-speaking population (which the Russian army supposedly came to “protect from genocide”).

It is within the framework of this policy that Putin carries out mass deportations of Ukrainians from the occupied territories to Russia in order to ethnically cleanse the territory. This includes the removal of Ukrainian children for adoption by Russian families in order to destroy a new generation of Ukrainians. The exact number of deportees is unknown, but we are talking about many tens of thousands of Ukrainians who ended up in Russian camps. At the same time, the Russian army attacks the evacuation of people into the depths of Ukraine, shells the population on the evacuation routes (as it happened at the Kramatorskoye Donbass railway station); shoots at the cars of families trying to flee from the barbarity…. But these Ukrainian people will return to the occupied lands and fight against the invaders.

That is why the Russian army mine roads, houses and dead bodies in the abandoned areas, so that as many Ukrainians as possible die; that is why they deployed mobile crematoria in Mariupol to cover up the traces of ethnic cleansing which, in their haste to withdraw, they failed to cover up in Bucha. In the occupied cities, the Russian army establishes a regime of terror: they kill journalists, activists, village elders, young people, anyone who has a Ukrainian flag, a national tattoo or who speaks Ukrainian. And they demand the “resuming ” of classes in Russian language.

No more fallacies in the discussion about the war in Ukraine.

The atrocities of Putin’s army in Bucha and in the occupied territories of Ukraine are incontestable facts. They can have only one qualification: they are equivalent to Nazi barbarism. In Russia, where Putin’s dictatorship has managed to generate massive popular support for the war on the basis of deeply rooted Great Russian chauvinism and total control of information, the atrocities of the Russian army can be a prop to start a discussion about the war and boost the opposition of the Russian people to the invasion.

In other countries, the revealed atrocities should put an end to any discussion of the character of the war. From what happened in Bucha, any attempt to justify the atrocities of the Russian army or adopting a pacifist stance against what Putin is doing in Ukraine is a political and moral crime against the working class and humanity in general. Any organization and activist who sides with Russian aggression becomes consciously or unconsciously an accomplice of this ideology and an enemy of the working class.

The U.S. and European imperialisms claim to support the struggle of the Ukrainian people, but the truth is that they do not help even to the minimum extent necessary, especially in the unconditional delivery of armaments to the Ukrainian resistance. The bourgeois government of Zelenski constantly requests arms but, because of its class character, hardly goes beyond speeches to force the delivery of such armaments. At the same time, it limits the arming of the workers outside its control and the control of the Ukrainian army, and adopted anti-worker changes in the labor code, in the interests of the bourgeoisie.

Once again, it is evident that workers cannot trust the governments of foreign powers nor Zelensky’s government. The war of liberation against the occupiers can only succeed if it develops more and more as a war of the working class and the Ukrainian people.

Ukrainians are fighting heroically against the invasion based on Putin’s “racial supremacy” ideology. They have already inflicted significant defeats on him. They have shown that the Russian war machine can be defeated and with it, defeat a major collaborator of world counterrevolution. That is why, the struggle of the Ukrainian people is not only for their country. A defeat of the Putin regime in this invasion would give a great impulse to the struggle of the workers and the masses in the region and all over the world. Today it is the struggle of all the workers of the world.