By Taras Schevchuk
Those of us who fully support the Ukrainian resistance against the invasion and plunder by the Putin regime, and have closely followed the situation on the battle fronts, have received very encouraging news in recent weeks from the southern front in the Kherson region. Ukrainian forces have managed to establish a small but solid beachhead on the left bank of the Dnieper River. We should not exaggerate the significance of this breakthrough or jump to conclusions. But neither should we ignore its significance. This advance was accompanied by the withdrawal of Russian occupation forces to the east of this region and the movement of ships from the Sevastopol base in Crimea to the port of Novorossiysk. On the other hand, news agencies have widely reported the U.S. Congress’ rejection of $60 billion in military aid. These facts show more clearly the key factors of the situation and the future possibilities.
A month ago, the early onset of winter and the lack of qualitative progress in the Ukrainian counteroffensive during the summer and autumn gave rise to many speculations and polemics in the Ukrainian regime about the possibilities and difficulties of further liberating the country’s occupied territories, which were amplified and distorted by the imperialist media. The commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Valeriy Zaluzhny, spoke about this issue in an article for “The Economist,” where he discussed the offensive’s “technological dead end” and a transition to a “war of positions, of attrition” and underlined the lack of weapons and technology in Ukraine. Zelensky responded publicly that he was very “confident of victory,” that there was no “stalemate,” and that “the West will give Ukraine planes” and everything would be fine. Zelensky declared that the military should “refrain from making political statements.” From that moment on, press reports about the contradictions between the two and within the regime have multiplied. It was even hinted that there would be a “possible replacement of the general.” However, it seems that Zelensky was likely “testing the waters” since Zaluzhny has been declared twice as popular as Zelensky in opinion polls.
The Main Cause of the Regime’s Contradictions Is Its Submission to Imperialism
It is the same cause that has produced difficulties and obstacles in the counteroffensive. Zaluzhny himself spoke of the lack of weapons and listed the ones that were necessary. It is an obvious fact that “the West” did not provide enough weapons in time. This gave the Russian occupiers an advantage of 9 months to dig armored trenches, set up three anti-tank barriers and mine the fields in the occupied territories along the front for more than a thousand kilometers.
It is clear that despite the hypocritical rhetoric of Biden and Blinken, the U.S. does not want a resounding victory for Ukraine. We all saw how in three days Israel received from the United States the weapons which Ukraine had been asking for over the last year and a half. We all noticed the powers’ nervous apprehension when Putin’s regime staggered in the face of Wagner mutiny. And why? Because the defeat of the Putin-FSB regime would lead to its collapse and possibly the disintegration of the Russian Federation, which is a vast prison of oppressed peoples and nations. The fall of this regime would also lead to instability in the Central Asian republics. And they also fear the lack of control over their huge nuclear arsenal. That is why they prefer to negotiate with the jailer Putin, albeit in a weakened state.
To this end, they are using blackmail, the withholding of necessary weapons, and a media campaign that has stated the “failure of the counter-offensive.” At the same time, they are increasing pressure on the Ukrainian government to start “peace negotiations”… With annexations! That is, they are suggesting Ukraine be partitioned, just as it was proposed from the beginning of the invasion, and brazenly so by the old decrepit and now-dead imperialist Henry Kissinger, whose last service to the counterrevolution was to insist that the jackal Putin keep Crimea and Donbass.
Meanwhile, Zelensky government policy has aimed at deceiving the people with the seductive promises of being “candidates to join the EU” or receiving “security guarantees from NATO.” And in return, these measures will condemn working people to the dictates of the usurers of imperialist capital, such as the IMF, which has already indebted Ukraine for several generations. In addition, the parliament “the Rada” is a “den of bandits” where the legislative agents of transnational corporations and local oligarchs dominate and vote for laws that go against the workers’ unions, students, and simple people.
It is obvious that social inequality has increased during the war. The National Bank of Ukraine’s official statistics show that the number of people that can barely afford to buy food has doubled, while the number of those who can afford to buy luxury items has more than tripled (from 0.5% to 1.7% of the population). In this way, Ukrainian society has become more polarized. The inflow of $40 billion dollars from abroad into the state’s finances is being controlled by the same parasitic minority groups who enrich themselves amidst the growing poverty of the majority of the masses. In other words, the new financial groups that control foreign loans have become a part of the oligarchy that monopolized big business and capital in the 1990-2000 period.
The conclusion is clear: as long as the president, his political regime, and the Ukrainian military commanders are subordinated to Western powers, dependent on their weapons and waiting for their turn to be “protected” by NATO and integrated into the EU, not only will the counter-offensive be threatened, but the whole of Ukraine will be condemned to capitulation and a new and greater colonization. In this context, national independence will be meaningless.
To Change the Roots of Politics and the Economy, Put them in the Service of Ukrainian Liberation
It is necessary to use the potential of production for the liberation of the country and not for the profit of capitalist groups, as is currently happening. It is necessary to define a military strategy and tactics that correspond to the weapons available, and not to those that have been promised by the West and never delivered. Zaluzhny himself considers drones to be an indispensable priority weapon. They are a rather simple, easy to produce and cheap weapon, for the production of which Ukraine has absolutely all the conditions. However, the current production is being carried out by private companies according to the “laws of the market.” This production is “limited and lasts no more than 20 days,” according to military expert and reserve colonel Roman Svitan.
But this contradicts the character of the Zelensky government. When it comes to armament, it has relied on the help of the West, whose only goal is to colonize Ukraine and negotiate with Putin for a piece of the pie. The economy works for the profits of the oligarchs and suffers from the systematic theft of “humanitarian aid” and the defense budget by officials and capitalists.
To achieve this objective, the U.S. imperialists, the EU, and the oligarchic groups have considered it too dangerous to train the workers in the use of weapons and to arm them, because these skills and weapons can be turned against their own capitalist power. And this power, in the middle of the Russian invasion, has been using new anti-worker legislation to attack them. The people are outraged and demoralized by the departure abroad of officials’ children, while men of military age are not allowed to leave the country. The people are even more outraged by the thefts that have been happening at all levels and the contempt that is being shown for the common people, including the non-payment of injured and disabled soldiers, in addition to the lack of water in areas that were affected by the destruction of the Kakhovka dam.
As a result, the Zelensky government is undermining its defense from within and is betting on colonial dependence on the U.S. and the EU. This is due to its capitalist class character. Nationalizing the economy to put it on a war footing goes against the interests of the capitalists. The supposed fight against corruption means assuming that the oligarchs and their political representatives are fighting against themselves, because corruption is part of their business.
In short, mobilizing all social forces for national liberation is financially unprofitable and politically dangerous for business and Zelensky’s oligarchic government. As a result, it has condemned the workers to further hardship and the country to absolute colonial dependence on the U.S. and the EU.
Who Can Bring About the Necessary Changes?
In conclusion, the “impasse” is neither technological nor military, but political and class based. And it is being expressed in the prolongation of the war of attrition and the sacrificed lives of the working class. The Ukrainian people have everything they need to win. But just as the national liberation struggle cannot depend on the help of foreign governments, the workers in this struggle cannot depend on the enterprises and their power.
It is essential that all military and industrial production be placed in the hands of the state and controlled by the workers themselves, because the Ukrainian working class makes up 99% of those who are on the front lines sacrificing their lives for the country’s sovereignty and integrity. They are also the ones making sacrifices to maintain the economy. But to whom do the fruits of this economy and the whole country belong? Whom does the power of the Ukrainian state serve? We, the workers, will continue to fight for Ukraine’s real independence! And this will be possible only with a true workers’ government and not one that belongs to the oligarchs who are connected to the powers that are negotiating the division of Ukraine with Putin!
The Production of Weapons and Organization of People in Arms for the Liberation of Ukraine
The problem of more modern weapons, while of great importance, is not an absolute factor. Even if the most powerful weapons are not available, there are many examples of large armies that have been defeated by much less technologically advanced popular resistance – the United States in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, Russia in the first Chechen war and also now in Ukraine where it has had to retreat in some areas – thanks to asymmetric methods of warfare.
This was demonstrated in March 2022 by the popular resistance at the Gostomel airfield and in the Kiev region. The massive voluntary organization and arming of the working population was the decisive force that managed to repel the occupiers. And this was achieved with rudimentary weapons and not because of so-called “modern Western weapons.” On the other hand, and on a different level, the skillful tactics of the defenders of Avdeyevka, as before, were those of Bakhmut, and those who liberated Kharkov and the Kherson region and established outposts on the left bank of the Dnieper, and the widespread partisan movement in the occupied territories, which has even carried out raids and acts of sabotage in regions far from the Ukrainian border on the territory of the Russian Federation. Such a process has been demonstrated by the attacks that led to the explosions in the Baykal-Amur Trans-Siberian railway tunnel in Buryatia.
Although the current human reserves of Ukraine are not unlimited and there have been important losses, they are not small either. And since the beginning of the invasion and despite all the suffering, the morale of our fighters has remained much higher than that of the occupying troops. Because many of them are immigrants or people and nations that have been oppressed by Russia, who have been dragged and pushed to fight as unmotivated “cannon fodder.” At this very moment, while the dictator Putin announced his candidacy for a new presidential term, the protests of the soldiers’ wives are growing stronger and stronger in different regions of the Russian Federation. While these women do not dare to reject the Kremlin’s war, they nevertheless defensively demand the government “bring our husbands home.”
In order to defeat the occupation and liberate Ukraine, it is necessary to train the entire population in the use of various types of modern weapons. Then there will be no need to talk about “dead ends.” The Ukrainian counteroffensive has been blocked not only and not so much by Putin’s army from the outside, but by its own capitalist power from within.
Key Measures for Victory
The key measures needed for victory include: the nationalization of the economy in the service of defense, the organization of the production of weapons and materials necessary for the war, worker and popular control of the distribution of products, providing the workers and the people with everything necessary for general armament, training and education can only be guaranteed by the workers. To make the above possible and for Putin’s occupation to be defeated on the external front, it is necessary to build a working-class alternative independent of oligarchic power.