Gennady Zyuganov, Chairman of the CPRF Central Committee
Will Russia be able to weather the tempests and storms?
For decades Western propaganda has been trumpeting that the Soviet Union and its “satellites” were to blame for conflicts in the world and the appearance of trouble spots on the planet’s map. Western politicians and the media brazenly claimed that the USSR was harboring expansionist plans. Twenty years have passed since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Has the world become any safer?
What do we see today? The planet is sinking ever deeper into the quagmire of chaos and violence. Acute interstate, social and religious conflicts are flaring up more than ever before. Even in the once prosperous Europe mass protest actions are mounting against the attempts of the bourgeois authorities to make not only the proletariat but the so-called middle class bear the brunt of the deepening crisis caused by the greed of the world oligarchy.
However, the most acute and violent conflicts are raging outside Europe. Tensions around Iran have been building up for many years and there are ever more vocal threats of military intervention against that country. The Korean People’s Democratic Republic is under constant pressure.
In the heart of Africa, in the Republic of Congo, a civil war has continued unabated for many years. The West’s insane policy with regard to Libya did not only destroy one of the most successful states on the continent, but had dire consequences for the neighbouring countries. For example, the Northern Mali has fallen into the hands of religious fanatics and has to all intents and purposes seceded. A similar process is taking place in East Africa where the split of Sudan led to a state of constant armed confrontation between its northern and southern parts.
At present the Middle East is the focus of stormy events. Immediately after the Second World War that region became a source of constant tensions and numerous wars because Israel and its Western principal are refusing to comply with the UN resolutions on ceasing the occupation of Arab territories, the return of Palestinian refugees to their native lands and the creation of an independent Palestinian state. Meanwhile during the past two years almost all the Middle East and North African states have to varying degrees been destabilized. Today a fratricidal civil war is being fanned in Syria.
Afghanistan and Iraq are areas of great instability. In Turkey the Kurds are waging an armed struggle for national liberation. Most recently the relations between the People’s Republic of China and Japan deteriorated sharply over territorial disputes.
All this is not happening accidentally. Each of these conflicts of course has its own internal causes. But the main source of global instability is the policy of Western powers which seek to impose a neocolonialist development scenario on the whole of mankind.
The world is again at a turning point in its history. Contrary to the recent cheerful claims that the economic recession is over, capitalism is sinking deeper and deeper into an all-embracing crisis. This is inevitable because the underlying causes of the crisis have not been eliminated. This time around it hit Europe where a whole group of countries are facing bankruptcy. The ruling elites are trying to shift the burden of the crisis onto the shoulders of the mass of the population. Contradictions between the collective character of modern production and the private appropriation of its results have sharpened.
In what direction will the world move? Needless to say, the world elite will seek to preserve the capitalist system of social organization dominated by the “golden billion” that wallows in money and parasitic consumption. That said, the more far-sighted members of the elite are beginning to understand and admit that the West is driving the world into a dead end.
The leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, Franz Muntefering says: “In 1990, when communism and its planned economy found themselves on their knees, we rejoiced in vain believing that now the social market economy has finally triumphed. In reality, after that a different capitalism developed throughout the world, with its abuses and without its social component. Communism exerted a disciplining impact on capitalism. The present form of capitalism that does not feel responsible to man and society must be consigned to the dustbin. The abuses of unbridled financial capital must be stopped.”
The former president of the FRG, Christian Democrat Koeller said that the “Anglo-Saxon capitalism” of gamblers and adventurers has collapsed. “Money-making without rules, without responsibility and conscience has collapsed.” He is echoed by the leaders of other European countries. The President of the USA, from which the paroxysms of crisis shaking the whole world emanate, never tires of urging the need for change – sweeping, profound and fundamental change. Obama has accused the “fat cats” who are growing richer even at the peak of the economic crisis.
So, the sober-thinking leaders in the West already realize that the model of “uncontrolled self-regulating market economy” has reached an impasse and needs to be scrapped. However, foreign policy guidelines are not always laid by official leaders. Hidden in the bowels of the American establishment are neoconservatives who express the interests of the more aggressive transnational monopolies and banks interested in global control over markets and in political diktat.
They are convinced that both these ends can be reached by military force, which is increasingly backed up by information and propaganda aggression. Another element in the neocons’ strategy is managed chaos. It only seems that all the events referred to above are spontaneous. There is a profound inner link between them because all of them to varying degrees manifest the class strategy of the most aggressive Western circles seeking to subjugate the whole world.
The West is the main sponsor of international terrorism which it uses to further its global ends. There is a growing conviction in the world that the events of September 11, 2001 – the air strikes on New York – were planned by the American power structures to provide a pretext for a “worldwide offensive against international terrorism” which in reality is American global economic, military and information expansion.
However, the concept of a unipolar world is crumbling and collapsing in front of our eyes. Even Zbigniew Brzezinski, that apologist of American globalism, had to admit the failure of the “American dream” in his recent book. That is why 21 century socialism is increasingly attractive as a new spiral of civilization. It means above all harmonious development of the productive forces, a reasonable level of consumption, a thrifty attitude to nature, well-being and progress for each and every one.
There growing worldwide opposition to globalization American-style. While after the collapse of the USSR in the early 1990s it seemed that there would be no more counterweight to the rampant greed and aggressiveness of the West, an alternative centre of political and economic influence has recently appeared in the shape of the alliance of BRIC states (Brazil, Russia, India and China). These countries are the home of more than half of the world’s population and account for an ever growing part of the world economy. South Africa’s joining the alliance completed the “southern arc”. The growing economic, political and military might of that group of countries does not only increase its international influence, but, for the first time since the collapse of the USSR, puts an obstacle in the way of Western expansion, in the way of attempts to restore the neocolonial world order.
It needs to be stressed that unlike the USSR and the bloc of socialist countries, which provided a powerful political and military alternative to the West but failed at that stage to draw level with our rivals economically, China today is steadily turning into the “workshop of the world” entering ever new markets, including Europe and the USA. Together with the fast growing economies of India and Brazil that creates a fundamentally new situation in the world.
It is important that the international system based on the United Nations Organization, created with the active participation of the Soviet Union, has withstood the test of time. In spite of all the attempts by the USA and its allies to gain control over that world organization, the UN is still the key element in stabilizing international relations. The principles of the balance of forces at the Security Council laid down by its founding fathers, including the Soviet leaders, make it possible to restrain open acts of aggression on the part of financial imperialism.
With the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the humiliatingly pro-Western policy of the Yeltsin group, including the notorious Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, the role of the UN Security Council sharply diminished. This situation lasted a fairly long time, which enabled the USA and its allies to launch a series of brazen acts of aggression against Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. However, as a result of the changing balance of forces the system of legitimizing aggression through the UN misfired for the first time in the last two decades. This is connected with the veto Russia and China imposed on the draft resolutions that would give the West the right to perpetrate an armed intervention against Syria.
Therefore the USA and its allies are trying to build a new, parallel system of running the world in the shape of the expanding NATO and the World Trade Organization. Their aim is to gain control over the planet not by crude military force, but preserving and deepening the unfair economic relations and non-equivalent exchange between the rich industrialized North and the planetary South which possesses vast natural resources.
There is no doubt that the WTO, contrary to the official declarations about removing barriers to international trade, in reality serves the centuries-old colonial goals. They seek to get natural resources and manpower from the South at miserly prices and sell the goods from the North at fabulously high prices. This is achieved through a system of international courts that are entirely dominated by Western representatives. And those recalcitrant leaders who challenge the justice of such a state of affairs are likely to suffer the fate of Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein and Muammar Kaddafi.
In the context of the deepening crisis of capitalism and the inevitable mounting protests one must assume that the leading imperialist countries will seek to limit the influence of the communist and left-wing parties. They will intensify persecution and reprisals against their leaders. The countries of Eastern Europe, in particular, are going out of their way to demonstrate their loyalty to Uncle Sam. They openly glorify Bandera and other Hitler accomplices as fighters against communism, erect monuments to surviving fascists, ban Soviet and communist symbols, intimidate honest and upright politicians and pass legislation that equates communism and fascism. In spite of all this, the communist and left-wing movements have noticeably strengthened their positions at the international and regional levels. Elections for parliaments and local legislatures in many countries bring ever more proof of that.
Meanwhile it is important to understand to what extent the position of the Russian elite on international issues meets the national interests of Russia. We see that Russia’s external policy is markedly class-oriented. This is manifested in constant neglect of the country’s interests for the sake of the personal ambitions and selfish interests of the ruling group. From the early 1990s the Russian “elite” has been eager to become part of the Western “establishment”. Initially it was kept out but then graciously allowed to enter the Western club, but only as a junior and often rightless partner. The Russian elite tolerates all this. It cannot be otherwise because, as is well known, not only the Russian oligarchs, but the top bureaucrats keep their money in Western banks, send their children to Western universities, spend their holidays in Western holiday resorts, and have “standby landing sites” in the shape of apartments, villas and castles in Western countries.
It is a well known truth that a successful foreign policy must be based on three foundations: the patriotic sentiments in society, a powerful economy and powerful armed forces. Russia does not have any of these three components. Speaking about patriotic sentiments, throughout the twenty years after the coup d’etat of August-December 1991 the ruling group has in fact been eradicating patriotism. Indeed the very word “patriot” has acquired a derogatory meaning. A process is still going on of eliminating the feelings of love of country, folk traditions and customs and imposing alien values.
The state of the Russian economy is well known. It has become a source of raw materials for the Western and more recently also Eastern industry. It is a semi-colonial economy that is heavily dependent on demand on the part of the developed countries, and the slightest fluctuations in the global economy have very unpleasant consequences for Russia. Moreover, the bulk of property has already been withdrawn from our country’s jurisdiction and is in offshore zones.
As for the Armed Forces, they have practically lost their combat ability as a result of continuous “reforms” lasting many years. The share of modern weapons is at best 10%. The officer corps has been decimated. The reforms under Defence Minister Serdyukov resulted in tens of thousands of the most experienced and knowledgeable officers being expelled from the Army. One can go on detailing the destruction of the national self-consciousness, the ruining of industry and agriculture. The message is clear: nothing can be achieved by merely professing the determination to uphold national interests.
One has to bear in mind that even the modern empire, the USA, with its huge economic, military and political power, needs allies. The Americans are working vigorously to ensure that each of their foreign policy actions gets the broadest possible support in the world. Russia, on the contrary, has in recent years been pushing away all its traditional allies. Today we have practically only one reliable strategic ally, Byelorussia. But that fraternal people again and again comes under powerful pressure of pro-Western elements in the Russian ruling elite. One has a feeling that these influential forces at the top would be genuinely glad if Byelorussian President Alexander Lukashenko could be removed from power, and the economic actions of the Russian government indicate attempts to create prerequisites for a worsening of living standards in Byelorussia and for the growth of protest sentiments there.
To sum up, one can safely say that the world has entered a zone of tempests and storms. If the huge Russian ship is to safely sail through that zone a skillful crew, reliable technology and the confidence of passengers that the ship is being steered in the right direction are needed. So far society is increasingly doubtful that we are moving in the right direction. We are deeply convinced that only if the popular patriotic forces led by the CPRF come to power will our country be able to regain the status of a great power, the respect of its rival and the trust of its friends.