VANGUARD - Expressing the viewpoint of the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)
For National Independence and Socialism • www.cpaml.org
Russia started its imperialist aggression against Ukraine hoping for a short victorious war but failed. Before the mobilisation Russia has gone through several defeats on the frontline. Russian imperialism instead of initial plans of assimilating Ukrainians and annexing the whole Ukraine, attempts now to save at least some positions. For the purpose of this, the 'referendums' on the occupied territories were held and then those territories were annexed.
Peculiarities of the Russian military legislation should also be taken into consideration: according to the Russian law, soldiers conscripted for military service cannot fight abroad. The law says that Russia can send on wars only contractees (those who serve on the contract basis). In case occupied territories are declared Russian and Ukraine continues counter-offensive attacks, Russia may assess it as aggression against its own territories and send conscriptees to the frontline. This scenario would give Russia a free hand in passing laws allowing the use of mass destruction weapons.
The Russian Maoist Party opposes referendums on the occupied territories of Ukraine because one principle will be followed there: “It is more important WHO will count votes rather than HOW it is voted”. Referendum results are already known, authorities of the occupied territories make their political statements and plans, saying they are already a part of the Russian Federation with overwhelming results – 80-90% FOR. Knocking each door for recording a vote did happen during the referendum and accompanying Russian armed forces obviously created additional pressure. We consider these referendums a flagrant violation of nations’ right to self-determination as, firstly, these are territories where the majority of the population is Ukrainians and, secondly, it is an outrageous abuse of democracy.
On the 21st of September the Russian government announced a “partial military mobilisation”. Citizens mobilised along with it are equated to the contractees and will be sent to Ukraine. It soon became painfully clear that mobilisation is not 'partial', but total, or will be total in the coming months. The mobilisation has divided the Russian society into two groups: the first ones wholly disapprove of the news (and try to escape abroad, protest on actions and no longer support the regime), the others think mobilisation will not concern them and their communication circle (they believe only veterans with combat experience will be recruited, as the bourgeois propaganda says).
The poor protest culture in Russia adds to this: a range of factors (the influence of Soviet revisionism on the generation of the 1950-1980s; almost complete cleansing of the political playing field; the active support by the formal opposition of Russian imperialism and Putins’ policy, have led to the small number of participants on protest actions and political demands often finding weak expression. At the same time any criticism of the war and the government is forbidden by laws, any tiniest protest action or a careless word may lead to enormous fines, arrests and imprisonment. The 21st of September is marked by multiple cases when those arrested were handed mobilisation subpoenas.
The protests going on now cannot change the situation in Russia and on the frontline, although they did influence the scale of mobilisation and in some regions it was soon cancelled (for now). The broad masses are still captivated by the military frenzy and fascist propaganda of Putin’s regime. Huge work awaits the Russian Marxist-Leninists, all peaceful and democratic forces in Russia.
Our plans are to help the mobilised escape the draft, agitate among them by explaining the essence of events and work with those who have not managed to escape in order to create military councils to fight collectively against the criminal orders of the officers. Demobilised soldiers are in our interests as well.
We emphasize that, unlike the Russian liberals, who consider all soldiers of the Russian army to be criminals and whom Russian liberals threaten with prison terms, or, at best, offer them to simply leave the front or surrender, we, Maoists, do not count soldiers as outcasts of the Russian army, we understand that some of them entered Ukraine under pressure from officers, while others simply believe that they are doing a good deed. Our work is to explain to the soldiers the essence of this war, and also help them organise against their commanders. And only in the event that the agitation does not go on, if other soldiers threaten our agitator, only then will we help him leave the front.