On 1 May 2023, ahead of the Greek general election, Dimitris Koutsoumpas, general secretary the central committee of the Communist party of Greece (KKE), gave an interview to MEGA channel, equating Russia’s anti-Nato, antifascist special military operation in Ukraine with Nato’s criminal and aggressive war against Yugoslavia in 1999.
Koutsoumpas accepted that Ukrainian puppet-president Volodymyr Zelensky had continued the civil war that had been sparked by resistance to the 2014 Euromaidan coup, sending neo-nazi battalions to kill the Russian-speaking and antifascist population in the east of Ukraine, but he did not accept this as a basis for Russian intervention – despite the fact that Ukrainian and Russian communists had all been calling for such an intervention against the west-backed fascists for eight years.
Koutsoumpas asked Ukrainians to defend their sovereignty (forgetting that elsewhere his party has denied that there is any longer such a thing as the ‘so-called national question’), thus repeating the imperialists’ justifications for their war, and obscuring the fact that Ukraine’s last vestige of sovereignty was stolen by the USA in 2014, during the Maidan coup. If Ukrainians want to defend their sovereignty it is not Russia but the USA they will have to fight to get it back.
Refuting Russia’s basis for waging its just war of self-defence and liberation of the Donbass, he claimed that this was “the same argument that Nato and the USA used in Yugoslavia”. This completely ignores the fact that not only is Russia not an imperialist country, but it is itself a primary target of US/Nato imperialism. Koutsoumpas’s criticism entirely ignores the reality of who is fighting whom, and why.
It is this same Nato/US imperialism that was behind the coup in Ukraine, and which has been arming the Ukrainian coup government, with the express purpose of destroying Russia’s territorial integrity and political and economic independence. There is no denying that Ukraine has become a de facto US base, and its army a de facto Nato army. In which case, it is clear that the conflict in Ukraine is a proxy war provoked by Nato against Russia.
The ideological leaders of the KKE, however, have dropped dialectical materialism in favour of abstract idealism. Koutsoumpas believes it would be “ideal” if the people of Ukraine overthrew Volodymyr Zelensky, and “ideal” if the people of Russia overthrew President Vladimir Putin.
Why stop there though, if we are dealing in ideals? Ideally, the bourgeoisie of all nations would relinquish their monopoly on wealth to the workers voluntarily, and all states would be dismantled in favour of working-class democratic organisations. There would be peace on Earth and we could solve all the problems that humanity faces without any need for struggle!
Ideally, Koutsoumpas said, “people” in Russia and “people” in Ukraine should overthrow their respective governments. But outside the realm of Koutsoumpas’s imagination, a real conflict is taking place, and we need to understand who and what those forces represent, what policy each side is pursuing – in short, we need to examine the conflict in its full context so as to make sense of it and to understand which side, if any, we should be taking.
Simply repeating imperialist propaganda about Russia’s motivations is no replacement for making a serious enquiry into the facts – although it passes for intelligent comment in the western bourgeois media, of course.
In reality, this conflict is a proxy war between an alliance of imperialist powers and Russia, a non-imperialist country. It is in the interests of the working classes everywhere to support Russia in defending itself from imperialist aggression and in working for the destruction of the coup regime.
With revolutionary-sounding phrases, the general secretary of the KKE has obscured the real class nature of the Ukraine-Russia conflict (the Nato-Russia conflict) and encouraged viewers to take the harmful Trotskyite position of ‘neither Kiev nor Moscow’.
Instead of putting his party’s followers at the centre and the head of the antiwar movement, which in this case means lining up the workers and oppressed peoples everywhere on the side of the just defenders of anti-imperialist sovereignty, Koutsoumpas and his colleaugues have demobilised them and placed them on the sidelines of this, the most important battle of our times.
This is not Marxism, it is betrayal.
And it is further proof of the need for the vital work of the World Anti-imperialist Platfom in bringing a correct analysis and practical unity to all those forces that are sincere about working in practice for the defeat of US-led Nato imperialism in the present and coming conflicts.
Such a defeat will advance the cause of socialism immeasurably.
On the other hand, a defeat for the forces of anti-imperialism in the battles before us will lead to an orgy of looting and a carnival of reaction as the kings of monopoly finance once more postpone the date of their system’s demise by decades in which more death, more destruction, more war and more poverty will be the lot of the workers and oppressed peoples of the world.