A fratricidal war which ordinary Russians want no part of

16 March 2022

Almost hourly, we see TV images of desperate Ukrainians fleeing burning apartment blocks or sheltering in freezing bunkers, as Putin’s invasion relentlessly advances.  As one young man, stunned by the latest shelling in Kyiv, asked “how can brother be killing brother?"

    Putin's war has meant that people who were part of the same country, the USSR, for nearly 100 years, are turned into enemies.  Yet many Russians feel a common revulsion, along with the rest of us, against this war.

    The protest, at great risk to herself, by the woman television editor for Russian TV, who held up an anti-war placard during prime-time news, has helped discredit British news media which claimed that “60% of Russians support Putin’s war”.  In fact at least 14,000 Russians have been arrested so far, in anti-war protests, despite the threat of a 15-year jail sentence.

    However this fraternal feeling between ordinary Russians and Ukrainians is apparently not something being promoted by the politicians in Westminster, clad in their yellow and blue colours.  Many among them, as well as parts of the media, are demonising all Russians or things-Russian.

    In fact the anti-Russian xenophobia they promote has even become ridiculous.  Like an orchestra refusing to play the works of Tchaikovsky.  And already last week, onboard catering workers were told to remove “vodka minis” from the bar on the King’s Cross to Edinburgh trains, a service “owned” by the government...

    As for the Labour Party, which has agreed with everything the government is doing “in this time of war” it’s currently trying to distinguish itself by mounting a campaign against Evgeny Lebedev, Russian-born owner of the Evening Standard.

    And what a worthy cause!  Lebedev was given a place in the House of Lords by Johnson, so Starmer and Rayner are out to discredit the PM, by association, as if that was even needed!  As for Lebedev, he is clearly not a Putin supporter and repeatedly denounces the war.  But being Russian is enough.  This kind of skewed nationalism dressed up as politics says everything about Labour and indeed the putrefying political system it is part of!

    As for their “sanctions against Russia” which just impose hardship on ordinary Russians, these won’t stop the war, even though this is an urgent matter!  But ending the war isn’t what western capital is interested in.  The disgusting fact of the matter is that this war is a money-maker for them - and so what if people suffer and die!

    It is only the working classes - across all borders - who can finally bring an end to (all!) war, by bringing an end to the capitalist organisation of society and taking over political power themselves...