As the drum beats for war grow ever louder and the media chorus more cacophanous, a classic piece of misinformation was inserted into a recent Financial Times article: “More than 14,000 people have died in the conflict in eastern Ukraine since Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014.” (Why has Putin got Ukraine’s separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in his sights? by Henry Foy, Monday 21 February, our emphasis)
Moscow didn’t ‘annex’ Crimea; its people had a referendum and decided overwhelmingly to return to Russia.
This action was only connected to the war in eastern Ukraine, aka the Donbass, by the fact that both were precipitated by the west-backed ‘Euromaidan’ fascist coup in Kiev. Rather than suffer life as second-class citizens under the Russophobic neo-Nazi heel, the people of Crimea chose to return their territory to Russia and the people in the Donbass declared independence.
Since then, the coup government has waged war against the people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugask in the east of Ukraine, and in that west-backed war, at least 14,000 lives have been lost and many more lives made extremely difficult. Yet the people there still hold out, preferring the state of independence with war to submission.
But the FT would have you believe that Russia ‘invaded’ Crimea and ‘annexed’ it and that this somehow led to a ‘conflict’ in which all those deaths occurred.
The role of the USA, the European Union and Britain in funding, arming and waging propaganda war on behalf of their puppets, whose junta replaced an elected government that had refused to follow the imperialist diktat to the letter and tried to retain friendly relations with Russia, is erased from this crude re-writing of history.
Here’s another inconvenient fact that our media manages to gloss over: every peace agreement that was supposed to bring hostilities to a close has been scuppered by the Ukrainian government (under orders from the west), not by the Donbass people and not by Russia.
Or how about this one? Nato has expanded steadily eastwards since 1991, despite repeated promises that it would not do so. The USA has consistently refused to address Russia’s concerns about its security, instead parking more and more Nato soldiers on Russia’s borders and carrying out increasingly aggressive war games (rehearsals) there.
This is how we are softened up for war. And how our rulers’ real motivations are hidden.
They want to stop Russia selling gas to Europe, and to Germany in particular, since this dependence threatens to derail Nato. They want to use Ukraine as a Nato base from which to threaten Russia further. They want Ukraine’s agricultural, mineral and industrial resources, which are vast.
What they don’t care two hoots about are the rights or wishes of the Ukrainian people, in particular Ukraine’s right to ‘self-determination’, which they have violated several times since 1991 by overthrowing elected governments and installing brutal stooges in their place.
Stop the War still not stopping any wars
That is why the statement published by the laughably-named ‘Stop the War‘ coalition on Tuesday 22 February reads like such a bad joke. Its opening paragraph tells you all you need to know: “Stop the War condemns the movement of Russian forces into eastern Ukraine and urges that they immediately withdraw, alongside the resumption of diplomatic negotiations to resolve the crisis.”
With their classic mix of handwringing pacifism (weapons are so nasty) and Trotskyiste duplicity (always find a way to amplify imperialist propaganda in a crisis), StW’s leaders have surpassed themselves. This statement is second only to the one they made in the spring of 2011 in which they demanded that Gaddafi’s Libya stop attacking its own people (another imperialist lie) just as Nato was lining up its bombers on the EU’s tarmac.
Just like the imperialist lie machine, Stop the War has managed in this single sentence to disappear all context from the situation, without which Russia’s move to defend the Donbass’s people against the latest and most brutal assault against them naturally makes no sense.
No attempt is made to educate British workers about this or any other aspect of imperialism’s designs in Ukraine. No. Force is bad; Russia is aggressive; everyone should talk calmly to ‘resolve’ the situation – a situation that has been created solely because the imperialists have avoided every opportunity to ‘talk calmly’ and ‘come to a resolution’ for years! The imperialists created, fuelled and propelled this situation every step of the way – and it is now being used as a handy lever with which to try to wean European countries off Russian gas – as our own prime minister Boris Johnson has quite openly admitted.
Meanwhile, nothing is being done to alert the British people that we are being massaged into accepting not only war in Ukraine but a full-scale war against Russia that our rulers are certainly preparing for.
Nor are they being given the essential facts that it is the USA and its Nato allies who are the aggressors, not Russia; that Russia poses no threat to any worker in Britain; and that it is the capitalist crisis and imperialist drive for domination and maximum profit that are impelling us towards the inferno of a catastrophic European war.
Workers can and must resist this drive, but to so so they must be informed and organised.