A Look at the Speech of the “Speaker” of the Tudeh Party of Iran about the Crisis in Ukraine
Is it mere coincidence that in all the half-hour speech of the “Speaker” of the Tudeh Party of Iran, not even once is the name of US imperialism, the main cause of the crisis in Ukraine, mentioned?
10Mehr Editorial Board, May 31, 2022
On May 21, 2022, the Telegram channel of the Tudeh Party of Iran posted an audio file entitled “Audio File of Comrade Omidvar’s Speech at a Meeting with a Number of Party Members on the Issue of Ukraine, and his Answers to Some of the Questions Raised.” It seems that what made such an explanatory meeting “a number of Party comrades” necessary and then its broadcasting for the general audience, was the questions and objections raised by some members and sympathizers inside and outside the organization about the Party leadership’s stated positions on the Ukraine crisis, in which the Russian state has been characterized as aggressor, occupier, and peace breaker.
Here, we do not intend to address all of the inaccuracies in this speech, and will only try to address the key points of this speech and their ideological roots, which we have repeatedly referred to in our previous documents and have cautioned against them.
In the Part 2 of our “Critique of the “Draft Documents of the Seventh Congress of the Tudeh Party of Iran,” in response to the Party leadership’s “General Assessment of the Current International Situation,” we wrote:
It is no wonder that throughout the 70-page text of comrades we do not see the slightest reference to the internal contradictions of the new imperialist world order and the resulting global alignments around the axis of anti-imperialist struggle. In their “Assessment” of the world situation, by removing the concept of “imperialism” from analysis and substituting it with “global capitalist system,” comrades have reduced the contradictions arising from the nature and processes of the imperialist world order to the level of separate conflicts and rivalries between different countries, on the one hand, and have diminished the anti-imperialist, pro-independence struggles of the peoples of the world to the level of separate national struggle in each country against “coercion,” “repression,” “tyranny” and “dictatorship,” or, at best, to the general struggle against capitalism, and defense of the rights of workers, women, national and religious minorities — i.e., to the level of social-democratic and liberal demands.1
And now we dare to say that the Party “Speaker’s” comments on the Ukraine crisis have word by word affirmed our assessment of the ideological framework that governs the analysis of the world situation by influential comrades in Party leadership.
Now let’s see what Comrade Party “Speaker” has said about the Ukraine crisis. And as this comrade has presented his speech in four parts, we will also follow the same order in our responses.
1. Historical Context of the Events in Ukraine
Much of Comrade’s talk in this section is devoted to repeated expressions of concern by the Party leadership about the danger of war in Ukraine, a concern that was not limited to the global Communist and Worker’s movement. Rather, in raising alarms about the danger of war in Ukraine, all Pacificist, Liberal, and Social Democratic forces in the United States and Europe, too, had expressed concern about the danger of war from the outset. Thus, one does not need to be Communist to express concern about threats to peace; nor does this in itself prove the correctness of one’s analysis. What sets Communists apart from other Pacifist, Liberal, and Social Democrat peace advocates is the Communists’ scientific approach to the historical context of this crisis. And this is exactly where the assessment of Comrade “Speaker” of the historical context of this crisis is devoid of a scientific Marxist-Leninist approach, and stems from his elimination of the role of US imperialism in igniting this war.
Putting this Comrade’s concerns for peace aside, we point to key passages in this section of his remarks that are of a more analytical nature:
Comrades, you see, the issue of the Ukraine crisis has been going on for almost a decade now, since the coup of right-wing forces in that country. And if we go to the archives of Mardom, we see that we have warned repeatedly about the conspiracy of imperialist forces since 2013…. See Comrades, this position that our party has taken today on Ukraine issues is not a new position at all.… For example, we mentioned in Mardom, No. 936, dated December 2013, that Germany is using the leverage of the European Union … to integrate Ukraine into the European Union and has threatened to do so. Once again, we wrote about… the efforts of Germany and the imperialist governments to incite chaos and in fact drag Ukraine into a civil war … Comrades! from that time on we saw the danger of escalation of tensions and dragging Ukraine and Russia to war…. We mentioned this issue in the article we wrote on March 24, 2014…. I will read you two or three lines because it’s very important … to see how farsighted our party was in dealing with these issues: “The Tudeh Party of Iran believes that the only solution to this massive political crisis is to create the conditions in which constructive negotiations can take place on key contentious issues. We reject any solution that would exacerbate the possibility of a conflict between the Russian Federation and Ukraine and its Western allies … and lead to a military confrontation, war, and more bloodshed.” (All emphases added)
First, let’s look at the Comrade’s definition of the nature of the 2014 coup: In his view, it was merely a “coup d’état by right-wing forces in that country,” not an American coup using domestic Nazi and fascist forces — a fact for which the documents are available to everyone today. It is enough just to mention the text of the leaked audiotape of the talk between Victoria Nuland, the American coup plotter, and the then U.S. ambassador to Ukraine to see how far from historical facts Comrade “Speaker’s” analysis is. But the important point here is not simply the inaccuracy of this Comrade’s analysis of the nature of the 2014 coup. The fundamental issue is elsewhere. By removing the US role from the picture, Comrade “speaker” practically reduces all subsequent developments in the conflict from the level of a conflict between Russia and the US and its NATO allies, to the level of merely a conflict between two neighboring countries — Russia and Ukraine. In other words, for this Comrade, it is history that must adapt to his views, and not the other way around.
Second, even when the Comrade “Speaker” addresses the role of imperialism in this process, it is Germany, not the United States, who initiated all the sedations. In other words, the main cause of the crisis was Germany’s pressure on Ukraine to join the European Union, and not the U.S. pressure for Ukraine’s membership in NATO. In his speech, Comrade speaks of “the efforts of Germany and the other Imperialist states [which?] to create unrest and in fact drag Ukraine into civil war.” But here also the Comrade commits another distortion of history. Today everybody is aware of the years of efforts by Germany, France and the entire European Union to prevent a war in Ukraine. Despite U.S. pressure, France and Germany at least ostensibly signed the “Minsk I” and “Minsk II” agreements with Russia and the leaders of the Donbass Autonomous Republics, and despite their many sabotages, they cooperated with Russia for a while for its implementation. And it was the United States that violated the Minsk Agreement and eventually imposed its belligerent policy on the European Union. And today, it is the European Union that, in addition to the people of Ukraine, bears the brunt of damage caused by this US-induced war.
Third, Comrade “Speaker,” through his selective arrangement of premises, ultimately defines the nature of the Ukraine war as follows: “the conflict between the Russian Federation and Ukraine and its Western allies.” See how the two sides of the war are shifted in his characterization of it: this war is no longer a war of the US and European imperialist states with Russia, through using the Ukrainian people as cannon fodders, but a war between Russia and Ukraine, in which Ukraine’s humanitarian “Western allies” have come to the aid of a weak country that has been invaded by Russia! Do we see any difference between this assessment and the claims of the Biden administration and his State Department? Isn’t such a position the logical and inevitable consequence of shrinkage the role of “imperialism” in the analyses of the influential comrades in the leadership of the Tudeh Party of Iran? Can such analysis be considered Marxist-Leninist?
When Comrade “Speaker” says: “this position that our Party has taken today on Ukraine is not a new position at all,” he is quite right. It has been years since the influential comrades in the leadership of our Party have discarded the Leninist concept of imperialism from their analysis of the world and Iran, and have limited themselves to only mention it here and there in their literatures.
2. The Economic-Political System in Russia and the Nature of the Putin Government
Let’s see what the comrade “Speaker” has said about this:
It is interesting that all those who defend the catastrophe of the Putin government’s attack on Ukraine, at the same time admit that the current governing system in Russia is a capitalist and oligarchic system that is moving rapidly to become monopolistic. Well, this ruling oligarchy is mostly made up of Yeltsin’s aides and those who played a key role in destroying the socialist system in this country, and in recent decades … by pursuing different policies … prevented the Communists presence and their more eminent victory in the elections. (All emphases are added)
Following these remarks, comrade “Speaker” reads a long passage from the 18th Congress of the Communist Party of Russia’s correct assessment on the spread of poverty in that country:
“At the end of the 20th century, our country was forced to abandon socialist economic methods. As a result, heavy losses were inflicted on the people of the former Soviet Union. Russia now ranks 90th among 142 countries in the world in terms of living standards. This is the sixth year in a row that poverty has been on the rise in our country. One-fifth of the country’s population earns less than 15,000 rubles a month, i.e., less than $200 a month. This income is less than the cost of keeping a prisoner in Russia…. The lives of the vast majority of citizens are getting worse every day…. If during the Soviet era, Russia’s population doubled, now in last two years our country has lost a million of its citizens. Over the past 30 years, tens of millions of people have fallen victim to this condition. We strongly believe that the problems created by re-establishing the capitalist system in Russia can be resolved….”
And in the end, he concludes:
Well, comrades, with such an assessment of the disastrous situation that Putin’s capitalist government has created for the Russian working class and toiling people, which in, fact must be said it is very similar to the Islamic Republic [of Iran] and its leaders in terms of corruption and theft of the country’s assets. We are expected to accept this delusional idea that the corrupt capitalist system of the Putin government which once sought to join NATO, is today the flagbearer of the fight against fascism in Europe and the world, and it’s going to destroy NATO by invading Ukraine. Well, I think this is very similar to the assessment of some people, who refer to a person like Qasem Soleimani, who had a major role in suppressing the people and progressive forces in the region, as an anti-imperialist hero. They also claim that the anti-people jurisprudential regime [of Iran] is an anti-imperialist government and must be defended. And once upon a time, comrades must remember, that after the invasion and occupation of Kuwait by Iraq, and then the imperialist invasion Iraq, some people believed that we should go and support Saddam Hussein [regime] as an anti-imperialist government.
First and foremost, we should point out with regret that the comrade Party “Speaker,” in dealing with the Russian government, has chosen the propaganda rhetoric of U.S. imperialism and the Biden administration. Such phrases as “Putin’s government,” “Putin’s capitalist government,” “the corrupt capitalist system of the Putin government” are phrases that the US imperialist propaganda system has always used to demonize leaders of its targeted countries to justify to an assault on them. Apparently, for this comrade, such things as the Russian government, the cabinet, the Russian National Security Council, the Russian military, and even the Russian Duma (which, on the recommendation of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, approved the recognition of the independence of the Donbass Republics and Putin put into effect), are non-existent, and it is only Putin “the dictator,” who started this “aggressive war”!
And of course, according to this comrade, Putin is the person who, along with Yeltsin (apparently no Gorbachev exists for him), overthrew the socialist system in Russia and, along with his allied oligarchs, established a corrupt capitalist system in Russia that has been responsible for increasing the poverty referred to by the Russian Communist Party. And the proof of this claim, according to Comrade “Speaker” is the same resolution of the 18th Congress of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation! We ask this comrade, has this resolution even once mentioned Vladimir Putin and his role in creating such a situation? Does this resolution put him next to Yeltsin and holds him responsible for the dismantling of the socialist system in Russia? Weren’t Gorbachev and Yeltsin dismantling the Socialist order in Russia and didn’t Putin just inherit it from them? Did the same trend adopted by Yeltsin continue with the ascendance of Putin to power? If so, why did imperialism so adored Yeltsin but adopted a confrontational policy against Putin’s Russia?
A clear response to these false remarks of Comrade “Speaker” can be found in an interview given by Comrade Genadi Zuganov, leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, with Xinhua news agency in 2016:
First of all, I want to make a point: Our critique is not limited to separate aspects of the liberal socio-economic policy of Dmitry Medvedev’s cabinet. We reject this policy completely.… In practice, the economic bloc of Medvedev’s government has no regard for our national interest and only serves as an agency for the destructive influence of the West.
We think that a [liberal] policy like this is in stark contrast with the foreign policy pursued by the President [Putin]. The President’s policy is to defend Russia’s national-state interests against US hegemony on the world stage.
As far as Vladimir Putin is concerned, we have an equal working relationship. Along with that, the Communist Party has always pointed to the fact that the activities at the top level of the state power are quite contradictory. In other words, the upper echelon of the Russian leadership Is not homogeneous, and it consists of forces with different tendencies. In the context of this complex balance., the Russian Communist Party seeks to shift the balance in favor of the patriotic current. My private meetings with Putin and the cabinet members also serve this purpose.2 (Allemphases added)
Why does Comrade “Speaker” hide this “complex balance” in the composition of the Russian government’s leadership, and instead of attacking the liberal faction within the leadership, he attacks Putin and the Communist Party-favored “patriotic” current that, according to Comrade Zuganov is engaged in “defending the Russian national-state against American hegemony”? Aren’t these historical misinterpretations and distortions at the service of diminishing the role of imperialism and weakening the anti-imperialist resistance?
And if we assume that this was in 2016, and that the Russia’s military operation in 2022 was in the interests of the “pro-Putin oligarchs,” we would like to draw the attention of our comrades to this part of the Russian Communist Party’s recent response to the Greek Communist Party:
Seeking to prove that the war is being waged in the interests of the Russian bourgeoisie, in order to seize Ukraine’s natural resources and industrial potential, our comrades pluck Lenin’s words about the nature of wars out of their historical context….
We do not have the slightest sympathy for those who have been plundering Russia for three decades and are now deprived of their loot. We merely want to emphasize that the Russian oligarchy was not only not interested in military operations, but has suffered from it. By refusing to back this operation, big business has lost not only its property and money, but its influence over Russia’s ruling elite.
Note which class forces were the fiercest opponents of Russian military operation in Ukraine. Tese were above all big monopoly capital, its political representatives in liberal milieu, and their “creative” lackeys among the so-called intelligencia.3
Comrade “Speaker,” while reading an important part of the resolution of the Russian Communist Party on the spread of poverty and economic problems that Russian capitalism is facing — which we also agree with — has ignored an important point mentioned in this resolution, because referring to it would nullify all his anti-Putin arguments: “For the sixth consecutive year, poverty has been on the rise in our country,” says the resolution. Why didn’t those comrades say that poverty had been on the rise throughout the Putin era? The key to understanding this lies in what the Comrade, in order to downplay the role of imperialism, and especially the role of US imperialism in creating such a situation in Russia, has refused to even mention, namely, the deadly imperialist sanctions against Russia since 2014 (i.e., eight years ago). In order to avoid making baseless claims, allow us to bring here a part of the list of sanctions (only in 2014 and 2015) from a document we recently published, which included an analysis of the Cold War with Russia (with apologies for its length):
Sanctions against Russia expanded sharply in the following months of 2014. Following the escalation of the civil war in Donbas, on July 17, 2014, the United States imposed sanctions on Russian energy company Novatek and two Russian banks, and called on the European Union to join the sanctions. On July 24, Canada imposed sanctions on Russian military, energy and financial institutions. On July 25, the European Union imposed sanctions on Russia and 15 other entities, and on July 30, it added eight individuals and three entities to its sanctions list. A day later, Germany launched a third wave of sanctions by adding military industries, banning equipment for Russia’s oil industry, and barring Russia from entering European financial markets. On August 12, 2014, Norway imposed sanctions beyond those of the European Union and the United States, and on August 14, Switzerland extended its sanctions against Russia. On September 11, Obama announced new sanctions against Russia’s financial, energy, and defense sectors, and a day later, his administration announced Russia’s largest bank, Saberbank, a major arms company, and Rostek, which is in charge of oil exploration in the Arctic for six Russian petroleum corporations — Gazprom, Gazprom Naft, Lukoil, Surgutneftagas and Rosneft —with the aim of severing their ties with Western oil companies, Mobil and British Petroleum. On September 24, Japan declared invalid the securities of five Russian banks — “Saberbank,” “VTB,” “Gazprom Bank,” “Rusalkhoz Bank,” and “Development Bank” (WBB). — and imposed stricter restrictions on the export of defense equipment to Russia. On December 18, the European Union banned all investment in Crimea; Canceled its agreement with oil and gas exploration in the Black Sea; and banned the purchase of land and real estate in the Crimea by European companies. The last embargo in 2014 was imposed by the US government on December 19, under which Obama issued an executive order banning the export of American goods to Crimea.
The expansion of sanctions continued in 2015. On February 16, 2015, the European Union increased the list of sanctions to 151 individuals and 37 Russian institutions, and Australia immediately announced that it would comply with the new EU sanctions. On February 18, Canada sanctioned 37 Russian citizens and 17 other entities, including Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov and Rosneft, and in June added three individuals and 14 entities including Gazprom. Finally, on September 2, 2015, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine passed a resolution officially declaring Russia an enemy of Ukraine, and subsequently imposed sanctions on 388 citizens and 105 Russian companies and other institutions; and on September 16, President Petro Poroshenko by a decree added 400 people and 90 other companies to the list. In June 2015, the Bo’s thinktank in the UK reported that the sanctions imposed thus far had hurt the economies of Western countries, especially European countries, by more than $700 billion.
The astronomical scale and repetitious nature of these series of sanctions in less than two years has shown that the issue of imperialist states is not just Ukraine, but the real goal of the United States and its allies is to break the back of the Russian government economically, complete its military blockade by Ukraine’s NATO membership, and ultimately prevent its emergence as another global competitor like China — the same goal as stated in the “Project for the New American Century.”4
It is only by ignoring these undeniable historical facts that Comrade Party “Speaker” can claim that today Putin has falsely become the “flag-bearer of the struggle against fascism in Europe and the world,” and that his real goal is to “destroy NATO through invading Ukraine.” In other words, in his opinion, it is NATO that is being threatened by Russia, not the other way around! We see how, in the initial part of this Comrade’s speech, the role of US imperialism and the Nazis and fascists it supports is removed from the domain of historical analysis, and then, in the second part, not only is the role of US imperialism and NATO removed from the analysis, but NATO itself becomes one of the victims of Russia’s “military aggression,” as its life is being endangered by Russian entry into Ukraine! In this manner, we must acknowledge NATO’s right to flood Ukraine with weapons and train Ukrainian fascists as an act of preventing its own “destruction.”!
Finally, Comrade “Speaker’s” side-tracks — his condemnation of our defense of Qassem Soleimani’s anti-imperialist actions and our denunciation of his assassination; his effort to equate the Russian government with the government of the Islamic Republic; and his equalizing of the Russian government’s special operations in Ukraine with Saddam Hussein’s occupation of Kuwait — is nothing but a failed attempt to divert attention and cover up the emptiness of his argument. With these remarks, it seems that this Comrade even opposes the condemnation of the illegal assassinations of fighters such as Qassem Soleimani by the CIA, and similarly rejects the condemnation of the “imperialist invasion of Iraq,” on the grounds that, apparently, Saddam Hussein, too, was a “dictator” like Putin! Naturally, when imperialism is removed from analysis, all that remains is to fight the ruling “dictators” at the national level: Our main task is to fight against “dictators,” let imperialism mind its own business!
3. Preemptive War
In this part of his speech, Comrade “Speaker” of the Party continues to distort history. And this time, in order to justify his non-Leninist positions, he first openly distorts the policies of Lenin and Stalin in the two world wars, and then, after blaming Putin, rather than imperialist expansionism, for “re-strengthening” the “weakened” NATO, he concludes that it is better not to anger NATO because it will make the situation worse!
Let’s see what Comrade “Speaker” has said in this section:
Some also claim that this was a preemptive war. In fact, Russia … attacked Ukraine in order to prevent being attacked by NATO, and they give examples of world wars that are sometimes historically incorrect….
I will make a brief reference here to two world wars, one to Lenin’s, and one to Stalin’s approach to Hitler, both of which are in fact completely refute such claims. As we know, World War I began in 1914, and, well, the Tsarist government of Russia was part of that war of the capitalist countries…. With the victory of the October Revolution led by the Bolsheviks and Lenin, the new government immediately called for an end to the war and negotiations, and … on March 3, 1918, they signed the Brest Peace Treaty with Germany, based on which, in fact, important parts of Russian territory at that time … were handed over to the German government…. And now we see that Putin is criticizing Lenin’s policy of achieving peace to justifying the invasion of Ukraine.
As for World War II, which friends say was an example of a preemptive war, they should know that the Soviet government at that time, at the beginning of World War II, … not only refused to enter the war, but in fact in the same year, on August 23, 1933, signed a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany. In other words, Soviet Union refused to enter that inter-imperialist war until Germany attacked the USSR…. Well, I do not know how these two examples can be used as examples of preemtive war. It is exactly the opposite, that is, Russia invaded Ukraine, but Stalin refused to go to war with Nazi Germany until Germany invaded. And Lenin did the same.
And, I do not know how those who raise these issues cannot see that this war … has helped the arms monopolies, the capitalist monopolies. And, with regard to the destruction of the NATO, which was in a very weak state during the Trump administration because of its policy of questioning the necessity of NATO and why it should exist at all, now thanks to Putin government’s gift of Ukraine war, which was in fact a blessing [for the alliance], the countries that were under pressure all these years to join NATO — countries like Finland, Sweden, Norway, etc. — are today applying to join NATO…. These are real issues before us, not our subjective thoughts about how to actually interpret and analyze this war.
First, let us consider this Comrade’s misunderstanding of the policies of Lenin and Stalin in the two world wars. Here, hiding behind the names of Lenin and Stalin, Comrade “Speaker” misrepresents the policies of the two leaders of the world Communist movement, and turns pacifism and making concessions to imperialism for the purpose of “keeping peace” into a strategic principle for the Communists. But a look at history on the basis of “real issues before us, not our subjective thoughts” shows that Lenin and Stalin never had such an intention in signing the peace treaties with Germany at the beginning of the two wars.
In the case of the First World War and the Brest-Litovsk Treaty, anyone with the slightest knowledge of the Russian history and the struggles of Lenin and the Bolsheviks knows that signing the Brest-Litovsk treaty was not due to the Communists’ abstract, pacifist love for peace, but because the Workers’ Social Democratic Party of Russia (Bolsheviks), on the basis of a clear analysis of the specific conditions of the day, and only to preserve the very existence of the Socialist State, signed such a treaty. And in this regard, nothing is more telling than the explanation of the Party leadership itself, which was published in the February 26, 1918 issue of Pravda:
The Organization Bureau of the Central Committee deems it necessary to explain to you the reasons for the Central Committee to agree to the terms proposed by Germany ….
The inescapable necessity of signing an occupying peace treaty with Germany, which is unimaginably heavy at the present moment (February 24, 1918), comes first of all because we do not have an army and we cannot defend ourselves ….
From the point of view of defending the homeland, one should not fight when one does not have an army and the enemy is fully armed and well prepared.
The Soviet Socialist Republic should not be forced to fight…. This will be adventurism. But if this war ends with even the costliest peace, and German imperialism later wants to wage an offensive war against Russia, then most of the Soviets … will support the war ….
If it is not possible to seize the opportunity to prepare for new battles even with the signing of a peace treaty, our Party must always point to the need to mobilize all forces as much as possible for open resistance….5 (All emphases added)
We see how, contrary to the misinterpretation of Comrade “Speaker,” the Brest peace treaty and the concessions to German imperialism by the Bolsheviks were made not for the abstract purpose of defending “peace,” but, as the Party leadership explains, “to seize the opportunity to prepare for new battles.” It is even stressed that if Germany violated the treaty, then they “will support the war.” It is clear that such a Leninist stance has nothing to do with this comrade’s pacifist understanding.
This Comrade has a similar misunderstanding of the Soviet policy in World War II. Again, those who have studied the history of the Soviet Union are well aware that here, too, “seizing the opportunity to prepare for new battles” was the main reason for the signing of the peace treaty with Germany, not the pacifist love of Communists for “peace.” The fact is that the Soviet leadership had predicted this ten years before the German invasion in 1941, and was preparing the country for such an attack (and not for signing a peace treaty) by implementing a program of “rapid industrial growth.” Suffice it to note Stalin’s warning in the early stages of the program, at the 1931 Conference of the Managers of the Socialist Industries of the Soviet Union:
One feature of the history of old Russia was the continual beatings she suffered for falling behind. She was beaten by the Mongol Khans. She was beaten by the Turkish beys. She was beaten by the Swedish feudal lords. She was beaten by the Polish and Lithuanian gentry. She was beaten by British and French capitalists. She was beaten by the Japanese barons. All beat her — for her backwardness: for military backwardness, for cultural backwardness, for political backwardness, for industrial backwardness, for agricultural backwardness…. Do you want our socialist fatherland to be beaten and lose its independence? If you do not want this you must put an end to its backwardness in the shortest possible time…. We are fifty or a hundred years behind the advanced countries. We must make good this distance in ten years. Either we do it, or they crush us.6
Reality confirmed Stalin’s prediction. A little over ten years after this historic prediction, in 1941, Hitler’s Germany invaded the Soviet Union to destroy the Socialist State. And it was only due to the “rapid industrial growth” program that the Soviet Union was able to build the necessary economic infrastructure to defeat the invading army of Hitler’s Germany, defend socialism, and save the people of the world from the danger of fascism. In the meantime, the only reason for signing a peace treaty with Germany was that, with the outbreak of World War II in 1939 and the imminent threat of a German invasion, the Soviet Union needed to buy time to relocate its industries, especially its military industries, from the western parts of its territory to the eastern parts of the country in order to to keep them out of reach of the German army. This policy of Lenin, too, which had no purpose other than to prepare for war, has nothing in common with the pacifist position of the Comrade “Speaker” of the Party.
But the most surprising claim of the Comrade “Speaker” is that “Russia invaded Ukraine [but] … Stalin refused to go to war with Nazi Germany until Germany invaded that country.” If it is possible to pour dirt on a hundred-year-old history and make it look different, such a thing is not possible in the case of the contemporary history that is unfolding before everyone’s eyes. This Comrade talks as if the war in Ukraine started with the arrival of the Russian military in Ukraine, and before that Ukraine was in peace and tranquility: as if no US-fascist coup had taken place in Ukraine eight years ago; Russian citizens in Odessa had not been massacred; Donbass had not been bombed for eight years; 14,000 Russian nationals had not been killed; 150,000 soldiers, including fascist battalions like Azov, were not preparing for a full-scale attack on Donbass to massacre Russians and other pro-independence forces; Ukraine had not called for NATO membership and the deployment of nuclear weapons on its own soil; and there had been no imperialist economic war using deadly sanctions against Russia in the past eight years. We have to ask this Comrade, where have you been during the past eight years? And why are you removing these historical facts from your own historical narrative?
But the gist of all Comrade “Speaker’s” selective premises and distortions lies in this part of his speech:
I do not know how those who raise these issues cannot see that this war … has helped the arms monopolies, the capitalist monopolies. And in fact, with regard to the destruction of the NATO alliance, which was in a very weak state during the Trump administration … now thanks to Putin government’s gift of Ukraine war, which was in fact a blessing [for the alliance], the countries that were under pressure all these years to join NATO — countries like Finland, Sweden, Norway, etc. — are today applying to join NATO….
Aside from the baseless claim that NATO was weakened under Trump, let’s see what such statements mean in practice: Russia’s resistance to NATO’s expansion toward its borders and the war in Ukraine have made matters worse. This war has helped both the arms monopolies and the countries that have not yet joined NATO, and as a result, such resistance is not justified.
First, we all know that American military-industrial monopolies were formed and strengthened first during World War II against Nazism and Fascism and then during the Liberation War of the Vietnamese people against US imperialism. Now, if we accept the arguments of Comrade “Speaker,” we must admit that both World War II against fascism and the struggles of the Vietnamese people against US imperialism were not justified, as both of them helped to strengthen arms monopolies! And secondly, as far as the readiness of some countries to join NATO is concerned, it must be said that this Comrade has forgotten history again. US imperialism has made 13 countries members of NATO since the dismantling of the socialist camp, and it has never needed any excuse for it, including a reaction from Russia. The imperialist push to deploy NATO on Russia’s borders stems from its strategic plans for the 21st century world, and nothing else.
The fundamental question that arises here is whether we should fight this NATO expansion or give up resistance in order to avoid “creating an excuse for imperialism.” As for the Party “Speaker,” it appears that he supports the latter option. In other words, he is saying: Resistance no resistance, because it only strengthens imperialism and the arms monopolies, and pushes other countries into NATO membership. We ask: Is this anything other than an open invitation to passivism in the face of imperialist drive for domination? And is this really our 80-year-old anti-imperialist and anti-fascist Tudeh Party of Iran that is uttering such words?
4. The Stance of the Communist-Workers’ Movement and the Positions of the Tudeh Party of Iran
Here is an excerpt from what Comrade “Speaker” said:
The fact is that a large part of the world workers’ and communist movement, like the Tudeh Party of Iran, while … strongly condemning the conspiracies of global imperialism and NATO …, condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine ….
Look, except for the Russian Communist Party and a few other small parties … no … major communist-workers’ party in the world has defended the Russian invasion of Ukraine…. In the case of, well, our Russian comrades, in fact, in our opinion, they kind of gave in … to the nationalism fueled by the media under the control of the Putin government, only to the detriment of the credibility of the Russian communists in Russia itself and in the world communist-workers’ movement…. Comrades know that … our Party, too, … at some point [in the past] defended the Imam’s [Khomeni’s] line, etc. … to the detriment of our Party, to the detriment of the labor and communist movement of Iran, [for which] … we are still facing consequences….
Even [for] those who support this war in some way, it is not clear … what its end game is. That is, should Russia be supported, for example, until it takes over all of Ukraine and installed a so-called puppet government for Putin? Is this war like the … policy we had with Iraq, the policy of war until victory? And given that … Russian forces have not been able to achieve a real victory very quickly and take over a major part of Ukraine, and this war has become a war of attrition, it will have very deadly consequences for even the workers’ and communist movement in Russia itself….
Our Party … emphasizes this point that the only way to end the current dangerous crisis is through direct, transparent negotiations. And the Party hopes that the pro-peace forces will do their best to return Ukraine and Russia to the path of diplomacy and constructive dialogue…. Beating the drum of war, comrades, is solely in the interests of global imperialism and the aggressive NATO pact, and to the detriment of the world’s toilers. (All emphases added)
Our Comrade has misrepresented the reality from the very first sentence. A somewhat more accurate form of representation of reality would have been: “The majority of the communist movement, while condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, strongly condemned the conspiracies of global imperialism and NATO.” We ask everyone to refer to the statements of the fraternal parties and read them again one by one, to see which aspect of reality is emphasized in their statements: the Russian invasion of Ukraine or the conspiracies of imperialism? Comrade “Speaker” claims that the positions of all these parties were “like those of the Tudeh Party of Iran.” It is enough to listen to this Comrade’s half-hour talk and ask him which one of the parties, in unison with him, has devoted 90% of its statement to bashing Russia and Putin and diminishing the role of imperialism and the fascists?
Comrade “Speaker” goes a step further and claims that “except for the Russian Communist Party and a few other small parties … no … major Communist-workers’ party in the world has defended Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.” With this, Comrade “Speaker” distorts history once again: Is the Chinese Communist Party one of these “few other small parties”? Did not the Chinese government, under the leadership of the world’s largest Communist Party, side with Russia on the Ukraine issue? Didn’t China and Russia get even closer after the start of the war in Ukraine? Is the Chinese Communist Party, like Comrade “Speaker” of the Tudeh Party of Iran, constantly bashing Russia in this crucial battle that affects all of humanity? Which part of this statement of Comrade “Speaker” corresponds to reality?
In addition, didn’t 35 countries — including such major countries as China, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, South Africa, and other countries opposed to imperialism — abstain from voting in favor of the UN General Assembly resolution on condemning Russia’s actions in Ukraine? And weren’t 11 other countries, including Venezuela, deliberately absent to avoid further problems with the United States? And if the voting at the UN General Assembly had been held in secret and the countries were not worried about US retaliation for their negative vote, would not the number of dissenting votes have been much higher? Is our measure of the state of the world affairs today limited to the views of a few European Eurocommunist parties?
This comrade, after all these false claims, takes an insulting step and accuses the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Lenin’s Party, of falling into the trap of “nationalism fueled by the media under the control of the Putin government”! That is, the Russian Communist Party, which has been the flag-bearer of proletarian internationalism since 1917, has now been deceived by a handful of Russian nationalists, and that is the reason for its defense of Putin and his policies! Has this Party, which established the first Soviet State through fighting against the nationalism of the White Russians, forgotten what nationalism is today? Is patriotism of the proletariat the same as bourgeois nationalism in the eyes of Comrade “Speaker”? We will never forget that this Comrade had once expressed the same insulting attitude against the previous leadership of our own Party and had claimed that the then experienced and capable leadership of our Party was deceived by Khomeini! And now, he claims that what is happening to the people and communists of Iran today is due to the “defense of the Imam’s line” by that leadership. Apparently, for him, the current situation in Iran has nothing to do with the conspiracies of imperialism and the abandonment of the objectives of our people’s revolution by the leadership of the Islamic Republic!
Comrade “Speaker” then asks: Even [for] those who support this war in some way, it is not clear … what its end game is. That is, should Russia be supported, for example, until it takes over all of Ukraine and installs a so-called puppet government for Putin? Here, Comrade “Speaker” commits sophistry in two instances:
First, he turns support for “Russia” into support for “war,” and in one sentence shifts the nature of the debate from a political debate on the developments in Ukraine to a moral-humanitarian issue of war and peace, and after accusing the supporters of Russia’s right to self-defense of being “war-mongers,” marches triumphantly out of the debate and instructs us that: “Beating the drum of war, comrades, is only in the interests of global imperialism and the aggressive NATO pact, and to the detriment of the world’s toilers.” We ask this Comrade: Who has defended the “war” in the middle of all this? If this is your argument, then all those who defended the Allies against fascism in World War II were also “war-mongers.” And our Party, which went to the fronts and made huge sacrifices to drive Iraqi forces out of Iran and liberate the city of Khorramshahr, was also a “war-monger”!
Second, this Comrade consciously substitutes his own subjective, self-made objectives for the objectives of the Russian operations in Ukraine, and then sarcastically rejects his own self-made objectives of “taking over all of Ukraine” and installing “a puppet government for Putin” in that country. Again, we ask our Comrade: Where have such goals been announced by the Russian government? Aren’t these the accusations that the US government is inciting in its propaganda? And has not the Russian government repeatedly denied such allegations? Even if we do not want to rely on the official positions announced by the Russian government, do the military tactics of the Russian operation in Ukraine indicate the intention to “taking over all of Ukraine” or “installing a puppet government for Putin” in Kiev? If not, what is the purpose of repeating the false accusations of imperialism about Russia’s intentions in this war?
And finally, we come to the comrade’s ahistorical generalization that “the only way to end the current dangerous crisis is through direct, transparent negotiations.” But it is not only you saying this, the Russian government has been saying this for years and has been working to make it happen. And it has been US imperialism that has refused to negotiate all this time and has even deliberately trampled upon the outcome of the successful Minsk negotiations. Yes, this war must end through “direct, transparent negotiations.” But why don’t you yourself openly state who refuses to participate in negotiations? And why don’t you openly condemn the main “war-monger”?
In the end, we have to ask a question that has arisen in our minds because of this Comrade’s iterations: Now that, whether we like it or not, this war has begun, on which side of this historic battle, which will determine the future course of the whole humanity, and upon which the arrival of non-hegemonic, multipolar world depends, does the Comrade “Speaker” of the Party stand?
1. Evaluation of “10 Mehr” from the “Draft Documents of the Seventh Congress” – Part 2, “10 Mehr” website, 24 November 2021. https://10mehr.com/maghaleh/03091400/3947
2. “Zuganov: Russia’s Leadership is not Homogeneous,” Zuganov’s interview with Xinhua News Agency, Theoretical Journal of Political Enlightenment, affiliated with the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, No. 4, 2016. 10Mehr website, November 13, 2016. https://10mehr.com/maghaleh/23081395/2008
3. “Russia is Fighting Neo-Nazism in Ukraine: Comments on the Article of the International Department of CC KKE and the Stance of CPRF,” International Department of the CC CPRF, web site of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. https://cprf.ru/2022/05/in-ukraine-russia-is-fighting-neo-nazism/
4. “Evaluation of 10Mehr of the “Draft Documents of the Seventh Congress” — Part 4, 10Mehr website, March 23, 2022. https://10mehr.com/maghaleh/03011401/4123
5. “The Position of the Central Committee of the Russian Social-Democratic Workers’ Party (Bolsheviks) on the Issue of Separate and Additional Peace,” Lenin Selected Works in Twelve Volumes, Progress Publications, Volume 7, pp. 136-136.
6. Joseph Stalin, “The Duties of Economic Managers,” Speech at the First National Conference of Socialist Industry Managers, February 14, 1931, in Stalin, Leninism: Excerpts, International Publishers, New York, 1942, pp. 1999-200.