Return of the Gendarme

April 24, 2014

In this guest post, KIRILL BUKETOV of the Global Labour Institute in Geneva comments on the nature of Russian imperialism. (Note: a gendarmerie is a military force that carries out police duties among civilian populations.)

Stalinists of all hues and colours are falling over themselves to praise Russia’s course of action in Ukraine as an attempt to restore the Soviet Union, or create an altogether new

The gendarme’s logic at work: “Punish, and let others beware”. This was the motto of the 19th century Russian emperors when they sent punitive troops to Europe

The gendarme’s logic at work: “Punish, and let others beware”. This was the motto of the 19th century Russian emperors when they sent punitive troops to Europe

entity capable of opposing the might of the USA and the imperialism of western Europe. Their arguments smack of nothing but sheer stupidity.

What Vladimir Putin has done in south eastern Ukraine simply put Russia back some 200 years and restored the country’s status as the “gendarme of Europe” – which the Russian Empire achieved back in the 19th century after sending a 140,000-strong punitive corps to crush the democratic revolution of 1848-1849 in Hungary.

The ruling elites of the West and the East try to use the conflict to their benefit. While western imperialism is quite pragmatic, motivated by the desire to secure its control over resources, the rationale of Russian Read the rest of this entry »

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Kazakhstan: most jailed oil workers now released, but truth about massacre still hidden

April 22, 2014

Two more of the oil workers jailed after the 2011 strikes in Kazakhstan have been released, and two more transferred from prison to colony-settlements.

Two workers from Zhanaozen, the centre of the strike movement – Kanat Zhusipbaev and Shabdal Utkilov – are still behind bars. Three more, from the nearby settlement of Shetpe, are presumed to be in prison and are due for release this year or next.

The reduction of the prisoners’ sentences comes after an international campaign by trades unionists, during which Kazakh embassies across the world were picketed and 11,000 letters sent to Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev. The seven-month strike Read the rest of this entry »


Workers of Donbass divided by Kremlin-backed violence

April 15, 2014

The Russian state is encouraging, and possibly directly perpetrating, the violence tearing apart working-class communities in eastern Ukraine – violence which seems likely to escalate, after the launch of an armed attack on the separatists today by the Kyiv government. Working-class consciousness is being “eaten away and crushed by nationalism”, D., a radical left activist writes from eastern Ukraine on this site.

Vladimir Putin’s military adventures in Crimea and support for separatists are aimed at destabilising the pro-western government in Kyiv, according to the western media. But that’s not the Kremlin’s only target. Right now, D. says, it is the people of Donetsk and Lugansk – communities that grew up on Read the rest of this entry »