CP of India, Stop the War – Engage in Dialogue

3/3/22 3:20 PM
  • India, Communist Party of India 2022 - No to the imperialist war in Ukraine! En Asia Communist and workers' parties

D Raja, General Secretary, CPI

The events in Ukraine have occupied the center-stage on the world platform for now. Russian military action in major Ukrainian cities and heated exchanges from both the sides indicate that this can blow into a full-scale war with belligerents coming from regions far away from the war theater in Ukraine. In India too, people are expressing their apprehensions regarding the conflict. In the intertwined world we live in, it is impossible for us to remain insulated from this clash between geopolitical forces of this magnitude. Thus, it is imperative for us to look back and trace the roots of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and what position we should take.

In the aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution, Lenin strongly advocated for national self-determination in the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The constitution of the USSR recognized this diversity and contained provisions for the harmonious existence of different ethnicities in the USSR, including the right to secede from the Union. The Soviet victory over Nazis in the Second World War and socialism’s appeal all over the world alarmed the forces of capitalism in Washington and London. Western imperialist anxieties to check the liberating march of socialism resulted in a military alliance in the context of the Cold War, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), formed in 1949. Since its inception, NATO’s role has been to maintain a strong military presence in Europe and it has functioned as an instrument of US foreign and defense policies with a primary focus on containing the Soviet Union and its socialist allies.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, NATO lost the reason of its existence but continued to operate and even expand. This ran contrary to assurances given to Soviet leadership in 1990 and 1991 about NATO not expanding eastward and threatening Russian security. United States military-industrial complex greatly benefitted from NATO’s expansion to Eastern Europe with one or the other perceived security threat opening doors for membership and increasing defense expenditures. NATO’s initial membership was 12 but it has increased to 30 with 28 member states in Europe. By 2020, NATO had extended its membership to all the members of the former Warsaw Pact, except Russia. The expansion of NATO to Russian borders and deployment of long-range missiles in Poland clearly indicates that the new purpose for NATO is to act as the agent of US hegemony in Europe and keeping Russia in check. Russian reservations around the expansion of NATO are genuine and have been expressed by Russian leadership for at least two decades now.

The current conflict stems from the alleged mistreatment of Russian speaking minorities in the eastern regions of Ukraine and continued interference of the United States in the affairs of the region. The ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych after the US-backed Euromaidan protests is one example. Joint military drills with Ukrainian Armed Forces, military training and sophisticated weaponry reached Ukraine in the last decade have worked to provoke Russia. Russian concerns in the Donbas region as enshrined in the Minsk Protocol were not adequately addressed by Ukrainian authorities. Even after Russia repeatedly seeking a guarantee to not expand eastward, NATO has continued with its expansion and is closely working with Ukraine and Georgia, right next to Russian borders. All these created apprehensions in Russia and resulted in military action in Ukraine, exposing the NATO-backed stability of Europe and implicating all the regions of the world.

In the past, NATO has shamelessly overseen some of the worst humanitarian catastrophes in history like the invasion of Yugoslavia or Iraq. They have no moral grounds or authority to question Russian aggression. On the other hand, Russian response to NATO’s provocations has also been disproportionate. The full-blown attack has breached the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and is in complete violation of international law. After the disintegration of the USSR, capitalist oligarchies have come to control the state and the country has turned authoritarian. There is some indication of Russia aspiring to become a regional hegemon and Putin wanting to restore a ‘Greater Russia’. These aspirations can destabilize the region further but certainly, NATO is not the solution to this. NATO and Russian oligarchs have plunged the region into turmoil with heavy loss of life and property being reported on a daily basis. Working people are dying on both the sides while the War-Industry fills its coffers. Therefore, Russia should halt its operations in Ukraine and come to dialogue. Though talks between Russia and Ukraine have not yielded anything concrete yet but it should be underlined that this conflict can only be resolved by getting together on tables, without outside interference. The war must end and peace should prevail in the region.

As for us in India, our primary concern is the evacuation of our citizens, primarily students from the conflict zone. The Indian government has not acted in time and in consultation with the belligerents resulting in great hardships and sufferings for people stranded. The advisories that were issued were not clear and conflictual. Lack of foresight on the government’s part resulted in the tragic death of Naveen Shekharappa, an Indian student in Kharkiv. Still, the Prime Minister is shamelessly trying to use the conflict in the poll-bound state of Uttar Pradesh. During the Iraq War, our national carrier Air India evacuated more than 1,70,000 of our people successfully, but that being sold to private hands, we have an industry that is trying to profit from this crisis. Despite the habitual Vishwaguru chest-thumping of the BJP over the last few years, India has lost much of its prestige and standing in global affairs. The Modi government has hopelessly towed the American line at the cost of peaceful relations with other countries on a non-aligned basis. Still, India should try for a peaceful settlement of the conflict by mediating between the belligerents though this seems far-fetched since everything is an election issue for the BJP and the Prime Minister.

War will not bring any solution and it should be stopped forthwith. We appeal for peace and end of war otherwise it is likely to blow up into a World War with use of nuclear weapons.





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