Paul comments on the events of 2014, the role of Zelenskyy, the deception of humanitarian intervention, and dying and killing for a nationalism that serves the oligarchs. Paul Jay is interviewed by Colin Bruce Anthes on theAnalysis.news.
Colin Bruce Anthes
Welcome back to theAnalysis.news. I’m Colin Bruce Anthes, and this is part two of my conversation with Paul Jay on the Russia-Ukraine war. Welcome back to our conversation with Paul Jay about the Russia-Ukraine crisis within the context of global capital and imperialism.
Something I wanted to talk to you about that you were mentioning in part one was [Volodymyr] Zelenskyy not necessarily being the angel figure that he has been presented as in a lot of the mainstream media. I wanted here to try and parse out the difference between being pro-war against Russia and being pro-Ukraine. My understanding is that a part of the reason Zelenskyy was elected in the first place was he had promised a peaceful negotiation with Russia and then was seen thereafter to be capitulating on some of those promises in order to appease some of the more right-wing and even far right-wing forces in Ukraine. Can you comment on where you see Zelenskyy’s position in all of this? What has his behavior been? What is a pro-Ukrainian citizen position at this moment?
Well, again, let me say I’m no expert on Ukrainian politics. I’ve talked to Ukrainian guests, and I’ve talked to Russian guests. I’ve been to Ukraine once, but it was years ago. In fact, part of my family comes from Ukraine. My great-grandparents emigrated from a little town outside of Kyiv, but that doesn’t mean I know anything particular.
Again, as someone who interviews people, I’ll tell you my understanding of it. First of all, the fact that this Jewish guy gets elected in Ukraine that has such a history of antisemitism says something positive about the Ukrainian people. I don’t think that should be diminished. I think, as I understand it, in the last elections, the Nazis who did run some candidates, not a single one, got elected. My understanding is they do play an outsized role in Ukrainian politics or at least did in alliance with the far-right sections of the Ukrainian oligarchy, including a TV channel that has outright racist, anti-Russian propaganda on it.
It’s my understanding that before the Russian Revolution, the far-right of Ukraine was actually quite pro-czar, and the far-right liked the Russian Orthodox Church and felt itself, to a large extent, connected to Russian nationalism but hated the Bolshevik Revolution. The Ukrainian Right went from being quite sympathetic to Russia under the Czar to then being very anti-Soviet, thus anti-Russian.
At any rate, the underlying issue, again, as I understand it, is that the area of Donbass and this section of the Eastern Ukraine industrial base was very dependent on cheap energy from Russia. I’m talking modern times here. So you have a split in the Ukrainian oligarchy. A section of the oligarchy wanted to be closer, and this is more represented in Western Ukraine, wanted to be closer to the E.U., wanted to be open to the West European markets, and sell cheap labor into the E.U. more easily. Whereas the East needed this cheap Russian energy, and you get this division.
As explained to me by Ukrainians, that’s an important factor in the split in the Ukrainian oligarchy. You’ve had this split, which is one section wants to exploit and plunder the Ukrainian people in alliance with the West, and one section wants to plunder and exploit the Ukrainian people and resources in alliance with Russia. Let’s never forget that this is all about a corrupt oligarchy that, in many ways, as we talked about in the previous segment, emerges out of the chaos of the ’90s and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Again, an oligarchy nurtured, supported, and given well wishes, money, arms, whatever, by the West and the United States, but also Western Europe gets very involved.
I have to also say, in the West’s support for the former Soviet republics, there’s also competition. I made a film in Albania in ’91, and I interviewed a guy who used to be the secretary— not first secretary, a secretary to the Central Committee. He used to actually work directly with Ramiz Alia, who took over after Enver Hoxha. As things are starting to come apart in Albania because they lost their economic deal with East Germany, they used to have barter deals, and then it became cash, but they didn’t have any.
There’s a meeting between Ramiz Alia and the U.S. Ambassador. I think it is probably the Ambassador from Rome or an undersecretary. I’m not sure because I don’t think, at that point, there were diplomatic relations. At any rate, there’s a conversation with the American who says, we will help you. We will recognize the results of your elections. We’ll give you some economic support for transitioning to a more reformed open economy but on one condition— only us and not the Germans. There was a big competition for who was going to carve up the spoils of what was left in the wreckage of the Soviet Union.
So none of this is straightforward. The only thing straightforward is that every capitalist class of every country does everything it can to enrich itself. That’s the only thing straightforward here. Then it gets more complicated.
So this very corrupt Ukrainian oligarchy, in 2014, the Russian section of the oligarchy had the presidency. The people grew to hate him because he represented this corrupt oligarchy. People had this dream that getting closer to the E.U. would bring heaven. It’s the same thing people used to believe when these places were socialist countries.
When I made this Albanian film, this would have been in 1990 or something; I interviewed a group of high school students, about 15-20 of them. The film is on my website, by the way. It’s called Albanian Journey: End of an Era in the documentary section. Anyway, I asked this group of about 10-15 students, and I said, what’s your vision of the West? One kid says, well, as far as we know it, we know it’s not paradise, but we don’t know what it lacks from paradise.
For decades, they believed the West was freedom, liberty, and richness. In fact, when the Albanians had this first open election, the guy who was running for president for the Democracy Party, the pro-American guy whose name escapes me right now. He was actually campaigning on television, saying, I’ve just been to Washington, and I’ve been given a blank check. He literally says this, if you vote for me against the communists, we will have whatever we want. I can fill in the number on the check. Well, people believed that. It’s easy to understand that in more recent times, a lot of people in the Western part of Ukraine, and not only the West, but there was certainly support for joining the E.U. In the East, too. Amongst the population, it wasn’t so straightforward. Lots of Russian-speaking people wanted to join the E.U. It’s not surprising, after decades and decades of dreaming about the West. Not only that, but if you were living in Ukraine, would you like to be in the E.U., imagining, of course, you’re going to be a Norway or Germany or something like that? They don’t want to look at Greece, where the European banks destroyed Greece. Or do you want to be in Russia under a Putin autocracy? I understand why lots of people want to be in the E.U. Whatever it is, whether they’re right or they’re wrong, it’s their decision.
At any rate, Zelenskyy, as far as I can make out, does represent a somewhat more democratic— he is elected through a legitimate— as any of these elections are legitimate; it’s legitimate. It’s certainly no less legitimate than the election that elects Putin. Are the American elections legitimate? I mean, it’s ridiculous when you can see that kind of money in play and gerrymandering. As much as any of these kinds of elections are legitimate, the Ukrainian one seemed to be, but I should back up one step.
So the Russian guy in 2014 is hated. There’s a popular uprising against him; that is the way I understand how this proceeds. There’s a right-wing coup within the uprising backed by the U.S. Embassy. The Ukrainians I talked to, progressive left-wing Ukrainians, say that the role of the U.S. Embassy is highly exaggerated by the outside Left. I don’t know if they’re right or wrong, but they say, of course, the Americans gave some confidence to the Ukrainian Right that the Americans would recognize them as legitimate. I don’t know that it goes more than that.
There’s this famous phone call where the American Ambassador is trying to choose who the next leader would be. It sounds legitimate, but the Ukrainians tell me this was a popular uprising, and it was hijacked by the far-right. Whatever it was, it was not the beginning of an American war against Russia. What the hell does that have to do with Russia? This is a Ukrainian event. This is a Ukrainian right-wing coup. This is a Ukrainian domestic issue. How is this a war against Russia because a pro-Russian Ukrainian leader is chased away? Hated and chased away.
Colin Bruce Anthes
In my role as an occasional challenger here, two things that should be said is that first off, we have the quote of talking about who the next leader should be. Second off, a lot of pro-Russians, I think, 39 of them in total, were burned alive by far-right forces in Odessa at that time.
Colin Bruce Anthes
Which was seen as and stirred up a lot of defensive sentiment from the pro-Russian side. And third off, that also accelerated the push again for NATO expansion, which we talked about in part one quite extensively. But that did up the ante in terms of Russia feeling the need for defense.
I think it was a union hall where those people were burnt. It seems the Ukrainian Nazis were responsible for that. It’s still a domestic Ukrainian event. Whether they’re Russian or not— if it’s true what the Chinese are doing to the Uyghurs, do Saudi Arabia, should they— they don’t have the military might, but if they did, or Turkey, for example, should Turkey invade China and save the Muslims? Do they have a right to do that? No. It’s a Chinese thing.
We’re living in a capitalist world, and horrible stuff happens. We have some norms in international law. It came out of the Nuremberg trials. It came out of the construction of the UN. If we as progressive people don’t stand up for these norms, who the hell will? So yes, it was a horrible thing that happened. I think it was in Odessa. Can you believe Mikheil Saakashvili, the most corrupt leader of Georgia, then gets hired to be Governor of Odessa? He’s got to be a CIA asset.
I remember a great thing Lewis Lapham said. I used to be the executive producer of this debate show on CBC in Canada. It was in the lead-up to the Iraq war, we had a debate show and Lapham was on. His magazine was Harper’s. We had an Iraqi who was in favor of a U.S. invasion— the invasion had not yet taken place. The Iraqi was going on about all the crimes of Saddam Hussein, of which there were many. Saddam Hussein is the very definition of a vicious brutal dictator. At the political level, you can say other things because they actually had a coherent health care system. They had a coherent educational system. If you opened your mouth against Saddam Hussein, you could be tortured.
Lapham says to him; you know what, I know he’s a vicious, brutal dictator. But you know what else? That’s not my problem. You Iraqis want to get rid of that guy, get rid of him. You want to organize and overthrow him, do so. As an American, I’m against aggressive wars. I’m against the Americans trying to be the policeman of the world. I’m for international law. As long as Iraq is not an imminent threat to the United States, the United States has no right to go in and overthrow Saddam Hussein, and it makes absolutely no difference how terrible he is. I think that’s correct. The alternative is this bullshit of humanitarian intervention, which is always a cover and excuse for aggression.
So to get back to Zelenskyy, 2014 and the right-wing coup against this pro-Russian government is not an excuse. Now, between 2014 and 2016, there was a very vicious attack on Donbass. Donetsk and Luhansk have an almost; if I understand it correctly, I’ll keep saying that because I’m going based on what I hear from people I talk to. You have a kind of progressive-led independence struggle where the workers of Donetsk and Luhansk rise up against being ruled by this right-wing coup in Kyiv and declare independence. Its early stages have quite a progressive character, as I understand it. A lot of Russians, including the Russian Left, have a lot of sympathy for this declaration of independence against this right-wing government in Kyiv. The right-wing government in Kyiv promotes a virulent, toxic, anti-Russian Ukrainian nationalism. There are even attempts to illegalize Russian as a language, which is insanity given the majority of the Ukrainian Army speaks Russian. The whole thing was so crazy.
Between 2014 and 2016, there was a lot of real vicious fighting when the Ukrainian government attacked Donetsk and Luhansk. There are a lot of civilians killed. I think, in that period, as many as 3,000 civilians were killed in the Donbass region. Although, more Ukrainian soldiers were killed, interestingly enough. I think about 4,000 Ukrainian soldiers were killed. By 2018 and in the period— this is according to the OSCE observers— between 2018 and the end of 2021, there are very few deaths. I think the number of civilians killed is just over about 310 over that whole period of 2018 to 2021.
Yes, Zelensky— something happens— the tax on Donbass is reduced, at least from the 2014-2016 period. Yes, he’s elected to try to resolve these issues with Donbass peacefully and try to normalize relations with Russia in a more peaceful way. Yes, he doesn’t live up to that. As I understand it, because of the pressure of the far-right in the Ukrainian oligarchy and amongst the far-right fascist organizations, he compromises, conciliates, capitulates, and does not stand up to these forces the way he promised he would in the elections. He represents a section of the oligarchy. This is not a guy that emerged from— because he was a comedian, and all this, he’s supposed to be a people’s hero. He may have emerged, but he emerged to become a member of the oligarchy. He wound up running a big media company. He was hiding money. I think that came out in the Panama Papers. So Zelenskyy never fulfilled, but it is interesting that that was the aspiration of the majority of the Ukrainian people. They voted for a guy who was supposed to diminish the antagonism, both with Donbass and with Russia.
Still, even as we get into 2022, there is no evidence either of— and I’m quoting from Putin and [Sergey] Lavrov here, who claimed there was an imminent genocide that was going to take place against Donbass. I have not seen a shred of evidence. If there is, I can say I’ll change my mind. I don’t have a dog in that particular race. I have looked at the OSCE numbers. I’ve looked at all the reporting. I see no evidence that Ukraine was, in February, was about to invade Donbass.
Let’s put it in context. There were 150,000 Russian troops surrounding the Ukrainian-Russian border, and we’re to believe Ukraine is about to invade Donbass and give the Russians every excuse they ever could have wanted to invade? I mean, it really boggles the imagination. Sure, crazy stuff happens, so maybe. As I said, I’ll use this phrase again. I see no evidence of it other than claims by Putin, Lavrov, and others. Even Zelensky, a few days before, was saying he didn’t believe the Russians would invade. Well, if Ukraine were poised to attack Donbass, you would think he would have figured there was going to be a Russian response.
The short of all this is, yeah, Zelenskyy never lived up to his promises. On the other hand, again, I’ll say no imminent threat to Russia.
Colin Bruce Anthes
Well, I’d like to move into a little bit of the pragmatics of how we proceed from here. How do people who are looking to be pro-Ukrainian in this— Ukrainian citizen, not Ukrainian nationalist, Ukrainian citizen, how they should proceed? How people should proceed if they find themselves in this situation? One of the things you said in the previous interview with me, and it’s the first time I had heard someone present, maybe we should roll over position. You said if the United States invaded Canada, you would not support fighting and getting lots of people killed in order to resist that takeover. You would start voting in the elections, start influencing the political system, and try and get independence through a referendum, but you wouldn’t insist on lots of people being killed, which you saw as a pro-oligarch position.
Let me just put another mark on that. If the Canadians elected a progressive government that had a serious climate change strategy, for example, started to phase out the Athabasca tar sands. If a Koch brother backed the United States, and the Koch brothers rely on the heavy crude from the Athabasca to feed their refineries in Texas, and I’m not sure the other one is in Idaho or somewhere. If we were talking about that situation it’d be a different situation. Fighting to defend a progressive Canadian government— and the only thing I could imagine why the Americans would ever do this is over oil.
Imagine a Trump government with Koch, a Christian nationalist, far-right money, and Koch, apparently, himself is a Christian nationalist as far as I can make out. In general, his brother was a non-interventionist, but the other Koch died, and this guy is more aligned with the far-right than the other guy was. If they made a grab for invading the tar sands or trying to overthrow the Canadian government— I mean, it’s pretty far-fetched, but if, that would be a different thing. It would partly depend on whether the Canadian government actually brought the Canadian Army to bear. Anyway, it’s a far-fetched scenario. I’m saying that I’m not a pacifist. There are certainly times I can understand where you have to fight and you have to wage an armed fight. I think I said in that previous interview if I was in France when the Germans invaded, yeah, I probably would have been a partisan. Blowing crap up assuming it was effective.
If I was a Ukrainian right now, and I say this in a somewhat guarded way because I’m not a Ukrainian and the nationalist feeling people have in Ukraine, I understand, but I wouldn’t fight to defend a Ukraine of the oligarchs. I wouldn’t fight so that the Donbass region— an actual invasion of Kyiv and overthrowing the government, I don’t know, but to defend Donbass or Crimea, absolutely not. There are enough people in Donbass that if they don’t want the Russians, then let them get organized to throw the Russians out, and let them demand a referendum. It doesn’t have to be done through this kind of fighting and destruction of city after city. It’s very possible that a majority of people of Donbass actually don’t want to be part of Russia. They want to be independent.
Who knows how Ukraine emerges from this? [Boris] Kagarlitsky made an interesting point. Now that the working class is so armed, you may have a different Ukrainian government emerge. This will be one of the biggest questions coming out of all this. Will the Ukrainians turn Ukraine back over to the oligarchs when this whole thing is over or are they going to demand a Ukraine without oligarchs? This is not a situation— it is so chaotic. I mean, this is partly why you had the Bolshevik revolution in 1917. The Army was in tatters, and the economy was in tatters. In these kinds of chaotic situations with an armed working class, will a leadership emerge? I don’t know, we’ll see. It’s within the realm of possibility.
If I was a Ukrainian in that situation, yeah, I’d fight for that, but would I fight so that the Western Ukrainian oligarchs can regain control over Donbass? No. Why should anyone die for that? Do I think Donbass, Luhansk, and Donetsk, do they have a right to self-determination? Absolutely. Do they have to stay in Ukraine? No. This is the number two thing Ukraine should have done. They should have, one, declared no NATO before the invasion, and two, they should have announced a legitimate, internationally observed referendum in Donbass and asked the people what they wanted.
Now, of course, to do that, you’d actually have to have some democratic spirit. The Western Ukrainian oligarchs don’t have any real democratic spirit, so they just wanted to— the other thing I think I said in the other interview, this kind of sovereignty, oh, we have to defend our sovereignty. Why? Well, if you’re part of the elites, it’s because you own stuff, and you have to defend your private property and your ownership because if you don’t defend your sovereignty, you’re not going to own that stuff anymore. If you’re a worker, you don’t own that stuff to begin with.
Now, again, if this was publicly owned and somebody was invading to take our public property away from us, yeah, I’d fight for that. Am I going to fight for which section of the oligarchs can control the resources and riches of Donbass? No. Now, I’m saying this— now I know, at least, the section of the Left Ukrainians I’ve talked to, they’re not going to like what I just said. The nationalist fervor in Ukraine is very high, and people have lost their relatives, their sons, their daughters, their fathers, and so on. So many thousands of people have died. They say we’re not going to let them to have died for nothing. What if the truth is that they actually died for nothing? What if that’s the truth? I wouldn’t go all the way that way. If I’d been in Ukraine when this whole thing started, I would have said, don’t fight the Russians with small arms. Let us have hundreds of thousands of us block the highways and sit in front of those tanks and let the world see what we really want. Let’s have a general strike. Any place the Russians take over, everyone goes and strikes.
There were other ways to fight this and make it clear that the Russians claiming that the Ukrainian people want this was bullshit. People could have gone in the streets with signs that said, no to NATO, no to Russia, and Russians get out of our country in their hundreds of thousands. I don’t think tens of thousands of people should die for nothing. The kind of nationalism I’m hearing from the Ukrainian Left, they’re going to say, easy for you to say, sitting in the comfort of Toronto. They’re right. It is easy for me to say. So take it with a grain of salt, or if you’re a Ukrainian nationalist, call me full of shit, it’s okay. I think some of us have to say these things.
Yeah, I do not believe in workers, ordinary people fighting for a nationalism that simply serves the interests of the oligarchs, and that’s what the big fight was during the First World War. Are you going to fight to defend your own elites? To put it the way the Left put it, and Communists put it at that time, they said don’t fight for your own bourgeoisie. Yeah, well, let’s not. It doesn’t mean you don’t fight, but you don’t do it for that.
Colin Bruce Anthes
Well, I think, even though you are speaking from an outside perspective, I think it is important to bring these things up because it is possible that we could see those kinds of resistance down the road, and that does change the kind of things that outsiders are supporting. So it’s worth bringing up, and it’s worth mentioning. I do want to bring up a couple of challenges, though. Two that came from your own previous interviews. One with Boris Kagarlitsky. He said that he felt that Ukraine was winning the war. He felt that Russia was going to buckle, and he didn’t think it was necessarily that far off, in which case encouraging people to not resist in that way could be a big mistake. The other was from Yuliya Yurchenko, who is a Ukrainian activist, and her perspective was if they feel they are getting away with it, they will come back for more. The only way that she could see an end to the war and continuous plunder would be to push Russia out. That was the way she put it. How do you answer those challenges?
Well, if I was a progressive Russian, I might say the same thing Kagarlitsky said because I’m a Russian. How does a Russian tell Ukrainians to compromise and give in to Putin? Maybe a Left progressive Russian can’t say anything but that, maybe not, I don’t know. I said to Yulia, what I just said to you. I don’t think it’s worth fighting for. It’s not worth dying for. There are other ways to struggle. If you believe, you left-wing Ukrainians, if you believe that the majority of the people of Donbass don’t want to be part of Russia, if you believe, as she said she did, that the people of Donbass do have a right to self-determination, then make a deal. Let the Russians have, quote-unquote, so far all they’ve done is recognize it. Yeah, sure, they probably want to annex it, but if the people of Donbass don’t want that, then help them as a Ukrainian progressive, Left, whatever, help them to get organized against the Russian occupation, if you want to call it that. You don’t need to ally with the Russian oligarchy and Army to keep this, and the U.S, that certainly a section of the U.S. elite want this to go on forever, this war. You don’t have to be part of that.
Why don’t you help the people and say we, the Ukrainian Left, are in solidarity with the right of self-determination for Donbass. The way to get there is to have a compromise, make a deal to stop the killings, stop the war, and then we will support your struggle to assert either your independence from Russia or your independence from both Ukraine and Russia or whatever the hell you want. In other words, we will support a legitimate referendum but let the killing and destruction stop. To me, that’s a progressive position for Ukrainians to take. I also think it’s naive to think, okay, let’s say quote-unquote, Kagarlitsky is right, and the Ukrainians are going to win this. Two possibilities. Number one, Putin is going to blow up a small tactical nuclear weapon to make a point. I don’t know how legitimate a fear that is. It’s certainly being talked about a lot. The more likely scenario is assuming the Russians really are losing this, and I have no idea if they are. I mean, to me, I hear as many people say they’re losing it as people saying they’re winning it.
I have zero knowledge of what the truth of it is. Honestly, in some ways, it doesn’t matter to me one way or the other because I still think there needs to be a deal negotiated as quickly as possible, and then the people should continue their struggle from within that deal. Let’s assume Russia is about to lose, and they don’t blow up a nuclear bomb. Does anyone really believe they’re not going to come back again? They’re going to accept this? They’re not going to regroup and rearm and claim that this is all a horrible conspiracy of the West, and we Russians, we pull back just to stop the killing and death and then wait till they’re ready to do it again? I mean, it’s ridiculous. I mean, there is a point where real politics needs to kick in here, and Russia is too significant a power, military and economic, in spite of all the sanctions. Look at the ruble. It’s not doing so bad. As long as this is a fossil fuel world, you’re not going to weaken Russia the way you thought you were.
One, it’s ridiculous, I think, to think that they’re really going to win. Certainly, they’re not going to kick the Russians out of Crimea, and I can’t believe they’re going to kick them out of Donbass. Let’s say I’m wrong, it will still be, so what, because they’ll come back. The only, to me, democratic position to take is to stop the killing and insist on a legitimate referendum. If the Russians, and they probably won’t accept a legitimate referendum unless they’re absolutely sure they’re going to win it, and I don’t know that they would after all this. Then the people of Luhansk, Donetsk, and Donbass, they should fight, and organize. Fight against the occupation if that’s what they want. The same thing for Crimea. I hear the Ukrainians saying we’re even going to liberate Crimea. Number one, every poll that’s been taken in Crimea, in fact, says the majority of people actually do want to be part of Russia and if they don’t, then let them organize. They can have a general strike in Crimea, demanding they want to go back to Ukraine. People can fight. They’re not infants.
Colin Bruce Anthes
The answer may be exactly the same, but I was going to then raise a challenge from the other side, which is that— especially the American public, but the Western public more generally, has perhaps been misled as to how easy a militaristic resolution can be found here. That there is a presentation that the entire world is against Russia on this one, and that’s not even close to the case. There is a sense that Russia is very weak militaristically, which it may be in some ways. I saw Colonel Doug Macgregor say that the West was spinning the fact that Russia wasn’t taking more land for a period of time as a remarkable spin, given that they had taken the land they had wanted to, or they had encroached as far as they wanted to. This is being spun as them being weak when they were in a very good position, he felt, and that Putin has consistently had about 70% support from the Russian people. I actually saw a poll that said in May, Russian support— this is from the Levada Center, which is a pretty reliable outlet— that it had actually increased to a very high, well over 70% rating among the Russian people. He’s got a lot of strength behind him. We have perhaps been misled to believe that militaristic resistance can resolve this in a short period of time when we’re looking at a forever war.
I don’t know. As I said, there are as many people saying the Russians are winning as losing. If I have to say what the consensus opinion is, it’s sort of a stalemate. The one guy I thought was interesting was this Russian Colonel, a General Colonel, a very high-level, retired military officer that was on one of the major Russian television shows about a month ago. He says the invasion was a debacle and that the Russian troops were not trained, the machinery and the whole invasion plan was chaos, and that the numbers of Ukrainian troops of at least 100,000 were and are getting fairly well trained. He said that the Russian weapons simply could not stand up to the modern weaponry that was being funneled into Ukraine. He said openly on the show, and it was very unusual because it’s virtually illegal to even call it a war. I’m not sure if he called it a war or not, but that kind of critique was certainly out of character, which the people I talked to say means that he must represent sections of the Russian military.
Kagarlitsky is saying that the Russian military and much of the apparatchik and others want this war to end. They all think both militarily on the ground and in terms of sanctions, it’s been a real disaster for Russia. Putin and his people are keeping this thing going. I have no idea what’s true or not true. Maybe there’s truth to all the different sides. I don’t know. All I know is tens of thousands of people continue to die, and that’s the center of the thing.
I am absolutely aghast at sections of the Left who defend the Russian invasion as defending legitimate security concerns. As if the tens of thousands of people— and not just Ukrainians, but the Russian soldiers— the tens of thousands of working people that are getting killed in this are all lost in some BS about— what is it called? Multipolarity, a multipolar world. A bunch of geopolitical hokum. I’m telling you, and I won’t name any names, but I’m telling some of these people in this position that this is the position of a sociopath. America, Russia, these people are led by sociopaths. They don’t give a damn how many people are killed. Left-wingers aren’t supposed to be sociopaths. To talk about this war and simply dismiss the slaughter that’s going on, you’re into such abstract dogmatism. Maybe we should talk about this in another segment; to justify all this because a multipolar world is better, that’s insanity.
Colin Bruce Anthes
Well, why don’t we go onto another section then? We’ll end this one here for now. We’ll come to that next, as well as what should we all be supporting and how should we support it. How do we articulate the right goals and the right paths forward? So we’ll come back with Paul Jay in a third section.
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