"The military and political bankruptcy of the Putin regime is inevitable, but it will take time"

We reproduce below the speech by Ilya Budraitskis to Philippe Poutou meeting, Saturday, 2 April 2022.

On 24 February – the day Putin began his war – the lives of millions of people became split between a “before” and an “after”. Millions of people in Ukrainian cities are suffering under the bombing. Refugees – mostly women and children – are now filling European cities. Russian soldiers are dying en masse – mostly young people from poor, provincial families who don't understand where or why they were sent. The inhabitants of Russia are sinking increasingly into poverty. In Russian cities anti-war protesters are imprisoned or forced to leave the country.

Undoubtedly, Putin and his criminal gang are primarily responsible for this tragedy. They are the ones who decided to start this war. It was they who, through repression and repugnant chauvinist propaganda, forced Russian society into passivity and submission. Today all left-wing forces in the world must demand an immediate end to the war and the investigation of war crimes committed on Putin's orders.

It is in order to demand this that people continue to take to the streets of Russian cities to protest against the war, even today, when any “no to war” expression is considered a crime by Russian law. For them, without exception, there are consequences: imprisonment, huge fines, expulsion from university or job loss. A few continue to protest, while most are paralyzed by fear. Russian socialists, both inside and outside Russia, continue their anti-war agitation.

The military and political bankruptcy of the Putin regime is inevitable, but it will take time. This period will certainly be difficult: many will still suffer from imprisonment or exile. The solidarity of the international left movement – including its concrete assistance – is indispensable to us today to continue this struggle.

We are convinced that the current tragedy of Ukraine can only be understood and resolved from a coherent anti-capitalist orientation. Putin and his regime are not an anomaly, nor an archaic creation of Russia's singular history. This is a natural consequence of world capitalism and imperialism.

Its ideology – chauvinism, contempt for the world of labour and a desire to see everything as a cynical “conflict of interest” – is easily recognizable in the rhetoric of the far right around the world. It is no coincidence that, until very recently, Putin was the idol of Le Pen, Zemmour or Salvini. Such politicians are directly responsible for the suffering that the Ukrainian people are experiencing today. And the vigorous fight against far-right candidates is part of a real fight against Putin's war on the Ukrainian people.

But Putin's regime is not just about chauvinism and nationalism. It is a blatant social inequality, it is the power of a handful of rich people over the majority of employees deprived of their rights. Putin's regime is that of bureaucrats and billionaires who, for years, have been siphoning off the country's money, putting it into Western banks, investing in mansions and yachts in Europe. And the European capitalist governments, who knew the criminal origins of this money and turned a blind eye, also have a responsibility for the war in Ukraine. Moreover, until recent years, countries like France have continued to sell Russia the weapons with which Ukrainian children are killed today. All this reveals the ultimate inhumanity, the immorality of capitalism as a system.

This is why only an anti-capitalist and socialist program is truly anti-war today – because it attacks causes rather than effects. It is the struggle for such a program that can prevent future wars and stop the one that is currently bloodying Ukraine. This is why candidates like Philippe Poutou are real fighters against imperialist war. And your participation in his campaign is a real support for the future of the world.

2 April 2022

Translation Fourth.International

Ilya Budraitskis