Russia

Open the borders for Syrian refugees!

For a long time, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been "threatening" to open Turkey’s western borders, and allow the millions of refugees to travel to Europe. Now he is upping the threats and raising the stakes. His aim is not to get better conditions for the refugees. It is to force Europe into greater support of Turkey. Yet, with the renewed attacks on migrants, it is the responsibility of socialists all across Europe to challenge the racist anti-immigration laws being put forward by our governments. In Britain the losses have far outnumbered the victories as Home Secretary Priti...

The Crimean Tatars, Crimea, and Turkey

Conditions are bad for the Crimean Tatar community in Crimea, under Russian rule since Putin annexed Crimea in 2014. No Crimean Tatar organisations are able to operate. The sixteen Crimean Tatar language schools have all been closed. The Crimean Tatar library has been shut down. The Crimean Tatar university (Tavriva) has had to move to Kiev. The Crimean Tatar TV channel has been taken over by the Russian authorities. Of the three Crimean Tatar newspapers, two have been shut down, and one is now run by the Russian authorities. There have been lots of kidnappings and disappearances of activists...

The not-so-bad gallery: Johnson, Trump, Putin?

The Morning Star is to Jeremy Corbyn and Seumas Milne what the picture in the attic was to Dorian Gray in the famous story. And it is disgusting in the extreme. Take the issue for Monday 7 October. You can see from the front page that, like all of us, they loathe the tinpot Mussolini Boris Johnson. Ah, but look. While everybody with sense is anxious that the sneaky Johnson may find some way to twist the will of Parliament and crash out of the EU in a hard Brexit, the doughty warriors of the MS give the front page to the scandal of Johnson giving his American friend small financial perks. Odd...

Putin, liberalism, and the left

In September 1847, before they had even written the Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels declared: “If a certain section of German socialists has continually blustered against the liberal bourgeoisie, and has done so, in a manner which has benefited nobody but the German governments... then the Communists have nothing in common with [them]”. Marx and Engels rarely quoted their own earlier writings. They considered that article so important that they cited it again in 1865. Breaking off collaboration with a socialist newspaper in Germany (launched in the tradition of Ferdinand...

From St George to Xi Jinping

The Times (18 May) has splashed our denunciation of the wearing of the old Russian imperial emblem, the St George Ribbon, by some members of Lewisham Momentum. The incident is only a specially gaudy display of the general political trend of the section of the Labour supposed-left which gravitates around the Morning Star. The Morning Star is the continuation of the Daily Worker, which for decades from 1930 was a mouthpiece for the regimes of Stalin, Khrushchev, and Brezhnev. It saw the old USSR as “socialist”. It based that claim largely on the fact that all sizeable industry in that regime was...

The story of the St. George ribbon

‪More on Lewisham Momentum and the New Stalinism here.‬ And here‬ At the AGM of the official Momentum group in Lewisham, south London, on 7 May, several people were proudly wearing, and handing out for others to wear, Russian military insignia: the ribbon of St. George. This isn’t the first time Stalinoid elements within the left have worn this symbol of Russian militarism: Eddie Dempsey (an RMT member who declared as a platform speaker at a “Full Brexit”event that the working class hated, and was right to hate, “the liberal left”) wore it while visiting pro-Russian gangsters in eastern...

Mueller, Trump, and the Putin connection

Sergei Mikailov was in for a nasty shock at his works meeting in Moscow in December 2016. Proceedings started when a bag was placed over his head and he was unceremoniously frog marched out of the room. This was the Lubyanka, and the FSB was cleaning house. Loose tongues had been wagging about Russian interference in the US Presidential election. Mikhailov, deputy head of the FSB’s cyber security arm, soon found himself facing a secret trial which landed him with 22 years in prison for “treason”. Three other servants of Putin’s secret state met similar fates. Such career endings are an...

1919 - Hands Off Russia!

The British left hailed the Russian revolution in 1917. On 18 January 1919 in London, a mass meeting launched the ‘Hands Off Russia’ campaign to oppose British military intervention in support of the White armies’ attack on Bolshevik Russia. The campaign’s National Committee brought together the scattered sections of the British left: the British Socialist Party, Independent Labour Party, Workers’ Socialist Federation and Socialist Labour Party. On 8 February, Hands Off Russia held an even larger mass meeting, at the Royal Albert Hall. Shows of support took place beyond London too, with a...

Cool on Trump, hot against liberals

On 4 January, US president Donald Trump, in a rambling speech at a meeting of his cabinet, praised the USSR invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. “The reason Russia was in, in Afghanistan, was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there”. In fact, the USSR invaded because the Afghan government of the time, led by a radical faction of the PDP (Afghanistan’s “Communist Party”, chiefly based among armed forces officers trained in the USSR) looked likely to fall. The invaders installed the more cautious faction of the PDP as a government propped up by USSR military might, but...

Trump’s bluster, Assad’s strength

On 19 December, US president Donald Trump announced a snap decision to withdraw US troops from Syria. At first he said the troops would be out within 30 days, but now it looks like several months at least. The plan is now conditional on assurances from Turkey regarding the safety of the Kurds in Northern Syria. Trump’s move outraged the “common sense” of bourgeois foreign policy. US Defence Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis and Trump’s special envoy for anti-Daesh work, Brett McGurk, both resigned. Mattis was angered by Trump criticising American allies and other NATO members regarding their...

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