The national hostility along the boundaries of the territory of Georgia – Abkhazia and Ossetia, that has now reached the level of open military confrontation between the Georgian authorities and the local population of these autonomous regions, began to appear already at the time of the establishment of revisionism in the Soviet Union; these contradictions were prevented from breaking into open conflict with the help of the system of Soviet social-imperialism. The domination of the Soviet social-imperialists in the territory of Abkhazia and South Ossetia was performed through Georgia by the hands of the Georgian bourgeoisie. Therefore the population of these autonomous regions was never particularly fond of the Georgian authorities, as they regarded the latter as exploiters. This situation promoted anti-Georgian sentiments on a mass scale, which at the same time diverted the attention of the population from the central causes and the culprits of both the national and class oppression in the Caucasus, as well as on any other territory of the social-imperialist Soviet Union. These are the sources that led to the military confrontation of the population of Abkhazia against the Georgian oppressors and the bloody military action in Tskhinval on August 8, 2008.
The worsening of the situation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia gained momentum after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Georgian bourgeoisie, having acquired independence from the oppression of Soviet social-imperialism, took decisive action to subject the economic potential of the different regions to its interests. Its great-nation interests pushed the chauvinist regime of Zviad Gamsakhurdia into power. Under the excuse of defending the territorial integrity of Georgia, this regime quickly liquidated the autonomy of South Ossetia and Abkhazia by depriving their people of the most basic national rights. Most of all, it was the liquidation of the autonomy that enabled the Georgian chauvinists to harshly suppress any form of discontent of the disenfranchised people of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
In this situation the peoples of South Ossetia and Abkhazia could not refuse assistance from any foreign state, including that of Russia, because such assistance would be regarded as a direct challenge to the sovereignty of Georgia. The peoples of South Ossetia and Abkhazia have no choice but to stand up in defence of their territories and to decisively withstand the aggression of the Georgian oppressors by de facto declaring their independence from Georgia. From this point of view the interests of the local bourgeoisie and the broad popular masses of South Ossetia and Abkhazia concurred in this particular situation.
After the disintegration of the Soviet Union a number of independent states were formed. Russia happened to be the strongest and most prosperous of those states. Russia was able to even retain the status of an imperialist power, although secondary with respect to other imperialist countries. Moreover, the majority of the former republics of the Soviet Union remained economically dependent on Russia. In particular, economic life in Georgia depended almost exclusively on the distribution of electrical power from Russia. In addition, in a number of underdeveloped regions of the former Soviet Union the economic control of Russian capital remained insurmountable. South Ossetia and Abkhazia belong to this type of regions, where the economic interests of the Russian imperialists and the local bourgeoisie overlapped strongly long before the Georgian bourgeoisie even tried to establish its hegemony in these regions. As a result, in the territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia the economic interests of the Russian imperialists and the Georgian bourgeoisie clashed and the local bourgeoisies happened to be on the side of the former.
What do the interests of the Russian imperialists in Abkhazia consist of? Minerals, coal and various metals are extracted from its soil. Abkhazia has significant hydraulic resources relevant to industry. The climatic conditions of Abkhazia allow for citrus and other sub-tropical fruits to grow. Abkhazia has unique and favourable conditions for the development of the tourist industry. Moreover, the Abkhazian coast stretches 200 kilometres, which has the potential to significantly increase the influence of either Russia or Georgia on the Black sea, including their military presence.
By comparison, South Ossetia’s economic potential and natural resources do not play such a decisive role in explaining the sources of the conflict between the interests of the Russian imperialists and the Georgian bourgeoisie. The territory of South Ossetia stretches over the north of Georgia and is separated from Russia by the mountains of the Caucasus. It is the geographic situation of South Ossetia that could be the main reason for the confrontation between Georgia and Russia for the control of this territory. The presence of the Russian army on the territory of South Ossetia allows the Russian imperialists to more efficiently control the influence of other imperialist countries on Georgian territory against Iran and the Middle East, where the Russian imperialist have significant economic interests. Therefore the possible presence of Russian armed forces and Special Forces in the territory of South Ossetia, with any legal status, may prevent the Georgian bourgeoisie to place in the territory of Georgia foreign military bases, which are undoubtedly considered by the Georgian bourgeoisie as a source of profit. Therefore on the territory of South Ossetia the economic interests of the Russian imperialists and the Georgian bourgeoisie clashed head on. The Russian imperialists are interested in preserving its influence on the South Ossetian territory at any cost; this is achieved with the assistance of the pro-Russian South Ossetian regime and population. The Georgian bourgeoisie is heavily invested in expunging Russian influence on the other side of the Great Caucasian Mountains and in cleaning the territory of South Ossetia from the anti-Georgian and pro-Russian rival population. It is because of this reason that the Georgian armed forces during the time of the aggression of August 2008, seem to have been given the orders to obliterate the population of South Ossetia (more than 30 thousand civilian South Ossetian citizen became refugees according to the Russian government)
In the period of the dictatorship of the proletariat the land, forest, hydraulic and other natural resources of the USSR belonged to the whole society, i.e. it belonged to all the nations on equal footing. The peoples of the Soviet Union lived in a united and friendly family, not fighting but helping each other. The borders between national establishments had a formal character and were determined exclusively from the point of view of the administrative convenience. As a result North Ossetia (north to the Great Caucasian Mountains) formally belonged to Soviet Russia and South Ossetia (south to the Great Caucasian Mountains) to Soviet Georgia. Under these conditions the unity of the Ossetian people was preserved.
The aggravation of the situation in the Caucasus around South Ossetia and Abkhazia resonated so widely and suddenly in the international arena that it became even more prominent that the conflict between Kosovo and Serbia. These evens generated a swift and open conflict between a number of imperialist powers, especially between the US and Russia. This is understandable, since towards 2008 the territory of Georgia became contentious due to the struggle between the imperialists of the US and Russia for the control over Iran and Azerbaijan (a significant contingent of Russian capital is present in Iran and, Russia and Azerbaijan have longstanding economic ties). American imperialists do not have economic presence and influence in Iran. Therefore the US tried to build air and rocket bases in the territory of Georgia with the purpose of using them against Iran in order to destabilise this country, to turn this country into a region of high risk for foreign investment and to create the conditions to expel its imperialist rivals from Iran. Moreover, the US imperialists are interested in the control over the transit of oil from Azerbaijan through Georgia and over the oil ports on the Georgian coast; this would allow the US to establish direct control over the Black and Caspian seas and would turn Georgia into a solid satellite leading to the diminishing of the influence of Russian imperialism in the area.
The leading powers in Western Europe, especially France and Germany, played a shady role in the events described above. What concrete interests did France and Germany pursue in these events? France, Germany and Russia have trade ties with Iran. Therefore they are not interested in the US using the Georgian territory for to put military pressure on Iran. This would enhance the risk factor for Western European and Russian investors.
For instance, the head of the French oil company Total stated in July 2008 that because of the aggravation of the geopolitical tension in this region his company is not planning to invest in the most important Iranian gas bed, in South Pars.
On the other hand, both France and German are not interested in further strengthening the positions of the oil and gas industry of the Russian imperialism in the world market because the French and the German economies significantly depend on the import of oil and gas, which are to a great extent supplied by Russian oil and gas corporations and the price for oil and gas has a direct impact on the profits of the capitalists of Western Europe.
In the beginning of July 2008 the head of ‘Gazprom’ (the Russian gas monopoly. Note of translator) visited Iran and help negotiations with the president of the country with regards to developing cooperation in the area of oil and gas. This included negotiating Russian involvement in the building of a gas extraction plant in South Pars. According to a statement of the press office of ‘Gazprom’ both sides agreed to create a joint venture for oil and gas related projects in Iran, Russia and other countries. In addition, the Iranian side put forward the question about the possibility of Russia supplying gas to the northern regions of Iran on a long-term basis.
Iran is has the second largest reserves of gas and a tighter cooperation of Russia and Iran, according to the majority of experts, could allow these countries to determine the gas prices in the world market.
Therefore the imperialists of Western Europe are not interested in the consolidation of the influence of the Russian gas and oil corporations in countries with oil and gas resources in the Caspian area, such as Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan. Azerbajan’s oil flows through Georgian territory. In order not to allow Russia to attain direct control over the transit of gas from Azerbaijan through Georgian territory, Western imperialists managed to place their own observers along the border of South Ossetia, under the banner of the European Community.
As a result, in the territory of Georgia global interests of a number of imperialist powers clashed and therefore the conflict went beyond the boundaries of a regional conflict. This conflict not only further complicated the situation in the Caucasus but also could spark a world war.
The US imperialists tried to achieve its aggressive plans using the Georgian armed forces. With this purpose they financed the militarisation of Georgia, supplied this country with modern weaponry through third countries, trained army personnel for military action with the help of American and other foreign instructors and guaranteed full support to the bourgeois regime in Georgia. The rapid intervention of a large contingent of the Russian armed forces, which had been prepared for this possibility, ruined US plans for the swift take over of South Ossetia and Abkhazia by the Georgian army. The Russian armed forces prevented military action against Abkhazia, expelled the Georgian troops from the territory of South Ossetia, defeated the Georgian army to the level that it became unable to fight further and inflicted destructive blows on a number of military objects in Georgia. Soon after the conclusion of military action the bourgeois authorities of Russia declared the independence of the republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, who proclaimed their sovereignty fifteen years ago. This gave the possibility to the Russian imperialists of turning its ‘peacekeeping’ military contingent with limited rights and liberty of action into a regular military contingent based upon bilateral agreements with the sovereign republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This strengthened the positions of Russian imperialists in this region. The Russian imperialists managed to conceal its predatory essence under the propaganda of saviours of the South Ossetian and Abkhazian peoples and their independence. We can only recognise heroism in those soldiers and civilians who died fighting the Georgian aggression, since the bourgeoisie is not able to display selfless actions in defence of other nations.
Ukraine, Israel and other countries supplied modern weaponry, including weapons produced with the participation of Russian military capital to the Georgian army. Therefore, they did not only exposed themselves as loyal servants of the interests of US imperialism, but earned their profit at the expense of the blood and suffering of the civilian population of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The Ukrainian-Russian accord on production and scientific-technical cooperation in the area of military production is in force since 1993. In 2004 a bilateral inter-government agreement was adopted that regulates the export of military goods to third countries. Towards 2005 about 1330 Russian and Ukrainian companies operated within the framework of programmes of cooperation of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) under preferential trade conditions.
Despite the fact that the volume of military-technical ‘cooperation’ has diminished over the years, the volume of military trade with Russia accounts for 30% of the total military trade of Ukraine. Even though the two countries happened to be in opposite sides of the conflict, both made money out of the trade of these lethal merchandise. According to the Ukrainian centre overseeing the reconversion and disarmament of the armed forces, in 2007 Ukraine earned somewhere between 600 million and one billion USD in military trade. In particular, Georgia purchased 10% of the military merchandise traded by Ukraine.
Conclusion: Russian companies also made profits out of the armament of Georgia through ‘third countries’ (in this case through Ukraine).
We Call On
The progressive forces of all countries to support the peoples of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in its struggle for independence and to put pressure on the governments of their countries to acknowledge the sovereignty and establish diplomatic ties with the republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
The proletariat of South of Ossetia and Abkhazia to take into account and remember that the local bourgeoisie is also their irreconcilable class enemy and that the unity with this class during the period of struggle for independence was forced and temporary.
To the progressive forces of Georgia, specially the proletariat to develop active struggle against the aggressive and chauvinist policies of the ruling regime of Georgia and against the location of military bases of imperialist countries in their territory.
To the Russian proletariat, to expose the predatory character of the domestic and foreign policies of the Russian bourgeoisie (for instance, in 1962 the elite forces and army of the social imperialists of the Soviet Union mercilessly opened fire over Novocherkass workers on strike; in 1999 the Russian imperialists violently suppressed the workers protests in the cellulose plant in Vyborg, Leningrad; the Russian imperialists, in their struggle for the control of the oil of Grozni, unleashed their military might over the civilian population of the Chechen republic) in general and with regards to the oppressed people of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Lead the struggle against the development of Russian chauvinism and the violence against the Georgian people.
Proletarskaya Gazeta #30