The War in Ukraine:

A War of Imperialist Aggression and Redivision of Territories for World Hegemony

Revolutionary Communist Party of Volta – PCRV/ Burkina Faso

The war triggered by Russia’s massive military intervention in Ukraine is a manifestation of inter-imperialist rivalries in the context of the crisis of the international imperialist system. It is the result of the struggle for the redivision of territories in the Baltic and Eastern European region between Russia on the one hand and the US and its NATO allies in the European Union on the other.

Russia’s imperialist war of aggression in Ukraine is the culmination of a process that began in 2014 with Russia’s military occupation of Crimea under the pretext of defending the discriminated Russian-speaking population. Similar ambitions also exist in the Donbass. Russia is fighting over these territories and all of Ukraine with the United States and the NATO member countries, which since the implosion of the USSR and the independence of the Baltic countries of Eastern Europe have been expanding their political, economic and military influence for geostrategic interests. The tensions have not stopped rising between the rival imperialist powers with the massive presence of Russian military troops on the border of Ukraine since February and US imperialism has not stopped issuing warnings as if it wanted to invade this country to legitimize its rivalry with Russia and mobilize its European allies, members of NATO, behind it.

The current war is aggravating the inter-imperialist contradictions and providing the opportunity to the imperialist powers to strengthen the militarization of the societies, to considerably increase their arms budgets to the detriment of the social sectors (education, health) and public services as well as the weapons trade for the profit of the arms merchants, the military-industrial complex. The European imperialist powers are massing troops and armaments in the European countries bordering Ukraine; the US through NATO is strengthening its military presence in Poland and using that country as a rear base to exert its political and military influence in Ukraine.

The consequences of this reactionary war are dramatic, first for the Ukrainian people and then for the peoples of the world.

This war is aggravating the deep crisis of the world imperialist system, which was just recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic which, in addition to the health crisis, plunged the economies of the developed capitalist countries and the dominated countries into a recession with the consequences of unemployment, high costs of living, impoverishment for the working class, peoples and youth. At the same time, the monopolies and financial oligarchies have become richer thanks to the measures taken by the bourgeoisies for their benefit in the context of the restrictions imposed on the peoples. “The fortune of the world’s billionaires has increased more in the 19 months of the pandemic than in the last decade. Since the pandemic, the world counts a new billionaire every 26 hours, while 160 million people have fallen into poverty.... The top 5 fortunes in France have doubled their wealth since the beginning of the pandemic. They alone own as much as the poorest 40% of the population in France.” (OXFAM 2021 Inequality Report: Key Figures)

This war, considered the most serious in Europe since the Second World War and that of the Balkans in the 1990s following the aerial bombardments and ground fighting, resulted in a heavy toll in human lives and material damage in a few weeks. It is the most serious humanitarian crisis in Europe with more than 3.7 million refugees fleeing to countries bordering Ukraine (Poland, Romania, Moldova) and the countries of the European Union. The UN estimates that there are 6.5 million internally displaced people in Ukraine.

The member countries of the European Union, in particular the imperialist powers (Germany, France, Italy) and the United Kingdom, are exploiting this dramatic refugee situation with demagogy in order to give themselves a humanitarian face and as defenders of the peace and sovereignty of Ukraine. This is while in recent years, the European Union, faced with the arrival of asylum seekers fleeing the wars in Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Ethiopia, etc., has taken repressive measures against these populations in distress. Migrants have been detained in centres with appalling prison conditions and deported after being refused refugee status. The issue of Ukrainian refugees is being used by these imperialist powers in the framework of rivalries with Russia. This does not hide the discrimination, the stigmatization of migrants, the rise of xenophobia and racism propagated by the extreme right-wing parties and even within the highest authorities of the bourgeois states, especially during the periods of electoral campaigns. The current campaign for the presidential elections in France is a vivid illustration of this with the media platforms offered to the racist Eric Zemmour and to Marine Le Pen of the racist and fascist Rassemblement National (National Rally) party

Economic and social consequences of the war in Ukraine.

The war in Ukraine has its consequences on the economic level where the Western imperialist powers (US and its European allies), in spite of their internal contradictions linked to specific interests, are waging economic war with Russia through economic sanctions.

The immediate consequences are the soaring prices of foodstuffs (wheat, corn) and agricultural inputs (potash, nitrogen fertilizers), of which Russia and Ukraine are the main exporters at the world level. The same is true for fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal), of which Russia is a major exporter, especially to Europe.

Food insecurity, which has been growing in recent years and was heightened during the Covid-19 health crisis, will deepen with the risk of large-scale famine in many countries, especially in Africa.

The context of the war will dry up the sources of supply represented by Russia and Ukraine, which together account for 1/3 of the world wheat trade. Many African countries, including Burkina Faso, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Sudan, etc. depend on these countries for 50% of their wheat imports. On March 7, the price of a ton of wheat rose to 400 euros, while its usual value is between 180 and 230 Euros per ton. The price of daily bread for the masses of people is in danger of becoming unaffordable.

In addition to food, the prices of transportation, fuel and all the basic necessities of life will rise and make life ever more expensive for the popular masses in urban and rural areas.

The imperialist powers, despite the soothing speeches and endless diplomatic ballets for peace, are war-mongers who do not care about the dramatic consequences for the peoples. For the profits of the arms monopolies, they provoke conflicts in order to conquer territories.

Geostrategic implications of the war in Ukraine

Russia’s war of imperialist aggression in Ukraine amply confirms its dimension as a war of redivision of territories between imperialist powers. It is deepening the inter-imperialist rivalries that use war as a means of controlling strategic territories and plundering mineral and agricultural resources. As Lenin clearly stated: “Imperialism is the source of war”. We can see this today in Syria, in Yemen, in the Sahel in West Africa, which has been transformed into a powder keg where French imperialism, in difficulty, maintains a massive military presence in the face of its US, Russian, Turkish, Indian and Brazilian rivals. Armed terrorist groups are used to legitimize military interventions while also playing their own game through drug, commodity and human trafficking.

What is happening before our eyes in Ukraine: Russia, faced with difficulties due to Ukrainian resistance and the rejection of this reactionary war by the Russian people, and its international isolation, is going to cling to the territories it already controls militarily: Crimea and the Donbass.

This is a compromise that its rivals can temporarily tolerate, because they do not lose out.

Indeed, the United States and its European allies in NATO are strengthening their military and economic presence in the countries bordering Ukraine and will exert significant influence in this area of major strategic importance.

China is trying to take advantage of the fierce struggle between these two coalitions, without ignoring the rivalries between China and the US superpower.

The working class and the peoples of Europe and the world will pay a heavy price for the disastrous economic and social consequences.

The peoples of Africa should be convinced more than ever of the imperialist nature of Russia, which like other imperialist powers engages in military interventions against the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of another country. Currently in some African countries, neo-colonies of French imperialism, mainly the working class, the people and the youth are demonstrating massively in the streets to demand the departure of French troops and military bases. Some fringes of the radical reformist petty bourgeoisie have illusions about Russia, which is wrongly considered a potential ally in the fight against terrorism and for the national and social liberation of the African peoples.

More than ever, the democratic and revolutionary movements with the enlightenment of the Marxist-Leninist parties must base their actions on the fundamental principles of the antiimperialist struggle. Namely: we cannot rely on one superpower to fight the other. One cannot rely on one superpower or imperialist power to fight the dominant imperialism in one’s country. One cannot rely on the dominant imperialism in one’s country to fight a superpower or an imperialist power.

Faced with the war of aggression of Russia in Ukraine, the position of principle is to:

* denounce this reactionary war which is basically a war of redivision of territories between imperialist powers.

* support the resistance of the people in Ukraine for the defence of national sovereignty.

* denounce the manoeuvres of the Western imperialist powers (the United States and its European allies in NATO).

* support the struggles of the proletariat and peoples against militarization and war budgets and for their democratic and social rights.

Click here to return to the September 2022 index.