Oil and Blood: Imperialism Is Unable to Digest the Caucasian-Caspian Morsel

L. Gurjiev

Between the Caspian and the Black Seas is situated a vast geo-strategic region whose significance in world politics and economy keeps growing with the years so that soon it will surpass the corresponding role of the Middle East.

We are speaking about the Caucasus, which consists of the Big or Northern Caucasus and the Small or Southern Caucasus between which there is the vast zone of the Trans-Caucasus. Practically the whole of the Caucasus region was Soviet territory, though a part of the Southern Caucasus was ruled by Iran and Turkey. There are situated Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan – at one time they constituted three free socialist republics but at present they are enslaved by international capital which has turned them into occupation zones. From the South and North these pseudo-state formations are surrounded by the so-called autonomous areas, the largest part of which is situated on the borders of the Russian Federation. Why so-called? Because some of them have declared and with arms uphold their independence: Chechnya – from Russia, Karabakh – from Azerbaijan, Abkhazia and South Ossetia – from Georgia.

The Caucasus is unique in its nature not only geo-strategically. It is a racial-ethnic, religious and cultural conglomerate that doesn’t have analogues in the world. Here live the representatives of more than 100 nationalities, tens of whom are aboriginal. They belong to the leading religions – Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Paganism. There are also some Buddhists – the Kalmyks – though to relate their area to the Caucasus would not be entirely correct. It is better to say – pre-Caspian steppes. The political contradictions tearing up the region are hardened by the economic ones that came into being after the destruction of the USSR in 1991. Or it is better to say they have risen upon the yeast of the economic basis in full accordance with the laws of social development discovered by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin. In the Soviet era the Caucasus as the rest of the country functioned in the framework of the united peoples’ economic complex which guaranteed the harmonic and mutually beneficial cooperation and progress of the republics. It goes without saying that the socialist system removed any antagonism from all the problems of a superstructural character. Thus, far from alienating people the problems of developing oil and gas deposits united the peoples of the USSR.

It is true, the smell and the colour of the blood abundantly flowing here for the last 15 years has the distinct shade and smell of oil. I will not take the reader's time by laying out statistics that can be found in many source books (to tell the truth they are rather controversial and have a clear disinformation character). I would like to simply present a fact: the Caspian basin, especially its bed and eastern bank, is a gigantic reserve of oil and gas. Its extent according to some estimates is equal to the total explored world stock of these raw materials. Going from one crisis to another, spendthrift in energy use, the misbalanced economy of the Western countries needs the Caspian raw material as it needs air. There is a raging political turmoil over the Middle Eastern oil fields, and some of them have led to military actions. While the West wishes to control Venezuelan ‘black gold’, the country has become a real powder keg. The situation in other oil-extracting countries is not safe and quiet. And what do we see here – there is a defeated, demoralised opponent in the ownerless post-Soviet territories… Not to mention that some economists consider the West might not able to survive without absorbing large quantities of Caspian energy resources.

The capitalists know well how to count material potential. As a rule they fail to count moral, human potential. The fantastic treasures of the Caucasus-Caspian region still haven’t fallen under their full command. It is clear that they have taken over a part of the fields, having signed appropriate treaties (mostly secret) with the comprador regimes of the region. But here arises the problem of transporting of the extracted treasure. A quick glance at the map shows that the Caucasus route is the shortest and most profitable. But to use it is not quite easy. The destruction of the Soviet Union has taken its vengeance in numerous unpredictable processes in the furthest corners of the globe, especially in the area of the former Soviet Union. Beginning with Gorbachev’s ‘perestroika’, the Trans-Caucasus has been caught up in civil war: in Karabakh, Abkhazia, South Ossetia. Plus there are criminal conditions in other regions. Strong separatist tendencies have been seen on the borders of Georgia and Turkey, in Adjaria in particular. (Strictly speaking the notion ‘separatism’ is not fully accurate if it is to be applied to the described events, but still we will use it). Totally subjected to Washington, the Kremlin rulers failed to do anything about Chechnya in the northern Caucasus. The flames of insurrection were just about to blow over to Dagestan – the biggest autonomous republic of the region. It is important to underline that this was not a pro-Western event. All of the autonomies as everywhere experienced capitalisation of their life-style, and anti-Western moods prevailed among the population.

As a result, the plan to make maximum use of the existing infrastructure to transport oil through the Northern Caucasus (Baku – Novorossiysk) and the Trans-Caucasus (Baku – Batumi) has failed. After the known renegades Shevardnadse and Aliyev had been seated in the presidential armchairs of Georgia and Azerbaijan, a partial shipment of oil was arranged through the Azerbaijani – Georgian corridor. However Shevardnadse failed to fulfil the mission assigned to him – to suppress the separatist, pro-Russian and to a certain extent pro-Soviet, pro-Communist movement in Georgia that threatened the above-mentioned corridor. The decision was then taken to build the trunk pipeline Baku – Tbilisi – Jeikhan. Thus oil will be delivered to the Mediterranean sea coast of Turkey. Bigger supertankers than the ones able to pass through the Black Sea straits will carry Caspian oil onwards. Also taking this point into account, unprecedentedly strong forces were used to defeat the Workers’ Party of Kurdistan and all Kurd patriots, and the latter suffered great losses. The Turkish soldiery gave guarantees to the West that order and stability at this part of the strategic oil route would be provided (though we are still waiting to see what may happen). But the Tbilisi dog became old, grew bald, and lost his sharp nose which once had been good. This year he was replaced by a young wild dog, brought up in an American kennel – President Mikhail Saakashvili.

Here we should remember the rows about the Caspian sea shelf between Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Iran. (There was even a moment when a large-scale war between Iran and Azerbaijan was possible.) We may also recall the fact that the leadership of Turkmenistan expelled all Yankees from the country, having forbidden them to rob the mineral wealth of the country. It caused blind fury among the foreign ‘democrats’. It is also worth mentioning that the American barons who pushed the doors of the White House open with their feet ordered the bombing of Afghanistan not without reason. The barefoot Talibs in turbans did not have any relation to the events of September 11, 2001; however, their country is seriously being discussed as a route to transport Caspian energy resources to Pakistani ports. The president of Iran, Khatami – the Iranian Gorbachev as he is called by well-versed people – enjoys the benevolence of the West because he is trying to arrange a ‘perestroika’ in an Iranian manner to provide the most secure way for energy to reach the shores of the Indian ocean and further – into the voracious paunches of the post-industrial monsters of globalisation. All these projects turned out to be impracticable. Besides, to realise them colossal means would be needed. So, incited by the Caspian treasures, the Caucasus – the key to these treasures – became the sharpest headache for the owners of world capital.

Hence Baku – Tbilisi – Jeikhan. Georgia is the weakest point along this line. And here we have – 1,500 Yankees. Half of them openly wear military uniforms. They are like owners comfortably seating themselves in government cabinets, soldiers’ barracks, in the offices of state and private firms. The country has been flooded by American military supplies. Georgian generals began to get their salaries from American sources and they are not ashamed of this fact. The example was set by President Saakashvili, the one who is supposed to be the conscience of the nation, the one who is a zoological anti-communist, the one who is an adherent of building a unitary fascist state – based on the globalist model of false-liberal social organisation. This hireling himself confessed aloud that he gets his salary from America equal to $1,500 per month. As we see, after Christ the stakes have become higher: Judas sold himself for 30 shekels. To tell the truth at that time only blood could be smelled, now – it is the profit of oil companies.

This and other events in modern Georgian history are happening against the backdrop of catastrophic conditions in all spheres of life. The once 6 million population of this country has been reduced by one third. The reason lies not only in the high mortality rate. Two million people emigrated in search of earning their daily bread. Industry here hasn’t been paralysed as in the other post-Soviet republics – here it simply doesn’t exist any more. Factories and plants have been embezzled and driven from the surface of the earth. Agriculture, once prosperous, has sunk to a troglodyte level. In terms of per capita electric power, in Soviet times Georgia stood first or second place in the world. At present the most popular goods in the local markets are kerosene lamps and candles. Tyranny and illegality have surpassed all imaginable and unimaginable limits. Even the overseas ‘friends’ of the Georgian government lift their hands in dismay. In 2003 in the legislative and executive branches of power of the US it was stated that the scale of corruption in Georgia has left behind that of all other countries of the world.

We must make a special note that in the middle of the 1990s there was a strong upsurge in the communist movement. The United Communist Party of Georgia gained more than 200,000 people including a huge section of youth. In addition there were independent communist parties in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In proportion to the population it was the highest ratio not only for Europe, but for the rest of the continents.

But Georgia, and even the whole of the Caucasus, is not Europe. Of course people take part in elections, but more anxiously they take part (or would take part) in clearing up matters by quite different means, preferably armed. It is not because of the militant nature of the Caucasians, but due to the unprecedented sharpening of the political-economic situation in the region, which is at the epicentre of international intrigue and the cunning stratagems of internal and external interests. The lords of the oil business in general represent a rather mixed conglomerate of forces (confrontation between whom is usual and inevitable).

The authorities got downright worried. Their counter-measures were as old as the world. Unbridled anti-communist propaganda, blackmail, graft, direct physical reprisals, the subversive activities of special services; in particular they consisted of the mass penetration of agents amongst the poorly versed post-Soviet communists. As a result, at present the communist movement of Georgia is divided into several groups, the largest of which has barely 2,000 members, ideological principles are vague, activities are limited to party meetings, irregular, rare newspaper issues and quite microscopic rallies; their mass influence is approaching zero.

In this situation the most real centres of anti-imperialist resistance, which are national in form, became separatists. The most interesting example of such a separatism was the autonomous republic of Adjaria (350 thousand inhabitants, a subtropical climate, citruses, tea, tobacco; capital – Batumi, port, railway terminal, airport, oil processing plants, ship building industry, textile industry). Of course Aslan Abashidse, who became the individual ruler of Adjaria on the remnants of Soviet power and for 13 years enjoyed this rule, didn’t have a single anti-imperialist idea in his mind. Protesting against the Tbilisi regime, he expressed the interests of the local bourgeois ruling clique and at the same time he enjoyed his position as the richest capitalist, worth several billion dollars. But as a result of opposing the totally rotten and corrupt pro-American Tbilisi regime, Batumi policy, notwithstanding the wishes of its leader, had some positive features.

First, of all it was pro-Russian. Ties of the national outskirts of the former Soviet Union with Russia do not represent support for Yeltsin or Putin. It is in fact this or that form of unity which is the most formidable and dangerous for the USA and its vassals as an anti-Western force.

Second, it has destabilised the situation in Georgia and even beyond its borders, which also was not so negative insofar as only in a stable situation were the oil kings able to establish their prison-police dictatorship and unlimitedly pump big oil from there.

Third, a positive symptom of Adjarian separatism isd the fact that the Georgian communists had their strongest positions exactly here – both when the movement was on its rise and also when it receded. Up to now the largest communist organisations are in the town of Batumi and the hilly districts. Their numbers outnumber the organised communists in the rest of Georgia.

Fourth, its living standards exceeded the average in Georgia even though they were very meagre, but its social support painted the image of Adjaria in slightly lighter shades than the total pauperism in the rest of Georgia.

Fifth, when Saakashvili at last captured Adjaria there were left only two fronts for future military conflicts – in Abkhazia and Ossetia. Adjaria formally being in the framework of Georgia without any doubt represented the third one. It means the rear of the fascist Tbilisi regime has been strengthened and the peaceful break for certain sectors of the national liberation struggle has come to an end.

What happened here in the spring of 2004?

Having obtained support from Washington and Moscow, Saakashvili unleashed anti-Adjarian hysteria and advanced his troops against the rebellious autonomy.

A small digression. It is necessary to say that this graduate of the Sorbonne and Columbia universities, who was nurtured by President Shevardnadse, isn’t radiant with a bright mind and is low even according to standards of bourgeois morality. He has betrayed his own benefactor, dethroning him in a boorish manner. He has deceived the crowds on whose shoulders he came to power, who were filled with enthusiasm after turning out Shevardnadse. He had promised to arrange for the ex-president to undergo the same poor, hopeless life to which he had doomed millions of fellow-citizens, and to fix him an allowance equal to $7 per month, which is the official level of pensions in Georgia (the living wage here comes to $100). In reality by a special decree he has granted him $7,000 monthly. At meetings of his supporters, in a chauvinist heat of passion he outraged representatives of other nations. We are Georgians but not any Uzbeks or Turkmen! – he shouted. When he, without batting an eyelid, reported that he had got 97% of the votes, not only the doctors but all others understood that his case is quite clinical. Fools can be found everywhere and always, but so many absolute fools one cannot find in any other country. To lie in this way is not decent and here we have a president… The more so as elections in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan and in most of the post- Soviet occupation zones don’t represent free will in principle. Their results are fixed and prescribed. It is a political axiom which one must take into consideration if one wants to understand what is happening in the Caucasian-Caspian region.

The blockade of Adjaria and the other threats from Saakashvili’s supporters confronted the mobilisation activities of those joining Abashidse's side, including a number of Georgian military units, the establishment of a peoples’ armed volunteer corps, an appeal to Russia and to the European Union for help, etc. Unfortunately the autonomy leader committed several errors the main one of which was the following. When in the autumn of 2003 Saakashvili, inspired by the Americans, extended his ‘rose revolution’, neatly given the name of the ‘dung counter-revolution’, Abashidse, mistakenly thinking that one should choose the lesser of two evils, rendered moral and material support to President Shevardnadse. But hatred towards the latter was so strong that Abashidse's policy brought on the wrath of broad masses of people including in Adjaria itself. Naturally, this and his other unlawful deeds were remembered. That’s why his social base shrank. And the Tbilisi regime comparatively easily organised loud demonstrations in Batumi. Together with this, Saakashvili managed to bribe quite a few Adjaria leaders at the middle and lower level. At one time he had undergone training in subversion from the Americans in Yugoslavia, where he learnt, according to the recipes of the Belgrade ‘democrats’, how to organise ‘spontaneous’ meetings, the passage of the police forces ‘to the side of the people’ and other political games and tricks.

Nevertheless, all these activities were not enough to dethrone Abashidse. From the point of view of defence Adjaria was not badly armed; it had artillery, armoured military equipment, battle helicopters, and battle ships. This Muslim corner of Christian Georgia has been traditionally the least Americanised and Europeanised, the least criminalised, the least contaminated by chauvinism. Easily organised opposition meetings were as easily and quickly dispersed by the authorities. What was important – the sympathies of Russian patriots, of all Northern Caucasians, Azerbaijanis and Armenians were on the side of Adjaria.

It is a paradox, but it is true that the satellite Aslan Abashidse was dethroned by Russia. However this paradox is only an apparent one. This is because the Russian regime has nothing to do with the toiling Russian people. Putin and Saakashvili are different only in qualitative and quantitative characteristics of their ownerships. In essence they are like Siamese twins; they are heads of their states only nominally and they serve one master. The secretary of the Council of Security of Russia was told to go to Batumi and make Abashidse an offer which he couldn’t refuse. This shameful mission was fulfilled by Igor Ivanov, who earlier was shamefully obsequious towards the West while holding the post of Minister of Foreign affairs. According to existing information, he gave the leader of Adjaria guarantees of private security and material wealth if he ‘voluntarily’ retired and overthrow by Russian military forces (located at the Batumi military base) if he refused.

History knows bourgeois leaders who have rejected similar ultimatums, sacrificed their capital and even their lives. However, Abashidse was not an exception but the rule, following the universal genetic code of betrayal inherent in the exploiter class. On a May night he with his inner circle left for Moscow by Ivanov’s jet. Thus he left all those who raised their voices in his personal support unprotected from repression, pushing aside the honest average working people who didn’t want Adjaria to submit to the Tbilisi dictatorship, and also complicated the fight against Saakashvili and the other compradors of the Caucasus. This was shown as an example of ‘honourable surrender’ to the leaders of other ‘separatist’ establishments which are unrecognised by the so-called world community. With deep regret I would note that in some mass media which are not at all reactionary his act was called courageous(!), wise(!!) and humanistic(!!!). Even in the leftist press some fools gave him the credit that by his own retirement he had helped to avoid bloodshed.

It is strange that, in destroying the Soviet Union the enemy wasn’t ashamed to hinder progress, shatter the statehood, arrange economic sabotage, unleash military actions, provoke instability. The enemy destroyed the communist system since it understood that otherwise it wouldn’t be able to achieve its capitalist goals. And we are aiming to achieve communist goals without the destruction of the capitalist system? It is comforting that this logic of the absurd doesn’t work on the whole in the Caucasus. It’s painful that it has worked in Adjaria.

Still the Caucasian-Caspian morsel is not beneficial to imperialism. The policy of the masters from the oil cartels actually has two sides. Yes they keep putting their people in leading posts, they carry out military penetration, create basic economic structures, carry out not only geological reconnaissance; for a long time they have been extracting and exporting oil and gas… It has been too little time for them to change the state borders, for they change geographical borders according to their whims. For example, they artificially include the Caucasus in Europe as the first step of bringing Georgia into NATO. The next candidate to be favoured in this military-political bloc is Azerbaijan. They still feel shy about attaching the Trans-Caspian lands to Europe. But the NATO fire-eaters have settled down there under another appropriate and thoroughly false pretext – the fight against international terrorism.

Together with this these lords are spreading hatred among the masses. They are especially playing off the peoples of the Caucasus against each other (say, the Ingushes and the Ossetians); people who might be otherwise completely irreconcilable to each other always have at least one clear point of coincidence of views – anti-Americanism. Is it because of this that the Yankees more and more often pounce upon the Chechens with the criticism that they weaken Putin’s regime, which is so pleasant for the Americans, and that instead of listening to the uncle from Washington they openly shrug him off. The unbelievable happens – the Chechens, once passionate anti-Communists and anti-Stalinists (during World War II they were expelled from the Caucasus for collaborating with the Nazis), become loyal to their former antipodes. Also we must note that the name of Stalin in former Soviet times was more popular in the Caucasus than in Russia. Today we can assert that the long period of anti-Communist and anti-Stalinist propaganda has totally failed along the whole of the gigantic isthmus which divides the Caspian and the Black Seas. Certainly the powers that be don’t stop striving to poison as many souls as they can, especially amongst the youths. However in the Caucasus region is just where the percentage of youth is the highest in the post-Soviet communist movement, which generally suffers from a lack of young girls and boys among its masses.

Oil is figuratively called the blood of the Earth. I would call it the blood of the perished and perishing here of the oppositionists who are the fuel of the future revolution. In the world of commodities, oil can bring profit and can pour out, evaporate, subside, i.e. it can go to waste. However, of the most precious and power-consuming fuel of the world of ideas, not a single drop will vanish in vain without traces.

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