Translated by Petr Yakovlev
All really key laws and state regulation measures can satisfy the interests and needs of either the oligarchy, that is, the richest monopolist tycoons, or the people, represented mainly by wage workers. This fact is objectively dictated by the economic basis of society, the nature of production relations.
And it doesn’t matter that some laws and policies do not directly serve the oligarchy. And it doesn’t matter that there are some intermediate layers of the bourgeoisie who are extremely disaffected with monopoly. The only important thing is whether the dominance of private oligarchic property is maintained and strengthened, or whether laws and state measures serve the real socialization of production for the benefit of the whole society, especially the working people. Historical practice has proved that the last-mentioned is possible only under the leadership of the Communist Party, in line with the implementation of the dictatorship of the working class, that is, with the closest reliance on the masses.
In our case, the legal system of the Russian Federation is the will of the bourgeois class elevated into law, the objective core of which is monopolist magnates who rely not on workers, but on entrepreneurs. It serves the rule of capitalism.
Look at the composition of the government. The Medvedev government, the government of millionaires, has resigned; it has been replaced by the new government of Mishustin, the government of millionaires. Almost all ministers and their deputies are recruited from the bourgeoisie, the power apparatus is permeated by the rich. The whole bureaucracy is connected with a business by a thousand threads, this can be seen even with a cursory examination of official declarations of senior officials. All major officials have a private interest under the guise of assets of wives, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, grandparents, drivers, friends, not to mention offshore companies. Everything is covered in the darkness of „trade secrets“, but everywhere the banal insides of entrepreneurs are visible.
„Patriots“ sing the hosanna to „patriotic“ wealthy officials. They are convinced that they, so to speak, will build good capitalism, are opposed to American imperialism, i.e., against the collapse and destruction of the country. Yes, a group of such bureaucratic capital has formed around Putin, oligarchs, and officials who are striving to make Russia their strong patrimony as opposed to foreign capital. This is a natural process of rivalry between different bourgeois forces. Every capitalist dream of becoming a master of the world, therefore he is forced to collect popular sympathies under his banners. But the essence will remain the same: the laws of capital cannot be repealed. The rich will get richer, and the poor will get poorer. Parasites — to measure yachts and football clubs, and workers — to count pennies.
Modern monopoly capitalism is the capitalism of the undivided rule of financial magnates. It is they who set monopoly prices for literally everything, hold all economic leverage through finance and dictate their political will to the whole of society. It is financial tycoons (giant corporations) who appoint governments and promote their people as presidents, shoot or drown in incriminating disagreeable officials and deputies. In all bourgeois countries they are closely intertwined with the highest bureaucracy.
However, the specifics of bourgeois Russia is that this capitalism was formed on the fragments of the socialist USSR, and the former Soviet people acted as the proletariat. The period of semi-colonial humiliation, the destruction of the state and the dominance of American and European capital in ten years gave way to the period of the formation of bourgeois sovereignty and the growth of the power of local oligarchs. The US tycoons were dizzy with the success of the victory over the USSR and while slowly chewing their prey, the young bourgeois class of the Russian Federation fed up to a competitive scale. Seven pro-Western bankers of the 1990s gave way first to two dozen billionaires of the 2000s, and then to nearly a hundred billionaires of the 2010s. The consolidating force of the Russian oligarchy was, in fact, Putin, who pacified the proletarian mass and formed at the expense of state orders the nucleus of the oligarchs from his friends.
It is important to note that Putin is characterized by Bonapartism. He seems to be maneuvering between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, striving for some kind of compromise. Putin considers himself a historical figure of the level of Peter the Great, therefore, he pretty much breaks away directly from the ruling class. Today, oligarchs are not involved in making a number of political decisions. Putin acts as a sort of arbiter in confronting various bureaucratic-oligarchic groups, a guarantor of maintaining equilibrium in the class balance of power.
In this situation, as a matter of fact, there is nothing unique, it happens quite often under certain historical conditions. Since the oligarchs do not have much opposition to Putin, his policies generally suit them. And most importantly, it does not and cannot go beyond the dominance of market relations and private oligarchic property.
Putin describes his power in this way:
„The sovereignty of our people must be unconditional. We have done a lot for this: we restored the unity of the country, put an end to the situation when some state and power functions were usurped by the oligarchic clans, as a matter of fact, Russia returned to international politics as a country that we began to reckon with“.
This statement reveals the truth that state-monopoly capitalism has formed in the Russian Federation with the well-known specifics of Bonapartism, but it is obscured that state power objectively serves the dominance of financial capital, i.e. oligarchies, therefore, there can be no talk of any sovereignty of the people. All institutions of power are occupied by capitalists, connected by a thousand threads to the largest oligarchy.
The essence of „Putin regime“ — capitalism of the imperialistic epoch.
Should we agitate against Putin as against Tsar Nikolai?
Lenin demanded that the Party members begin active agitation against the tsarist regime, demanded to expose economic and political order, down to the smallest detail, in short, as the bourgeois patriots would say today, demanded to „rock the boat“ by all forces and assets. The Marxists of the beginning of the 20th century devoted a substantial part of their work to arousing the democratic consciousness of the working people, to the effort of all resistance to tsarism in the struggle for the bourgeois-democratic revolution. Tsarist Russia faced the historical task of casting off the Tsar and destroying feudal survivals, clearing the way for the development of capitalism.
But this is half the trouble. The revolutionary movement in the Russian Empire was driven underground, the government unleashed monstrous terror concerning to all democracy, and the cowardly bourgeoisie entered into an alliance with the feudal aristocracy and the Tsar. Political freedom is a fundamental condition for conducting communist work, in the absence of the possibility of relatively free work, all forces should automatically be thrown into the struggle for the legality of communist activity. From the underground, it is extremely difficult to establish a strong connection with the masses and establish effective propaganda and agitation. Therefore, Lenin and other Bolsheviks in their works paid so much attention to democracy and denunciation of Tsarism, officials, factory, military, bureaucratic orders of the Tsarist terrorist regime. Before the February Revolution, the Bolsheviks were less important about the readiness of the working class to seize power than the overthrow of the Tsarist regime. But, already in April 1917, in conditions of complete legality, Lenin in two months managed to organize the work of the Party so effectively that in July Kerensky carried out a coup and attempted to suppress the Bolshevik Party. But the masses had already awakened, tasted political freedom, and therefore the persecutions were unsuccessful, and the Bolsheviks, despite all the bourgeois-democratic illusions, managed to convince Russia of the need for Communism.
One must be very eager to copy the experience of the Bolsheviks so as not to see the difference in conditions. First, in modern Russia, state-monopoly capitalism is developing, that is, the material preparation of Communism is evident. Secondly, Putin’s political regime is democratic and does not threaten the communist movement at this stage of its existence. Marxism, Communism are completely legal; there is a relatively wide scope for the revolutionary movement. There is freedom of communist propaganda, agitation, all the conditions that the Bolsheviks could not even dream of. The Internet and affordable printing remove a number of technical problems in the development of propaganda and agitation. Thirdly, modern proletarians are literate compared to the beginning of the 20th century and have free time (the proletariat, which does not abuse processing, has almost 60% of its life free from wage labour). Moreover, there is no huge mass of the petty-bourgeois peasantry and the intermediate petty-bourgeois strata; there is no peasant question of land.
Consequently, there is no reason for the working class to engage in instigating protest moods in the form of a struggle against the established political regime without preliminary preparation for the seizure of power by the working class. The Putin regime is quite happy with us since it makes it possible in relatively calm conditions to expand propaganda, form an avant-garde party and organize the proletariat into the working class.
For taking power, the support of millions and the active actions of tens of thousands are needed, but to maintain it, you need competent party cadres. Lenin, even in those harsh conditions, had such a party.
For now, we only have to forge the cadre core of the party. Therefore, there is no point in wasting energy on campaigning against the regime, on conviction and protest activity.
Besides, the whole content of the accusatory agitation of the left, right and liberals, by and large, is known in advance even to the widest masses of the population. There is no secret where the oligarchs derive their wealth, that all high officials are rich and thieves, that laws are passed primarily in the interests of the rich and so on. This is a worker at the beginning of the XX century, a former peasant without education, did not understand that he was being exploited. Today is an open secret. Therefore, all incriminating agitation against the regime does not cause any particular reaction among the masses, they already know that entrepreneurs and their officials are parasites and bastards. The oligarchs openly demonstrate their wealth, and officials and deputies publish in their declarations hundreds of millions and billions of rubles of income per year, car parks, apartments, villas, and yachts. This is all well known and does not require any agitation; the bourgeois press itself writes about this almost every day. When left-wingers arm themselves with all these facts and conduct an agitation campaign, the question involuntarily arises: are they sane?
Meanwhile, we must clearly understand that support for the struggle against the Putin regime today is support for strengthening pro-Western forces. The „Westerners“ in power, firstly, will begin to destroy state-monopoly capitalism, and secondly, they will unleash repressions against the Communists, like the Ukrainian ones. Therefore, an open confrontation with the regime should be initiated when there is a party and a working-class is formed around it that can take and maintain power. Of course, life can put before us other layouts that will have to be resolved objectively, based on the class balance of power.
But as long as there is no time pressure, it is necessary to correctly put the work under current conditions and not to go astray on playing along to the Navalnyists and other liberals or nationalists.
On the ratio of the two main bourgeois „parties“ in Russia
If we express very briefly and succinctly the principles of the policy of the dominant oligarchic group, which is held together by the Putin team („patriots“), then we are talking about 1) complete freedom for monopoly capital in relation to non-monopoly medium and small capital. Freedom, first of all, absorption, ruin, destruction. 2. On the regrouping of capital at the expense of the state banking sector and state order. 3. The strengthening of state power, protectionism and external economic expansion at this expense. 4. The calming down of the proletarian movement through budgeting for jobs, social policy, and economic regulation. In general, this policy is a policy in favor of the oligarchy.
If we can concisely express the principle of the proposals of all liberal opposition politicians („Westerners“), then we are talking about the weakening of the bourgeois state by all means and means in order to knock out the soil of their organization from under the feet of the Russian oligarchs. The purpose of all these reforms, Maidan, swamp „uprisings“ is to increase the competitiveness of Western capital, in particular the US oligarchy. This is the standard imperialist policy that the United States pays in all countries of the world — liberalization, the „freedom of trade“ and the „freedom of capital flows“. And the kudrins, navalnys, and khodorkovskys, in this case, are just agents of American and European imperialism. The meaning of all this fuss is completely trivial — to weaken the competition.
However, what kudrins and navalnys offer and fight for will lead not only to weaken the Russian oligarchy and strengthen the western oligarchy but also to social disasters a la the 90s.
Therefore, if under Putin we see so called ordinary capitalist „fascism“, that is, proletarians pressed by poverty, multiplying the fortunes of oligarchs, sitting on the thrones of monopoly corporations; then with conventional navalnyis we will see liberal fascism, a hundred times more frenzied, more anti-people.
Some will say, the weaker the bourgeois political regime, the more profitable for the cause of Communism. And this is quite correct when it comes to the fact that the Communists have something to oppose the bourgeoisie. When the working class has its own sovereign political position, expressed by a strong Marxist party associated with the masses.
But if we go through the initial stage of staffing, if the proletariat is not organized into the working class, if there is no headquarters, then we must reckon with what we have. But we have a bourgeois regime relatively loyal to Marxists, relatively comfortable conditions for propaganda and organizational work. Therefore, one should not only confuse Putin and Navalny as two liberals, bourgeois politicians, anti-Communists but also find out their role in relation to the conditions of development of the labor movement and the conditions of the Communist struggle. So, if the liberals topple Putin, then we are waiting for an open anti-Communist pogrom, the final curtailment of social programs and the destruction of state-monopoly capitalism. Only a provocateur will call this an improvement in the conditions for Communism.