THE CONFLICT IN UKRAINE
Minor revisions added as of 11 March 2022.
Anakpawis Discussion with Prof. Jose Ma. Sison
Saturday, March 5, 2022
English translation of original Filipino text
Link to YouTube video is at the bottom of this text.
1. Background: From Kievan Rus
In the 9th century, Kievan Rus became the cradle of the Russian race. The Russians descended from the Vikings also called Varangian. It was the bastion of Rurik and his dynasty which is by legend considered the origin of the Russian race. But eventually the local tribes increased to become Ukrainian whose language and culture were similar to Russian due to the centuries of interaction between the Russian and Ukrainian nationalities.
In the 12th and 13th centuries the Mongols came to dominate the Russians and Ukrainians and complicated their history. The Russians became the steadfast enemies of the Tatars. Cultural and racial inbreeding occurred between the Mongols and the Ukrainians who converted to Islam and Ukraine became a caliphate. In the 15th century Moscow became the center of the Russians. The population had grown and their territory had increased. The feudal system flourished and Orthodox Christianity spread until capitalism emerged. However, Russia remained a military-feudal imperialist power until Tsarism was overthrown in 1917.
2. October Revolution up to the counteroffensive against Nazi Germany
The first inter-imperialist war, World War I, gave the Bolsheviks the favorable conditions for waging and winning the revolution. They won in October 1917. One of the early republics the Bolsheviks established was Ukraine as well as Russia and Belarus. These three republics became the founders and core of the USSR which was established in 1922 when the Bolsheviks won the Civil War.
The scope of the Russian Czarist empire is also generally the scope of the USSR. After Lenin’s New Economic Policy, Stalin undertook the construction of socialist industry and the collectivization and mechanization of agriculture. The USSR became the target of Nazi Germany’s aggression in World War II. It occupied the USSR, killed 27 million people and destroyed 85 percent of its industry. But the USSR prevailed and in the counter-offensive the fascist governments were overthrown as far as Berlin and laid the basis for the rise of additional socialist countries in Eastern Europe.
3. Emergence of modern revisionism and restoration of capitalism
After World War II, the US declared the Cold War against the USSR in 1948, formed NATO in 1949 and became aggressive, angered at the victory of the USSR, the increase of the socialist countries and the rise of national liberation movements. In 1955 the USSR and Eastern European countries established the Warsaw Pact as a counter to NATO. However, modern revisionism and the policies of the restoration of capitalism emerged under Khrushchov in 1956.
Revisionists up to Gorbachev and Yeltsin thought that if the USSR became capitalist, there would be an end to the Cold War, peace and the disappearance of the danger of nuclear war. When it turned fully capitalist, the USSR dissolved itself through the Minsk Agreement of 1991 which was co-signed by Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. The agreement stipulates the assurances from the US, NATO and the OSCE that former Warsaw Pact members would not be made NATO members and would not bump on and threaten Russia along its borders.
4. US and NATO violation of the 1991 Minsk Agreement
While Russia was still very weak due to the dissolution of the USSR and due to the chaos from the total restoration of capitalism, the US and NATO seized the opportunity to completely destroy Yugoslavia, expand NATO to 14 more countries as far as the borders of Russia, instigate unrest in Georgia and Chechnya and use so-called color revolutions to put Eastern Europe under the power and influence of the US and NATO.
The US spent USD 5 billion in Ukraine to support Bandera-type neo-Nazis or fascists to stage Maidan mass protests from 2013 until the bloody coup that toppled Yanukovich’s pro-Russian government in 2014. The new government attacked the Donbas region where Ukrainian Russians predominate and massacred Russians in the major cities of Ukraine. The massacre and burning of Ukrainian Russians at the Trade Union building in Odessa was a major example of the Russophic and fascist actions of the Kyiv government, the fascist Svoboda party and the fascist militia battallions like the Azov battallion.
5. Resistance of Russian Ukrainians to the Kyiv fascists
The Russian majority in the Donbas region fought the Kyiv regime until they established the people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in accordance with the right to national self-detemination under international law. Russia provided limited support to them. But the major action it took was to reclaim Crimea after the overwhelming Russian majority held a referendum to return the peninsula to Russia in 2014. Khrushchov had previously gifted Crimea to Ukraine in 1954 as a political stunt. Russians are a large majority in Crimea because it is territorially attached to Russia and had been ruled by Russia for centuries, except when the Tatars dominated the peninsula..
The heroic and effective resistance of the people and the republic of Donbas against the fascists in the years of 2014 and 2015 gave rise to the 2015 Minsk II Agreement for a ceasefire, recognizing the autonomy of the two people’s republics and having a line of contact (ceasefire line) in order to ban the deployment here of artillery and other powerful military equipment. However, the Kyiv government and fascists have ceaselessly attacked the Donbas region.
6. Severe damage to the Russians in Ukraine and planned blitzkrieg
Upon US and NATO instigation, about 14,000 Russian Ukrainians have been killed by the fascists of the Kyiv regime from 2014 to 2022. Three million Russian Ukrainians have fled. Homes, factories, schools, hospitals and other civilian infrastructures of the Donbas have been incessantly attacked. And Russian civilians have been massacred in apartments and neighborhoods in cities. The Russian population in Ukraine has dropped from 22 per cent in 2014 to 17 per cent at present.
Since last year, the US and NATO have prodded Ukraine to become a NATO member. Ukraine’s military was placed under NATO command and control. The military bases on the Russian border have been increased and so have US and British military exercises and training of Ukrainian military. And Ukraine had a blitzkrieg plan against the Donbas region. Russia and the people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk became aware of all these.
Thus, Russia asked the US and NATO for guarantees not to make Ukraine a member of NATO in December 2021. But the US and NATO refused. The result: on February 21 Russia declared that it was recognizing the people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, that they had a treaty of friendship, mutual security and defense and would launch a special military operation against Ukraine for its criminal violations of the Minsk Agreements.
Before the special military operation by Russia, the Kyiv government had already deployed 60,000 troops and still another 60,000 troops in a short period of time against the Donbas region. The Russian forces coalesced with those of the two people“s republics to fight back and secure the region, dominate the eastern and southern areas close to the Russian border, knock out more than 900 military sites by missile and artillery fire and put pressure on Kyiv and other cities.
At the very outset, Russia announced that it had no intention to occupy Ukraine and offered to negotiate a ceasefire towards the neutrality of Ukraine and the necessary guarantees for the security of Russia from the Kyiv government and its US and NATO sponsors. Soon enough Russia ordered the nuclear deterrent alert in order to preempt any surprise attack by the US and NATO.
The most that the US, the European Union, the G-7 and their anti-Russia allies have been able to do is to impose economic and financial sanctions on Russia and extend military assistance to the Ukraine government. The NATO summit pointedly turned down Zelenski’s demand for NATO air cover (no-fly zone) over Ukraine. Thus, the limits of US and NATO support for his puppet government have been exposed. He has expressed disappointment and has shown more willingness to negotiate with Russia.
Preliminary Questions From KMP
1) Will the conflict in Ukraine affect the price of oil in the Philippines which continues to rise due to the deregulation policy?
JMS: The the price of oil in the Philippines will be affected by the conflict in Ukraine and will still continue to rise due to the policy of deregulation or unhindered increase in the price by the monopoly suppliers of oil and gas to the Philippines. The US, Saudi and other oil monopolies and oil-producing countries that suppy oil to the Philippines will take advantage of additional opportunities for raising the oil price.
There are no direct sanctions by the G-7, EU and NATO countries on oil and gas from Russia but there are sanctions hindering Russia’s financial transactions with banks and on shipping that carries oil and gas from Russia. Thus, the supply of oil and gas and its refined products to the international market will be significantly reduced. Due to energy scarcity as in the 1973 oil crisis, oil and gas prices will fly.
Russia is one of the largest oil and gas and refined products producer and supplier. Its daily production is 5.5 million barrels. Half of NATO countries are themselves Russia’s clients. With the blocking of supply from Russia to the world market, there will be a huge energy shortage and oil and gas prices from abroad will definitely increase.
2) What are the direct and indirect effects of events in Ukraine on the lives and livelihood of Filipinos?
JMS: Even as we don’t get oil and gas from Russia, we are affected by price increases due to the oil and gas shortage in the world market. Oil-producing countries in the Middle East and US oil companies will take advantage to raise oil and gas prices that the Philippines is importing even though the US says it can supply shale oil to the EU due to its overproduction through fracking.
But even before the crisis and the conflict in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia, we were affected by rising prices of many imported goods due to the large budget and foreign trade deficits of the Philippines, the rapid growth of public debt and debt payments. Therefore, we lack the money for the importation of consumer products and equipment and components for production. The result is shortage of supply and price surges or inflation. This is a big problem now and in the future whoever is the president.
3) Why should the position or stance of the Philippine government not be neutral in the conflict in Ukraine?
JMS: The No. 1 imperialist power dominating the Philippines is still the US. The Duterte puppet regime has no choice but to follow the US line, especially now that it is toadying up to the US because of the 2022 elections. It is pro-US and pro-NATO regarding the conflict in Ukraine.
In general, all the imperialists and their puppet fascists are bad for the working people and we see that the US is the No.1 enemy and the others are only secondary. But we must be analytical of conflicts and collusions among the imperialists in various situations and on various issues. And we use international law to find out which imperialist power or imperialist bloc is most guilty of violations based on the concrete situation.
In Ukraine, the US and NATO were responsible for major crimes in colluding with the fascists of Ukraine in 2013 to 2014 to carry out the Maidan protests and staging a bloody coup to overthrow the elected pro-Russian government. After the US and NATO instigated their fascist puppets in Kyiv to attack the Russians in the Donbas region and in the cities, 14,000 Russian Ukrainians were massacred and 3 million were expelled in the past eight years.
Since last year, the US has pushed the Kyiv authorities to make Ukraine a NATO member. This is a violation of the 1991 Minsk Agreement which prohibits former members of the Warsaw Pact from joining NATO. And there was even a planned blitzkrieg against the people’s republic in the Donbas region. Zelensky has even said that he would retake Crimea by invasion. As a result, Russia planned and carried out a special military operation and the recognition of the two people’s republics in the Donbas region.
4) How will the US, China and other imperialist countries benefit more from what is happening in Ukraine?
JMS: The US has succeeded in using Ukrainian fascists to place military installations inside Ukraine and Russia’s border and to provoke Russia to conduct its special military operation. The US has strengthened its leadership and command in NATO and the EU has become in the main compliant.
US monopolies will benefit because oil and gas supply from the US will replace Russian supply using Nord Stream 2 . The EU is the loser. The supply from Russia is cheaper and more stable. The US military-industrial complex will also benefit because its military production contracts will increase because of increased tensions.
Only ten percent of Russia’s economy and trade will be affected as a result of the sanctions. By necessity, Russia-China relations will be strengthened. It is already planned that the gas that would have flowed into Nord Stream 2 will be transferred to the pipeline to China via Siberia. Russia’s food production is good. Where it is weak, as in consumer manufacturing, Russia can get all the necessary products from China. They will work more closely in the framework of the BRICS, BRI, Eurasian Economic Union and SCO. China will benefit the most among the imperialist powers because of the conflict in Ukraine.###
The original video clip of the Ukraine discussion may be watched on Jose Maria Sison’s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oq9nA2pPqe0
Reference on Ukraine’s Population and Economic Resources
It is the second-largest country by area in Europe by area and has a population of over 40 million—more than Poland.
🌐 1st in Europe in proven recoverable reserves of uranium ores;
🌐2nd place in Europe and 10th place in the world in terms of titanium ore reserves;
🌐2nd place in the world in terms of explored reserves of manganese ores (2.3 billion tons, or 12% of the world’s reserves);
🌐2nd largest iron ore reserves in the world (30 billion tons);
🌐2nd place in Europe in terms of mercury ore reserves;
🌐3rd place in Europe (13th place in the world) in shale gas reserves (22 trillion cubic meters)
🌐4th in the world by the total value of natural resources;
🌐7th place in the world in coal reserves (33.9 billion tons)
Ukraine is an important agricultural country:
🌐1st in Europe in terms of arable land area;
🌐3rd place in the world by the area of black soil (25% of world’s volume);
🌐1st place in the world in exports of sunflower and sunflower oil;
🌐2nd place in the world in barley production and 4th place in barley exports;
🌐3rd largest producer and 4th largest exporter of corn in the world;
🌐4th largest producer of potatoes in the world;
🌐5th largest rye producer in the world;
🌐5th place in the world in bee production (75,000 tons);
🌐8th place in the world in wheat exports;
🌐9th place in the world in the production of chicken eggs;
🌐16th place in the world in cheese exports.
Ukraine can meet the food needs of 600 million people.
Ukraine is an important industrialized country:
🌐1st in Europe in ammonia production;
Europe’s 2nd’s and the world’s 4th largest natural gas pipeline system;
🌐3rd largest in Europe and 8th largest in the world in terms of installed capacity of nuclear power plants;
🌐3rd place in Europe and 11th in the world in terms of rail network length (21,700 km);
🌐3rd place in the world (after the U.S. and France) in production of locators and locating equipment;
🌐3rd largest iron exporter in the world
🌐4th largest exporter of turbines for nuclear power plants in the world;
🌐4th world’s largest manufacturer of rocket launchers;
🌐4th place in the world in clay exports
🌐4th place in the world in titanium exports
🌐8th place in the world in exports of ores and concentrates;
🌐9th place in the world in exports of defense industry products;
🌐10th largest steel producer in the world (32.4 million tons).