The Syrian Revolution and the Assassination of the Russian Ambassador to Turkey

Joint Statement of the International Secretariat of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) and Sınıf Savaşı (Section of the RCIT in Turkey), 21.12.2016, and




1.             Russia’s ambassador in Turkey, Andrey Karlov, was shot and killed on 20 December by Mevlut Mert Altintas – a 22-year-old, off-duty Turkish policeman. After the attack, the man shouted religious slogans in combination with slogans like “Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria!” expressing his rage about the involvement of Russian imperialism in the slaughter of the Syrian people in Aleppo.


2.             The RCIT stands in the tradition of Marxism and Trotskyism and thus rejects individual terrorism as a useful instrument to fight against oppression and exploitation. While we do not approve of the assassination of the Russian ambassador, we share no sympathy with this man. He was part of the imperialist Putin machinery which is responsible for the mass murder of the Chechen as well as the Syrian people. However, we contend that such attacks don’t really weaken the imperialist system, but rather legitimize it to conduct more repression and persecution. Our approach has been well formulated by Leon Trotsky, co-leader of the socialist October Revolution in 1917 together with Lenin and founder of the Fourth International, who wrote as early as 1911: "If we oppose terrorist acts, it is only because individual revenge does not satisfy us. The account we have to settle with the capitalist system is too great to be presented to some functionary called a minister. To learn to see all the crimes against humanity, all the indignities to which the human body and spirit are subjected, as the twisted outgrowths and expressions of the existing social system, in order to direct all our energies into a collective struggle against this system – that is the direction in which the burning desire for revenge can find its highest moral satisfaction.


3.             Nonetheless, it is necessary to point out that such desperate attacks are an unavoidable result of the tremendous barbarity which has and is being perpetrated in Syria by the brutal Assad regime and its backers in Moscow and Teheran. Thousands upon thousands of Syrians have been slaughtered in East-Aleppo during the past weeks. It is hardly surprising that people all over the world direct their hatred against representatives of the regime responsible for these autocracies. In fact, we can expect more such attacks. The assassination awakes memories to the act of Herschel Grynszpan, a young Polish-German Jew who shot a Nazi Foreign Service officer at the German Embassy in Paris on 7 November 1938 in protest against the barbaric oppression of the Jews by Hitler. At that time Trotsky remarked: “We Marxists consider the tactic of individual terror inexpedient in the tasks of the liberating struggle of the proletariat as well as oppressed nationalities. A single isolated hero cannot replace the masses. But we understand only too clearly the inevitability of such convulsive acts of despair and vengeance. All our emotions, all our sympathies are with the self-sacrificing avengers even though they have been unable to discover the correct road.


4.             While the Putin regime directly participated in the bloody massacre in Aleppo, the Erdoğan regime shares a central responsibility for the defeat which the revolutionary masses in Syria suffered in the country’s once largest city. As a result of its latest rapprochement with Putin, the Turkish regime now supports the liquidation of the Syrian Revolution while keeping the butcher Assad in power. Russia and Turkey already successfully collaborated in arranging the 13 December surrender agreement between rebel groups in East Aleppo and Assad. On 20 December, representatives of Turkey, Iran and Russia met in Moscow to advance their counter-revolutionary plans. This demonstrates once again that the Syrian popular resistance must not place any trust in the Erdoğan regime.


5.             The RCIT affirms its support for the ongoing Syrian Revolution, despite the terrible defeat in Aleppo, along with our hostility towards all Great Powers and lesser, regional powers who all share the desire to liquidate the Syrian Revolution. However, to persevere and to revitalize the revolution, the workers and peasants must draw the lessons of past defeats:


* No trust in and no collaboration with any Great Power!


* No to sectarianism! For multi-religious and multi-national unity in the struggle against the Assad dictatorship! For full national self-determination for all national and ethnic minorities!


* No trust in the official rebel leaderships!


* For the formation of popular councils and popular militias!


* Most of all: For the building of a revolutionary party in Syria as part of a new revolutionary International!




Pictures and video clips of the latest solidarity activities with the Syrian Revolution:




For a selection of RCIT statements on Syria see:


Michael Pröbsting: The Looming Kerry-Lavrov Agreement – A Great Power Conspiracy against the Syrian Revolution, 06.10.2016,; Joint Statement: Solidarity with Aleppo! Hands off Syria! 4 October 2016,; Syria: For an Independent Revolutionary Road! Down with the Bombing and Siege against Aleppo! Stop the Turkish Invasion and Occupation! No to the Imperialist Conspiracy against the Syrian Masses! Joint Statement of the RCIT and Sınıf Savaşı (Turkey), 25.09.2016,; Yossi Schwartz: The Revolution in Syria won a Tactical Victory! Down with Assad the Butcher! 21 August 2016,; The Imperialist Counterrevolution Threatens the Syrian Revolution! Down with the Great Powers’ Wars! Solidarity with the Syrian Revolution against the Assad Dictatorship! For a Socialist Federation in the Maghreb and Mashreq! Joint Statement of the Agrupación de Lucha Socialista (ALS) and the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 07.12.2015,; RCIT: Great Powers Aim to Liquidate the Syrian Revolution! Mobilize for International Solidarity with the Syrian Liberation Struggle against the Assad Dictatorship! Stop the US, Russian and French Air Strikes! No to Daesh/IS-Terrorism! 18.11.2015,; RCIT: Revolution against Russian Imperialism! Stop the US, UK and French Air Strikes! Smash the Assad Dictatorship! 9.10.2015,; RCIT: Revolution and Counterrevolution in the Arab World: An Acid Test for Revolutionaries, 31 May 2015,; RCIT: The Arab Revolution is a central touchstone for socialists! Open Letter to All Revolutionary Organizations and Activists, 4.10.2013, For many more RCIT documents on the Arab Revolution see on our website:




For our analysis of Russia as an imperialist power see:


Michael Pröbsting: Lenin’s Theory of Imperialism and the Rise of Russia as a Great Power. On the Understanding and Misunderstanding of Today’s Inter-Imperialist Rivalry in the Light of Lenin’s Theory of Imperialism. Another Reply to Our Critics Who Deny Russia’s Imperialist Character, August 2014,; Michael Pröbsting: Russia as a Great Imperialist Power. The formation of Russian Monopoly Capital and its Empire – A Reply to our Critics, 18 March 2014, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 21,; Michael Pröbsting: Russia and China as Great Imperialist Powers. A Summary of the RCIT’s Analysis, 28 March 2014, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 22,; Michael Pröbsting: More on Russia and China as Great Imperialist Powers. A Reply to Chris Slee (Socialist Alliance, Australia) and Walter Daum (LRP, USA), 11 April 2014, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 22,; Michael Pröbsting: The Uprising in East Ukraine and Russian Imperialism. An Analysis of Recent Developments in the Ukrainian Civil War and their Consequences for Revolutionary Tactics, 22.October 2014,