Cynical Doubletalk

How the opportunist IMT tries to hide their collaboration with Russian Stalinists supporting Putin’s war against the Ukraine

By Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 2 March 2023,


The International Marxist Tendency (IMT), a London-based right-centrist organisation, recently published two articles on the occasion of the first anniversary of the Ukraine War. Unsurprisingly, the authors – Alan Woods, the long-time leader of the IMT, [1] and Marat Vakhitov, a leader of their Russian section [2] – reiterate their organisation’s shameful line on the Ukraine. Continuing their disgraceful support for Russia’s puppet regimes in Donbass in 2014/15, [3] they stubbornly refuse to defend the Ukrainian people against Putin’s invasion since 24 February 2022 and denounce any kind of military support for their struggle. (Characteristically, they are much less critical about the military support of Iran for Putin’s war.)

For the IMT, the conflict is just a “proxy war” where the Ukraine is nothing but a mere tool of U.S. imperialism. Sometimes, they admit that Russia is an imperialist power, sometimes they conveniently “forget” to mention this crucial fact. But even when they formally recognise the imperialist nature of Russia, they always add that the U.S. would be much worse since it is “the most reactionary force on Earth”. [4]


Trivialisation of Russian imperialism


As we explained in our critique of the IMT’s policy, such an approach is utterly wrong and reactionary. They fail to recognise the fundamental national right of the Ukrainian people to live without foreign occupation. Such an approach repeats their previous betrayal of the liberation struggles of the Bosnian people and the Kosovar people in the 1990s or the Syrian people in the past decade. They look at oppressed nations with social-chauvinist contempt, typical for intellectuals from rich imperialist countries.

The IMT emphasises that the U.S. is the strongest imperialist power … in order to justify their subliminal support for Russian imperialism. Did any authentic Marxist support Germany in 1914 because Britain was much more powerful at that time?! Or did Trotsky side with Germany and Japan in the 1930s because U.S. imperialism was much stronger in economic and military terms?! Revolutionary Marxism has nothing in common with such support for “lesser evil” imperialism! [5]

Anyway, the IMT’s leaders don’t care about historic truth and the theory of Marxism. Trapped in the long-standing tradition of the arch-opportunist school of Ted Grant, they are incapable to understand the national question, the nature of imperialism in general or the nature of Russian imperialism in particular. [6] They are just looking for a pretence to justify their tacit support for Russian imperialism. [7]

The right of national self-determination of oppressed people, the defence of semi-colonial countries against imperialist aggression, revolutionary defeatism against imperialist war – all these elementary principles of revolutionary socialism do not exist for this organisation. How on earth did the words “International” and “Marxist” end up in their organisations’ name?! Obviously, this is a kind of deceptive manoeuvre – like a man who subtracts some years in the age statement on his Facebook profile and adds some hairs to a photoshopped profile picture.

In contrast to such concealed supporters of Russian imperialism, the RCIT and all authentic Marxists recognise the fundamental fact that the war is first and foremost an aggression of Russian imperialism against the Ukraine, a capitalist semi-colony, which threatens to subjugate the people to brutal national oppression. [8] This is not to deny the fact that the conflict has a dual character. But one has to differentiate between the liberation war of the Ukraine and the inter-imperialist conflict. Hence, the RCIT – as well as our comrades in Socialist Tendency (the RCIT Section in Russia) – has always supported the Ukraine’s war of national defence (including its right to get weapons) but, at the same time, we have opposed all forms of Great Power chauvinism (e.g. sanctions, armament). We have summarised our internationalist and anti-imperialist program in the slogan: “Defend the Ukraine against Putin’s invasion! Against Russian and against NATO imperialism![9]


The KPRF is “social-chauvinist” but …


However, at this place we shall not repeat our critique of the IMT’s position on the Ukraine War. We rather want to point to the political consequences of their semi-Putinist approach and the cynical attempts of this organisation to hide these. In his above-mentioned article, the leader of the Russian IMT section denounces in strongest terms the KPRF led by Gennady Zyuganov – the largest Stalinist party in Russia. “The core of the social-chauvinist flank of the left today is the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) and, more precisely, its leadership. This leadership, from the very first days of the war, has manipulatively used rhetoric about the “fight against fascism”. It has taken an ultra-patriotic position.

Naturally, such sharp criticism is completely justified, as we have repeatedly pointed to the KPRF’s character as a social-imperialist servant of the Putin regime. [10] However, such criticism of the IMT is nothing but a hypercritical manoeuvre designed to deceive an international audience. In fact, their practice in Russia is the complete opposite! As we did show in our above-mentioned articles on the IMT, their Russian section has a long-standing record of close collaboration with the KPRF. At the last municipal elections in September 2022, the IMT section did not only call for a vote for Zyuganov’s party. In two districts in Moscow City, they even stood candidates on the KPRF list and one of them (Zyuzino), their member Boris Israelev got elected.

Today, Israelev presents himself on his Telegram channel proudly as a “deputy from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, a member of the Komsomol of the Russian Federation and the International Marxist Tendency.[11]

As such a loyal supporter of Zyuganov’s party Israelev does not waste any words on the Ukraine War, not to speak about the KPRF’s “social-chauvinism”. He rather prefers to engage in more important activities. For example, he has joined the KPRF structure called “PARTISAN” which advocates a particularly bold campaign: it calls for the limitation of the terms of the Moscow mayor to two, so that he or she can stay in power for no longer than 10 years! Wow! Even the U.S. President can not stay in power for such a long time! Surely, the Putin regime must tremble with fear of this initiative by the KPRF and their friends in the IMT!

We see, the IMT engages in a cynical doublespeech. In front of an English-language international audience, it poses as sharp critiques of the “social-chauvinist” KPRF. However, in their practice in Russia, the IMT meekly supports the “social-chauvinist” KPRF and loyally serves this party in parliamentary institutions. As we noted in this context last year: “The cycle of the IMT’s social-imperialist opportunism has come to its end and the chain of connection is simple and clear: Zyuganov’s KPRF acts as a servant of Putin and the IMT Russia acts as a servant of the KPRF. The centrist opportunist serves the social-imperialist and the social-imperialist serves the imperialist.


Slandering the anti-war socialists as “pro-liberal”


Shamefully, the Russian IMT section also slanders the socialist opponents of Putin’s war who defend the Ukraine as a “pro-liberal trend“ who supposedly are “mainly sects and opportunists”. “The positions they espouse in their publications differ only in detail from the propaganda of the Zelensky government and the governments of a number of NATO member states. But this trend is weakest of all and, indeed virtually invisible, as it for the most part shows little sign of activity in real struggles, prefering to write high-profile declarations from abroad, where a significant part of the already extremely small number of these groups’ activists have fled.

It is certainly true that such opponents of Putin’s war are not very visible and a number of them had to flee the country. Why is this the case? Well, obviously because the Bonapartist Putin regime increasingly moves towards a totalitarian dictatorship. More than 19,000 people have been detained at anti-war protests since 24 February 2022!

Scandalously, the IMT article does not mention such state repression at all! It “forgets” to mention it in order to denigrate the anti-war opposition as “irrelevant” and to slur the anti-imperialist socialists as “pro-liberal sects”. All this should help the IMT to distract from its failure to take an anti-imperialist stance in the Ukraine War and to whitewash their arch-opportunist collaboration with the pro-Putin KPRF!

It is no wonder that a number of Russian members of the IMT have left this organisation in disgust in the period. The best of them joined the Russian section of the RCIT and the comrades of “Socialist Alternative” in organising an important conference to launch a joint internationalist and anti-imperialist initiative. [12]

We have no doubt that other comrades in the IMT are also disgusted by such cynical doublespeech. We call them to draw their conclusions of their criticism and to join the RCIT and its Russian section in building an authentic revolutionary organisation based on a consistent internationalist and anti-imperialist program!

[1] Alan Woods: Ukraine’s bloody anniversary: a balance sheet and perspectives, 24 February 2023,

[2] Marat Vakhitov: One year into the war: where is Russia going? 28 February 2023 (All quotes are from this article if not indicated otherwise.)

[3] See e.g. Socialist Appeal (British section of the IMT): Ukraine after the ceasefire: contradictions pile up, 26 February 2015,

[4] For our latest critique of the IMT’s policy during the Ukraine War see e.g. Michael Pröbsting: Spare the Dummy … and Trotsky! Reply to a not very intelligent polemic of Alan Woods’ IMT on the slogan of “Arms for the Ukraine”, 11 November 2022, In the footnotes, readers find links to additional articles on this issue.

[5] See on this e.g. the book by Michael Pröbsting: Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry. The Factors behind the Accelerating Rivalry between the U.S., China, Russia, EU and Japan. A Critique of the Left’s Analysis and an Outline of the Marxist Perspective, RCIT Books, Vienna 2019,

[6] See e.g. the pamphlet by Michael Pröbsting: The Poverty of Neo-Imperialist Economism. Imperialism and the national question - a critique of Ted Grant and his school (CWI, ISA, IMT), January 2023,

[7] The RCIT has published numerous documents about capitalism in Russia and its rise to an imperialist power. The most important ones are several pamphlets by Michael Pröbsting: The Peculiar Features of Russian Imperialism. A Study of Russia’s Monopolies, Capital Export and Super-Exploitation in the Light of Marxist Theory, 10 August 2021,; by the same author: 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,; Russia as a Great Imperialist Power. The formation of Russian Monopoly Capital and its Empire – A Reply to our Critics, 18 March 2014 (this pamphlet contains a document written in 2001 in which we established for the first time our characterisation of Russia as imperialist),; see also these essays by the same author: Russia: An Imperialist Power or a “Non-Hegemonic Empire in Gestation”? A reply to the Argentinean economist Claudio Katz, in: New Politics, 11 August 2022, at; Russian Imperialism and Its Monopolies, in: New Politics Vol. XVIII No. 4, Whole Number 72, Winter 2022,; Once Again on Russian Imperialism (Reply to Critics). A rebuttal of a theory which claims that Russia is not an imperialist state but would be rather “comparable to Brazil and Iran”, 30 March 2022, See various other RCIT documents on this issue at a special sub-page on the RCIT’s website:

[8] For a political and economic analysis of the Ukraine see e.g. the pamphlet by Michael Pröbsting: Ukraine: A Capitalist Semi-Colony. On the exploitation and deformation of Ukraine’s economy by imperialist monopolies and oligarchs since capitalist restoration in 1991, January 2023,

[9] We refer readers to a special page on our website where more than 160 RCIT documents on the Ukraine War and the current NATO-Russia conflict are compiled: In particular we refer to the RCIT Manifesto: Ukraine War: A Turning Point of World Historic Significance. Socialists must combine the revolutionary defense of the Ukraine against Putin’s invasion with the internationalist struggle against Russian as well as NATO and EU imperialism, 1 March 2022,; see also: Manifesto on the First Anniversary of the Ukraine War. Victory to the heroic Ukrainian people! Defeat Russian imperialism! No support whatsoever for NATO imperialism! 10 February 2023,

[10] The RCIT has published a number of polemics against the KPRF’s social-chauvinist policy in the Ukraine War; see e.g. the pamphlet by Michael Pröbsting: Putin’s Poodles (Apologies to All Dogs). The pro-Russian Stalinist parties and their arguments in the current NATO-Russia Conflict, 9 February 2022,; by the same author: Russia: Friends Among Themselves. KPRF leader Gennady Zyuganov meets President Putin to confirm his role as a loyal servant of Russian imperialism, 15 February 2023,; Russia: Zyuganov Calls for “General Mobilisation” to defeat the Ukraine. The “communist” KPRF leader joins the long-standing demand of the hard-core sector of the Great Russian chauvinist camp a la Igor Strelkov, 13 September 2022,; “Socialism” a la Putin and Zyuganov. On a telling dialogue between the Stalinist party leader and the Russian President, 13 July 2022,

[11] Борис Израилев, Зюзино,

[12] See on this: Joint Declaration of the Anti-Imperialist Conference of Revolutionary Socialists in Russia: Our Solidarity is with the Ukrainian People! The working class of Russia and all the oppressed need to organize to stop the war and the occupation of the Ukraine, 26 November 2022,; Report: Joint Anti-Imperialist Initiative of Revolutionary Socialists in Russia. Conference of socialists from different organisations agrees to coordinate forces in the struggle against Russian imperialism and the Putin regime, 28 November 2022

위선적인 이중화법, 양두구육의 이중 플레이 -

IMT 푸틴의 전쟁을 지지하는 러시아 스탈린주의자들에 대한 기회주의적 협조를 숨기는 방법


미하엘 프뢰브스팅, 혁명적 공산주의인터내셔널 (RCIT) 국제서기, 2023 3 2,


한국어 Cynical Doubletalk.pdf
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런던에 본부를 중도주의 조직 국제맑스주의동맹 (IMT) 최근 우크라이나 전쟁 1주년을 맞아 편의 기사를 발표했다. 놀랍지 않게도, 저자들 IMT 오랜 지도자 앨런 우즈[1] 러시아 지부 리더 마라트 바히토프[2] 우크라이나에 대한 조직의 부끄러운 방침을 반복한다. IMT 2014/15 당시 돈바스의 러시아 괴뢰 정권에 지지를 보냈다.[3] 불명예스런 지지를 이어가더니 2022 2 24 이래 푸틴의 침공에 대항하여 우크라이나 인민을 방어하길 완강히 거부하고 우크라 인민의 항전에 대한 군사적 지지 일체를 비난한다. (그러나 역시도 푸틴의 전쟁에 대한 이란의 군사적 지지에 대해서는 훨씬 비판적이다.)

IMT에게 전쟁은 대리전쟁 뿐으로, 여기서 우크라이나는 제국주의의 도구에 불과하다. IMT 때로는 러시아가 제국주의 국가임을 인정하다가도, 때로는 중요한 사실을 언급하길 편리하게 "잊는다." 그러나 IMT 러시아의 제국주의적 성격을 형식적으로 인정할 때조차도 미국이 "지구상에서 가장 반동적인 세력"이므로 훨씬 악성 제국주의임을 언제나 덧붙인다.[4]


러시아 제국주의를 사소하게 보이게 하기

우리가 IMT 정책에 대한 비판 글에서 설명했듯이, 그러한 접근태도는 완전히 틀렸고 반동적이다. IMT 우크라이나 인민이 외국 점령 없이 권리를 인정하는 실패한다. 기본적인 민족적 권리를 인정하지 않는 것이다. 이전에도 IMT 1990년대에 보스니아 인민과 코소보 인민의 해방투쟁을, 2010년대에는 시리아 인민의 해방투쟁을 그와 같이 배반한 있다. IMT 부유한 제국주의 나라 출신의 지식인들에게 전형적인 사회배외주의적 경멸감으로 피억압 민족들을 바라본다.

IMT 러시아 제국주의에 대한 자신의 암묵적 지지를 정당화하기 위해 미국이 최강 제국주의 세력임을 강조한다. 1914년에 어느 진정한 맑스주의자가 독일 제국주의를 당시 영국이 훨씬 강력한 제국주의라는 이유로ㅡ 지지했는가?! 또는 1930년대에 트로츠키가 독일·일본을 제국주의가 경제·군사 면에서 훨씬 강하다는 이유로 들었는가?! 혁명적 맑스주의는 차악 제국주의를 지지하는 것과 아무 공통점이 없다![5]

어느 경우든 IMT 리더들은 역사적 진실과 맑스주의 이론에 신경 쓰지 않는다. 누적된 기회주의 전통의 덫에 갇혀 민족 문제와 제국주의 일반, 특수하게는 러시아 제국주의의 본질을 이해할 없다.[6] 러시아 제국주의 지지를 정당화할 구실만을 찾고 있을 뿐이다.[7]

피억압 인민의 민족자결권, 제국주의 침략에 대항하여 반식민지 나라들의 방어, 제국주의 전쟁에 반대하는 혁명적 패전주의, 모든 혁명적 사회주의의 기본 원칙들이 조직에게는 존재하지 않는다. 도대체 어떻게 "인터내셔널" "맑스주의"라는 단어가 그들의 조직 이름에 들어가게 되었을까?!

러시아 제국주의의 은폐된 지지자들과는 달리, RCIT 비롯한 모든 진정한 맑스주의자들은 전쟁이 무엇보다도 반식민지 우크라이나에 대한 러시아 제국주의의 침략전쟁이라는 근본적인 사실을 인정한다.[8] 그렇다고 분쟁이 이중적 성격을 가지고 있다는 사실을 부정하는 것은 아니다. 그러나 분쟁에서 우크라이나의 해방전쟁과 제국주의 상호충돌은 구별이 되어야 하고 그에 따라 대응과 전술도 차별화되어야 한다. 언제나 RCIT 우크라이나의 민족방위 전쟁을 (무기를 얻을 권리를 포함하여) 지지하면서 동시에 모든 형태의 강대국 배외주의 (제재, 군비확충 같은) 반대해온 이유다. 우리의 국제주의·반제국주의 강령을 다음과 같은 슬로건으로 요약해 놓았다. “푸틴의 침략에 대항하여 우크라이나를 방어하라! 러시아 제국주의와 나토 제국주의 모두에 맞서자!”[9]


러연방공산당은 "사회배외주의"지만...

그러나 글에서는 우크라이나 전쟁에 대한 IMT 입장 비판을 반복하지 않을 것이다. 보다는 IMT 푸틴주의적 접근법의 정치적 결과와 이것들을 숨기려는 조직의 불순한 시도를 지적하겠다. 위에서 언급한 IMT 러시아 지부 리더는 상기한 기사에서 러연방공산당(KPRF) 가장 용어로 비난한다. "오늘 사회배외주의적 좌파 진영의 중핵은 러연방공산당이다. 보다 정확히 말하면 지도부다. 지도부는 전쟁 첫날부터 "파시즘과의 싸움" 운운하는 수사를 조작했다. 그리고 애국주의 입장을 취했다."

우리가 주가노프의 러연방공산당은 푸틴 정권의 사회제국주의적 시종이라고 반복해서 성격규정 했듯이 당연히 이러한 날카로운 비판은 완전히 정당하다.[10] 그러나 이러한 IMT 비판은 국제 청중을 속이기 위해 고안된 위선적인 책략에 불과하다. 실제로는, 러시아에서의 그들의 실천은 정반대다! 위에서 언급한 IMT 대한 우리의 기사에서 보여주었듯이, IMT 러시아 지부는 러연방공산당과 긴밀한 협력을 해온 오랜 전력을 가지고 있다. 지난 2022 9 지방선거에서 IMT 지부는 러연방공산당에 투표할 것을 촉구했을 뿐만 아니라 당의 후보로 출마하기까지 했다. 모스크바 시의 지역구 후보로 러연방공산당 명부에 이름을 올렸고, 곳에서 IMT 지도부의 일원인 보리스 이스라엘레프가 당선된 것이다.

오늘 이스라엘레프는 자신의 텔레그램 채널에 "러연방공산당 의원"이라고 자랑스럽게 자신을 소개한다.[11] 그와 같이 러연방공산당의 충성스런 지지자로서 이스라엘레프는 러연방공산당의 "사회배외주의" 대해서는 말할 것도 없고 우크라이나 전쟁에 대해서도 일절 언급을 피한다.

이와 같이 IMT 양두구육의 이중 플레이를 하고 있다. 영어권 국제 청중 앞에서는 "사회배외주의" 러연방공산당에 대한 날카로운 비판자로 행세한다. 그러나 러시아에서의 실천에서는 "사회배외주의" 러연방공산당을 온순하게 지지하고 의회 기구에서 충성스럽게 당을 섬긴다. 우리가 작년에 이런 맥락에서 지적했듯이, "러연방공산당은 푸틴의 시종으로 복무하고 IMT 러시아는 러연방공산당의 시종으로 복무한다. 중도주의적 기회주의자는 사회제국주의자를 섬기고 사회제국주의자는 제국주의자를 섬긴다.“


반전 사회주의자들을 " 자유주의"라고 비방하기

러시아 IMT 푸틴의 전쟁에 반대하며 우크라이나를 방어하는 반전 사회주의자들을 "주로 종파들이고 기회주의자들" " 자유주의 조류"라고 비방한다. "그들이 자신들의 출판물에서 내세우는 입장은 젤렌스키 정부 다수의 나토 회원국 정부의 프로파간다와 세부적으로만 다를 뿐이다. 그러나 조류는 대부분 현실 투쟁에서 활동의 흔적은 거의 보이지 않으면서 국외에서 이미 극소수인 이들 그룹의 활동가들 상당 부분이 도망친 국외에서 선명한 선언문을 쓰는 거나 좋아하기 때문에 가장 약하고 사실상 눈에 띄지 않는다."

푸틴의 전쟁에 반대하는 그러한 사회주의자들이 별로 눈에 띄지 않고 그들 다수가 러시아에서 도망쳐야 했다는 것은 확실히 사실이다. 그러할까? 2022 2 24 이래로 19,000 명이 반전 시위에서 체포 구금되었다! 보나파르트주의 푸틴 정권이 전쟁을 계기로 전체주의 독재로 이동하고 있어서다.

부끄럽게도, IMT 기사나 논설은 그러한 국가 탄압에 대해 일절 언급하지 않는다! 반전 활동가들을 "무의미한" 존재로 폄하하고 반제국주의 사회주의자들을 " 자유주의 종파들" 비방하기 위해 국가 탄압을 언급하는 것을 "잊는다". 모든 것은 IMT 우크라이나 전쟁에서 반제국주의 입장을 취하지 못한 실패를 얼버무리고 친푸틴 러연방공산당에 대한 기회주의적 협력을 분칠 미화하는 도움이 것이다!

기간 동안 많은 IMT 러시아 회원들이 혐오감을 느끼며 넌더리를 내고 조직을 떠난 것은 놀라운 일이 아니다. 동지들이 RCIT 러시아 지부 사회주의대안 동지들과 함께 국제주의·반제국주의 공동발의 컨퍼런스를 조직했다.[12]

우리는 IMT 다른 동지들도 그러한 위선적인 이중 플레이에 혐오감을 느끼며 비판하고 있다는 것을 안다. 우리는 동지들에게 비판의 결론을 도출하고 RCIT 합류하여 일관된 국제주의·반제국주의 강령에 입각한 진정한 혁명 조직을 만들 것을 촉구한다!



[1] Alan Woods: Ukraine’s bloody anniversary: a balance sheet and perspectives, 24 February 2023,

[2] Marat Vakhitov: One year into the war: where is Russia going? 28 February 2023 (다른 언급이 없는 모든 인용문은 기사에서