The RRP (Russia) deepens its opportunist adaptation to the social-chauvinist KPRF
By Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 9 November 2022, www.thecommunists.net
A few days ago, the Revolyutsionnaya Rabochaya Partiya (Revolutionary Workers Party, RRP) published a new, comprehensive resolution about Putin’s war against the Ukraine. The RRP is not much known outside of Russia as it is a sizeable but a nationally isolated Trotskyist organisation which split from Alan Woods’ IMT two decades ago. 
The new statement, adopted at a conference in Moscow on 30 October, elaborates the RRP’s approach to the war, to anti-war protests as well as to Zyuganov’s KPRF.  Basically, the document confirms and deepens the organisation’s past line which our comrades in Russia rightly characterise as “capitulation to social-chauvinism”. As we did already deal with the policy of the RRP in a recently published article, we will limit ourselves at this place to discussing the main issues of the new Moscow resolution. 
Again, the RRP statement distinguishes itself by its failure to say a critical word about the war resp. the “Special Military Operation” as it is officially called in Russia.  Likewise, it does not even mention the imperialist character of Russia.  This is not because of security reasons since the RCIT section in Russia – “Socialist Tendency” – as well as another Trotskyist organisation (“Socialist Alternative”) take a clear internationalist and anti-imperialist position against Putin’s war in their publications.  Neither is there any excuse for being silent about Russian imperialism. Even large Stalinist parties like the RKRP manage to speak out this obvious truth! 
However, the remarkable thing about the new RRP resolution is not only that it repeats the organization’s serious political flaws but also that it starts to raise social-chauvinist, pro-war slogans.
“More ammunition, more high-tech weapons”
In dealing with the recent protests of soldiers, the RRP shamefully combines support for legitimate demands with reactionary slogans to strengthen Putin’s army and its combat readiness. “We need to support the demands of the workers at the front, concerning the improvement of their situation, to achieve fulfillment by the authorities of their promises: credit vacations, credit amnesty for the seriously wounded and the dead; provision with all necessary ammunition at the expense of the state; provision with high-tech equipment.”
While the first slogans are legitimate economic demands, the latter are nothing but undisguised slogans calling the state to provide the army with more ammunition and with more high-tech weapons. Effectively, these are social-imperialist demands as a better armed Russian army is capable of killing more Ukrainians!
Surely, the RRP leaders will hide themselves behind the argument that some soldiers might raise such slogans and that they are only relating to these demands. However, this is an excuse only for rotten opportunists! In an imperialist war, Marxists can not necessarily support all demands of the soldiers of an imperialist army! This is particularly true, if this army is invading and colonializing a semi-colonial country like the Ukraine!
The social-chauvinist character of the RRP policy is also revealed by another omission. While they mention the economic demands of soldiers, they don’t say a single word about the democratic demands which were raised at these protests. Among the popular slogans of the protesting soldiers from the Chuvash Republic (the Chuvash people is one of the many oppressed national minorities of the Russia Empire) was the demand to see their relatives and be able to leave. In fact, the soldiers could enforce several of their demands and many of them were able to leave the army and to go home. The Chuvash Republic was also promised to get ₽500 million – ₽400 million for payments to the mobilized and ₽100 million as humanitarian aid.
As our comrades of “Socialist Tendency” have demonstrated in their statement on the recent soldier protests, it is the duty of Marxists to relate to legitimate demands which undermine the combat strength of army. It is however utterly counter-revolutionary to raise demands for more weapons to kill oppressed people!
The RCIT’s approach is completely contrary to the social-chauvinist logic of the RRP. We do not desire to raise the combat strength of the army of Russian imperialism. No, we want to undermine and weaken it. We want to increase the divisions and frictions between soldiers and the military command not by outdoing the regime’s chauvinism and militarism but by counterposing the elementary interest of the soldiers against the imperialist goals of Putin’s army.
The RRP’s policy follows the footsteps of Zyuganov’s KPRF and the right-wing milbloggers a la Igor Strelkov. These reactionaries criticise the Kremlin and the army command for not sufficiently providing the military with modern weaponry, for not waging the war against the Ukraine successfully enough.
In contrast to the RRP’s social-chauvinism, the RCIT’s approach is based on our internationalist and anti-imperialist program against Putin’s reactionary war against the Ukrainian people – a policy which we summarise in the slogan: Defend the Ukraine against Putin’s invasion! Against Russian and against NATO imperialism!
From such an approach follows that we differentiate in our support for soldiers demands. As we said in our statement on the soldier protests:
“Therefore, socialists want to see the defeat of the Russian army. All activists against this barbarous war therefore welcome such a process of disintegration of the Russian armed forces. If this imperialist army is less united and more divided, it becomes a less effective instrument for Putin’s colonial war. We support those demands which help to undermine and break the loyalty of soldiers to the army command (which implements the directives of the capitalist-bonapartist Putin regime). We do not support those demands which help to strengthen the imperialist army and to make it a more effective instrument of the Kremlin. Socialists should therefore support all demands which increase the democratic rights of soldiers, and which weaken the character of the army as a willing tool of the Kremlin. Hence, activists should agitate for the soldiers’ right to receive visits from their relatives and to get leave. We also defend their right to protest. Furthermore, socialists should use these events as an opportunity to explain the necessity for soldiers to self-organise (e.g. building committees of action), to demand the right to elect their superiors, etc.” 
Calling the pro-Russian social-imperialist KPRF … to oppose NATO!
The RRP leadership continues its social-chauvinist policy also in regard to its opportunist adaptation to the KPRF. As we mentioned in our previous critique, the RRP has a long-standing policy of supporting Zyuganov’s party. At the recently held elections in early September, they called for a vote for this party and even stood candidates on its list in Moscow. (The Russian section of Alan Woods’ IMT followed the same shameful tactic. )
They act as Zyuganovs servants despite the fact that the KPRF – the second-largest party in the country behind Putin’s “United Russia” – has played the role of an ultra-reactionary whip since the beginning of the war. It was Zyuganov and his party which initiated the chauvinist bill in the Duma calling for the recognition of the so-called “Donbass Republics”.  It was Zyuganov and his party which played a major role in pushing for Putin’s “mobilisation” so that Russia could accomplish its imperialist goals in the Ukraine.  And it was this party which unanimously supported the laws in the Duma which formally annexed the four occupied regions of eastern and southern Ukraine (Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia).  And, we shall add, it is this party which supported the recently adopted bill banning “LGBT propaganda”. 
Even the RRP leadership can no longer hide the truth about the reactionary character of Zyuganov’s social-chauvinist party. “The CPRF leadership has adopted a chauvinist position (…). Many CPRF members voluntarily left the organization in protest, and many were expelled. These elections demonstrated that patriotically-minded workers are voting for United Russia [Putin’s party, Ed.], while the CPRF's rating is declining. (…) For now, the CPRF is merging with United Russia. Instead of going left, it is going right. There is no ground for a mass Marxist platform within the CPRF. Worker internationalists are already woefully few in number. They will not waste their time looking for like-minded people in the CPRF in its current form. The development of a vanguard force may have points of contact with elements within the CPRF, but will crystallize outside it.”
While the RRP leadership is forced to admit this uncomfortable truth (which authentic Marxists publicly stated already long before), how does it justify its opportunist support for the KPRF which even went so far as standing on its electoral list?! Well, there is only one solution for the RRP leadership: ignore the issue, avoid any self-criticism and hope that critical members will not ask too many questions!
Despite such a sobering balance sheet, the RRP leadership still refuses to state what is the political character of the KPRF. They still do not dare to call this party a “social-chauvinist and social-imperialist” force. The reason is obvious. Such an omission allows Zyuganovs servants to leave the door open for future collaboration.
But the RRP leadership does not confine itself to hopes for a future realignment. Despite being compelled to criticise the Zyuganovs policy, it still makes bizarre proposals to this party. Leaving aside such absurd speculations like “if the CPRF had taken a revolutionary stance”, the RRP’s Moscow resolution states: “The CPRF could make an appeal for solidarity with the workers of NATO countries, the most reliable way to prevent the military aggression of Western imperialism is to influence the working masses in the West. Today is the time to refresh the memory of workers about Lenin's thesis that it is not enough to fight against one war, it is necessary to fight against the origins of the war, which stem from the capitalist relations of production.”
One has to admit that this is a realistic demand to Zyuganov and his friends. One can criticise them for many things but certainly not for failing to condemn NATO and to appeal to Western workers! The KPRF is an utterly Great Russian chauvinist and social-imperialist party since many years. It has always supported the “fatherland” against NATO imperialism. Zyuganov does not need the RRP blandisher to remind him about his patriotic duty!
It is also outrageous that the RRP leadership worries about “preventing the military aggression of Western imperialism” … but does not say a single word about preventing the military aggression of Russian imperialism! And this at a time when Putin’s killers slaughter the Ukrainian people and destroy their country!
It seems that the RRP leadership is a bit worried about the fate of the imperialist “fatherland” which needs to be defended against “the military aggression of Western imperialism”. In any case, it is safe to say that it is much more worried about Russia than about the Ukraine – the victim of Putin’s imperialist war!
Socialists must break with the social-imperialists!
The RRP is deeply trapped in the policy of social-chauvinism and opportunist adaptation to the social-imperialist KPRF. In abstract, it praises the principles of Marxism, internationalism and everything which sounds and beautiful! However, in their practice, the RRP supports weapons for the imperialist army and votes for the social-chauvinist party. It is a servant of Zyuganov, i.e. a servant of Russian social-imperialism.
There is a gulf between the policy of authentic revolutionaries and that of the RRP’s unprincipled and outrageous policy of opportunism. It is therefore obligatory for authentic Marxists to break decisively with the forces of social-chauvinism and their allies! Revolutionaries who want to remain faithful to the principles of internationalism and anti-imperialism must categorically separate themselves from the RRP and similar forces – in Russia as well as internationally.
The supporters of “Socialist Tendency” – the RCIT section in Russia – welcome all revolutionaries who join us in the struggle against social-imperialism and chauvinist patriotism. We repeat our proposal which we outlined in an “Open Letter to Russian Socialists” and in which we call all revolutionaries to unite on the basis of a consistent internationalist and anti-imperialist program. 
 Since the beginning of the Ukraine War, the RRP collaborates with the Partito Comunista dei Lavoratori (PCL), an Italian Trotskyist organization. The PCL has republished several documents of the RRP on their website (see https://www.pclavoratori.it/files/index.php?obj=NEWS&oid=7240; https://www.pclavoratori.it/files/index.php?obj=NEWS&oid=7249; https://www.pclavoratori.it/files/index.php?obj=NEWS&oid=7334; https://www.pclavoratori.it/files/index.php?obj=NEWS&oid=7328). The PCL’s omission of any critical comment about the policy of their Russian comrades in the 8 months after the beginning of their collaboration, suggests a political proximity between the two organisations.
 РРП: Резолюция Московской конференции, 30.10.2022, https://vk.com/@rwp_rwp-rezoluciya-moskovskoi-konferencii-rrp-301022. All quotes are from this resolution if not indicated otherwise. The translation is ours.
 Michael Pröbsting: Against Russia’s War without Internationalism and Anti-Imperialism? A revealing statement of the RRP (Russia) about Putin’s “partial mobilisation”, 8 October 2022, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/rrp-russia-and-ukraine-war/
 We refer readers to a special page on our website where more than 120 RCIT documents on the Ukraine War and the current NATO-Russia conflict are compiled: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/compilation-of-documents-on-nato-russia-conflict/. 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, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/manifesto-ukraine-war-a-turning-point-of-world-historic-significance/
 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, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/the-peculiar-features-of-russian-imperialism/; 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, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/imperialism-theory-and-russia/; 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), http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/imperialist-russia/; 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 https://newpol.org/russia-an-imperialist-power-or-a-non-hegemonic-empire-in-gestation-a-reply-to-the-argentinean-economist-claudio-katz-an-essay-with-8-tables/; Russian Imperialism and Its Monopolies, in: New Politics Vol. XVIII No. 4, Whole Number 72, Winter 2022, https://newpol.org/issue_post/russian-imperialism-and-its-monopolies/; 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, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/once-again-on-russian-imperialism-reply-to-critics/. See various other RCIT documents on this issue at a special sub-page on the RCIT’s website: https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/china-russia-as-imperialist-powers/.
 See the website of our comrades in Russia: www.socialisttendency.com. Readers can find the English translation of a number of these documents about the Ukraine War at this sub-page on the RCIT website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/compilation-of-documents-on-nato-russia-conflict/. For the fusion declaration between the RCIT and CT see: https://www.thecommunists.net/rcit/fusion-declaration-between-ct-russia-and-rcit/. For the stance of “Socialist Alternative” see e.g. Даниил Раскольников: Почему Путин напал на Украину? 15 августа 2022, https://socialist.news/russia/war/why-putin-invade-ukraine/
 See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: Russia and the Theory of “Lesser-Evil” Imperialism. On some Stalinists and “Trotskyists” who formally recognize Russia’s class character but reject the political consequences, 28 July 2022, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/russia-and-the-theory-of-lesser-evil-imperialism/
 RCIT: Ukraine War: On Spontaneous Protests of Soldiers of the Russian Army, 3 November 2022, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/ukraine-war-spontaneous-protests-of-soldiers-of-russian-army/
 See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: Zyuganov’s Servants. IMT leaders in Russia join list of Zyuganov’s KPRF – Putin’s pro-war “communists” – for upcoming municipal elections, 25 August 2022, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/zyuganov-s-servants-imt-russia/; by the same author: Nothing Learned and Nothing Forgotten. The theory and practice of Alan Woods’ IMT demonstrates its continuing adaptation to pro-Russian social-imperialism, 15 October 2022, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/imt-russian-imperialism-ukraine-war/
 The RCIT has published a number of polemics against the KPRF’s social-chauvinist policy in the Ukraine War; see e.g. the pamphlets 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, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/nato-russia-conflict-stalinism-as-putin-s-poodles/; by the same author: “Socialism” a la Putin and Zyuganov. On a telling dialogue between the Stalinist party leader and the Russian President, 13 July 2022, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/socialism-a-la-putin/.
 See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: 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, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/russia-zyuganov-calls-for-general-mobilisation-to-defeat-the-ukraine/
 See on this e.g. RCIT: Putin Announces Colonial Annexation of Ukrainian Territories, 30 September 2022, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/putin-announces-colonial-annexation-of-ukrainian-territories/
 See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: Russia: So-Called “Communists” against LGBT+. The KPRF deputies in the State Duma unanimously support a bill banning “LGBT propaganda”, 31 October 2022, https://www.thecommunists.net/oppressed/russian-kprf-against-lgbt/
 Open Letter to all Socialists in Russia: Unite in Fighting Russian Imperialism! Open Letter by the Socialist Tendency (Russia) and the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 12 July 2022, https://www.thecommunists.net/rcit/open-letter-to-all-socialists-in-russia-12-07-2022/