On some issues of the program of defeatism under the current conditions of Russia’s war against the Ukraine
By Alexey Sedov, Denis Sokolov and Michael Pröbsting, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 28 September 2022, www.thecommunists.net
Putin’s mobilisation – in combination with the planned annexation of parts of the Ukraine – opens a new stage in the Ukraine War. This is particularly true when we consider its consequences for the domestic political situation in Russia.  At this place we will not repeat the RCIT’s analysis of the Kremlin’s decision but rather discuss some important issues which are relevant for the current tactics of revolutionaries.
Let us start by noting that this latest development demonstrates once more the character of the Ukraine War. It is an imperialist, colonial war by Russia against the Ukraine.  At the same time, it is combined with the rivalry between the Great Powers of West and East. From such a dual character of the conflict follows the dual tactic which the RCIT has advocated since the beginning of the war: Defend the Ukraine against Putin’s invasion! Against Russian and against NATO imperialism! 
Putin’s mobilisation has profound consequences for the Kremlin’s warfare and, more importantly, the Russian society. It shatters the de-facto “social contract” which the Putin regime has imposed since its beginning in 1999: people should remain passive and acquiesce the policy of the Kremlin. In exchange, the regime would not meddle too much in personal lives and secure relative economic and social stability.
The Ukraine War and the acceleration of the Great Power rivalry with the draconic Western sanctions has already shattered this “model”. However, while sanctions caused inconvenience, most Russians were not affected too much until now as they were no being asked to contribute directly to the war effort. Putin’s mobilisation, which shall result in the recruitment of 300,000 new soldiers (or even more), is dramatically changing the situation. It is a shock for Russia’s society and its long-term consequences must not be underestimated as it massively accelerates the political contradictions.
One just needs to think about the domestic situation in the U.S. in the later 1960s during the Vietnam War when widespread opposition to the U.S. intervention skyrocketed once large numbers of draftees faced deployments to Southeast Asia. However, in contrast to Russia today, the U.S. was at that time still a rich country which experienced economic growth and increasing prosperity.
It is well-known that a reactionary, unjust war deepens the contradictions within the capitalist society. In contrast, a just war provokes stronger unity among the people – even within a capitalist society and even if the leadership has a bourgeois character. The current war strongly confirms this truth. In Russia, where the regime has waged a brutal colonial war, mass protests started already on 24 February. Now, in the light of Putin’s mobilisation, these protests have taken a more radical character. In contrast, there have been no “anti-war” activities in the Ukraine – despite the fact that there has been mass mobilisation from the very first day. The reason is obvious: people know their country is in danger of colonial subjugation and they are determined to smash this aggression.
Spontaneous mass protests have begun
We noted in our above-mentioned statement about Putin’s mobilisation that “it is a counterrevolutionary strike of the regime which, in the long run, can open a revolutionary crisis – in particular, if the Russian army fails to quickly defeat the Ukraine.”
The events of the last days seem to confirm our prediction. Spontaneous mass protests against the mobilisation have already begun. This is particularly the case in regions populated by national minorities which have been much more affected by military recruitment than ethnically Russian regions. According to a tally by the BBC's Russian service, at least 301 soldiers from Dagestan (a predominantly Muslim province in the Caucasus) have died - the most of any Russian region and more than 10 times the number of deaths from Moscow, which has a population five times larger. 
According to calculations by овд-News (an independent Russian human rights group), protests occurred in at least 35 settlements on 25 September and at least 10 settlements on 26 September. Residents of Endirej, a village in Dagestan, blocked a road and violently clashed with police, provoking the latter to fire warning shots. In Mahachkala, the capital of the same province, a crowd of women gathered and chanted “No to war!”
Street protests took also place in another North Caucasus region, Kabardino-Balkaria. Women also protested in the Siberian city of Yakutsk, chanting “No to genocide!” There have been protests also in regions with Mongolian population.
Russian military enlistment centres were set on fire in Uryupinsk (Volgograd Oblast) and Ruzaevka (Mordovia Republic). Some mobilized men harmed themselves to protest the mobilization, with one Russian man setting himself on fire in Ryazan Oblast. In the Siberian city of Ust-Ilimsk, a young man walked into the enlistment office and shot the military commandant at close range. 
In addition, thousands of men of fighting age have flocked to airports and Russia’s land border crossings, trying to avoid being called up.
In short, Putin’s mobilization could provoke social explosions and open the road to a revolutionary situation sooner or later. Even a former speechwriter for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Abbas Gallyamov, warned that Putin is “risking a lot by announcing mobilization, he’s losing support, he’s creating a pre-revolutionary situation.” 
Consequences for revolutionary tactics
What are the implications of these developments for the tactics of revolutionaries? First and foremost, the mass protests against Putin’s mobilisation strongly confirm the RCIT’s characterisation of the Ukraine War as a thoroughly reactionary colonial invasion where Marxists unconditionally defend the Eastern European country. Hence, socialists in Russia continue to advocate the program of revolutionary defeatism. This means, as the RCIT noted in its Manifesto, published a few days after the beginning of the war:
“Socialists in Russia must approach the war from the principle: “The main enemy is at home!” They should support the courageous anti-war activities and call for solidarity with the Ukrainian people. The strategic goal is to utilize this war in order to weaken and eventually to overthrow the bonapartist Putin regime by a workers revolution. Therefore, socialists call Russian soldiers to turn the guns around. They work towards the transformation of the imperialist war into a revolutionary crisis of the Putin regime. They should also call for the dissolution of CSTO – the Russian-led military alliance which helped the Tokayev regime to crush the popular uprising in Kazakhstan a few weeks ago. Furthermore, socialists need to explain workers that the chauvinist concept of “Russkij Mir" (“Russian world”) is a dangerous trap which isolates the Russian masses from their brothers and sisters in other countries.” 
Such an approach follows closely the principles of the Bolsheviks: „In each country, the struggle against a government that is waging an imperialist war should not falter at the possibility of that country’s defeat as a result of revolutionary propaganda. The defeat of the government’s army weakens the government, promotes the liberation of the nationalities it oppresses, and facilitates civil war against the ruling classes. This holds particularly true in respect of Russia. A victory for Russia will bring in its train a strengthening of reaction, both throughout the world and within the country, and will be accompanied by the complete enslavement of the peoples living in areas already seized. In view of this, we consider the defeat of Russia the lesser evil in all conditions.“ 
Lenin wrote these lines in World War I – a war which was reactionary on all sides. How much more appropriate is such a position in a conflict like the current one where the war is reactionary only from the Russian side but legitimate from the Ukrainian side?!
Of course, socialists in Russia know best how to apply such a program under the concrete circumstances. Such activities include support for mass protests against mobilisation wherever these take place. In cases, where socialists are forced to serve within the army, they will act in order to undermine and sabotage the reactionary war and to aid the Ukrainian resistance. Socialists will explain to their comrades in the trenches – cautiously and patiently – that their enemy is not the Ukraine but rather the Putin regime. They will also encourage fraternisation of Russian soldiers with the Ukrainian people, partisans and soldiers. 
Mobilisation in 2022 in comparison with 1914: Consequences for tactics
In this article, we want to draw attention to two issues which we consider as particularly important. First, we must recognize the peculiar nature of the situation which has been provoked by Putin’s mobilization. If we look at the events in the last days, we can say that the current situation is very different to the situation at the beginning of World War I in 1914. In fact, it is even different to the first phase of the Vietnam War when the army command began to mobilize young Americans.
In 1914, there were no large protests, and most young men accepted the draft call (albeit often without enthusiasm). However, there was a certain sense that the “motherland” was under threat. Of course, this didn’t stop the Bolsheviks in their heroic efforts to protest the imperialist war.  But, at the beginning, the huge majority of the popular masses became reconciled to the war-mongering policy of Tsarist autocracy.
The situation seems to be very different today. Sizeable sections of the masses don’t see any reason why they should fight and die in the Ukraine. They might be “patriots” in general – but they see no reason why they should risk their life for the political goals of the Kremlin. They don’t consider their country “in danger” by the Ukraine – why should they?! In short, there is little popular enthusiasm among the masses in Russia for Putin’s war against the Ukraine.
Such a contrast to the situation of 1914 is basically caused by the fundamental difference in the character of the two wars. World War I was a reactionary war on both sides – the Triple Entente (including Russia) as well as the Central Powers. The Ukraine War is different. It is a reactionary war on the side of Russian imperialism, but it is a just war on the side of the Ukrainian people. Hence, the popular support for this war is much smaller in the Russian society and resistance against it is much larger.
Such difference has profound consequences for revolutionary tactics. When nearly all conscripts accept the draft call, Bolsheviks are obligated to join them and to serve in the army. Of course, they will do so in a way remaining true to the program of socialism. They will work towards undermining the imperialist war and, eventually, to help organizing soldiers to turn around their guns. And if revolutionaries are drafted in the Russian army today, they will act according to the principles outlined above.
However, the peculiar character of the current situation, after Putin announced mobilisation, consists in the fact that such mobilisation is massively undermined by the spontaneous mass resistance. In such a situation, the prior task of revolutionaries is not so much to accept draft calls but rather to agitate against the mobilisation. Wherever it is possible, socialists have to encourage and support such activities of the masses. This is even more important as such mass resistance strongly aids the liberation struggle of the Ukrainian people.
Focus on the oppressed national minorities in Russia
The second peculiarity of the current situation is the fact that, at least until now, the regions of national minorities are the focus of the active popular resistance against the mobilisation. This is the result of the oppressive conditions in which they find themselves. They are discriminated as minorities with many of them living under impoverished conditions. In some cases, they are forced to live under conditions of the horrific tyranny – just think about the Chechen people oppressed by Kadyrov the Butcher. In addition, they are affected by the war to a much larger degree than the rest of the society. This produces explosive conditions!
A report from the last days quotes a man who fled to Mongolia last week to avoid getting called up: “For our state, we are not its citizens, but cannon fodder in this war. Just a resource! Siberia and the Far East are being actively sold — timber, minerals, land leased for 50 years. And it turns out that people living here are also processed as a resource.”  This sums up well how nationally oppressed people feel about the Russian state!
The RCIT has always pointed to the importance of the national question in Russia with minorities counting for 1/5 of the total population.  In our above-mentioned Manifesto we stated: “The RCIT considers it as urgent that socialists in Russia support the Chechen people in their struggle for national self-determination. The Chechens have proven in the past that they want to have their own independent state and Russian socialists have the duty to support this wish. Likewise, they should support the liberation struggle of the Syrian people against Assad the butcher and his Russian master. The Western and Eastern imperialists attack and oppress various Muslim people and national minorities. For authentic socialists, Muslim peoples like other oppressed nations are important allies in the anti-imperialist struggle against all Great Powers!“ 
Such an anti-imperialist position in support of nationally oppressed people is particularly important in the current situation where anti-war activities are most widespread in their regions. Furthermore, the oppressed nationalities within the Russian state might be open at some point to solidarize with the Ukrainian people as it is another nation which faces imperialist aggression by the Kremlin.
Socialists in Russia have to explain that a defeat for the Kremlin in its war against the Ukraine would be highly advantageous for the oppressed peoples within Russia as it weakens the Putin regime and improves the condition for their liberation struggle.
It is worth calling to mind how Lenin linked the struggle against national oppression with the struggle against imperialist war waged by the “own” ruling class. He explained that the defeat of the “own” bourgeoisie can not but aid the liberation struggle of the working class and the oppressed peoples.
„We say that the Great Russians cannot “defend the fatherland” otherwise than by desiring the defeat of tsarism in any war, this as the lesser evil to nine-tenths of the inhabitants of Great Russia. For tsarism not only oppresses those nine-tenths economically and politically, but also demoralises, degrades, dishonours and prostitutes them by teaching them to oppress other nations and to cover up this shame with hypocritical and quasi-patriotic phrases.“ 
Replace the word “tsarism” with “Putin regime” and you have an accurate characterization of the current situation!
From this follows that revolutionaries in Russia need to put an emphasis on the national question and on the struggle of the oppressed peoples. They must become the staunchest defenders of the rights of the small nations and they must advocate the struggle for equality and national self-determination. They need to emphasize also that if a national minority wishes to create an independent state, they will unconditionally support such a desire.
In the case where this such desire is already well-known – the Chechen people – socialists in Russia support the independence of the Republic Ichkeria.
Only such a program of courageous internationalism and anti-imperialism will allow Russian socialists to win the trust of the oppressed nations!
The struggle against the Great Russian social-imperialists
The importance of the national question makes the struggle of revolutionaries in Russia against all advocates of Great Russian social-imperialism, and against those which opportunistically adapt and capitulate to such forces, particularly urgent. Lenin noted during World War I: “It will be the duty of the Socialists to explain to the masses (…) that Russian Socialists who fail to demand freedom of secession for Finland, Poland, the Ukraine, etc., etc.—are behaving like chauvinists, like lackeys of the blood-and-mud-stained imperialist monarchies and the imperialist bourgeoisie.” 
Such a statement is no less true today when the Stalinist KPRF of Gennady Zyuganov fully support Putin’s war and advocates “Ruskij Mir” social-chauvinism. Smaller Stalinist parties – like the RKRP and the OKP – basically share such a social-imperialist policy. Pseudo-Trotskyists like the Russian section of Alan Woods’ IMT adapt to the KPRF and even joined their electoral list at the recent regional elections (where they got one member elected as part of the KPRF delegation in a municipal council in Moscow). 
These forces behave like the social-chauvinists about whom Lenin spoke in the above-mentioned quote. It is not possible to fight against Putin’s war without fighting its “socialist” or “communist” supporters. And it is not possible to push back such social-imperialist forces without fighting against those opportunists who adapt to these.
We repeat our appeal to authentic Marxists that they need to decisively break – once and for all! – from those who contaminate communism with dirty collaboration with the “Ruskij Mir” social-chauvinists! Supporters of “Socialist Tendency” – the RCIT section in Russia – have published an “Open Letter to Russian Socialists” in which they call revolutionaries to join us in the struggle against social-imperialism and chauvinist patriotism.  We urge all authentic revolutionaries to join us on the basis of such a consistent internationalist and anti-imperialist program!
 RCIT: Russian Empire Escalates its Colonial War against the Ukraine. Down with the shame-“referendums” in the Russian-occupied territories! No to “mobilisation”! Defend the Ukraine - Defeat Russian imperialism!, 21 September 2022, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/russian-empire-escalates-its-colonial-war-against-the-ukraine/
 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/.
 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/
 Al Jazeera: ‘No to war!’: Anger over troop conscription rages in Russia. 26 September 2022, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/9/26/no-to-war-anger-over-troop-conscription-rages-in-russia
 Dasha Litvinova: Putin’s call-up fuels Russians’ anger, protests and violence, Associated Press, 2022-09-26, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-putin-georgia-estonia-5f0e250b65430b5f2ea9e066f3ccc44c?utm_source=homepage&utm_medium=TopNews&utm_campaign=position_02
 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/; see also “In Russia, we say: “The main enemy is at home!” Support the anti-war activities in Russia! Russian soldiers: Turn the guns around! For the transformation of the imperialist war into a revolutionary crisis of the Putin regime!” (Defend Ukraine against Putin’s Invasion! Defeat Russian and NATO Imperialism! War Platform for Socialists in Russia and the Ukraine, 1 March 2022, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/compilation-of-documents-on-nato-russia-conflict/#anker_9)
 V. I. Lenin: The Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. Groups Abroad (1915); in LCW 21, p. 163
 For a more detailed discussion of the program of revolutionary defeatism see the chapters in “Part 3: The Program of Revolutionary Defeatism against All Great Powers” in our 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, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/anti-imperialism-in-the-age-of-great-power-rivalry/, pp. 167-266.
 For a brief overview with reference to relevant literature see sub-chapter “Bolshevik Agitation against the War in Russia” in the above-mentioned book by Michael Pröbsting: Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry, p. 216
 Quoted in Dasha Litvinova: Putin’s call-up fuels Russians’ anger, protests and violence
 See e.g. 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 (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/
 RCIT Manifesto: Ukraine War: A Turning Point of World Historic Significance.
 V.I.Lenin: On the National Pride of the Great Russians (1914), in: LCW Vol. 21, p. 104
 V.I. Lenin: The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination (1916), in: LCW Vol. 22, p. 154
 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: Do the Ukrainian People in the Occupied Territories Really Want Annexation by Russia? Alan Woods’ IMT continues its opportunist adaption to pro-Russian social-imperialism in face of Putin’s mobilisation, 22 September 2022, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/imt-in-face-of-putin-s-mobilisation/.
 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/
러시아의 대(對)우크라이나 전쟁 현 단계에서 패전주의 강령의 몇 가지 쟁점에 대하여
알렉세이 세도프/ 데니스 소콜로프/ 미하엘 프리브스팅, 혁명적 공산주의인터내셔널 동맹 (RCIT), 2022년 9월 28일, www.thecommunists.net
1. 동원령이 러시아 사회에 미친 충격파
2. 자연발생적인 대규모 시위가 시작됐다
3. 동원령 반대 투쟁과 혁명적 전술
4. 2022년 동원령과 1914년 동원령: 전술에 어떤 차이를 가져오나
5. 러시아 내 피억압 소민족들도 이 투쟁의 주체다
6. 대러시아 사회제국주의자와의 투쟁
* * * *
1. 동원령이 러시아 사회에 미친 충격파
푸틴의 동원령이 ㅡ 우크라이나 일부에 대한 병합 책동과 결합하여 ㅡ 우크라이나 전쟁의 새 단계를 열었다. 이 동원 체제가 러시아 국내 정치 상황에 미칠 결과를 고려할 때 특히 그렇다. 이 글에서는 푸틴 정권의 결정에 대한 우리의 평가분석을 반복하기보다는 혁명가들의 당면 전술과 관련한 몇 가지 주요 쟁점들에 대해 논의할 것이다.
동원령과 병합 책동은 우크라이나 전쟁의 성격을 다시 한 번 드러내준다는 것을 확인하며 논의를 시작하자. 이 전쟁은 우크라이나 인민을 적으로 한 러시아의 제국주의 전쟁, 식민 전쟁이다. 동시에 이 전쟁은 서방과 러시아 간 강대국 패권경쟁과 결합된 전쟁이다. 현 충돌의 이러한 이중적 성격으로부터 이중적 전술이 나온다. RCIT가 개전 당초부터 제창해 온 다음과 같은 이중적 전술이 그것이다. 푸틴의 침략에 맞서 우크라이나를 방어하라! 러시아 제국주의와 나토 제국주의 모두에 맞서라!
푸틴의 동원령은 당연히 러시아군의 전황에 큰 영향을 미치겠지만, 무엇보다도 러시아 사회에 심대한 결과를 초래한다. 동원령은 1999년 푸틴 정권이 출범한 이래 시행해온 사실상의 "사회적 합의"를 마침내 산산조각 냈다. “국민들은 그저 소극적으로 지내고 정권의 정책을 묵인하면, 그 대가로 정권은 개인 삶에 너무 간섭하지 않으며 상대적인 경제적·사회적 안정을 확보해 줄 것이다”라는 사회계약이 이번 동원 체제로 완전히 깨져버린 것이다.
우크라이나 전쟁과 강대국 패권경쟁의 (혹독한 서방 제재를 수반한) 가속화가 이미 이 '모델'을 파탄 냈다. 그러나 제재가 불편을 가져왔지만, 대부분의 러시아인들은 직접적으로 전쟁 수행에 기여하도록 요청받지는 않아서 지금까지는 큰 영향을 받지 않았다. 이제 30만 명의 (또는 그 이상의) 신병을 충원한다는 푸틴의 동원령으로 상황은 극적으로 바뀌고 있다. 동원 체제는 러시아 사회에 일대 충격이며 정치적 모순을 대대적으로 가속화하기 때문에 그것이 가져올 장기적인 결과를 과소평가해서는 안 된다.
1960년대 후반 베트남 전쟁 당시 미국 국내 상황을 떠올려보면 될 것이다. 당시 많은 수의 징병자들이 동남아시아 배치에 직면하자 미국의 개입을 반대하는 대규모 시위가 급증했다. 다만 오늘 러시아와는 대조적으로, 당시 미국은 아직 경제 성장과 번영을 구가하고 있던 부유한 나라였다.
반동적인, 부정의(不正義)의 전쟁이 자본주의 사회 내부의 모순을 심화시킨다는 것은 잘 알려진 사실이다. 그와는 달리 정의의 전쟁은 인민 속에서 더 강한 단결을 불러일으킨다. 자본주의 사회 내에서조차도, 그리고 전쟁 지도부가 부르주아적 성격의 지도부인 경우라도 그러하다. 현 전쟁은 이 진실을 강하게 확인시켜 준다. 정권이 잔학한 식민 전쟁을 벌이고 있는 러시아에서는 개전 당일인 2월 24일 이미 대규모 시위가 시작됐다. 이제, 푸틴의 동원령 속에서 이러한 시위는 보다 급진적인 성격을 취하고 있다. 대조적으로, 우크라이나에서는 어떤 “반전” 운동도 없었다. 침공을 맞은 바로 첫날부터 대규모 동원령이 있었다는 사실에도 불구하고 말이다. 그 이유는 명백하다. 사람들이 나라가 식민 예속의 위험에 처해 있다는 것을 알고 있고 이 침략을 분쇄하기로 결심한 것이다.
2. 자연발생적인 대규모 시위가 시작됐다
우리는 위에서 언급한 푸틴 동원령 관련 성명에서 이렇게 적시해 놓았다. “정권의 이 반혁명 공세가 장기적 차원에서는 혁명적 위기 정세를 열 수 있다. 특히 러시아군이 우크라이나를 빠르게 패배시키지 못할 경우에는 말이다.”
지난 며칠간의 사건들이 우리의 예측을 확인해주는 것 같다. 동원에 반대하는 자연발생적인 대규모 시위가 이미 시작된 것이다. 이는 특히 징병으로 훨씬 더 많은 타격을 입는 소수 민족 거주 지역의 경우가 더욱 그렇다. BBC 러시아 지국 집계에 따르면, 최소 301명의 다게스탄 (카프카스 내의 주로 무슬림 지방) 출신 병사들이 전사했다. 러시아의 어느 지역보다도 많은 숫자며, 인구가 5배 많은 모스크바 출신 사망자 수에 비해 10배가 넘는 숫자다.
러시아의 독립 인권 단체인 овд-뉴스의 계산에 따르면, 9월 25일 최소 35개 소수 민족 정착촌에서, 그리고 9월 26일 최소 10개 정착촌에서 시위가 일어났다. 다게스탄의 마을인 엔디레즈 주민들은 도로를 막고 경찰과 격렬하게 충돌하면서 경찰의 경고사격을 불러왔다. 같은 다게스탄의 주도인 마하치칼라에서는 여성들이 군중을 이뤄 "전쟁 반대!"를 외쳤다.
또 다른 북 카프카스 지역인 카바르디노-발카리아에서도 거리 시위가 있었다. 시베리아 도시 야쿠츠크에서도 여성들이 "학살 반대!"를 외치며 시위를 벌였다. 몽골인 주민 지역에서도 시위가 있었다.
우류핀스크 (볼고그라드 주)와 루자에프카 (모르도비야공화국)에서 러시아 징집센터들이 화재로 불탔다. 랴잔 주에서 러시아 남성 1명이 분신하는 등 동원된 남성들이 동원령에 항의하며 자해를 했다. 시베리아 도시 우스트-일림스크에서 한 청년이 징집센터에 들어와 군 지휘관을 근접거리에서 총으로 쐈다.
이에 더해 수천 명의 징집 연령대 남성들이 징집을 피하고자 공항과 러시아 육로 국경 지대로 몰려들었다.
간단히 말해서, 푸틴의 동원 체제는 사회적 폭발을 유발하고 조만간 혁명적 정세로 가는 길을 열 수 있다. 심지어 푸틴 대통령의 연설문 작성자였던 아바스 갈리아모프는 푸틴이 "동원령을 발포함으로써 많은 위험을 안으면서 지지를 잃어가며, 혁명 전야 상황을 만들고 있다"고 경고했다.
3. 동원 체제에 반대하는 대중시위와 혁명적 전술
이러한 사태발전이 혁명가들의 전술에 대해 갖는 함의는 무엇인가? 무엇보다도 푸틴의 동원령에 반대하는 대규모 시위는 우크라이나 전쟁에 대한 RCIT의 성격규정을 강하게 확인시켜 준다. 즉 철두철미 반동적인 식민 침략전쟁 ㅡ 이 전쟁에서 맑스주의자가 우크라이나를 무조건 방어하는 그러한 식민 침략전쟁 ㅡ 이라는 성격규정 말이다. 러시아의 사회주의자들이 계속해서 혁명적 패전주의 강령을 제창하는 이유다. 개전 며칠 뒤 발표한 RCIT <선언문>에 명기해 놓았듯이, 이는 다음을 의미한다.
“러시아의 사회주의자들은 ‘주적은 국내에 있다!’라는 원칙으로부터 전쟁에 대한 태도를 세워야 한다. 러시아의 사회주의자들은 용기 있는 반전 활동들을 지지하고 우크라이나 인민과의 연대를 촉구해야 한다. 푸틴 정권을 약화시키고 나아가 노동자 혁명에 의해 타도하는 것이 전략적 목표다.
따라서 사회주의자들은 러시아 병사들에게 총구를 돌릴 것을 촉구한다. 사회주의자들은 제국주의 전쟁을 푸틴 정권의 혁명적 위기로 전화시키기 위해 투쟁한다. 사회주의자들은 또 몇 주 전 토카예프 정권을 도와 카자흐스탄 민중봉기를 진압한 러시아 주도 군사동맹 CSTO의 해체를 요구한다.