Written by RMP in 2009, first published on Maoism.Ru
Recent years were marked by increasing expansion of the Russian capital. For six years the sum of the Russian investments placed abroad has grown in more than 12 times; and only in 2008 crisis has slowed down this process somewhat.
In 2007 Gazprom Germania bought 25 % in the fourth license block in Northern Sea, and Gazprom received several projects in Libya. Together with other Russian companies Gazproms is consolidating in Venezuela, Nigeria and Northern America. Supporting Serbia in a question on keeping Kosova had given a prize to Gazprom which had got power holding Naftna Industrija Srbije. In 2008 Gazprom decided to take part in privatization of Kyrgyzgaz and Kyrgyzneftegaz, and then signed the agreement with the government of Tadjikistan on geological prospecting of four large oil-and-gas deposits. Gazprom declares its intention ‘
to become the company number one over the world.’
In 2007 Lukoil got 376 filling stations in Europe. The same firm achieved the right to develop oil field West Qurnah-2 in Iraq. Lukoil became the first foreign firm which received access to gas deposits in Uzbekistan.
Evraz Group got companies Claymont Steel and Oregon Steel Mills and became the world’s largest manufacturer of rails; in Ukraine its basic shareholder bought the metallurgical enterprises of group Privat and half of the largest Southern ore-dressing and processing enterprise. Novolipetsk Steel got John Maneely Company, the largest independent manufacturer of pipes in Northern America. Severstal has four factories in the USA that makes it the fourth manufacturer of steel there. State monopoly Russian Railways took as a concession the network of Armenian Railways. Vympelcom got the cellular operator Sotelco in Cambodia and created joint telecommunication holding in Vietnam. The cellular operator MTS bought K-Telecom (two third of Vietnam’s market).
In Mongolia Russians own half of railways and large shares in gold and copper mines. In Kyrghyzstan in exchange for debt forgiveness Russia received a control stock of factory Dastan, one of the largest manufacturers of the sea weapon in the ex-USSR.
Imperialistic expansion caused deterioration of relations with neighbours; their ‘obduracy’ raises chauvinistic disapproval. So, ‘
for last half-year Russians had essentially cooled off’ even loyal A. Lukashenko (as it was marked by sociologists in the beginning of 2007). So he broke down and declared that Russia aspires not only to get some enterprises for a song but also to privatize the entire republic. At the end of 2008 Russia tried to get 12 dairy factories for the credit, and after refusal the Federal service on supervision in protection of the consumers’ rights forbid import of dairy production of Belarus. Russian EuroChem Mineral and Chemical Company tried to buy for a song the Gomel chemical plant having over 90 % in the Belarusian market of phosphoric fertilizers. At last Lukashenko declared aggrievedly: ‘
Our officials should stop creeping on theirs knees in the Russian offices.’ Belarus has never recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In March of 2010 it even complained against Russia to Economic court of the CIS in connection with introduction export duties on products of oil refining and petrochemical raw material by later (this measure ‘
means threat of a full work stoppage on the largest enterprises of a petrochemical complex in Belarus…’
For economic and military interests of Russia Ukraine has special value that places its sovereignty under a threat. So when the deputy chief of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine called a payment by Russia for using objects of the Black Sea Fleet ‘
absolutely inadequate amount’, the counsellor of embassy of the Russian Federation in Kiev V. Lysenko declared that attempt of its revision could become the basis for raising by Russia demand for all Crimea. Meanwhile the Supreme economic court of Ukraine confirmed that the Russian Black Sea Fleet illegally uses navigating-hydrographic objects in Crimea; however Russia refuses to implement such judgements. Crimean resorts belong to Russian proprietors too, in particular, to the Moscow government. By the way in 2009 the prime minister of the Russian Federation V. Putin declared its readiness to take part in privatization of gas-transport system of Ukraine.
In 2007 Russian Television and Radio Broadcasting Network bought state owned Transdniestrian radiotelevision centre though the vice-speaker of Moldova’s parliament I. Roşca declared that his country didn’t recognize any privatization bargain in Transdniestria.
As Izvestia frankly wrote, Russians ‘
possess half of unrecognized republic’ of Abkhazia. Such a thing had became possible due to the secession carried out by Russia: ‘
Apartments and houses being up for sale now belonged to Georgians formerly. During the war they became refugees.’
In 2007 Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods bought the third dairy products manufacturer in Georgia – Georgian Products Ltd., intending to use this factory as jumping-off place for the markets of Armenia and Azerbaijan. However the countries have extremely strained political relations. At summit of the CIS countries in October, 2007, the president of Georgia Michael Saakashvili declared that concerning Georgia in the CIS ‘
any favourable rule doesn’t work’ and Russia subjected his country to economic and transport blockade.
As a result of the war in August, 2008, Russia annexed Abkhazia and South Ossetia, including the areas historically populated by Georgians. These actions were justified with widely propagated but false messages on murdering two thousand Ossets in Tskhinval. In Kodori Gorge and the Georgian enclaves in South Ossetia massive ethnic cleanings against the Georgians were carried out.
From the end of 2009 the new obviously far-fetched anti-Georgian campaign was launched in connection with the demolition of the Memorial of Glory in Kutaisi. Though accusations against Estonia in connection with the transferring of the Bronze Soldier in 2007 were more proved however then campaign of protests in Russia had great-power chauvinistic character too.
The famous TV reporter, United Russia’s party member M. Leontjev openly declared on December 15, 2008: ‘
Why we not returning Baltic as well? Why not? The state independence of Baltic republics appeared insolvent. The great majority of ethnically local electorate is Nazis. … They should be shot. … So they will end up by our tanks’ deployment in Riga.’
Militaristic moods dominate over the society. This decade ‘
both in speeches of the overwhelming majority of politicians and almost in all mass-media demands of military expenditure’s increase became distinctly prevail.’ According to sociological interrogations, the overwhelming majority of the population feels pride, respect and hope to army; almost three quarters consider that military expenditure should be increased.
To facilitate military interventions, the upper chamber of parliament in December, 2009, gave the right ‘
to decide on operative armed forces’ use abroad personally’ to the president. Russia remains, alongside with the USA, one of the largest sellers of armament, keeping a quarter of the world market.
For the summer of 2005 on the Russian Air Forces’ base in Kyrghyzstan were stationed about 500 soldiers and officers and two dozens of airplanes. Then the contingent was increased in 2.5 times. In August, 2007, the Russian ambassador in Kyrghyzstan V. Vlasov declared new increase of personal and technical stuff of this base. In July, 2009, Russia came to agreement with Kyrghyzstan leaders about deployment one more military base there (in spite of the fact that Uzbekistan ‘categorically’ opposes creations of new foreign bases in the territory of neighbouring countries).
In September, 2007, the vice-speaker of the State Duma A. Tchilingarov declared, that Russia should lay claim to Lomonosov and Mendeleev Ridges containing a quarter of world reserves of hydrocarbons. Analytics marked that ‘
the struggle for the Arctic shelf reminded last colonial redivision of the world.’ The questioned belonging of Kuriles, transfer of islands on the river Amur to China and the Chinese immigration to Russia don’t become the important questions of interstate politics but are constantly present at mass consciousness generating nationalist flashes.
The international organizations note curtailment of democracy in Russia. Even the president of Belarus A. Lukashenko expressed his uneasiness that there the cult of personality of his colleague V. Putin was formed in Russia. In 2007 the press-secretary of ODIHR U. Gunnarsdottir declared that OSCE cannot guarantee qualitative performance of standard procedure on supervision over elections in conditions of ‘
unprecedented’ restrictions on presence of the international observers. The threshold was raised from 5 % to 7 %, the turnout minimum and a ballot choice ‘against all’ were abolished, independent Russian observers were forbidden. Observers from OSCE and the PACE estimated these elections as not free, unfair and accompanied with numerous infringements. According opinion surveys, by 2007 already more than half of Russians had come to a conclusion, that there is only one strong party – Unites Russia, the others do not play an appreciable role. By the way, by 2008 UR at last had directly formulated that it asserted ‘
the conservative ideology.’
In 2008 Amnesty International ascertained that for last years all basic civil rights and freedoms (first of all, the right on freedom of speech, and also the right of associations and meetings) were considerably restricted in Russia. LGBT-militants note: ‘
United Russia has created the extremely homophobic climate in our country.’
Minister of Internal Affairs R. Nurgaliev noted ‘
rude and even boorish treatment’ of citizens by police, and the chief of HR department recognized growth of drug crimes in the police, traffic accidents involving police, and a large corruption.
Former judge of the Supreme Court V. Radchenko notes that over 15 million were condemned for criminal offences for 1992–2007 in Russia. Annual average of condemned grew twice against 1987–1991. This growth exceeds growth of criminality that speaks about repressive character of the present criminal legislation. The deputy general public prosecutor E. Zabarchuk recognized that prisoners’ rights on health protection and proper sanitary conditions weren’t observed.
Nationalist and chauvinistic moods are widely-spread. During public opinion poll (2006) 55 % supported the slogan ‘Russia for Russians’ in a varying degree. Meanwhile many small-numbered peoples proved to be critically endangered as a result of neo-liberalism in 1990ies. Tatar militants are anxious about the position of their nation too. On October 11, 2009, they come to Memorial Day of Kazan’s defenders with the slogan: ‘Our Goal is Independence’. The event’s resolution noted that ‘
there is a continuous russification and christianization the Russian Federation, all is adjusted under the Putin’s [power] vertical’, and emphasized: ‘
The concept of national-liberation movement is renamed into terrorism.’
Well-known experts G. Kozhevnikova and A. Verhovsky noted: ‘
…Growth of neo-Nazi and racist violence proceeds. Activity and mass character of the public events by right radicals increase… It becomes more and more obvious that not only right radicals but also quite respectable parties are ready to use (and already use) ethnonationalism as an electoral resource. Xenophobic moods of Russians are used for the justification inadequately aggressive policy of Russia to the nearest neighbours… …The State even more often addresses to illegitimate use of the antiextremist legislation against political opposition…’; ‘
Attacks against representatives of the left movements or youth subcultures alternative to skinheads’ have become more frequent.
The Russian capital actively exploits migrant workers whose contribution to economy exceeded 3,8 % of GNP in 2007. In 2008 Russia took the second place in the world (after the USA) on number of immigrants. Huge shares of workers of Tadjikistan, Kyrghyzstan and Moldova work in Russia.
It is supposed that besides 1.65 million registered foreigners still about 2 million worked at Russia illegally. The Federal migratory service involves youth movement Mestnye (The Natives) to ‘hunting’ on ‘illegal’ workers. The neo-fascist MAII cooperates with it too.
The average working day of migrant builders exceeds 12 hours. Sometimes migrant workers are keeping as slaves. Brutal conditions of workers’ settlement cause their deaths: seven workers from Tadjikistan were lost in Zhulebino in the underground garage (their dwelling) which burned out in January, 2009.
Migrant workers are organized for protection of their rights: in Ekaterinburg over 300 Tadjik builders called a strike and complained to public prosecutor’s office after they did not receive any wages more than four months.
The situation in Ciscaucasia remains tense. In August, 2007, the military group of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Ingushetia was increased up to almost 2.5 thousand cadres and supported by dozens of armoured units. Ingushetian MIA’s chiefs were replaced with the officials from Moscow and Saint Petersburg. A lawlessness of repressive bodies provokes terrorism. D. Umarov (who accepted responsibility for explosions in the Moscow underground on March 29, 2010.) declared that it was a revenge for special action of federal forces in villages Arshty and Datyh which caused four deaths of non-combatants.
Clericals have a strong support by authorities in a strengthening their influence on broad masses. Recently the Ministry of culture implementing orders of the country’s leaders introduced a move for an official celebrating of Day of the Baptism of Rus. The Chechen president R. Kadyrov threatened to close all local broadcasting companies which did not explain bases of the Islam.
Soon after the Russia–Georgia War the deputy head of the department of external church relations of The Moscow Patriarchate protoiereus V. Chaplin called the Russian authorities ‘
to be strong, including the military respects, to have will and ability to stop any encroachment on… our interests in the world and our ability to influence processes all over the world.’
only third of Russians are ready to base the public life on religious… values…’ The deputy director of the State policy department of the Ministry of Education and Science T. Petrova noted on christianisation in schools that ‘
as you go further from Moscow, this activity is decreasing.’
The level of health of the population in Russia is much worse, than usually in the countries with comparable economic conditions. Distribution of a drug addiction and the bad culture of contraception (lasting since revisionist epoch) cause significant number of AIDS cases. Alcoholic poisoning annually kills more than 30 thousand Russians. For last ten years consumption of wines has increased twice, and beer – three times! The nutrition structure ‘
is characterized by reduction… of adequate proteins, vitamins and mineral substances; non-balancing of a diet…’ President D. Medvedev noted that third dying in Russia are able-bodied population including ‘190 thousand deaths from influence of harmful and dangerous manufactures’.
To reduce labour force costs capitalists indirectly exploit a work outside working week and of unemployed relatives of workers: dachas (suburban plots) which almost of half of Russians have serve as additional help for livelihood more and more. Other way is a lowering pensionable age. President assistant A. Dvorkovich cynically told about this: ‘
It seems to me that time has come, and there is no need to deceive itself that people aren’t ready. They are ready.’
The belief in efficiency of strikes has considerably decreased for last twenty years: the fifth part of Russians believes that strikes can gain nothing. Up to half of Russians note an opportunity of prosecutions for participation in strikes during public opinion poll.
Three significant problems prevent us from recognising the left movement in Russia as communist.
First, it is under oppression of social-chauvinism. The Communist Party of the Russian Federation demanded military aggression of the government, up to an incursion into Tbilisi. Alas, more left groups actually supported the anti-Georgian propagation in many respects.
Second, the left are keen on ‘a political pops’: they adjoin to petty-bourgeois mass movements, not putting forward their own program and dragging behind (nationalist or liberal) anticommunists. It is appreciable, for example, in connection with introduction of the USE, the unified examination procedure between secondary and higher education. Left participants of the anti-USE movement refuse to put forward slogans of a cancellation of examinations or general higher education as ‘
Thirdly, since the reshuffle in 2008 (V. Putin become the prime minister and his ‘successor’ D. Medvedev was elected as new president) there is occurred their contraposition frequently: some support ‘democrat’ Medvedev against ‘autocrat’ Putin and some support ‘patriot’ Putin against ‘comprador’ Medvedev. People, however, is more sober than such odd theorists: four fifth are convinced that Medvedev ‘
mainly’ or ‘
exactly proceeds Putin’s politics’.
The left movement remains shattered, however it is hard to welcome integration process around of the Tyulkin’s RCWP–RPC. It goes on a unscrupulous basis, without exposure of mistakes and opportunistic lines of this party and its allies. Alliance ROT-front is essentially created for the sake of obtaining the state registration and participation in elections, but propagandists from the RCWP–RPC pass it off as something the greater and suppress communist criticism against the antimarxist elements in it.