What the propaganda is hiding from you about the Ukrainian war

23 March, 2022

Ukrainian gas pipeline
Ukrainian gas pipeline

The real war, the one that knows no limits, the one revealing the contractions that tear Humanity apart, is not a war between countries, not even between their ruling classes. It is always the war of “society’s owners” against those they exploit and at whose expense they are always ready to make a deal if it means good business… even while the missiles are flying.

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As crackdown intensifies on both sides…

Ukrainian deserters arrested by the army as they try to cross the icy Carpathian Mountains to flee the country.
Ukrainian deserters arrested by the army as they try to cross the icy Carpathian Mountains to flee the country.

In Russia, the pace of repression was accelerated from the very first moment, when the first anti-militarist protests broke out. To date, several thousand people have been arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned for a range of offenses, from demonstrating to writing “No to war” in the snow.

The squashing of dozens of radio stations and “agencies” which in reality are collectives of “citizen journalists” with a Telegram channel, have evidenced the impotence in the face of the state of a movement which did not know how to go beyond the class borders of the urban petty bourgeoisie to join the disbelief of the workers in the factories and neighborhoods. Disbelief which becomes increasingly angry in the face of non-payment of wages, massive layoffs and the growing lack of basic goods such as medicines.

In Ukraine, meanwhile, the country has moved to a new level of repression and totalitarianism with the legalization of the (literal) hunt for deserters, the banning of left-wing parties and the centralization of all news on a single national war propaganda network.

While Zelensky compared in the Israeli Parliament the war to the genocide of Jews during the World War, he gave the green light to his ultranationalist allies – once allies of Hitlerite Germany and co-participants in the genocides of Poles and Jews in what is today the Lviv region – to unleash ethno-political repression and intensify extrajudicial killings in the rear. Today we received the first news of house-to-house searches by OUN paramilitary groups such as the Azov battalion. “Our values” in action indeed, as Sánchez would say.

…the Russian and Ukrainian bourgeoisie continue to collaborate on the ground to sell gas in Europe (and to make money with it)

Gas pipelines linking Russia to the EU through Ukraine.
Gas pipelines linking Russia to the EU through Ukraine.

But while bombings, repression, shortages and killings go on, both bourgeoisies are very careful to keep the gas transport infrastructure to Europe intact and running at full capacity.

In fact, while the Yamal-Europe pipeline, which transports gas through Belarus and Poland to Germany, switched to reverse mode a week ago and remains so, the Ukrainian pipeline is at capacity, trading the bulk of GazProm’s supply: $930 per 1000 cubic meters versus $1,077 on the European market.

Both Russian and Ukrainian agencies congratulated themselves today because the outlook for gas prices keeps rising in the face of the drop in wind in Europe and with it the wind power produced. And of course, the Ukrainian government has declared that it will keep its part of the bargain with its Russian counterparts “as long as possible”. That is, it will continue to pay upfront and add its percentage to the final price.

They themselves show us where the real war front is

Death to capital or death under the boot of capital (1919). The banners oppose the power of the Councils of workers and peasants and that of capital.
Death to capital or death under the boot of capital (1919). The banners oppose the power of the Councils of workers and peasants and that of capital.

The 17 or 18 year old youth who attempts to escape forced conscription can be killed by anyone who spots him in Ukraine, or be mowed down by a battalion of his own if he is Russian. Zelensky has turned the use of Russian, from a common language -it is still the mother tongue of millions of Ukrainians, co-official until 2014- into a reason for being singled out and suspected; and Putin’s hitmen, following their leader’s mandate to “purify” Russia through repression and “distinguish patriots from traitors”, are already demolishing even the old Brezhnevian posters -as monumental as they were hypocritical- which proclaimed “Peace in the world”.

Nothing points to this situation changing: crackdown will continue and even increase on both sides of the front line, faded if not rendered invisible by a European media as interested in whitewashing the corrupt and ethnicist Ukrainian regime as in hiding the fact that Russia is not a homogeneous parade of brainless Putinists. And at the same time both bourgeoisies will take care to ensure that the gas business, which generates such a good income for both ruling classes, is not even “accidentally” interrupted.

After all, both ruling classes went to war, leading thousands to the slaughter, for the sake of their own business. Why would they give up their best joint business while the bodies of thousands of soldiers and civilians on both sides are settling their quarrels?

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