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By John Helmer, Moscow

The calls have begun in Moscow, starting among the war blogs and battlefield reporters, for keeping intact Yevgeny Prigozhin’s conglomerate of military budget contractors. The reason argued is that they have established themselves so strategically in the logistics of the military services that they cannot be purged without doing greater damage than Prigozhin himself has caused.

In short, a Russian oligarch who knows too much, with too many mouths to feed, too many pockets to fill, and so too big to fail.

“There may be some reorganizations and a formal change of leadership,” Boris Rozhin, author of the Colonel Cassad media,  has announced. “The reason for the preservation is simple. Over many years of work, Prigozhin’s structures have grown so deeply into the state fabric that cutting them out at the same time without serious damage to the state is fraught with serious problems. That is, you can cut it out, but the consequences will be serious.” 

The war reporters are not the source of the first estimates from the Defence Ministry  indicating the trillion-rouble, multi-billion dollar size of Prigozhin’s empire, and the scale of the personal fortunes he, his close associates, and state officials have been accumulating for at least a decade.  No military analyst contacted for comment on the figures, will respond.

In the organized Russian political opposition, only the communist parties think differently and say so in public. Since the beginning of the special military operation they have publicly repudiated the pro-NATO line of the communist parties in Europe.  

The non-communist opposition in Moscow, led by Mikhail Delyagin  in parliament and Sergei Glazyiev   in government, has been vocal in their criticism of the Central Bank governor, Elvira Nabiullina; on Prigozhin they remain silent, refusing to answer questions.

Leading the open challenge to the Kremlin and the Defense Ministry is the Russian Communist Workers Party (RKRP in Russian, CWP in English), a breakaway from the Russian Communist Party (KPRF); with 57 deputies and 20% of the national vote, the KPRF  is the leading opposition bloc in the State Duma; the CWP draws about 2% of the vote and has no parliamentary voice.   At the start of the special military operation in February of last year, the CWP gave qualified support, but made that conditional on what the goals of the operation would turn out to be.

“In our analysis and conclusions in these specific historical conditions, we rely on the analysis already made in the course of the development of the situation, including at the conference with the communists of Donbass, Ukraine, Russia in November 2019 in Lugansk. Once again, returning to the fact of the recognition of the republics of Donbass, we note that it happened, although late, much later than it should have, but better late than never. The RKRP not only supported this step from the very beginning of the proclamation of these republics, but also demanded that the bourgeois authorities of the Russian Federation take this step as an aid in opposing the People’s republics of Donbass to fascist aggression by the Kiev Nazis.”

“The goal of the strongest US imperialism in the world is to weaken the Russian competitor and expand its influence in the European market space. For this purpose, they purposefully worked to pit against each other not only the authorities, but also the peoples of Russia and Ukraine…We have no doubt that the true goals of the Russian state in this war are quite imperialist — strengthening the positions of imperialist Russia in the global market competition. But, since this struggle today to some extent helps the people of Donbass to fight back against Bandera fascism, the communists do not object to this objective,  but allow and support as much as it is being waged against fascism in Donbass and Ukraine… As long as Russia’s armed intervention helps to save people in Donbass from reprisals by the punishers, we will not resist this goal. In particular, we consider it permissible if, due to the circumstances, it becomes necessary to use force against the fascist Kiev regime, insofar as it will be in the interests of the working people…To die and kill for the interests of the masters is stupid, criminal and unacceptable.”

That was on February 24, 2022.  

Last week the CWP issued its declaration of “We told you so”. About Prigozhin and the  Kremlin, the party told its supporters, “there are no clean and honest people here and there cannot be.”

“These events showed that the bourgeois dictatorship has led the country to the decline,  not only of the economy, but also of the army and state administration, which, by the way, was what Prigozhin was talking about and speculating on. It should be said that Prigozhin himself is also an oligarch with a criminal past, who made his billions in a non-transparent way. Now it turns out that Prigozhin was simply competing for a more lucrative place at the feeding trough against other oligarchs. And he himself has understood perfectly well that if he were to find himself in power, he would pursue the same policy. That’s because practically everything in the politics of the bourgeois state is determined only by economic interests, simply put – the interests of profit.”

The KPRF has also issued statements, including a long interview with the Communist Party   leader-for-life, Gennady Zyuganov.  He doesn’t endorse the line of attack of the CWP.

Follow the arguments presented by the two Russian communist parties as they debate in public the meaning of the Wagner mutiny and the evidence of Prigozhin’s decade-long state capture. Excerpts have been translated into English from the longer Russian statements which can be followed in their original published form.

The partisan jargon varies from country to country, language to language. But nothing comparable exists from the democratic opposition parties of North America or Europe.

June 28, 2023
Statement by the Russian Communist Workers Party

Source: CWP:  Russian Communist Workers' Party      

The events of June 22-24, when the armed formations of the Wagner PMCs [private military companies] under the leadership of Yevgeny Prigozhin took some military actions, which were called a mutiny in all official documents, greatly shook the pro-government circles of Russian society, right and left political currents, the Russian community and worldwide.

Today, when tensions temporarily seem to have subsided, with the mediation of [Belarus President Alexander] Lukashenko,  Prigozhin did not go to further aggravate the situation, stopped his march on Moscow, and settled in Belarus himself, so experts, political scientists and all the media are analyzing what happened. The harshest epithets are used in assessments (including official statements of senior state officials, and the decisions of law enforcement agencies): betrayal, conspiracy, treason, stab in the back, etc., etc. We will not analyze the course of events, nor the connections and relationships between the participants of the SVO [special military operation] and the authorities, various conspiracy versions of what happened. We will note only the main points of the class features which were once again highlighted by what happened.

1. Once again, not just the heterogeneity of the ruling bourgeois class of the Russian Federation was clearly manifested, but also the ongoing struggle of clans and groups of capitalists. If earlier more attention was paid to the so-called bloc of right-wing liberals of the Yeltsin era, today the allegedly nationally oriented bourgeoisie, using patriotic slogans for the defence of the Fatherland, is fighting for its place in the system,  and for proximity to power and the reinforcement of its positions.

The peculiarity of Russian capitalism is that the capital was formed by the method of forced plundering, through the so-called privatization of the unified national economic complex which had been created by the long-term labour of the entire Soviet people. Russian capitalism does not have centuries of formation and development of operational rules behind it, like their Western counterparts and rivals. The Russians have a period still to go for further accumulation of capital and its redistribution, when proximity to power and personal closeness to top officials (previously to Yeltsin, today to Putin) is of great importance. There are no clean and honest people here and there cannot be, but persons with criminal experience and gangland past are disproportionately represented. This constant squabbling of capital, as well as the orientation, starting since the time of the Gaidar-Chubais privatization, towards ties with western capital, creates not only weakness of governance, but also potential dangers of internal conflicts and splits. These increase the vulnerability of the state to the subversive activities of imperialist competitors led by the United States.

2. Today’s Russian bourgeois-bureaucratic state and society have such a strikingly different character from the Soviet one that it is impermissible to draw serious analogies in the assessments of the ongoing war with the Great Patriotic War, not only from the point of view of their different class characters, but also from the point of view of the class structure and the state of society itself. In Soviet society, there was also some section of the people who fought on the side of the fascists under a different flag, but that part and its influence, compared to the unity of the whole people around the idea of defending their socialist Homeland, was negligible. Today, the situation is qualitatively different and this carries a great danger to the integrity of the country, including after the end of the SVO, especially in the prospect, sooner or later, of the inevitable transition of presidential power.

Official speeches emphasize the cohesion and unity of the Russian people, who allegedly prevented the success of the rebellion. However, most watched Prigozhin’s actions with simple curiosity, since they considered him a person close to the President and with the undoubted authority of an undaunted fighter against the Nazis. They were waiting to see which side the President would take…

These events showed that the bourgeois dictatorship has led the country to the decline, not only of the economy, but also of the army and state administration, which, by the way, was what Prigozhin was talking about and speculating on. It should be said that Prigozhin himself is also an oligarch with a criminal past, who made his billions in a non-transparent way. Now Prigozhin was simply competing for a more lucrative place at the feeding trough against other oligarchs. And he himself understands perfectly well that if he were to find himself in power, he would  pursue the same policy. Because practically everything in the politics of the bourgeois state is determined solely by economic interests, or simply put, the interests of profit.

3. For a long time, Prigozhin’s protracted confrontation with senior officials from the military-political leadership of the country and the big business behind that side was based on criticism of actual, real-life shortcomings;  failures in management;  the unpreparedness of the army and economy for war;  miscalculations and failures in the conduct of operations;  the huge scale of corruption and theft around supplies and logistics;  unsuitable personnel policy;   and moral decay in the highest echelons of power. This propaganda campaign of Prigozhin’s, openly carried out on the internet and the media, aroused considerable sympathy among the people and in the armed forces, precisely because the rottenness of the system is visible and felt by everyone.

It was extremely unprofitable for the authorities to publicly sort out their relations with Prigozhin. Therefore, in all likelihood this is the reason his speech to parliament did not take place at the invitation of the [United Russia] Deputy Chairman of the State Duma, Sergei Neverov (right), after it was widely announced in May.  Neverov made his invitation to Prigozhin after the publication of a powerful  interview where Prigozhin spoke about the business and political ‘elite’, some of whom, in his opinion, deliberately harms, betrays, and sells Russia out by their actions. Prigozhin himself expressed his readiness to clarify these relationships, but this didn’t eventuate. Perhaps the authorities found a way out of the situation in skillfully provoking Prigozhin to organize the performance of his units, allegedly for justice.

4. Prigozhin himself has never opposed Putin, and today he has already stated that he had no intention of overthrowing the government. He says he pursued only the goal of establishing justice, for which he organized marches – this came after the Defense Ministry had launched a campaign to absorb the PMCs through the mandatory conclusion of contracts with the army department by the Wagner fighters and commanders. Prigozhin demanded justice, first of all, for himself, for his PMC, and also justice for the whole people. Prigozhin’s call for another privatization of state corporations under the pretext of their corruption reveals an advanced ultra-liberal in this erstwhile patriot.    

At the same time, none of the officials in their speeches and appeals mentions that the very existence of a private mercenary army in the country is prohibited by the current law. And, consequently, its illegal functioning was allowed, encouraged and supported at the highest level of government. Wagner units and formations received modern heavy weapons from the state – artillery, tanks, other armoured vehicles, helicopters. According to the President, the annual financing of the PMCs amounted to 86 billion rubles. On what basis? The question is rhetorical. For as long as the authorities needed it, everything was in accordance with the law, and now the law has turned into a legal cudgel.

5. The Russian authorities, first of all, in the person of President Putin, the Russian bourgeoisie and its representatives in the person of bourgeois propagandists cannot admit their guilt that the country, the army, the administration, the economy were not prepared for such a situation. And they certainly cannot admit in any way that it was the counterrevolutionary coup in the USSR and capitalism that led Russia and other republics into bloody conflicts, and ultimately pitted the former fraternal peoples of Russia and Ukraine in a bloody war…

6. Putin is again trying to accuse the Bolsheviks of betraying the interests of tsarist Russia during the First World War and is trying to draw historical analogies with the so-called Wagner rebellion. He accuses Prigozhin and his associates, as well as other oppositionists, of betrayal. However, Putin’s historical illiteracy, or rather hypocrisy, deliberate distortion of history in favour of the bourgeoisie and bias towards the great historical achievements of the people, are visible to the naked eye. First, the Bolsheviks, led by Lenin, saved the collapsing Russia, including from the appetites of the ‘civilized’ allies, who very soon, together with the overthrown exploitative classes – real traitors who traded Russian land and Russian wealth wholesale and retail —  staged the intervention of fourteen powers inside Soviet Russia…

7. Once again it has become clear that the Russian authorities do not have a clear plan to get out of the war nor do they have a model of future coexistence with Ukraine. ..This can continue for a very long time, which is mostly in line with the interests of US imperialism, the main beneficiary of the current situation of mutual destruction of the Russian and Ukrainian peoples…

8. The main danger for the collapse of Russia and the loss of its sovereignty remains today. It will remain even after the end of hostilities, even in the event of the unconditional victory so desired by the authorities. Moreover, as strange as it may seem, the greatest danger should be expected from the option of ‘normalizing’ relations, lifting sanctions, restoring trade and commercial ties with the West, since the spirit of profit always wins in the struggle of equivalent bourgeois systems…

The main conclusions from the analysis above are as follows:

— the top-level showdowns and even the power elements of the confrontation have once again revealed the ulcers and rottenness of Russian capitalism, which carries a potential danger to the integrity of the country and the sovereignty of the state;

— with each and every negative development of events on the fronts of Ukraine and in the world, if these events do not acquire a tendency for revolutionary movement towards socialism, which is not yet there,  in Russia we should expect an intensification of reaction, continuing decommunization, the tightening of the screws in relation to the workers’ movement, democratic rights and freedoms, and further castration of elective democracy;

— thus, using the example of Prigozhin and the Wagner march on Moscow, one could once again be convinced that not even the best organized, armed demonstrations of people hardened in battles with the Nazis against the injustice generated by the very existence of the bourgeoisie, can achieve social justice if they are conducted under the flag and command of the bourgeoisie itself… It is necessary and possible to put an end to wars and fascism only by uniting in the movement towards socialism under the red banners. This is our landmark, our goal, our future. For the sake of this future, today it is necessary to prevent the victory of the imperialist bloc of the USA and NATO by the hands of Ukrainian Nazism over Russia, Ukraine and their peoples. Fascism does not and should not have sovereignty.

The peoples of the world have no choice but to continue and strengthen the fight against the main source of fascism today – the imperialist bloc of the United States and NATO, while simultaneously launching the fight against capitalism in every country and all together.

We are all in the same class system! 

Source: https://kprf.ru/

June 29, 2023
Gennady Zyuganov: The main lessons of the Wagner rebellion  
Interview with Andrei Polunin

The Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov talks about what lessons should be learned from Prigozhin’s rebellion and his PMCs.

Last weekend Russia again experienced a huge stress, says Gennady Zyuganov — everyone suddenly realized how quickly a calm, normal life can end. I felt that chaos and disorder could break into the house of any of us. The rebellion, which was raised by irresponsible people asserting their personal ambitions, in fact put the security of the whole country at stake. This happened against the background of a war of total extermination declared against the Russian world by the Anglo-Saxons and NATO. Against the background of the bloody conflict that they provoked in the vast expanses of Ukraine, thereby condemning it to destruction.

I note that in Soviet times Ukraine was the most successful republic — the most prosperous, high-tech, favourable for social welfare and the standard of living. And now it’s turned into a bleeding wound. Those who organized the so-called march on Moscow tried to achieve the same, but to achieve it first on the territory of Russia. It’s quite obvious —  in such a situation, the outcome depends on the cohesion of citizens, the determination of the President, all political leaders, governors, those who influence public opinion.

It is no coincidence that, speaking in the State Duma on June 27, I thanked Presidents Putin and Lukashenko, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, all governors and party colleagues. This is gratitude for the fact that in such a formidable and responsible hour they performed together. They have demonstrated the will and unity of action, which made it possible to prevent the tragic development of events.

I understood what this mutiny was fraught with. At such moments, I have already had to make extremely difficult and responsible decisions. All of them were aimed at preventing civil war, creating peaceful and favourable conditions for the development of the country, and forming a decent political system.

In this case, my experience and life practice suggested that we should react
immediately. On the night of June 24, I received a call and was informed that the
Wagnerians had seized a number of objects in Rostov-on-Don. It became obvious to me: urgent measures must be taken.  After Putin’s address on June 24, which was very convincing and timely, I asked the chairman of the Duma, faction leaders and representatives of law enforcement agencies to gather. This was necessary to ensure our common protection and support of the President’s position.

Left: Gennady Zyuganov. Right: the last contest between Zyuganov and the oligarch Oleg Deripaska in a May 2019 court case.  For the full archive of stories on Zyuganov, click to open.

Question:  You are talking about difficult and responsible decisions which  you had to make. What are these solutions?

Zyuganov: In 1990, I had to create the Communist Party of the RSFSR [Russian republic] together with my friends. By that time it became clear that Gorbachev, Yakovlev, Shevardnadze and Yeltsin were betraying socialist ideals, our security, our country. And that they have turned the CPSU [Soviet Union] into a hostage of their treacherous policy. If we had created our organization a year earlier, we would have saved the Soviet country from disintegration.

In 1991, I had to create the Union of Patriotic Forces, which issued a declaration of the left-right opposition. Our goal was to stop the madness that Gorbachev’s treacherous course and Yeltsin’s drunken treacherous policy were bringing to the country… I believed that the citizens would hear our voice, rise up, expel the traitorous pack which had  seized leadership positions in the country. Unfortunately, it was summer — some were taking exams, others were basking on the beach, others were digging in the garden. And when they woke up, the so-called putsch of the GKChP was already organized under the leadership of the tsereushnikov [CIA], which ended with the collapse of the State.

No less responsible decisions had to be made in 1993 — after Yeltsin issued decree 1400 on constitutional reform…

In 1996, after the presidential election, Yeltsin again took a criminal step. On March 15, the State Duma adopted a resolution according to which a part of the Belovezhskaya Accords   on the termination of the existence of the USSR was declared invalid. In response, the next day on March 16, the security forces, on Yeltsin’s instructions, actually seized the State Duma. One of the military commanders called me at night and warned me: do what you want, otherwise it will be worse than in October 1993!.. In the 1996 elections, the country split in fact.  People voted for me from the peaceful Don to the Pacific Ocean, for Yeltsin — cities with millions of people, industrial centres, the North and the Far East. It was possible to organize a war between the North and the South — and lose the country completely. But I didn’t go for it.

Question:  The situation with the mutiny of Wagner – was it the same lineup?

Yes. Now we also had to take urgent measures. Based on my personal experience, I understood that only joint coordinated actions, regardless of political differences, could stop the march on Moscow, which was of a criminal and treasonous nature. It is very important that President Putin contacted all key leaders and political leaders, including Father Lukashenko. The President promptly listened to the reports of the security forces on the situation on the front line, then made correct and accurate decisions.

For its part, the Council of the State Duma worked for two days almost without a break — supported,  helped the head of state,  monitored what was happening. My comrades monitored the situation in Rostov and along the route of the Wagnerians’ advance.

In the areas where the PMC fighters were walking, we have our own organizations, we have operational connections. Therefore, we could see in real time how the column was moving, what was happening in it. And they [KPRF] took information and propaganda measures. After all, many guys who bravely fought at the front were confused. And when they were shown a direct appeal by Putin and all the party leaders in Rostov, they were surprised: [they told us] we didn’t know that, we were told that there would be negotiations! After that, some of the Wagner units returned to their locations.

There was a military clash with the PMCs in the Voronezh region, where the Wagnerians shot down a plane and a helicopter, and the situation continued to escalate. We must pay tribute to Lukashenko. He himself has gone through an attempt to strangle him with a ‘colour revolution’, when he walked with a machine gun in hand with his son and friends, defending fraternal Belarus. And therefore he understood the situation more acutely than others. He entered into negotiations with Prigozhin. The agreements that were reached helped to return the Wagnerians to their places of field deployment, as well as to take measures that made it possible to protect the country from a civil clash.

Question:  What conclusions should be drawn from the situation with Prigozhin and Wagner?

The main, the most fundamental lesson is that it is very important to tell the truth to society and unite it as much as possible to achieve victory in the Special Military Operation. To defeat the Nazis and fascists who decided to destroy the Russian world. The more truthful and timely the information is, the more united the ranks of the patriotic opposition will become. The more often and energetically the President, the Ministry of Defense,  and the party leaders will truthfully inform everyone about the situation in the country, the sooner we will achieve an extremely important, indeed the only saving victory for us.

We have a union state  [with Belarus] — and Putin and Lukashenko, constantly in contact, thus showed statesmanship. This approach provides the most correct solutions. For example, the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus instantly sobered up the Polish madmen who were hatching a plan to join hostilities against our army.

We need to strengthen this alliance, this brotherhood. And once achieved, immediately implement a whole range of measures to curb the Nazis and NATO members in the vast spread of  Ukraine.  We need to fundamentally reverse the situation in the next four to five months. Otherwise, NATO thugs will directly invade the territory of Ukraine — in the person of Poland, or someone else. And then the conflict will become more bloody and threatening.

One of the most important lessons of the current situation is the need to change course. The threats that concern every citizen today have remained unchanged. These are the threats of the extinction of the country, the growing property split in society, technological backwardness and professional degradation of personnel. Finally, the threats from NATO have not gone away.

All this requires the mobilization of resources, social cohesion, and the development of the latest technologies.

We have proposed a program that fully meets these tasks. On July 30, an International Economic Forum will be held in Orel, where our updated program will be presented…

Finally, it is essential for us that the army is our main defender. But armies stay live when there is unity of command; that is, when the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, the Minister of Defense, the General Staff and the Security Council bear full responsibility for the security system. And citizens strictly follow the laws that every person is obliged to strictly comply with in war conditions.

We must firmly remember that all of the above is checked during fair and decent elections. We have both local and presidential elections ahead of us. Unfortunately, United Russia has adopted seventeen laws that have disfigured, in fact, ruined the electoral system.

Instead of presenting their program and competing honestly, the United Russia partisans arrange a three-day, remote control, and remove observers from the sites. This is a complete disgrace, and it leads to a direct confrontation within the country. Because unfair elections and distrust of them will only complicate the situation inside Russia.

Last Sunday, I discussed the current situation in detail with President Putin. He offered to meet with the leaders of the parliamentary factions, to consider the current military-political and economic situation, the nature of the upcoming elections. They should be open, honest, decent. They should not aggravate the situation, but on the contrary — help solve urgent issues. To ensure stability in society, to maintain the safety of every citizen, every family.

I am absolutely convinced of this.

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