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I think it was absolutely wrong to support the Euro-Maidan movement or to consider supporting the current reactionary regime in Kiev. Equally socialists in the US and EU should oppose sanctions against Russia. (Trotsky was even sharply opposed to the Western imperialist sanctions against fascist Italy during the latters colonial war in Ethiopia in the mid-1930s.)

This however must not lead Marxists do deny the imperialist character of Russia today! I tried to demonstrate the nature of Russian imperialism in two essays/booklets published in the last 8 months. I think they proof this both empirically as well as in complete accordance with Lenin's theory of imperialism: See: Russia as a Great Imperialist Power, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/imperialist-russia/ Lenin’s Theory of Imperialism and the Rise of Russia as a Great Power, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/imperialism-theory-and-russia/

See also: The Uprising in East Ukraine and Russian Imperialism, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/ukraine-and-russian-imperialism/ Russia and China as Great Imperialist Powers, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/imperialist-china-and-russia/

Michael Pröbsting

Am 07.12.2014 um 12:25 schrieb Louis Proyect via Marxism:
Comments on this article (http://louisproyect.org/2014/06/22/is-russia-imperialist-a-reply-to-roger-annis-and-sam-williams/) by my good friend and comrade Reza F.

1) Those who argue that the BRICS should be supported believe that the economic and political development of BRICS nations will ultimately undermine the U.S., and as a result will undermine imperialism. This is completely erroneous. Did the displacement of the British imperialism by that of the U.S. undermine imperialism? Not at all. The leading imperialist nation-state can change without that change in the least bit undermining imperialism as a world system. In fact, historians can probably make a much stronger case that with each succession, imperialism as a system evolved to a higher stage.

By contrast, during his lifetime, Lenin *never* proposed that, for example, the U.S. should be supported so as to undermine the British imperialism. He supported fighting against ALL imperialists. Including Russia, which Lenin (again, during his lifetime) designated as imperialist; also this is why Lenin explicitly supported the right of self-determination for Ukraine (from Russian domination).

2) How is it that Lenin, even *after* writing the ‘Imperialism as the Highest Stage of Capitalism’ pamphlet, considered Russia an imperialist country a hundred years ago, and some Marxists are arguing Russia is not an imperialist country now?!!

3) Just for one example of imperialist behavior toward less powerful nations: Russia, starting in early 1800s, tried and subjected Iran, formalizing her dominant relation with Iran in successive wars and treaties that followed: Treaty of Gulistan (1813), Treaty of Turkmenchay (1828) and Treaty of Akhal (1881). These treaties included exclusively economic/trade provisions that forced Iran into agreeing to not interfere with any Russian businessman who chose to set up shop in any part of Iran. Meaning, through the use of military force, Russia was able to gain asymmetrical economic benefits it otherwise would not have had. *That* is imperialism’s core characteristic, not finance capital alone.

4) Finance capital alone cannot guarantee imperialist gains. In order to achieve its goals imperialism frequently has to employ ‘extra-economic’ means (for example, unfair trade agreements gained through political and diplomatic means, or through military means). Case in point, Iraq. Iraq was brought to its knees not by financial instruments, but by brute force of a military attack, after which economic benefits were secured.

Marxists who think that purely ‘economic’ features are the key determinants of imperialism forget that for Marx capital accumulation was a POLITICAL-economic reality, not just purely economic. Such Marxists also ignore the importance placed on ‘extra-economic’ means by which ‘primitive accumulation’ was achieved during the transition from feudalism to capitalism (see Part Eight of Capital, Vol. 1).

5) Marxists who believe economic criteria alone, and not a relationship of dominance, determine the imperialist nature of a state formation claim that imperialism requires the imperialist country to have excess capital that it needs to export. Well Russia does that to Iran. Russia has huge investments in Iran, the most famous of which is the nuclear reactor they have built and the nuclear reactors they have been contracted to build in the future. Getting the contract to build nuclear reactors is akin to having the sole ticket to the lone entry allowed to an absolute monopoly market.

Also, Russia is a great beneficiary in the nuclear deal in other ways. They will now have a semi-monopoly over a good portion of the enrichment of the uranium to be shipped to Iran under the terms of the current deal on the table.

In short, Russia has been extorting the Iranian regime in different ways for a good while.

The real problem is that when I raise these points, Russia’s western Marxist supporters (who consider Russia as their rescuer) think Iran’s political and economic deals with Russia amount to just bilateral deals between two countries as two equals. They dismiss as irrelevant the 200-year-old relationship of one-sided dominance between them (except maybe during the Soviet period, some could argue). This is a huge departure from historical materialism.

Imperialist countries stick it to whomever they can, and not to everybody equally, and definitely not able to stick it to everybody all at once and at all times. Not even the US gets its way all the time; unless, of course, you live in the world of Global Research. There is always agency on the other side, and there is always more than one other side.

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