Middle East

Putin, Assad and the Syrian Disaster

Introduction to 2024 edition
Originally published in 2018, this pamphlet has increased relevance in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. To understand that invasion, we must understand the development of Russian capitalism following the collapse of the Soviet Union as well as the development of the Putin regime. The bulk of this pamphlet remains the same, so some of it may be a little dated, but nevertheless we hope this pamphlet contributes to that understanding.

As far as the invasion of Ukraine itself, that is really beyond the scope of this pamphlet. Oaklandsocialist has written extensively on it. The only point raised about that invasion is contained in this new addition which deals with what we believe is Putin’s main reason for the invasion. We believe the evidence is that the expansion of NATO is not the real reason. Rather, the real reason lies in the very nature of Putin’s regime, as explained in this pamphlet. More explicitly, it is his drive to return to a Tsarist-like Greater Russia, as he has explicitly stated.

The “Holy Alliance” then and now
In September of 1814, the monarchist powers of Russia, Prussia and Austria met to draw up a plan to contain the spread of “liberalism” and revolution in Europe. It was called the “Holy Alliance”. Two hundred years later, (May, 2014) the Putin regime called a conference explicitly for similar goals. All the far right forces of Europe gathered to discuss, among other things, how to “save Europe from liberalism and the ‘satanic’ gay lobby.”1 This was followed by more public conferences, including one organized by the Center for National Glory of Russia that included the World Council of Families, a “family values” group.

Just as with the “Holy Alliance”, a new force is being organized to halt and reverse the spread of secular and liberal ideas. The difference is that the Holy Alliance was aimed at halting the spread of anti-feudal ideas that were the ideological basis for the conquest of capitalism over feudalism. The present “holy alliance” – led by Putin just as the Russian Tsar led the previous one – is aimed at furthering the interests of Russian capitalism/imperialism, again through the spread of the most reactionary ideas – racism, religious bigotry, and chauvinism.

How did we get from the Russian Revolution to here, and where is it headed? And why is it that a wide layer of the “left” has found itself on the same side as this new holy alliance on some key issues?

Today, when the present US president is (rightly) accused of the closest ties to the Russian mafia2, and when tensions increase between US and Russian imperialism, and when both forces are involved in a war aimed at propping up a brutal dictator – Assad… Today those questions are more important than ever.


Read entire pamphlet here: Putin, Assad and the Syrian Disaster II

1Shekhovtsov, Anton, “Russia and the Western Far Right”, p. 199.

4 replies »

  1. Comrades – I’d prefer a print copy of the pamphlet Putin, Assad and the Syrian Disaster to a pdf. Please forward a mailing address so that I can send a check – and a contribution for you to circulate it widely!

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