Certain talking heads say that Russia’s air strikes on Syria will help stop terrorism. Nonsense. Its planes are not targeting ISIS, but revolutionaries and civilians fighting Assad and the jihadists. Most of the casualties are in market places and residential areas.
Some Stalinists (meaning supporters of Soviet policy under Stalin who also support Russian policy today) are encouraged that Russian bombs may save Assad’s brutal dictatorship; so are a faction of imperialists that long for Middle East “stability.” They might be right, alas!
What nobody is reporting is the condition of Russian working people, the invisible victims of their country’s military adventures and stagnating economy. Russia is in serious recession as a result of sinking oil prices — which provide its major income — and the effect of trade sanctions against Putin’s seizure of Crimea.
The ruble buys much less than it used to, unemployment is 30 percent in remote areas, and wages go unpaid for months in the cities. The good news is that workers across the country are starting to protest the theft of wages and to strike.
And so it is that the Russian ruling class, like all the other crisis-ridden imperialists and aspiring imperialists, is counting on military atrocities abroad and austerity at home to salvage its crumbling fortunes.
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