By Andrew Murray
Communist Review #105 (Autumn 2022)
The question of the social nature of the Russian state has resurfaced as an issue of discussion in the wake of the invasion of Ukrainian territory ordered by Vladimir Putin in February 2022.
The Communist Party and the anti-war movement in this country have condemned the invasion and declared it unjustified, without denying the responsibility of NATO for the crisis and without deflecting attention from the need to struggle first of all against the war policies of our own ruling class.
That is the most important thing, since it gives concrete political orientation in the world situation. However, a proper analysis of the Russian state is important – firstly, because it can equip the movement to understand the likely unfolding of international politics in the period ahead; secondly because it can deepen our understanding of the inner logic of the consequences of capitalist restoration in the former USSR; and thirdly because it is a test of the vitality of the Marxist method.
I have been invited to respond to the article by Stewart McGill published in Communist Review 104 and will therefore address his method – a profoundly mistaken one in my judgement. However, it should be noted that a fairly wide range of thinkers and organisations on the left have come to the same conclusions as comrade McGill, so there is no sense in which his errors are singular ones. Some arguments on this matter, as for example those promoted by the Socialist Action group, are in fact still further from Marxism.
Quality and Quantity, Abstract and Concrete
As a point of departure, I take the argument of Engels in Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy:
“The great basic thought that the world is to be comprehended not as a complex of ready-made things but as a complex of processes…it is one thing to acknowledge it in words and another to carry it out in reality in each domain of investigation.”
That is the core of the method of dialectical materialism, the method which offers the best chance of grasping the essence of social phenomena. It is indeed harder to act on as a practice than to declare as a principle.
Much of comrade McGill’s article consists of measuring up the Russian economy against those of other powers in an effort thereby to apprehend the nature of the Russian state, deploying a miscellanea of criteria of varying relevance. Straight away, this stands Marx’s method – of proceeding from the abstract to the concrete – upside down. It is like trying to grasp the essence of a butterfly solely on the basis of what one can see when it is pinned to a board in a museum – its colouring, dimensions and other features can indeed be more-or-less accurately described, but not the fact that a butterfly can fly, nor the dynamics of its movement.
The great Soviet philosopher E.V. Ilyenkov tells us how to pursue an investigation more effectively:
“[I]f an individual thing is not understood through the universal concrete interconnection within which it actually emerged, exists and develops, through the concrete system of interconnections that constitutes its genuine nature, that means that only abstract knowledge and consciousness have been obtained. If, on the other hand, an individual thing (phenomenon, fact, object, event) is understood in its objective links with other things forming an integral coherent system, that means it has been understood, realised, cognised, conceived concretely in the strictest and fullest meaning of this word.”
“Marx demands from science that it should comprehend the economic system as a system that has emerged and developed, he demands that the logical development of categories should reproduce the actual history of the emergence and unfolding of the system.”
That is how we should seek to understand Russian society today. It has emerged as the negation of socialist economy and organisation, inheriting the capacities built up in various spheres – the military not least – but transforming them into bourgeois property and instruments of bourgeois rule. It did this while connected in myriad ways to a unipolar imperialist world order, now itself in a state of partial disintegration. In this world, the new-minted Russian capitalist class has had to compete and secure its own social position internally and externally.
Any analysis of Russia today must start from these processes – more-or-less ignored by comrade McGill and others – which are qualitative in their nature. To substitute a list of quantitative rankings tells us nothing, other than that whatever form of state Russia is, it is presently far less potent than the USA, which is something we can all agree on. But not just the USA – if low rankings on various indices force us to conclude that Russia is not imperialist, then the same procedure forces us to conclude that China is! I doubt that is comrade McGill’s intention, but it is the fruit of mechanical logic. Pursuing that line of argument is the work of another day.
Let me offer a couple of analogies. Anthracite coal burns far better than bituminous coal. The latter is, nevertheless, coal by any calculation. Liverpool FC are far more accomplished than Tranmere Rovers, and would top the rankings of the two football clubs on every measure. But it would be churlish to deny that Tranmere Rovers is a football club yet, since its activities correspond to the essential formulation of what a football club is. It shares these characteristics with Liverpool FC, while being quantitatively quite inferior.
So, our first task is to establish as best we can the essential character of imperialism as an abstraction. We must try to do what Marx credited David Ricardo with attaining:
“… Ricardo steps in and calls to science: Halt! The basis, the starting point for the physiology of the bourgeois system – for the understanding of its internal organic coherence and life process – is the determination of value by labour-time. Ricardo starts with this and forces science to get out of the rut, to render an account of the extent to which the other categories – the relations of production and commerce – evolved and described by it, correspond to or contradict this basis, this starting point; to elucidate how far a science which in fact only reflects and reproduces the manifest forms of the process, and therefore also how far these manipulations themselves, correspond to the basis on which the inner coherence, the actual physiology of bourgeois society rests on the basis which forms its starting-point; and in general, to examine how matters stand with the contradiction between the apparent and the actual movement of the system. This then is Ricardo’s great historical significance for science.”
Marx is arguing that complex phenomena cannot be reduced to their constituent elements, but can be understood instead by uncovering the essential, simple substance that structures them, the approach he took in Capital. Just as value is not created in exchange but only expressed in it, so imperialism is not born in the export of capital or the extent of military action undertaken, but only expressed in it.
Is there an equivalent of Ricardo’s ‘value by labour time’ in terms of an underpinning abstraction, a starting point, which encompasses the essence of imperialism and can launch us into an examination of its epiphenomena? Here we must turn to Lenin.
Lenin’s Essential Understanding
Valiant efforts to fit contemporary reality into the five features enumerated by Lenin in 1916 are numerous, and comrade McGill’s article is merely the latest. Those features are not, however, the core of Lenin’s position. He made three general points about imperialism which should inform our analysis. The first may not seem terribly helpful:
“…a comprehensive scientific analysis of imperialism is one thing – that analysis is only under way and, in essence, is as infinite as science itself …. Capitalism will never be completely and exhaustively studied in all the manifestations of its predatory nature, and in all the minute ramifications of its historical development and national features”
More generally, Lenin says “… the very concept of purity indicates a certain narrowness, a one-sidedness of human cognition, which cannot embrace an object in all its totality and complexity.”
Here he is warning against any dogmatic tick-box reading of imperialism. His strictures against “purity” are particularly important when addressing Russian foreign policy over the last fifteen years or so, which we will come to. Lenin insists on the contingent nature of any definition of protean social processes.
The second, more political, was that imperialism was “in general, a striving towards violence and reaction.” That has broadly been confirmed by world politics over the last century and it is, too, of use in considering the nature of Putin’s regime. This is a quality that stems from monopoly’s drive for super-profit, which leads it to support both war for markets and regimes which can raise the rate of exploitation intensively – ie authoritarian/fascist regimes.
The third is the most consequential. Lenin argued that
“the deepest economic foundation of imperialism is monopoly. That is capitalist monopoly, ie, monopoly which has grown out of capitalism and exists in the general environment of capitalism, commodity production and competition, in permanent and insoluble contradiction to this general environment.”
This monopoly engendered a tendency to “stagnation and decay”.
He expanded helpfully on these essential points. Monopoly capitalism “arose out of a very high development of the concentration or production”, it “stimulated the seizure of the most important sources of raw materials, especially for the basic and most cartelised industries”’, it had “sprung from the banks” which had become “monopolists of finance capital” and it had “grown out of colonial policy.”
This is as much about where imperialism comes from as about what it does and provides a better basis for contemporary assessments than the celebrated five features Lenin adumbrated (features mainly taken over from the work of Rudolf Hilferding). To take one example, can one place the same dynamic weight on the matter of the export of capital in a globalised world where such exporting is ubiquitous, and nowhere more so than from China? Certainly capitalist globalisation, which inevitably must promote a tendency towards the equalisation of the rate of profit, diminishes the salience of the export of capital as a means of investing surplus capital at a higher rate of profit.
Likewise, does it still make sense to speak of the merger of banking and industrial capital in the same way? In recent decades the phenomenon of financialisation has usually had little to do with any association with production – rather it has been a means of appropriating a share of surplus value produced elsewhere and its inflation into various forms of fictitious capital.
These are questions which would repay more detailed study. The point is that monopoly capitalism too develops and shifts forms in conformity with its own internal dynamics, changes in technology and the impact of class struggle etc. Monopoly is the product of the supersession of free competition as a result of technical changes leading to a growing concentration of capital, generating in turn monopoly competition on an expanding basis, eventually extending to competition between capitalist states. Since the technological changes driven by competition have the effect of driving down the rate of profit, monopoly strives in various ways to counteract that tendency. The forms will surely change over time to some extent or other.
This gives us a basis for starting to analyse Russia today. Before doing so, however, two connected misconceptions must be addressed. The first is that Lenin saw imperialism as arising exclusively on the basis of an advanced, mature capitalism. To some extent, that misreading is a function of the title of Lenin’s famous pamphlet on imperialism, which described it as “the highest stage of capitalism”.
There is a certain amount of scholarly debate about the weight to be placed on this title. According to Moira Donald, its original rendering was Imperialism, the most recent stage of Capitalism, and Lenin himself would have been happy to have seen it published as Special Features of Recent Capitalism, titles which would have made its conjunctural nature more apparent at the expense of the idea that it was a definitive analysis of capitalism’s final phase, which it has proved not to be.
The pamphlet, like all Lenin’s writings in this period, can only be understood in the context of his polemics with Kautsky. While for Kautsky everything – above all, revolution – was to be deferred to another day, for Lenin everything was immediate and imminent in the midst of a cataclysmic war. He wanted to refute Kautsky’s ultra-imperialist theory, which offered the possibility of a post-war return to the peaceful evolution of capitalism and to supply a Marxist basis for his emerging theory of world revolution in contradistinction to the moribund official Marxism of the Second International. He was surely not looking to set up an all-time, all-weathers theory of a new stage of capitalism shorn of any political context.
Still less was he seeking to exclude the Tsarist Empire from the rankings of imperialist powers on the grounds of its great backwardness. Rather he was developing a theory of uneven development in the epoch of imperialism, a process of which I am afraid comrade McGill seems entirely innocent, but which is operative today nevertheless. This posited a world system within which different powerful capitalist states competed against each other despite different levels of attained industrial development and indeed different organic compositions of capital, yet within which the less-developed were as aggressive and expansionist as the more matured. It should be noted that all the main combatants in World War One (as of Lenin’s writing in 1916) had feudal political hangovers, excepting France, and two had significant feudal economic remnants extant – Russia and Austria-Hungary. The point is, however, that monopoly capitalism had become hegemonic in setting the direction of state policy. The only possible exception was the Hungarian side of the Hapsburg dual monarchy, and this proved a great weakness to Austria-Hungary in the prosecution of the war, a war which tied all the combatants together in an imperialist knot irrespective of their general level of socio-economic development.
In one important sense, however, Lenin did see imperialism as the final stage of capitalism – he believed it was the eve of socialist revolution. The development of monopoly he rightly saw as providing the socio-organisational foundation of socialist economy. In this he was at one with Kautsky, who in 1909 in his last major work as a Marxist wrote “businesses become more and more enormous; more and more firms are joined together in a single hand … thus the way is increasingly prepared for the social organisation of production.” That is a relevant consideration when we come to consider the negation of that process, the transformation of a planned socialised economy into its opposite. Spoiler alert: Its opposite turns out not to be an Adam Smith-style realm of free market competition.
The second, widely-held, misconception is that because Russia is outside of the main imperialist bloc centred on the USA and its institutions – NATO, G7 above all – it cannot itself be imperialist. This is a neo-Kautskyite theory, assuming that the world is organised as a de facto ultra-imperialism where there can only be one centre of imperialist capital accumulation on a global scale.
Evidently, there is no warrant for this argument, as if the possibility of a new imperialist power, resting on an endogenous process of monopoly development, could not arise outside the orbit of US economic-political power. The argument could only be sustained if it were denied that the logic of capital accumulation applies exactly in Russia as it does anywhere else. Ah, it is then asserted – why would the US permit such an unwelcome development? Alas, social processes are not susceptible to suspension by act of will. Clearly the US does not want any systemic rivals and has devoted some effort in the last thirty years to preventing one emerging, but the writ of the US is not all-conquering, as the Taliban inter alia have established. Competition between imperialist states is a fact of international life of the last hundred-plus years. Sometimes it has proved to be a subordinate feature, but this is not one of those times. Washington has to lump it.
On this basis, let me attempt what comrade McGill does not, and sketch a political economy of Russia today, necessarily in summary form. This is the threshold all the protagonists of a non-imperialist Russia fear to cross, lest what they might find confounds their speculations.
Russian Monopoly Capitalism – An Outline
The 1989-91 period saw a definitive change of class power in Russia. Socialism was overturned, as it was in the states of eastern Europe. Essentially commodity production was restored as the operative regulator of Russian economic life in 1989, and the full transfer to predominantly private ownership followed a few years later. In between, Communist government was destroyed and the soviet system replaced by de facto rule by capitalist cliques which both dominated and bypassed the formal state apparatus.
Two reflections of contemporary Russian backwardness were present even under socialism – low productivity and a raw material heavy export profile. However, the Soviet economy was also heavily centralised with industries vertically integrated and managed by central ministries based in Moscow for the most part, coordinating enterprises across the whole vast territory of the USSR. The scope for converting these ministerial management hierarchies into monopoly enterprises was evident, and that is what happened in some cases.
The economy was privatised in the course of the 1990s by state action taken under Yeltsin. In the course of this process a new bourgeoisie was created. There were several routes to this.
First, large companies like Gazprom were sold off whole at bargain-basement prices through a voucher auction system that was crudely manipulated by new private banks, which superintended the transfer at high speed of the shares into a very few grasping hands.
Second, Yeltsin created by decree a nexus of insider oligarchs, often drawn from directors of Soviet industry, again concentrated in the raw materials and natural resources sectors, where post-Soviet monopolies would enjoy a strong competitive advantage.
Third, state revenue flows were privatised through oligarchic banks, subsidised by the state. These dealt in arbitrage and handling state transactions. Insider connections were even more critical here, shaping a deep and lasting connection between the new-minted capitalists and the Russian state.
Fourth, in the regions local governments created integrated financial-industrial groups from assets in their neighbourhood, again tightly bound to political power.
This is a description of a fast-tracked monopoly capital. Adam Smith was not to be found in 1990s Russia. Rather than entrepreneurs, Russia endured the formation of a parasitic bourgeois class, showing that the easiest way to develop capitalism out of socialism is through the structural development of monopoly.
But that is not the whole story. Here it is worth looking at the first emergence of capitalism in Russia. This took place in the 1880s and 1890s, a century later than industrial capitalism had taken Britain in its grip, and later than Germany, France and others to Russia’s west as well.
This capitalism proceeded speedily to form on a monopoly basis, without first going through the generations-long period of free competition which marked British capitalism. Why? The answer is relevant to the inner structure of Russian capitalism second time around.
Competition holds the key. As Marx noted:
“[I]n practical life we find not only competition, monopoly and the antagonism between them, but also the synthesis of the two, which is not a formula, but a movement. Monopoly produces competition, competition produces monopoly.”
Again – movement and process, not formulas and criteria.
This is central to the Leninist theory of uneven development, something which on its own makes a nonsense of the ‘league table’ approach to imperialism. Latecomers have to adapt to the prevailing international standards in order to compete. Russian industry was primed for this, and the method of privatisation entrenched it. This drove a high level of monopolisation from the outset.
This can coexist with a relative backwardness, and it is common ground that Russia is far weaker than the USA on every measure except possession of nuclear warheads.
Here let us digress for a moment into the issue of dialectical contradiction. Dialectics and metaphysics deal with contradiction in different ways. Metaphysics interprets contradiction as an unfortunate product of imperfections in understanding and analysis, while dialectics considers it as the logical and necessary condition of development. If a contradiction arises, metaphysics insists we retrace our steps and find the ‘mistake’ which led to its distressing appearance. It seeks to annul contradiction by one way or another – for example, if imperialism is only the product of an advanced society and Russia appears backward, then either Russia is not backward or it is not imperialist.
Metaphysics tries to strike out one side of the equation or the other. To proceed dialectically one instead examines how backwardness and imperialism can reinforce each other.
Today, backward Russia presents an astonishing degree of economic monopolisation. It has been estimated that 22 oligarchic groups account for 42% of employment and 39% of sales in the Russian economy.
The degree of concentration varies, of course, depending on the organic composition of capital in each sector, and/or its strategic significance. The top four monopolies account for 59% of oil production, 94% of gas production, 71% of the automotive industry, 65% of the rubber sector and over 90% of the metals industry. The milk and baking sectors display a far lower level of monopoly control, for example, having surely a much lower organic composition of capital.
Concentration is true of the finance sector, too. Sberbank is estimated to have 70% of Russian families as its customers. On its own it accounts for a third of all bank assets and operates in 22 countries.
Perhaps indeed these monopoly giants are mere gnats when set against their counterparts in the USA (or China) in most cases. But this shows the banality of these measurements when considering whether a state is imperialist or not. If it is acknowledged that Russian capitalism is monopoly capitalism, and we further accept that social formations are a process and not a fixed category, then the issue is to identify the dynamic.
For example, no Russian firm would have ranked at all on these lists 30 years ago and it would only take a few mergers among Russian-controlled enterprises to transform some of comrade McGill’s rankings today. To suggest that we wait until then in order to recategorise Russia in our schema substitutes the research methods of King Cnut (or his courtiers) for Marxism. A sapling may be described as a tree even well short of its full maturity.
Putin’s Russia in the World
At the stage capitalism was restored in Russia, the country lacked many of the capacities of an autonomous great power. Its economy was in freefall and its military was degraded. Its politics were a plaything in the hands of emerging oligarchs seeking integration into the west and world capitalism’s institutions.
This project failed, but not for want of trying. Those who argue that Russia is not imperialist because its sits outside the main structures of the world imperialist system ignore that it joined the G7, for a time making it the G8, the WTO and even tried to become a NATO member twice!
The US saw the inclusion of Russia as likely to lead to a dilution of its own influence, on account of Russia’s size, particularly once the Russian economy began to recover in the 2000s.
Instead, Washington opted for endeavouring to maintain a super-imperialism – the unipolar moment – wherein one imperialist power is hegemonic, rather than promoting an ultra-imperialism à la Kautsky, wherein the interests of various powers merge into international capitalist institutions governing all.
So Russian capitalism fell out of love with the West. This can be traced in Putin’s own politics. Putin was no anti-Yeltsin. Instead, he consolidated, regulated and normalised oligarchic capitalism in Russia. The extension of the state’s role in the energy sector broadly conforms to international norms, for example, and the relevant firms all operate on a market basis. Putin’s historic role is entrenching monopoly capitalism in Russia and stabilising bourgeois class rule – in a dictatorial form, it should be said. Today, as in other capitalist countries, the state serves bourgeois interests, but those interests cannot be seen to dominate the state as brazenly as the oligarchs did in the 1990s.
Gradually, Russia proceeded down the road of extending competition to the inter-state level, expanding its own scope for securing super-profits, particularly through monopoly rent extraction in the energy sector. The former Soviet republics, geographically contiguous as they are, were an obvious first objective in any attempt to expand Russia’s sphere. The 2013 attempt to lock Ukraine into a Eurasian Economic Union dominated by Russian monopolies (as opposed to being locked into the EU) was an aspect of this. Ukraine may have been better off taking Putin’s offer, but the latter was not acting out of philanthropy nor post-Soviet nostalgia.
As a competitor, Russia’s assets included vast military might, something which can only rest on a strong industrial base incidentally, as well as a decisive grip on many energy supplies. It has exploited the possibilities these advantages give.
Comrade McGill briefly reviews Russia’s record of military interventions. He is right that each can be evaluated differently. But the fact is that Russia has become a significant military actor, intervening beyond its borders far more than the USSR did, it should be noted.
It has acted militarily in Chechnya (within its borders) and in Georgia, Syria and Ukraine beyond them. Russia also deploys troops more-or-less permanently in several former Soviet republics – Moldova, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.
In general, on a world plane, democracy and imperialism are antipodes. But let us remember Lenin’s strictures against any fetish for “purity”. It would be naïve and ahistorical to deny the possibility of a coincidence of the two under certain circumstances. British imperialism’s war of 1939-45 united democratic and imperialist aspects, contingent on the international alliances of the time and the nature of Nazi and fascist dictatorships.
Likewise, some of Russia’s interventions have had a democratic aspect, whatever Putin’s motivations. Genuine national political grievances have arisen from the redefinition of Soviet internal boundaries to inter-state frontiers, generating national self-determination questions, including for Russians, irrespective of the nature of the Russian state. Millions have paid a heavy price for the indecent haste of the dissolution of the USSR.
Thus, in my view, Russia was right to defend the South Ossetians in 2008, and right also to return Crimea to the state desired by its people, even though these interventions clearly breached international law. (Parenthetically, McGill is wrong to claim that South Ossetia and Abkhazia have Russian majority populations – they do not, but he is correct that neither wish to be ruled by Georgia.) But in general, and in its interventions in Syria, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and (through the mercenary Wagner Group) in west Africa, Russia’s policy is self-seeking and reactionary. It is pushing for a redivision of international influence in its favour, and to the advantage of its monopoly ruling class.
It is worth observing that interventions aimed at ‘regime maintenance’ can be as reactionary as those aimed at ‘regime change’. The USA’s 1991 war to restore the al-Sabahs in Kuwait was as imperialist as its war to depose Saddam in 2003. In Belarus and Kazakhstan Russia has intervened to sustain dictatorships. Perhaps the alternative would be Western-dominated regimes, but all that establishes is that these countries are now theatres for great power rivalry.
To all this can be added Putin’s ideological posturing – denouncing the Bolshevik policy of self-determination at every opportunity, denying Ukrainian statehood, comparing himself to Peter the Great. At this point, one would have to be wilfully blind not to discern Lenin’s remark on “striving towards violence and reaction”.
If Wishes were Horses
A final point needs addressing. It seems to me that many comrades argue that Russia is not imperialist because they do not want it to be politically.
A subordinate reason for this is doubtless Soviet nostalgia. Yet the change in the class nature of the government in Moscow is an inescapable reality, however many statues of Lenin the Russian troops in occupied Ukraine may erect.
The larger reason, I think, is the healthy one of wishing to oppose without hesitation the US-British imperialist bloc, whose crimes this century exceed Putin’s by several orders of magnitude. Any acknowledgement of a degree of essential commonality between the Russian regime and those it is in struggle with internationally may seem to dilute that opposition.
It is absolutely correct for the left in Britain to focus its campaigning on our own government and its US overlord. It is in that spirit that Lenin focussed on overthrowing Tsarism during the 1914 war, without denying for a moment the imperialist nature of Russia’s German enemy.
Ultimately, however, one cannot substitute subjective political preferences for an understanding of the actual movement of society, of the social processes that unfold as a consequence of global capital accumulation. It is that which determines the nature of Russian society and the Russian state, the product as they are of capitalist counter-revolution.
That is why so few comrades actually try to extend the principles of Marxist analysis to Russia. No-one describes Putin’s Russia as socialist and few deny that it is capitalist. But they shy away from applying our method to an examination of it. Ultimately that is no basis for politics. “Seek truth from facts”, as the Chairman said, however uncomfortable.
So Russia is at the very least a great monopoly-capitalist power throwing its weight around in an imperialist world system. It is not sitting without that system, posing an alternative to it. Seen in the context of its emergence and development, and in the context of its connections, it is an imperialist power in my view.
Let one question only be kept front and centre – is Russia a monopoly capitalist country? Those who answer “no” must try to explain what it is instead, while those who answer “yes” ought to concede that it must be on the way to imperialism if it is not there already.
This analysis does not pretend to be the last word. I do, however, insist that further advance can only be through the dialectical method of Marx, Engels and Lenin rather than the mechanistic rankings beloved of English empiricism.
-This article is a response to an article by Stewart McGill in Communist Review #104. Communist Review is the theoretical and discussion journal of the CP Britain. -THE EDITORS.
Notes and References
 Engels, Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy, Beijing, 1976, p 41.
 EV Ilyenkov, The Dialectic of the Abstract and the Concrete in Marx’s Capital, Moscow, 1960, p 88.
 Ibid, p 198.
 Marx, Theories of Surplus Value, Vol 2, Progress, Moscow, 1968, p 166.
 Lenin The Collapse of the Second International, in Collected Works, Vol 21, Moscow, 1964, p 212.
 Ibid, p 236.
 Lenin, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Beijing, 1965, p 108.
 Ibid, p 119.
 Ibid, pp 148-49.
 M Donald, Marxism and Revolution, New Haven, 1993, p 210.
 K Kautsky, The Road to Power, Bonn, 1992, p 20.
 Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy, Progress, Moscow, 1975, p 140.
 S Guriev and A Rachinsky, Ownership concentration in Russian industry, at www. researchgate.net. This paper uses World Bank data and is now more than ten years old, but there is nothing to suggest that the trends identified have been reversed or significantly modified.
 See letters, Morning Star, 16 July 2022.
 This was first used by Mao as a slogan while in Yanan, although it has an older Chinese pedigree. https://dengxiaopingworks.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/hold-high-the-banner-of-mao-zedong-thought-and-adhere-to-the-principle-of-seeking-truth-from-facts/
The problem with this analysis is that while it talks about “concrete facts”, the conclusions ignore the most obvious facts: 1. Russia cannot afford to have Ukraine become a part of NATO. 2. No Russian leader can afford to ignore ill treatment of minority ethnic Russians in Ukraine. 3. Russians cannot accept rise of Nazism at its borders. 4. Russia will never give up its sovereignty. 5. It is the US that found itself as the unipolar power in 1991, cannot give up its control on the world, is why this war has come about. India was not an imperialist… Read more »