By Satyaki Chakraborty
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury has termed the Russian military action in Ukraine as ‘invasion’ and has been unequivocal in mentioning that ’A full-fledged military operation on such a big scale mounted by Russia, whatever may be the provocations and perceived security threats, is not the way to resolve issues. An immediate ceasefire and recourse to diplomatic talks and negotiations must be undertaken’
Significantly, this statement of the CPI(M) general secretary is a far advance from the statement of the CPI(M) Polit Bureau issued on February 25 in which the CPI(M) took an ambivalent stand stating that ‘ it is unfortunate that Russia took military action against Ukraine. There should be an immediate cessation of armed hostilities and peace should be established’.
The CPI(M) general secretary’s article was carried by the Party weekly ‘People’s Democracy’ as the lead in its latest issue meaning, the leadership reviewed the status of the war in the last eight days since February 25 and took a tougher line against Russia taking into account the Russian bombing and destruction of the cities by missile attacks. The CPI(M) position now contradicts the consistent stand of the Indian Government in not calling the Russian action as ‘invasion’ or ‘aggression’ and refusing to condemn it for strategic reasons.
Significantly, the Communist Party of India general secretary D Raja has taken a softer stand compared to CPI(M) general secretary in his article in the CPI weekly’ New Age’ in which while flaying Russia for violating the sovereignty of Ukraine and international laws, he has gone more into the history of the current conflict and how the developments went from bad to worse due the game plan of NATO members which led to concerns about security of Russia. But Raja mentions that’ the full blown attack has breached the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and is in complete violation of international laws.’
CPI general secretary has appealed to the Indian Government to undertake more effectively its primary task of evacuating the Indian students from Ukraine and wants India to take every possible steps for bringing about a solution to the present conflict through diplomatic negotiations. He ends his article by stating ‘War will not bring any solution and it should be stopped forthwith. We appeal for peace and end of war. Otherwise, it is likely to blow up into a World War with use of nuclear weapons’.
The third Communist Party in the countryCPI(ML) Liberation led by general secretary Deepankar Bhattacharya was the first political party in India which took a position in favour of Ukraine against Russia, in the beginning of the war itself. The CPI(ML) Liberation in its statement said the Party stands with Ukraine against the war being waged on it by Russia and demand that Russia immediately stop bombing Ukraine and withdraws its military from Ukraine territory and airspace. The statement said that all disputes must be settled only through diplomatic negotiations.
According to the CPI(ML) Liberation , Russia must immediately call a halt to its aggressive military intervention in Ukraine, dubbed a ‘special military operation’ by Putin, withdraw its forces and return to diplomacy to de-escalate & resolve the current impasse.
Further, India must adopt a proactive role to stop Russian military intervention in Ukraine and the ongoing military mobilisation by NATO which can only push the region to a full-scale war with ominous consequences. Safe repatriation of Indians in Ukraine must also be a top priority.
The CPI(ML) Liberation also condemned interference and warmongering by the US and NATO constituents on the pretext of Ukraine. The party demanded that the US withdraw the sanctions it has declared against Russia, and NATO must call a halt to its eastward expansion. Contrary to claims by the US and UK that NATO is a defensive alliance, its record in Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and Libya over the last generation, not to mention the US-British attack on Iraq, clearly demonstrate its imperialist objectives.
The Communist movement in India in its nearly a century hold history since the founding in 1925 has undergone many challenges on the issue of the party’s relationship with the Soviet Union and then with China after 1960. The united CPI split in 1964 leading to the formation of the CPI(M) . The group forming CPI(M) differed with the official leadership on a number of issues but the attitude to China and Soviet Union contributed in a big way in the split. In 1969, the CPI(ML) was founded after it split from the CPI(M) and the new party identified itself with the Chinese line in the international communist movement. They were called naxalites though the CPI(ML) also got split later into different factions.
In 1968, the CPI faced a big challenge when the Soviet troops entered Czechoslovakia. There was a big debate in the party and a small section protested against the Soviet intervention in that East European nation. The CPI came out officially in support of the Soviet action defying the views of the dissidents. The CPI(M) however , was unequivocal in supporting the Soviet intervention at that time. After that in 1989, Berlin wall fell, in 1990, the united Germany took shape after elections. In 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed and following that the East European governments leading to the ouster of the communist parties from power .The central Asian countries as also Ukraine which were part of the Soviet Union, became independent republics.
Since then thirty years have passed. The world geo politics has undergone many twists and turns. There is no common centre of the international communist parties now but the communist parties in different countries are operating independently taking decisions on the basis of the political reality in their respective nations. The three Indian Communist Parties are now more objective in assessing their views on China and Russia. China is the most powerful among the Communist Parties following its own Chinese path of socialism and Russia which abdicated socialism three decades back, is still considered as a country friendly to India and is a bulwark globally against NATO and U.S. war games. (IPA Service)