[Marxism] Fwd: A return to the question of whether Russia is imperialist | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Feb 9 14:56:20 MST 2016

One of the main talking points of the pro-Kremlin left is that Russia is 
not imperialist. This goes hand in hand with an analysis claiming that 
Putin’s intervention in Ukraine was purely defensive, a move against the 
genuine imperialists in Washington, London and elsewhere.

The last time I dealt with this question was in June 2014 when I replied 
to Roger Annis, a tireless defender of Kremlin foreign policy. Annis has 
once again made the same arguments on Links magazine in Australia in an 
article co-written by Renfrey Clarke who shares his orientation to 
Russia. Titled “Perpetrator or victim? Russia and contemporary 
imperialism”, it rehashes many of the same arguments that are supposedly 
based on Lenin’s “Imperialism, the final stage of Capitalism”.

As I indicated in a commentary on John Clegg’s article “Capitalism and 
Slavery”, I find social science definitions of terms like capitalism, 
socialism and imperialism problematic. To start with, they are 
describing economic systems that are global in character so when they 
are used to taxonomically describe a particular country, they are 
strained to the breaking point. When Trotsky took up the question of 
whether the USSR was socialist, he answered in terms that defied the 
formal logic of the social scientist: “To define the Soviet regime as 
transitional, or intermediate, means to abandon such finished social 
categories as capitalism (and therewith “state capitalism”) and also 
socialism. But besides being completely inadequate in itself, such a 
definition is capable of producing the mistaken idea that from the 
present Soviet regime only a transition to socialism is possible.”


More information about the Marxism mailing list