This is a post for Russian citizens. Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s party held a press conference in the National Assembly, where the floor was given to three Russians. The names are familiar to you: Alexei Sakhnin, Andrei Rudoy, and Elizaveta Smirnova, who were presented as members of a “coalition of Russian socialists against the war.” The moderator of the discussion was His Majesty “La République, c’est moi!” Oh, sorry, Mélenchon. I can only congratulate him on this successful PR operation. One of Putin’s main underlings in French politics shall now be able to say not only something like “Look, I’m not
a racist a defender of the Putin regime’s interests. I even have friends who are Negroes Russian anti-war activists.”
I don’t know whether the featured activists fully understand what they got themselves tangled up in, but hey, that’s not my problem. In any case, I can only be glad for them, and happy that they managed to leave Russia, albeit with JLM’s help. I can put myself in their shoes and understand their choice. But that’s not the problem. What does their “anti-war discourse” amount to now that they can speak freely on French soil?
Suffice it to say that the anti-war activists roundly ignored Ukraine and Ukrainians. But they were able to discuss with the French exactly how they would like to build a new democratic world after the war. They could have even shown the audience a map, for greater clarity, but for some reason it didn’t dawn on them to do that.
Thirty-five minutes into the news conference, a journalist asked a question, and it even seemed that he was perturbed: “Do you have anything to say to Ukrainians?” Rudoy replied: “The working-class majority of Russia and Ukraine have nothing to fight over. Our regimes are our principal enemies. The working-class majority of Russia and Ukraine must unite against the bourgeois authorities. “
Need I explain what the problem is with this museum-quality specimen of pseudo-internationalist Russian jingoism? If it is still not obvious to anyone, I can explain it to them one on one.
I don’t know this person. If you do happen to know him, let him know that Ukrainian socialists are already quite tired of watching Russian socialists perform their traditional dance on the same rake.
No, the fucking Ukrainian authorities are not our principal enemies. Our principal enemies are the Russian authorities, who are waging an aggressive war on our territory. We would sincerely like to help you worm your way out of your imperialist cocoon and help you realize, finally, a simple truth that would enable you to exit your political impasse. Ukraine’s victory, the liquidation of Russia’s colonial empire, and the liberation of the peoples enslaved by the empire are the first and only conditions for the Russian people’s liberation. And it is impossible to jump over this step into your “socialist Russia of the future.”
But if, during the past nine months of a war of conquest, you have not yet figured out that you are not the French in 1914, but the Germans in 1939, then I can only pity you that you have such gaps in your historical education. If you want to continue playing at awakening class consciousness among proletarians living in a fascist state, no one has the right to stop you. But do not be surprised when the steamroller of a reality that you painstakingly avoid comprehending runs over you. Russian society is permeated through and through with a colonialist mindset, jingoism, and messianic imperialism. This ideology has poisoned people on all floors of your caste-based state and until you directly stand up and fight it, you will be able to do nothing but lead the Russian socialist movement to another round of failures.
Ukrainian socialists are ready to extend their hand to you and invite you to join us in our struggle against Russian expansionism and imperialism, the victory over which is the first prerequisite for any struggle for a just society, both in Russia and in Ukraine. We Ukrainians are now losing our best people, including leftists. These people have taken up arms, among other things, to save you from your principal perennial misfortune — an empire that imagines itself to be a nation-state. But what are you doing for this cause?
It’s sad, but it seems we will again have to wistfully watch you making a disgrace of yourselves and solve the problem of the crazy empire ourselves. I would like to be wrong, of course.
The leader of La France Insoumise Jean-Luc Mélenchon and several dozen Insoumise deputies welcomed three Russian opponents of Vladimir Putin, members of a “coalition of Russian socialists against the war,” to the Assembly on Tuesday evening.
Mélenchon expressed his “emotion” in welcoming Alexei Sakhnin, Andrei Rudoy, and Elizaveta Smirnova, Russian radical left activists who had arrived in France the same day.
“Those who are here are those who resist,” said Mélenchon. “They say to themselves, fortunately there are French people like us. And we say to ourselves, fortunately there are Russians like them,” he added.
Mélenchon thanks Macron
“It is Putin and his oligarchy, they alone, who bear the responsibility for the war in Ukraine,” reminded Mathilde Panot leader of the LFI group in the Assembly, calling on [whom?] “to work to isolate the Russian regime. Welcoming and supporting its opponents is part of it.”
“It is a great joy to have them in our midst safe and sound,” added Mélenchon, assuring the audience that “the struggle would continue for them, and we are committed to their side.”
“Once doesn’t count,” the Insoumise leader said, thanking President Macron “for helping us, from beginning to end,” to bring the Russian opposition activists to France.
“The fear of talking about politics” in Russia
“You cannot imagine the atmosphere that reigns in our country,” said Sakhnin, via a translator, referring to “the fear of talking about politics,” and the fear of being mobilized for the war in Ukraine.
“The news that we are in Paris will cause a sensation in Russia,” explained Rudoy, an activist and blogger, who hopes to “create a new International that could unify the leftists of different countries.”
Elizaveta Smirnova added that “all the work we can do is to enable all the Russian people, who live in fear, to have a voice.”
All three indicated that the international economic sanctions had had “consequences” for the lives of Russians. “The standard of living has collapsed by ten percent,” said Rudoy.
Source: “At the Assembly, La France Insoumise Deputies and Mélenchon Welcome Three Russian Opponents of Putin,” BFMTV, 26 October 2022. Translated by the Russian Reader