The current aggression of the Russian regime in Ukraine is a catastrophic escalation of a long-time conflict which involves NATO imperialism, Russian imperialism and national-chauvinist (as an understatement) forces on both east and west Ukraine.
While Europe reacts in shock, that kind of aggression (and much more) is old news in Asia, especially in Syria, where the Russian regime joined forces with the Syrian dictatorship on a murder campaign that is still shamefully described by too many as “war against imperialism”.
From here, in Palestine, the massacre of Syrian people was not far away. it involved families, friends, comrades and people we know from regional political and cultural scenes. From here, it should not be hard to see the imperialist nature of the Russian regime, together with that of NATO which still enables the occupation of pieces of Syria by Turkey and Israel. From Palestine, the discourse of “war on terror” or “war on jihadists”, that is used by Russian and Syrian regime as justification for mass destruction of entire neighborhoods, looks very familiar.
Doing horrible things is not enough for describing a regime as “imperialist”, however, the systematic policy of invading poor (usually Asians, now European) countries to force the interests of Russian oligarchs should be considered more then enough. In his beautiful song ya heif (“what a shame”), The leftist Syrian artist Samih Shkeir sings
“We call the one who kills his people: traitor”.
This is more than just a bad word, this states a principle: killing your people is not patriotism, it’s treason. With this state of mind, should we call the one who kills foreign people an imperialist? On the case of the Russian regime, we should. It’s definitely not “anti-imperialist”.
Back in time, when the USSR was described as “anti-imperialist” it was not always true but it did have some good arguments for it. None of those arguments apply to the current Russian regime. At most, the Russian regime can be described as “counter-imperialism”, if that helps someone.
Describing a bourgeoisie regime which kills foreign peoples as an anti-imperialist ally is an insult to any revolutionary principle. it’s in contradiction not only with internationalism, but also with the all-Arab struggle against imperialism, tyranny, and local oligarchs. A struggle which still takes place, from Western Sahara to Dhoffar. Standing with sectarian tyrants while “their” people arise, or turning into a client of foreign force (like all sides in Yemen) is a bad substitute to national and international solidarity. As for class solidarity, I can’t see it benefiting from one country’s class struggle supporting the dictator of the other.
The Russian counter-imperialism does challenge the U.S global power, of course. We should have a strategy that deal with that, we should even use that sometimes. This is not the same as supporting one of those powers when invading Syria, Palestine, Bahrain, Kurdistan, Yemen or Ukraine.