Featuring Ruslan Dzarasov of the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, Department of Political Economy. From the GERG Revolutions Conference, taking place in September 2017 at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg.
Ruslan has written extensively, in English and his native Russian, on the Russian Revolution and its legacy, political, economic and social, for contemporary Russia as well on the distinctive form of capitalism that has emerged in post-Communist Russia, including The Conundrum of Russian Capitalism. He is almost uniquely qualified to speak about the historical significance of Russian Revolution as a defining episode in the history of capitalist modernity as well as one of the most important of modern revolutions.
PRESENTATION - Russian Revolution is a product of the law of Uneven and Combined Development (UCD). It reflects domination of the core capitalist countries over the periphery of the world capitalism. Lenin’s theory of “overgrowth of a bourgeois-democratic revolution into the socialist one” and Trotsky’s theory of a “permanent revolution” reflect the fact that in conditions of periphery capitalism, bourgeois-democratic transformation is inevitably thwarted, and society is compelled to move to changes, socialist in their character. Due to lack of alternative victorious socialist revolutions and elimination of the Bolshevik oppositions in the USSR, degeneration of the Soviet society had led to restoration of capitalism. As a result, all Post-Soviet societies moved to dependent development with certain important differences: Ukraine demonstrates classical features of a periphery, while Russia is closer to the semi-peripheral status.
Exploitation of labour determines core-periphery relations of capitalism during all its history. It shaped modern global capitalism and caused its deep crisis. Exacerbation of international conflicts became one of the most important corollaries of this crisis. From standpoint of survival of the core, semi-periphery of modern capitalism should play an auxiliary role imposing discipline on the periphery and compelling it to increase its services to the core. However, the pre-crisis enormous industrial development allowed semi-periphery to accumulate great economic strength partially converted in growth of military and political power. Ukraine crisis was provoked by the West as a part of its strategy to strengthen its control over periphery.
‘Maidan’ protest as a version of ‘Coloured Revolution’ inspired and directed by the West exploited justified and essentially democratic protest of Ukrainian society against what is in fact nothing else than intrinsic features of a periphery capitalism. This bourgeois-democratic protest naturally failed to reach its proclaimed aims, facilitating violent takeover of power in Kiev by pro-Western and anti-Russian nationalistic forces. The new regime only entrenched peripheral nature of Ukrainian society. However, the abortive bourgeois-democratic movement sparked a genuine popular uprising in the South-East of the country. Being national-liberational in its immediate aims, it was fraught with socialist sentiments. However, its overgrowth in a genuine socialist movement was prevented by Russian ruling class.
Thus, the Law of UCD and the theory of a ‘Permanent revolution’ tell more about Ukraine crisis than class vision from the perspective of the ‘New Cold War’ or dogmatic ‘Two Imperialisms’ approach.