Russian Communist leader: The West is backing fascists and using Ukraine
Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov speaks at a news conference in Moscow. The CPRF Zyuganov leads has pushed a resolution through the Russian parliament urging the government to recognize the independence of the Russian-speaking breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics in eastern Ukraine. | Pavel Golovkin / AP

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article is an edited version of an opinion piece written by Gennady Zyuganov, leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. It was published on Feb. 14, 2022, the day before the State Duma, Russia’s Parliament, voted on a CPRF resolution calling on the government to officially recognize the independence of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic.

The DPR and LPR are ethnic Russian areas in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine which broke away following the right-wing coup which overthrew the Ukrainian government in 2014. The Duma voted overwhelmingly to support the CPRF resolution on Feb. 15.

Since the republics separated from Ukraine in 2014, the government in Kiev has executed a brutal war against the people there and ignored agreements that required recognizing their autonomy—the Minsk Protocols.

In this article, Zyuganov makes the case that rather than Russia preparing a war against Ukraine, it is Ukraine which is preparing for a deadlier escalation of its campaign against the two People’s Republics. He says the West is using Ukraine for its own geopolitical and economic purposes and calls on President Vladimir Putin to protect the people of the Donbass.

In recent weeks, the situation around Ukraine has sharply escalated. There are accusations of Russia’s intention to act as an occupier. In fact, the cause of the crisis is that the Washington puppeteers of the Kiev leadership and the fascist forces there are persistently trying to organize a massacre in the Donbass region. For the sake of solving their geopolitical tasks, they are ready to arrange another large-scale bloodshed.

An election official puts a sticker with a Donetsk People’s Republic symbol over the Ukrainian national emblem on a ballot box at a polling station in the city of Donetsk, Oct. 31, 2014. Voters in the region decided overwhelmingly to leave Ukraine. Russian Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov says the Russian government should recognize the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk. | Dmitry Lovetsky / AP

Almost all combat-ready units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are deployed on the border with the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR): 125,000 soldiers and officers. Heavy artillery and tank units are deployed in the same zone. Continuous aerial reconnaissance is being carried out. These are all signs that an offensive operation is being prepared against the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.

Alas, the United States and its vassals in Kiev are fanning the fire of a fratricidal war. The grouping of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border, even according to U.S. officials, does not exceed 100,000 servicemen. Ukraine, meanwhile, has 125,000 troops in the Donbass region alone. Elementary knowledge of military affairs suggests that a successful offensive operation requires a threefold superiority. So where is the real threat from Russia?

The Pentagon and even the leadership of the Armed Forces of Ukraine declare that they see no signs of impending aggression from Russia. American intelligence, having lived through the shame of lies about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, does not seem to want a new humiliation. But this does not stop Western politicians who habitually ignore the obvious: A “hybrid war” is being continued against Russia using lies, fraud, and disinformation.

Yes, Russia has interests concerning the former Soviet republics on its borders, including Ukraine. These are the interests of peace and good neighborliness, a calm and dignified life for citizens, economic development, and cultural cooperation.

Meanwhile, the West has demonstrated its readiness to rely on the most reactionary circles to pursue its interests. The predecessors of the current fascist groups in Ukraine—Stepan Bandera’s Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, which collaborated with Hitler—are directly guilty of the genocide of the Russian, Belarusian, and their own peoples.

It was their punitive detachments that carried out the most brutal reprisals against the population of the partisan regions of Belarus during the Great Patriotic War [World War II], burning the inhabitants of hundreds of villages alive. Today, their vile successors in the fascist organizations inside the Ukrainian army, with their aggressive Russophobia and anti-Semitism, are welcomed by Western politicians.

More than 600,000 residents of the DPR and LPR have already received citizenship of the Russian Federation. Our country is directly responsible for their safety and lives. We cannot allow any fascist reprisal against these people. Russia has already seen enough of these deeds. As a result of the barbaric shelling of cities and villages of the DPR and LPR, more than 15,000 civilians have been killed. Tens of thousands of men and women, the elderly, and children were injured. Hundreds of thousands became refugees.

The Communist Party of the Russian Federation and our allies have firmly defined our political line in this situation…. We firmly know that the peoples of Russia and Ukraine do not want a war. Such a war would also run counter to the fundamental interests of Europe. But the ruling powers of the United States appear to want it.

Washington has been defeated in every war in recent decades. Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan are just some of the countries in which the United States has unleashed wars and ingloriously lost. This time, its leaders are eager to fight by proxy in Ukraine. The Washington “hawks” have set out to turn Ukrainians into cannon fodder. Political cover, the supply of weapons, the activities of Western military instructors—all this openly pushes the authorities in Kiev toward a bloody military adventure.

A Ukrainian soldier points a heavy machine gun at a frontline position in the Lugansk region, eastern Ukraine, Feb. 7, 2022. Western media reports are awash with warnings of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, but little mention is made of the brutal offensive Ukrainian forces have been carrying out in the Donbass region since 2014. | Vadim Ghirda / AP

To allow this madness is to allow an unprecedented historical crime to be committed. We must, by all means, breathe into the hearts of the inhabitants of multinational Ukraine the readiness to resist the dangerous games of the Western powers and their henchmen in Kiev. The time has come to rise together to thwart their vile and dangerous plans.

The powerful in their suits and ties are targeting not only Russia and Ukraine but also Europe. The United States insists on tough sanctions against our country, habitually using the “Ukrainian card.” At the same time, they are launching a new stage in the struggle against their competitor, the European Union. The U.S. has extremely low trade with Russia, but Europe has broad and profitable trade and economic ties with our country. A military conflict with Russia would allow Washington to drive European countries into new, economically-destructive sanctions.

U.S. imperialists’ task is not to protect Ukraine, but to crawl out of the acute crisis of capitalism. It is extremely important for them to score new profits by torpedoing the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline [between Germany and Russia] and hooking the EU economy on the needle of expensive liquefied natural gas from the U.S. This is part of the true rationale behind the current military crisis in Ukraine.

Russia is finally moving away from the pernicious idolatry of the West…. It’s time to show our character in the Donbass. We are surrounded by a chain of unfriendly states. It is impossible to retreat further. The West must feel Russia’s determination to defend itself and its friends.

Of course, only a fundamental change in the path of Russia’s development will ensure a truly effective protection of the rights of the broad masses of the people in our country. The Communist Party of the Russian Federation does not accept the ongoing socio-economic course of the Putin government and offers the working people a program of transformation and a path toward socialist revival. But there are also issues that need to be addressed immediately.

Refugees flee advancing Ukrainian forces in the village of Peski near Donetsk, January 17, 2015. The massing of Ukrainian troops suggests a new offensive could be imminent. | Ivo Dokoupil |CTK via AP

We are ready to support the decisive measures of the government to protect the security of Russia and our fellow citizens in the People’s Republics in the Donbass region. And we insist on the immediate recognition of their independence and sovereignty. Since 2014, we have consistently and steadily called for official recognition of the DNR and LNR. The voice of millions of their inhabitants was clearly expressed in a referendum in May 2014. They must be heard.

Western governments and their minions in Kiev trampled on the Minsk agreements [which would have guaranteed autonomy for the DNR and LNR]. At this extremely alarming and crucial moment in our history, we call on the deputies of the State Duma, regardless of party affiliation, to show their will and support our initiative for the Russian Federation to officially recognize the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.

Dangerous provocations can no longer be tolerated. Russia cannot allow the capture of the cities and villages of the two People’s Republics by fascist forces in Ukraine; it cannot ignore the threat of a massacre of the civilian population by brutal forces with the blessing of NATO. Warmongers must remember the truth that comes from the depths of centuries: “He who lives the sword perishes by the sword.”

The cause of peace on our planet will always be under threat as long as the supporters of aggression have their hands on the sword. The time has come to fulfill the mission Russians know all too well by experience and firmly say “no” to any international war.


Gennady Zyuganov
Gennady Zyuganov

Gennady Andreyevich Zyuganov has been the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and served as Member of the State Duma since 1993. He is also a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe since 1996.