Tony Cliff

Russia: A Marxist analysis

Chapter IX:
The imperialist expansion of Russia



Empires existed before the monopolistic stage of capitalism, and even before capitalism itself. The imperialism of every period, however, is different in its motives and results, and the use of the one word, imperialism, to describe the different phenomena is therefore liable to bring about more confusion than clarity. Lenin used the term for the highest stage of capitalism, for capitalism in decline, when the proletarian revolution is on the order of the day. But the empires of even this one period have very different characters. Zinoviev says in his article, What is Imperialism?:

In doing this [defining what modern imperialism actually is] we must not forget that there are various types of imperialism. British imperialism differs from German imperialism, etc. There is a European imperialism, an Asiatic imperialism and an American imperialism; there is a white imperialism and a yellow imperialism. Japanese imperialism doesn’t resemble the French type; Russian imperialism is of quite a unique type, because it is a backward (it is not even possible any longer to say an Asiatic) imperialism, developing on the basis of an extraordinary backwardness. [1]

If, as Lenin explains, the typical feature of imperialism is the search for fields for capital export, while for youthful capitalism the typical feature was the search for markets, it seems wrong to have called Tsarist Russia imperialist. But all the Marxists including Lenin and Trotsky, did call it imperialist. And they were correct. For in the context of world economy, and the relations prevailing between Tsarist Russia and the highly developed countries, which is the criterion for its definition, Tsarist Russia was imperialist in the Leninist sense.

Lenin’s definition of imperialism gives the following five essential features:

1. The concentration of production and capital developed to such a stage that it creates monopolies which play a decisive role in economic life.

2. The merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation, on the basis of “finance capital”, of a financial oligarchy.

3. The export of capital, which has become extremely important, and distinguished from the export of commodities.

4. The formation of international capitalist monopolies which share the world among themselves.

5. The territorial division of the whole world among the greatest capitalist powers is completed. [2]

State capitalism certainly bears the first feature, as it consists of one general state monopoly. As regards the second feature, the merging of bank and industrial capital reaches the highest stage when the state is the industrial and banking capitalist together. As regards the fourth feature, the increasing competition between the imperialist powers drives the state especially emphasised in Germany and Japan – to cut across international capitalist monopolies. It is clear that the economic invasion of an international capitalist monopoly is nearly excluded in a state capitalist economy. (Some foreign concessions are, of course, conceivable.) The third and fifth features – the relation of Russian state capitalism to the export of capital, and to the territorial division of the world, need further elaboration.



The example of Japanese imperialism

Of all the countries in the world except Stalinist Russia, that which reached the highest centralisation of capital was Japan. It was estimated that the “Big Four” zaibatsu (family monopoly organisations) controlled sixty per cent of the capital invested in all Japanese joint stock companies, and that Mitsui alone accounted for nearly 25 per cent of the total. In 1938 the six biggest zaibatsu together held 57 per cent of all funds deposited in banks, trust companies and insurance companies. (The corresponding figure for 1929 was 45 per cent.)

(This is an indication why it is not excluded theoretically, although in practice there is no ground to assume that it will happen, that all the national capital will be concentrated in the hands of one trust.)

Nevertheless, although the centralisation of capital in Japan is much higher than in any other capitalist country, excluding Stalinist Russia, the productive forces of Japan lag far behind these of the countries of the west. This combination of highly centralised capital and the great backwardness of the country as a whole, explain the specific character of Japanese imperialism, as distinct from other imperialisms, and its great similarity in many respects to Stalinist imperialism. An outline of the specific features of Japanese imperialism will therefore help us to clarify some of the aspects of Stalinist imperialism.

The industrial output of Japan increased very rapidly during the present century. In the years 1913 to 1928, the tempo of this advance was about three times that of Britain in the years 1860 to 1913, that is, every year, they produced on an average 6 per cent more than the year before. Between 1927 and 1936 the industrial output of Japan increased by approximately 100 per cent, and E.B. Schumpeter could justifiably write:

It is no longer possible to state, as one careful and well informed writer did in 1930, that Japan can never become a manufacturing nation of major importance because of the lack of fuel and iron, which are essential in peace as well as war. Japan has become a major manufacturing nation. The rise of the heavy industries has been the striking development of recent years. Before the depression it was the textile industries, food preparation, pottery, and paper manufacturing which predominated. In 1935 just under half, in 1937 about 55 per cent, and in 1938 about 61 per cent of the total value of industrial production was accounted for by metals, chemicals, machinery, and engineering products. This meant that Japan produced her own ships and many of her own airplanes, but imported automobiles and parts; she was no longer dependent on the outside world for a large part of her steel, fertiliser, arms, ammunition and machinery, although she still had to import a substantial part of the raw materials from which they were manufactured. Since 1937, Japan has made a great effort to develop the raw material resources of the Yen Bloc and of adjacent regions in the Pacific area. [3]

From 1920 to 1936 the output of pig-iron increased four times, that of steel eight times, and the kilowatt capacity of electric power stations five and a half times. The main increase in industrial output took place in the means of production: the value of the output of the chemical., metal and machine industries rose from about 2.000 million yen in 1926 to more than 9.000 million in 1937, i.e. four and a half times. The output of all the other industries increased from about 5,150 million yen to 7.420 million., i.e. an increase of 44 per cent. In the same years prices rose by 40 per cent, so that we may conclude that the output of means of production rose about three times, while the output of means of consumption remained unchanged.

During this rapid rise of industrial output in Japan, the result of its general backwardness on the one hand and its high concentration of capital on the other, “superfluous” capital did not appear and the rate of profit remained high. Another important factor permitting this high rate of profit was the extremely low level of wages. “Average corporate earnings in 1936 and 1937 were from 16 to 20 per cent of paid-up capital and dividends averaged 8 to 9 per cent.” [4]

In the light of this, it would be wrong to say that Japanese imperialism sought fields of capital investment because it was faced with a “superfluity” of capital and a low rate of profit in Japan herself. That the rate of profit was high and that she did not suffer from an abundance of capital but from a lack of it, is, however, but the expression of her backwardness. This caused a very interesting dialectical development: her very backwardness drove her to export capital on an extremely large scale, and to conquer a tremendous empire. In the words of F. Sternberg:

When Great Britain and France founded their empires they were both leading industrial countries. Their empires were never intended to strengthen their own industrial position. Japan was in a very different situation. Her aim was to achieve a rate of development which would reduce the industrial gap between her and the other capitalist countries, and to become at least as strong and if possible still stronger than they were. [5]

After the World War I, foreign investments of all the highly developed countries which suffered from an enormous “superfluity” of capital, except the USA, did not increase, but on the contrary, decreased. Even with the USA included, the foreign investments of these countries did not rise beyond the level of 1914, as the table shows [6]:

Capital invested abroad
(000m francs of pre-1914 parity)


By Gt.Britain

By France

By Germany











10 (1869)






15 (1880).






20 (1890)








2.6 (1900)






9.9 (1912)














* We have estimated the investments of France and Germany for 1935 to be 30-40 milliard francs.
This is, if anything, an over-estimation.

Thus, while in the years 1860-1914 the quantity of capital invested abroad by the advanced capitalist countries grew almost uninterruptedly, from 1914 onwards, when imperialism had reached maturity, the quantity of capital invested abroad never rose above the level of 1914 , and even declined below it.

As against this, Japan undertook an immense export of capital, especially to Manchuria, her only important colony until the Sino-Japanese war.

Japanese investments in Manchuria [7] (million yen)




















The Manchurian Five-Year Plan (1937-41) planned an investment of 2,800 million yen, which was subsequently raised to 6,000 million yen. This figure was impossible of achievement owing to the lack of capital and the scarcity of skilled labour in Japan. Investments reached only about half the target in the period laid down by the plan. But even this caused a very big rise in production, as the following table shows [8]:

Output of some products of Manchuria


mill. tons

Iron ore
mill. tons

thous. tons

mill. kwh


















5.3 (1943)



The steel industry, established in 1935, was producing more than a million tons per annum after a few years. Machinery factories which supplied the major part of the equipment of Manchurian industry were established. In 1939 a car industry, planned to employ 100,000 workers, was established. A large aeroplane factory was also built. The construction of ships was begun. The railway network of Manchuria increased by nearly three times between 1932 and 1943 – and outstripped the whole network of China proper.

Sternberg remarked:

The given historical conditions in which Japanese imperialism developed caused it to encourage and force the development of industrialisation in its empire, whilst different historical conditions caused the European imperialists to prevent or retard industrial development in their empires.

In the ten years between Japan’s invasion of Manchuria and her entry into the Second World War (1931-41) she so accelerated the industrialisation of Manchuria that although Manchuria’s population is only about 110 per cent of British India’s, as much, if not more, industry was created there in one decade, as was created in India in a century of imperialist rule. [9]

The industrialisation of Manchuria was not left to the blind activity of the different Japanese companies, but was carried out according to a plan by mixed companies of the monopolies and the state. Such organisation was found necessary for rapid industrialisation.



The motives for the expansion of the Stalinist bureaucracy

The privileges of the Russian bureaucracy, as those of the bourgeoisie, are conditioned by the unceasing advance of accumulation. But, unlike the bourgeoisie of the west, Russian state capitalism in its “Tugan-Baranovsky stage” suffers neither from a “superfluity” of capital, i.e. from a restriction of the possibilities of accumulation which the antagonistic mode of distribution causes in traditional capitalist countries, nor from a rise of wages which would threaten the rate of profit. In these respects Russian state capitalism is more similar to Japanese imperialism before its defeat in the World War II than to the western imperialist countries. Seeing that nearly all the means of production in Russia belong to the state, the industrial development of her colonial regions, i.e. the areas of the nations oppressed by the Russian bureaucracy, is directly a part of the general industrial development of Russia herself. The Japanese state saw in Manchuria “an extension of the homeland”. The Stalinist state looks upon the Ukraine, the Caucasus, Rumania, Bulgaria, etc. in the same way, and, because of her monopolistic economic position, her development of these regions is and will be more efficient than Japanese imperialism’s development of Manchuria. In the same way as Japanese imperialism looked upon the a-development of Manchuria as a necessary step to bridge the distance between it and the advanced powers of the west, so the Stalinist bureaucracy is driven to an imperialist policy for the same reason.

The same relative backwardness drives Russia towards the establishment of industries in the countries of the oppressed nations, and as the obverse of the same, to loot capital wherever she can lay hold of it. Japanese imperialism carried out large-scale plunder in China. As regards Germany: “In the conquered territories, German firms have taken over the assets of resident concerns by right of conquest, not through ‘business as usual’.” [10]

Stalinist Russia looted the countries of Eastern Europe and Manchuria. She did so by transferring factories to Russia, and, as Nazi Germany did, by concluding barter agreements with her vassals which were ruinous to them.

The concentrated monopoly capitalism of Japan and Germany and the state capitalism of Russia thus reveal another feature characteristic of the period of the primitive accumulation of capital – that trade and plunder were indistinguishable. If Alfred Marshall could say of that time that “silver and sugar seldom came to Europe without a stain of blood”, today the looted property is much bloodier; and it is not silver or sugar that is plundered, but means of production.

An additional motive for the imperialist expansion of Russia is the lack of certain raw materials. For example, Middle East oil and that of Northern Iran in particular, plays a big role in the plans of the Stalinist bureaucracy. This is the result primarily of the tardy execution of the oil extraction plans in Russia. Thus, for instance, the Second Five-Year Plan set the increase in production from 23.3 million tons in 1932, to 47.5 million tons in 1937. In fact, it increased only to 30.5 million tons. In 1940 production did not reach more than 35 million tons, although the plan laid down a level of more than 50 million tons. With these miscalculations, the Fourth Five-Year Plan set a more moderate aim for 1950 – 35.4 million tons. On examining the general plan for increased production, it is clear that oil will be one of the most important bottlenecks in Russia. The Stalinist bureaucracy tried to overcome this bottleneck by taking over Rumania and Northern Iran. (She did not succeed in the latter.)

Another factor motivating the expansion of Russia is the need for new labour power. In highly developed countries the export of capital is a reaction to the rise of wages which cuts into the rate of profit; it is directed to areas where labour power is cheap, and thus increases the amount of labour exploited by the same quantity of capital. The same result was achieved in a different way when Nazi Germany brought millions of workers from the conquered countries, particularly of the East, into Germany. Cheaper labour power than that of the Russian worker, especially of the slave labourer, is not to be found in Europe, however, so that the annexation of new areas to Russia cannot be motivated by the need to find cheaper labour power. But this does not mean that it is not motivated by the necessity to find an additional quantity of labour power. Even though the quantity of capital relative to the population in Russia is very small, she still suffers from a lack of labour power. This is to be explained by its wasteful use caused by the lack of capital, so that side by side with the lack of capital appears the lack of labour power: hence slave labour and the low productivity of labour in agriculture. Every factor that impedes the productivity of labour – the bureaucracy itself included – will increase the wastage of labour power. Thus in spite of the gigantic population of Russia, the government finds it necessary to take special measures to increase it, such as the prohibition of abortion, fines for bachelors, and prizes for families with many children. So a vicious circle is created: lack of capital causes a wastage, of labour power which makes it difficult to accumulate sufficient quantities of capital, and so on. The addition to Russia of a hundred million people from the countries of Eastern Europe is therefore an important motive for the expansion of Russian imperialism, corresponding to the export of capital from the countries of advanced capitalism.

Another motive for the expansion of Stalinist Russia is strategical considerations.



The record of imperialist expansion – Russian ingestion of Eastern Europe

The traditional imperialist countries exploited their colonies in three ways: by buying the products of their colonies for low prices; by selling them the products of the “mother” countries for high prices; and by establishing enterprises owned by the capitalists of the “mother” country and employing “natives”. Russian state capitalism uses the same three methods to exploit its colonies.

There are numerous statistics proving that Russia pays very low prices for the products she buys from her satellites. To give a few examples. The Russo-Polish Agreement, dated 16 August 1945, stipulated that from 1946 onwards, Poland was to deliver to Russia at a special price (said to be 2 dollars per ton) the following quantities of coal: 1946 – 8 million tons, from 1947 to 1950 – .13 million tons each year, and subsequently 12 million tons annually, as long as the occupation of Germany continued. This coal is not to be paid for by Russian products, but by reparations taken from Germany by Russia. As far as is known, Poland did not get anything on this account. Anyhow, 12-13 million tons of coal at 2 dollars a ton, when the price of coal on the world market is 12-15 dollars a ton, gives a net profit to Russia of 10-14 dollars a ton, or altogether 120-180 million dollars a year (a sum comparable with the maximum annual profits of British capitalists from their investments in India). Borba, the Yugoslav daily of 31 March 1949, writes that a ton of molybdenum, an essential ingredient of steel, that cost Yugoslavia 500,000 dinars to produce, was sold to USSR during the Stalin-Tito honeymoon period for 45,000 dinars. The former Bata plants of Czechoslovakia had to supply Russia with shoes (the leather for which was supplied by Russia) for 170 Czech crowns, although the actual cost price per pair was 300 crowns. A particularly flagrant case of capitalist exploitation was that of Bulgarian tobacco: bought by Russia for 0.5 dollars, it was resold by her in Western Europe for 1.5-2.0 dollars. [11]

What applies to Russia’s trade relations with her European satellites, applies equally to her trade relations with China. Chinese pig, bristles and tung oil, which constitute a large proportion of Chinese exports, are offered at present in the Western European markets at prices below those in Shanghai and Tientsin, the main ports of export of these products. Russia is the exclusive agent selling Chinese products in the Western markets, and the fact that she can afford to sell them at prices below those prevailing in China itself – and there is no question that Russia makes a profit on the transaction – indicates clearly that she pays exceptionally low prices for them. It partially also explains why Peking is making such efforts to open direct trade relations with the West, thus eliminating the Russian intermediary.

So much for underpayment. As far as overcharging the satellites for Russian products is concerned, we shall cite the following blatant examples: Russia charges China much higher prices for its goods than are charged, for instance, in nearby Hong Kong by Western capitalist sellers. Thus, for instance, a Soviet Zis 4-ton truck in Tientsin was sold by Russia for a price equivalent to 50,000 Hong Kong dollars, while a comparable six-ton truck of Western make is sold in Hong Kong for 15,000 Hong Kong dollars. Czechoslovakian saccharine, imported via Russia, is sold in Tientsin for a price equivalent to 106.40 Hong Kong dollars per lb., while German saccharine of the same quality is sold in Hong Kong for 6.50 Hong Kong dollars. [12]

The position of Russian-owned enterprises in Eastern Europe shows up most blatantly the third means of capitalist exploitation carried out by Russia: exploitation of the “natives” employed in enterprises owned by foreign capital.

In the Russian Occupation Zone of Germany, the Russian state took outright as its property about a third of all industry. This is owned by what is called “Soviet Shareholding Companies” (SAGs). The importance of the SAGs is very great. Nearly all the large-scale enterprises are owned by them. Every SAG employed in 1950 on the average 2,400 workers, as against 139146 in the LEBs (enterprises owned by the so-called German Democratic Republic) and about 10 in the private industries. The importance of the SAGs will be even clearer if we take into account that they control heavy industry entirely. In the SAGs German workers produce surplus value taken by the Russian bureaucracy.

In Rumania, Hungary and Bulgaria there are mixed companies, in which Russia owns 50 per cent and which are in reality completely under its control. Thus, for instance, such a company controls the richest oilfields in Rumania; others control steel, engineering, coal-mining, shipping, air communications , timber, chemical production, tractor production, the building material industries, the exploitation of natural gas deposits, banks, insurance companies, etc. – altogether making up far more than half the industries, transport, banking and insurance of Rumania. In Hungary and Bulgaria there are also mixed companies, but their importance is much smaller.

Taking up half the profits of the mixed companies, while all the workers are “natives” – is not this a clear case of colonial exploitation?



The idealisation of the Tsarist Empire

The Stalinist bureaucracy cannot but give its approval to its forerunners in empire-building – Tsarist imperialism. For generations Russian socialists and democrats thought Tsarist Russia a “prison of the peoples” and Tsarist imperialist oppression of the Poles, Finns, Lithuanians, Esthonians, Ukrainians, Georgians, Armenians, Uzbeks, Kazakhs, etc. a most reactionary force. Stalinist Russia teaches differently.

Thus a Russian journal stated: “annexation by Russia represented the only path of socio-economic and cultural development and also the salvation of the national existence of the peoples of the Caucasus and Transcaucasus ... annexation by Russia was the only means of saving themselves, preserving their ancient cultures and developing economically and culturally.” [13]

Another journal wrote that from the sixteenth century onwards, the feudal monarchies of Turkey and Iran conducted a long and stubborn struggle to seize various territories in the Caucasus. Many Caucasian people, unable because of their dispersed character, to withstand foreign aggression, “sought salvation and intercession from the Russian state, turning to it for assistance and patronage.” [14] In the middle of the sixteenth century the Circassian (Karbadian) princes appealed to Ivan IV to give them Russian citizenship and to protect them from the raids and plunderings of Turkey and the Turkish vassal, the Crimean Khan. The Transcaucasian peoples established ties with Russia towards the end of the fifteenth century, and those ties were strengthened in proportion as the military danger presented by Turkey and Iran increased. By their actions against Turkey and Iran, “Russian troops often saved the peoples of the Caucasus from military danger.” How well put! The Tsarist troops which occupied the Caucasus saved it from military danger!

A Russian literary journal stated:

The annexation of Kazakhstan by Russia, which took place in the 18th century, was of profoundly progressive significance. This historic act was conditioned by economic and political causes, by the entire course of historical development of the Kazakh people tormented by incessant raids from the feudal states of the Moslem East. It created the conditions for the mighty impact of Russian economy and culture in Kazakhstan. The Kazakh people made their historic choice wisely and correctly. At that time, besides Russia, the Kazakhs could have fallen into the bondage of Central Asiatic Khanates backed by Britain. Not rejecting any means, British capital crept up on Kazakh lands and resources, calculating on rich gains. [15]

It said further:

the working people [of Kazakhstan] through their daily experience, comprehended the advantages of life in a mighty state, Russia. [16]

The Kazakh people chose to be annexed by Tsarist Russia! They preferred to be in “a mighty state”! Pravda underlined the point: “The Kazakh working people were vitally interested in the annexation of Kazakhstan to Russia.” [17]

Russian propaganda since Stalin’s death pursues the same line. The following slant was given to the occupation of Latvia by Tsarist Russia:

Many centuries have passed since the Latvians’ ancestors settled on the shores of the Baltic Sea ... During all these centuries the Russians have been good neighbours of the Latvians. The conquest and enslavement of the Baltic by the German knights is a gloomy history filled with killings, plundering and violence by the bloodthirsty Western invaders. The freedom-loving Latvian and Esthonian tribes were not strong enough to defend their freedom and independence. But proximity and friendship with the Russians enabled the ancestors of the Latvians to defend their lands from enslavement by turning for help to Russian princes. [18]



The struggle for national freedom – “Titoism”

The nations oppressed by Great Russian imperialism, or threatened directly by it, react with a struggle of ever-growing intensity for national independence, a struggle bearing the recently-coined name of “Titoism”.

The most numerous non-Russian people in the USSR are the Ukrainians. Their national aspirations have constantly been suppressed by a series of purges. In 1930 the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences was dissolved and members of it arrested for “national deviations”. In 1933, Skrypnik, the most prominent leader of the Ukrainian Communist Party and a member of its Central Committee and Political Bureau, committed suicide in order to avoid arrest. At the same time Kostubinsky, the Vice-President of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Ukraine (the Ukrainian Government), Kovnar, the Commissar of Agriculture, and a few score of high officials were shot as nationalists. To prevent further deviations, Postyshev was sent to Ukraine from Moscow in 1933 to reorganise the party and the state administration. He was given dictatorial powers. At the 12th Congress of the Ukrainian Communist Party in 1933, he said:

In Ukraine our leading Party members and Comrade Stalin himself are specially hated. The class enemy has been to a good school in this country and has learned how to struggle against Soviet rule. In Ukraine have settled the remnants of many counter-revolutionary parties and organisations. Kharkov has gradually become the centre of attraction for all sorts of nationalistic and other counter-revolutionary organisations. They have all been drawn to this centre and they have spread their web all over the Ukraine, making use of our Party system for their own ends. You remember, Comrades, when twenty Secretaries of Party Regional Committees dared to declare that it was impossible to fulfil the Harvest Plan. [19]

Postyshev expelled more than a quarter of the members of the Ukrainian Communist Party. Three years later he himself suffered a similar fate. He was expelled and arrested. In his place came Kosior, from Moscow. He also was arrested in due course. In 1937, Lyubchenko, Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of Ukraine, committed suicide in order to avoid arrest. The Commissars Petrovsky and Eiche were liquidated. Lyubchenko’s successor was arrested two months after his appointment for “nationalist” tendencies; his successor was liquidated a few months later. In April 1937, there were thirteen members on the Ukrainian Political Bureau; by June 1938, not one of these was left.

Other republics have a similar history. Goloded, who for ten years was Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars in the Republic of White Russia, was arrested as a Trotskyist in 1937. Some months later his successor as chairman, Cherviakov, committed suicide to avoid arrest. He had been Chairman of the Central Executive Committee of White Russia (i.e. President of the Republic) for seventeen years.

In Tadjikistan, the Chairman of the Executive Committee was purged as a nationalist in 1934. His successor held the position for three years and then suffered a similar fate.

The following is a short list of some of the foremost people in the national republics who were liquidated as “nationalists” in the big purges of the ’thirties:







White Russia


Volga German


Volga German


















Prime Ministers









White Russia


Volga German













These are just a few of the victims. Altogether in the big purge of 1937-38 the whole or the majority of thirty national governments were liquidated. The main accusation against them was their desire for secession from the USSR.

The strongest proof that Russia’s national policy does not create harmonious and fraternal relations between the different people is the dissolution of a number of national republics.

A year before the war, when there was tension between Russia and Japan, on the Manchurian border, the entire Korean population on the Russian side of the border was transferred to Kazakstan and Uzbekistan.

On 28 August 1941, the entire population of the Volga German Republic was transferred East of the Urals. The German Republic was one of the oldest national republics of Russia. As early as 19 October 1918, the Workers’ Commune of Volga Germans was constituted, and on 19 Decem ber 1923, it was reconstituted as the Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of Volga Germans. It was one of the first republics to achieve almost complete collectivisation. International Press Correspondence (the Comintern paper) of 18 April 1936, said:

The German Soviet Republic on the Volga is a living proof of the cultural and national progress which follows on the victory of socialism and a living disproof of the lies and slanders spread by the fascist enemies of the proletariat.

Just two years before their expulsion, an article appeared in Moscow News called: Volga German Republic, a Vivid Illustration of Soviet National Policy in Practice Then, after the Volga Germans had for so many years been commended for their unanimous support of the regime, came the decree of the dissolution of their republic, with the following explanation:

According to reliable information received by military authorities there are thousands and tens of thousands of diversionists and spies among the German population of the Volga region who are prepared to cause explosions in these regions at a signal from Germany. No Germans [living in the Volga districts] ever reported to Soviet authorities the presence of such great numbers of diversionists and spies. Therefore, the German population of the Volga regions are covering up enemies of the Soviet people and the Soviet power.

In the areas of the USSR formerly occupied by the Germans, a number of republics were dissolved. These dissolutions were not even mentioned in the press, and it was only when Pravda, on 17 October 1945, gave a list of the constituencies for the coming general elections, that it was discovered that a number of republics had disappeared, since when one cannot know: the autonomous Crimean Tartar, Kalmuk and Checheno-Ingush Soviet Republics and the autonomous Karachev region were abolished, and the nonRussian populations deported. The Kabardinian-Balkar autonomous Republic became the Kabardinian Republic after the expulsion of the Balkars.

In Ukraine, Khrushchev, head of the government, declared in August 1946, that half the leading personalities of the Ukrainian Party had been expelled during the previous eighteen months. It would be too much even for the Great Russian bureaucracy to expel 30 million Ukrainians and dissolve their “republic”.

After the World War II the national struggle against Russian imperialism spread to the newly created Russian colonies of Eastern Europe. The most prominent instance was the successful revolt of Yugoslavia against the Kremlin. The other “People’s Democracies” in Europe also had “Titoist”, i.e. nationalist resistance movements against Russian rule, but mainly because of the pressure of Russian troops these movements did not succeed. Proof of the broad scope of these national resistance movements is the fact that most of the leaders of the Communist Parties of the “People’s Democracies” were accused of being “Titoists” by the Kremlin. Of the six people who filled the post of General Secretary of the Party immediately after the establishment of the “People’s Democracies”, the following four were accused of Titoism: Tito, General Secretary of the Yugoslav Communist Party; Kostov, General Secretary of the Bulgarian Party (executed); Gomulka, General Secretary of the Polish Party (arrested), and Slansky, General Secretary of the Czechoslovakian Party (executed). Of the six Foreign Ministers, the following four were accused of the same crime: Kardelj of Yugoslavia, Anna Pauker of Rumania (arrested), Clementis of Czechoslovakia (executed), Rajk of Hungary (executed). The list could be lengthened considerably. [20]

The struggle for national independence against Russian imperialism is sure to continue as long as Russian imperialism does. It is one of the most important factors which could seal the fate of the Stalinist regime.




1. New International (marxist monthly), New York, February 1942.

2. V.I. Lenin, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, op. cit., p. 81.

3. G.C. Allen, M.S. Gordon, E.F. Penrose, E.B. Schumpeter, The Industrialisation of Japan and Manchukuo, 1930-1940, New York 1940, pp.10-11.

4. ibid., pp.26-27.

5. F. Sternberg, The Coming Crisis, London 1947, p.73.

6. E. Varga and L. Mendelsohn (eds.), New Data for V.I. Lenin’s Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, London 1939, p.141.

7. Schumpeter, op. cit., p.399; A.J. Grajdanzev, Manchuria: an Industrial Survey, Pacific Affairs, December 1945.

8. K.L. Mitchell, Industrialisation of the Western Pacific, New York 1942, pp. 75-78; Allan Rodgers, The Manchurian Iron and Steel Industry and its Resource Base, Geographical Review, New York, January 1948; A.J. Grajdanzev, op. cit.

9. Sternberg, op. cit., pp.74, 73.

10. R.A. Brady, Business as a System of Power, New York 1943, p.3.

11. Gluckstein, op. cit., pp.66-67.

12. Far Eastern Economic Review, 27 November 1952.

13. Prenodavaniye istorii v Shkolye, 1950, No.6.

14. Voprosy Istorii, 1950, No.10.

15. Literaturnaia Gazeta (weekly organ of the Union of Soviet Writers of the USSR) Moscow, 10 July 1952.

16. ibid.

17. Pravda, 26 December 1950.

18. Literaturnaia Gazeta, 16 May 1953.

19. Proletarian, Kharkov 1934, Nos.15-21. Quoted by W.E.D. Allen, The Ukraine, Cambridge 1940, p.326.

20. For further particulars see Gluckstein, op. cit., pp.281-310.


Last updated on 30.8.2002