From Letters, Socialist Worker, No.2030, 9 December 2006.
Downloaded with thanks from the Socialist Worker Website.
Marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).
In all the immense coverage devoted to the death in London of Alexander Litvinenko, the former KGB agent, from radiation poisoning, I have yet to find any mention of how convenient the whole affair is for the British and US governments.
First of all, of course, it diverts attention from Iraq and Afghanistan.
But Britain and the US have other reasons for wanting to put pressure on the Russian regime. They want President Putin to make a bigger and less critical commitment to their leadership. They don’t want him flaunting the economic power of Russia’s huge oil and gas resources. And they certainly didn’t want him at the G8 meeting in St Petersburg toning down their expressions of support for Israel during the war with Lebanon.
But because of the disastrous occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, they are in no position to embark on a major conflict with Russia. Hence the campaign to vilify Russia.
No doubt a lot of the things that are said about authoritarianism in Russia are true. But the prominence that is being given to them, compared, say, with China, Egypt or Pakistan, reflects the political priorities of the Western powers.
We should maintain our support for the right of countries like Ukraine and Georgia to true national independence. We should continue to oppose imperialism east and west. Above all, we should not be fooled into forgetting that the main enemy is at home.
Last updated: 29.3.2008