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Albert Gates

Stalin and the Kurile Islands


(24 September 1945)

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 39, 24 September 1945, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

(Continued from last issue)

Elsewhere in his “victory speech” Stalin reached, a new low in nationalist degeneration when he identified himself and his government with the imperialist-expansionist policy of Czarism.

He said:

“... the defeat of Russian troops in 1904 in the period of the Russo-Japanese War left grave memories in the minds of our peoples. It was a dark stain on our country. Our people trusted and awaited the day when Japan would be routed and the stain wiped out.

“For forty years have we, men of the older generation, waited for this day. And now this day has come.”

All of this is untrue. The Russo-Japanese was extremely unpopular in Russia. The masses hated the war and hoped the Czar would be defeated. Hundreds of thousands went into hiding and additional hundreds of thousands left the country to avoid military service.

The Bolshevik Party of which Stalin was a member opposed the Russo-Japanese war, denounced Czarist and Japanese imperialism, and hoped for the defeat of Russia in the war! Stalin supported that policy, identified himself with it completely!

The Mensheviks (right-wing socialists) also opposed the war and, like the Bolsheviks, were defeatists!

In a word, the whole Russian labor movement opposed the war and called for the defeat of the Czar, holding Russian imperialism primarily responsible for the war, but describing it as imperialist on both sides.

But not only the labor movement opposed the war and was defeatist. The new capitalist class which was just emerging in Russian society also opposed the war and was defeatist, hoping that a Japanese victory would destroy the hold of the nobility and the landlords on the nation.

In other words, the overwhelming majority of the country, the organized labor movement, the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks, and the new capitalist class opposed the war and hoped for a Russian defeat.

It is a typical Stalinist lie to say that the defeat of Russian troops in 1904 “left grave memories in the minds of our people.” It is an even greater lie to say that “for forty years have we, men of the older generation, waited for this day.” The workers did not wait for it; the peasants did not wait for it. No, not even Stalin waited for this day. For during the many years that he was a Bolshevik, that is, until Lenin died, he held the same position on the Russo-Japanese war as did the Bolsheviks, namely, that the war was an imperialist war, that the masses of people should oppose it, that the Czar ought to be defeated in it.

Stalin, a Reactionary

When Stalin speaks as he does today, it is because he has ceased to be a Bolshevik, that is, ceased to be a socialist, an internationalist completely devoted to the interests of the world emancipation of all exploited and oppressed people.

Stalin has become a Great Russian Nationalist, an imperialist. That alone explains why today, forty years after the Russo-Japanese war, he identifies himself and his ruling class with the imperialist interests of Czarism and the landlords in that war and the most extreme right wing of that bloody gang, to boot.

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