On the Immigrant Crisis at the Belarusian-Polish Border

November was a very eventful month in Eastern Europe, where contradictions between the EU and Russia are sharpening in various ways. The clearest expressions of this trend are Russia raising gas prices for Europe, and the crisis on the Belarusian-Polish border, where thousands of immigrants from the Middle East are crossing on their way to the countries of the EU.
By: International Workers’ Party – Russia, 12/1/2021
Multiple videos from the border show violent confrontations between immigrants trying to cross the border at any cost, and Polish defense forces turning the scene into a battlefield.
It goes without saying that this conflict on the border between Poland and Belarus is happening in the context of a broader conflict between Russia and the European Union (as well as the United States), bleeding over into the migrant crisis. Putin saved his “comrade” Lukashenko from revolution and popular resentment last year and will continue to support Belarus for as long as it continues to remain within Russia’s sphere of influence, which has been confirmed by Lukashenko’s recognition of Crimea as Russian territory.
Meanwhile, with the EU refusing to recognize Lukashenko as president-elect and continuing to impose sanctions, the Belarusian dictator can only look to Putin for help, selling his country over to the Russians and signing on to Russia’s geopolitical games. For Putin, it is paramount to maintain the police state that operates there, with its backbone being the FSB (federal police) and its preservation of the interests and influence of Russian capital over post-Soviet CIS (Commonwealth of Independent State, an interregional government in Eastern Europe and Asia).
Up until 2020, the top priority for Putin’s regime and the preservation of Russia’s “glory” was Ukraine. Win the war against Ukraine, keep Crimea, and in doing so bring the largest CIS state (other than Russia) back under Russia’s thumb.
The Belarusian revolution in 2020 created a new threat to Putin’s regime, because a democratic mass uprising against Lukashenko could easily become an example for Russia, on top of threatening Russia and Belarus’s ties directly.
Similar crises erupted in the form of the Nagorno-Karabakh war in the Caucasus (where Turkey intervened in Russia’s sphere of influence) and in the revolution in Kyrgyzstan against the corrupt authorities selling off the country’s natural resources and leaving the people with nothing (which has led to mass emigration from the country).
Politicians in Europe and the US, who are looking out for the interests of their banks and corporations, are not going to sit quietly while Putin moves to protect his regime and Russia’s “greatness”. These are politicians who have for years presented themselves as the so-called defenders of democracy and freedom. In reality, they have never had any trouble making deals with dictators, as long as said dictators do not threaten their business.
This same dance was played out over the years by Angela Merkel, former leader of the European Union, who would open a “dialogue” with Putin, with “gas treaties” as the carrot and “sanctions” as the stick.
The top priority has always been the same: make sure that Putin keeps business running smoothly on his end. The Russian president to his dismay failed in 2014 to stop the Ukrainian revolution. In response, he annexed Crimea like a child throwing a tantrum and held up his “conquest” as the pride and glory of Russia’s citizens.
Putin wants one thing from the EU and US and one thing only: for them to recognize his possession of Crimea, his sphere of influence, for them to recognize Russia’s authority to impose its authority over the countries of the CIS, and for the EU and US to conduct business in these countries only at Russia’s discretion.
But, at the same time, Russia itself is deeply indebted to European and US capital; the entire country is impoverished while a few oligarchs funnel obscene amounts of money out to western banks. All of Russia’s corporations are in debt, all of their technology is European or American.
Propaganda notwithstanding, Russia’s citizens live in poverty and misery. Roads, schools, homes, hospitals, pensions, every corner of Russia’s infrastructure reveals a profound crisis and the stagnation that we have lived these past years, with no light on the horizon. No military parade or ballistic missile can hide this fact.
Russia’s fights with the EU and US will test whether Putin can keep down the revolutions and discontent in Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and maintain order in the Russian sphere of influence. For as long as there is war in Ukraine and the Ukrainian people reject Russia’s attack, refusing to recognize Crimea as Russian, Putin’s relationship with his “western counterparts” is weakened.
For as long as resistance against Lukashenko continues, underground, weakened, endlessly repressed, but untiring—Putin is weakened. For as long as the people of Kyrgyzstan seize the reins of their own country, Putin is weakened. For as long as discontent continues to rise inside Russia itself, Putin is weakened.
Where is Putin strong? In his repression against dissidents inside Russia. In his repression of the Tartars in Crimea. In his suppression of the national identities of the numerous non-Russian peoples of the Russian Federation. In the reinforcement of his military bases in the Caucasus and Asia (supposedly to fight NATO, whose countries’ banks are home to Russia’s capital and whose homes are heated by Russian gas). In his encouraging the dictator of Tajikistan to intervene against the Kyrgyz revolution next door. In military exercises against Ukraine in the Black Sea. In the placement of troops on the border with Ukraine.
Today, Putin is using Lukashenko to put pressure on the EU. And Lukashenko is using immigrants from the Middle East to carry out these orders. As always, it is the workers who pay the price for the political games that the bosses play. Lukashenko is brazenly and disgracefully taking advantage of immigrants who are fleeing unlivable conditions in their home countries. Flesh for the slaughter on Putin’s altar. Putin and Lukashenko’s misdeeds only inspire hatred among working people.
At the same time, we denounce the EU’s own long-armed immigrant policy. NATO and the EU happily wear democratic masks to hide their own crimes. The terrible conditions in Iraq, which the immigrants are fleeing, are the result of the military intervention by the US and its European allies in 2002. The war in Syria, another source of refugees, is also the result of corrupt deals between European countries and the dictator Assad (to say nothing of the bloodthirsty role played by Russia in this conflict).
Refugees from Africa are the product of European colonial policies. The EU is the main culprit to blame for why people from this continent are forced to leave their home countries. We wholeheartedly echo the demands of European citizens to open their borders to all! This would give Putin and Lukashenko one less tool to defend their domains. We also call for the end to the bitter persecution faced by immigrants in Russia.
Down with the Federal Migration Service! Down with the work-authorization system for immigrants! No more registries of authorization and housing! We are all one united working class!
We cannot forget that Russia’s own citizens were turned into immigrants in our own country, forced to comply with registries and residency authorizations! Down with this and all other bureaucratic incursions against the working class! We are all one single united working class! There is no difference between the immigrants and the locals!
The site “Belarusian partisans” has published the story of a Belarusian who was forced to leave their country because of repression and who gave his house to serve as a base for immigrants near the border. An outstanding example of solidarity!
Translated from Spanish here

Leave a Reply