As the class war rages at home and abroad, it is fed by the same capitalist crisis that has brought us to the superpower brinkmanship of the conflict in Ukraine and the consequent global food crisis.
Less in the eye of the media than when it started 6 months ago, the scale of its casualties are now approaching those of the Bosnian war in the ‘90s, whilst the high risk stand-off around the Ukrainian nuclear facility at Zaporizhzhia puts the whole of Eastern Europe and Turkey in clear and present danger.
Actual figures are a closely guarded state secret on both sides. Each working to downplay its own statistics whilst inflating that of the other. But between these figures on each side, from the lowest to highest estimates and from all sources, a median figure of around 70,000 dead and double that wounded or missing is a conservative figure for the Russia Ukraine war. Even at this level, Russia has lost more in battle than in all its conflicts post WW2 put together.
The cost in damage to trade, infrastructure and armaments on both sides is now thought to have reached the trillion-dollar mark. More than a quarter of the entire value of the UK economy or nearly 10% of the cost of the global pandemic – this without factoring in the cost to rest of the world of its repercussions.
The demographic impact is equally obscure with a broad brush estimation of a fifth of the country under Russian occupation and an estimated 25% drop in the total settled population.
While appearing to be stuck on most fronts, the cost and casualties are rising exponentially as high value western technology now pours into Ukraine and Russia draws reserves from the length and breadth of its empire to hold its own.
Opposition to the war is harder to gauge in Ukraine but even given the level and control and censorship in Russia, mounting legal cases against returning to the front, sabotage at recruitment centres and cash payments to the bereaved to keep them quiet, demonstrates it’s visibility and potential, however small, however stifled.
This war is very far from over. All Parties, with the notable exception of those fighting and dying, have their own vested interest in keeping their side of the conflict going. Even apparent ‘honest brokers’ like Turkey, hosting peace talks, enabling the renewal of food shipments and International Atomic Energy Agency access to threatened sites, keeps selling its effective drone weaponry to Ukraine while refusing to follow NATO in sanctioning Russia.
As revolutionaries, we must continue to fight and escalate the class struggle at home as a means of opposing imperialist war abroad – an act of strength and solidarity with each other and the workers of both combatant countries. The war it’s not an appendix of the class struggle, it is one of its most brutal expressions, currently presenting the most immediate existential threat to our class and planet. We must continue to think globally and act locally, no war but a class war!