The imperialist war in Ukraine is not going well for Russia. The blitzkrieg which kicked off this conflict has dissipated into a stalemate, with many of their initial territorial gains having since been reversed. Russian military superiority has collapsed in the face of rampant equipment shortages, a crisis likely exacerbated by the ongoing sanctions. The recent mobilization of “reservists”, already an absurdity given their numerical advantage, has so far only succeeded in damaging morale on a national scale. Moreover, the flood of Russian citizens fleeing conscription has resulted in labor shortages and even triggered a refugee crisis, heightening tensions between Russia and its neighbors in Central Asia. The time for a quick victory is over, and with the infamous General Winter approaching on the horizon, the Russian imperialists seem anything but prepared for a long war.
As bad as the situation is for Russia, the outlook for Ukraine is not much better. Though they have managed to reclaim much of the territory they lost at the start of the year, the costs have been severe. Russian artillery and air strikes have destroyed billions of dollars worth of housing and infrastructure and forced millions of Ukrainians to flee the country. There is no telling yet how many people have been killed as a result, but whatever that number is, Ukraine will doubtlessly be recovering from this conflict for decades to come. Of course, the war must end before recovery can begin, and even with the surprise reversal of the Russian forces, the chance of even an armistice remains slim, let alone an outright victory. Indeed, the only real hope the Ukrainian forces have for such a victory is an intervention by NATO, an event that would be catastrophic for all of humanity.
The prospects are grim. On the one hand, we have a potentially years-long war resulting in the devastation of both countries, the imperialists on both sides making off with whatever profits and territorial gains they can get away with. On the other hand, we have a possible escalation into a general war between nuclear powers, a war not even the imperialists would live to benefit from. As remote a possibility as it may seem, however, there is another path open for us. While some continue to preach the “progressive” role played by one or the other imperialist power, the actions of both the Putin and Zelenski regimes at home—cracking down on communist organizations and labor unions, and uplifting the forces of fascism to unprecedented heights—have revealed their true class character. This is a war, not for liberation from Nazism or for defense from “eastern hordes”, but for the redivision of markets. We have seen this before, we know where it leads. The war between imperialists must be converted into a war between classes, a war for socialist revolution. If only the organized working class of both countries—of all countries—can seize the moment and fulfill our historic role, the path to true peace will be opened to all of us.