Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to an surprising convergence within the political area. Certainly, everywhere in the world left-wing events, activists and even outstanding leftist politicians are becoming a member of the far proper in voicing their help for – or not less than excusing – the Kremlin’s brutal, imperialist aggression towards a a lot smaller sovereign nation.
This unusual phenomenon is maybe most seen in Brazil, the place supporters of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro and his left-wing rival, former president Lula da Silva, are each working laborious to display why Russia shouldn’t be blamed for the devastation we’re witnessing in Ukraine at present.
Identical to their counterparts on the appropriate, left-wing supporters of the Kremlin insist that it was NATO that “provoked” the struggle and that Russia is just “defending itself” (they, in fact, refuse to clarify how this so-called act of “defence” is completely different from the West’s previous “pre-emptive” strikes towards international locations of the World South that they vehemently condemned). They’re additionally dismissing credible experiences of struggle crimes, crimes towards humanity and even genocide coming from Ukraine as Western “distortions” and “NATO propaganda” funded by George Soros (satirically additionally the bogeyman of the anti-Semitic far proper), in defence of Ukrainian “Nazis” making an attempt to destroy Russia.
Behind all this, in fact, there’s a justified distrust of the US and NATO – leftists in Brazil have a lot motive to query any narrative supported by the empire that inflicted a lot ache on their area. In spite of everything, there’s not a single right-wing dictatorship on the continent that was born with out a diploma of US help or encouragement.
There are, nevertheless, additionally different, a lot much less justifiable, causes behind this shocking pro-Kremlin stance.
Within the creativeness of many Brazilian leftists, regardless of its aggressive capitalism and unimaginable to disregard imperial tendencies, Putin’s Russia remains to be the pure successor of a left-wing utopia as soon as represented by the Soviet Union. Not even the autocratic Russian chief’s plain corruption, his oppression and abuse of the Russian working class, or his monetary and ideological help for the worldwide far proper appear in a position to shake their perception that he can and would be the chief of the revolution that topples the US-led world order.
This isn’t to say that many of the left-wing activists, thinkers and politicians who’re sympathetic to the Kremlin are too naive to see President Vladimir Putin for the right-wing kleptocrat that he actually is – they doubtless are usually not. However they strongly imagine that below Putin’s command, Russia can put an finish to US imperialism and pave the way in which for a multipolar world order. And they’re keen to show a blind eye to his regime’s myriad human rights abuses, and help his struggle of aggression towards a neighbouring nation, to see their important enemy – the West – defeated.
On the floor, most Brazilian leftists look like avid supporters of human rights, democracy and justice. They proudly say they need to see an finish to highly effective international locations – all highly effective international locations – invading others below the guise of “bringing democracy”. However sadly, their want to see an finish to the Western-led world order results in them excusing invasions, wars of aggression and even genocides when they’re initiated by the West’s enemies. Of their eyes, the one actual imperialism is US imperialism.
Lula, who himself stated Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is as accountable for his nation’s present destiny as Putin in a latest interview, and a majority of the Brazilian left appear satisfied that it’s OK to disclaim the humanity and sovereignty of a complete nation if it inflicts injury on the US.
There are, in fact, leftists in Brazil who do criticise and stand towards every kind of abuse – whether or not dedicated by the US and its allies or Russia. However most of the time, they find yourself being accused of not being actual leftists or shopping for into American propaganda by their pro-Russian “comrades” who see any criticism of Russia merely as a defence of the US.
All in all, it appears many Brazilian leftists have failed to simply accept that the Berlin Wall fell and the Chilly Warfare ended. They’re dwelling in an imaginary world the place Russia is combating a revolutionary struggle towards the US. On this world, all of Russia’s crimes have to be excused or ignored. The crimes of different “anti-imperialists” – learn anti-US forces of any creed – comparable to Daniel Ortega’s Nicaragua or Nicolas Maduro’s Venezuela also needs to be buried and never talked about. They’re blind to the hypocrisy of supporting those that are being oppressed and victimised by the imperialism of the West, whereas baselessly branding the victims of Russia’s equally brutal and lethal imperialism “Nazis”.
These folks rightfully denounced US-instigated regime change on their continent, condemned Israel for its crimes towards the Palestinian folks, and stood towards the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan by the US. However now they appear unable to see they’re siding with the aggressor as a result of that aggressor just isn’t the West, however Russia.
That is, in fact, not the primary time giant sectors of the left – in Brazil and past – have discovered themselves rooting for the success of a brutal right-wing dictator merely to spite the West. Many leftists additionally sided with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in no distant historical past, declaring him an anti-imperialist hero, simply because the US occurred to be supportive of the Syrian folks’s revolt towards him.
It ought to have been a simple resolution for the Brazilian left to place its help behind Ukraine. It’s, in any case, a smaller nation being invaded by an imperial energy, combating for its independence. However a lot of them are caught in a black-and-white dream world the place there is just one evil – the US. They like to faux Russia is doing every little thing it does – together with invading its neighbours – to not broaden its personal energy however to free the world from the clutches of the evil American empire.
If the Brazilian left is to achieve success as soon as once more and show to the those who it’s on the appropriate aspect of historical past, it wants to face towards all imperial oppressors, together with the Russians.
The views expressed on this article are the writer’s personal and don’t essentially mirror Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.