J.V. Stalin on Tsarism and Imperialism in the Russian Empire

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“In fact, Tsarist Russia was the home of oppression under every form, capitalist, colonial and militarist, of oppression in the most barbarous form. The omnipotence of capital was allied there with the despotism of Tsarism, the aggressiveness of nationalism with the most ferocious oppression of non-Russian peoples, the economic exploitation of whole regions of Turkey, Persia, and China, with the military conquest of these regions by Tsarism. Lenin was quite right in saying that Tsarism was ‘feudal-militarist imperialism!’ Tsarism was the quintessence of the most negative sides of imperialism.

Again, Tsarist Russia was an immense reserve force for European imperialism, not only because it freely gave entrance to foreign capital (which held such important branches of Russian economy as fuel and metallurgy), but also because it could furnish millions of soldiers to the imperialists of the West . Thus, during the war, twelve million Russian soldiers shed their blood on the imperialist front to safeguard the limitless profits of the Anglo-French capitalists.

Furthermore, Tsarism was not only the watchdog of imperialism in Eastern Europe, but its agency as well for the collection of tremendous interest on loans floated in Paris, London, Berlin and Brussels. Finally, Tsarism was the faithful ally of Western imperialism in the matter of the partition of Turkey, Persia and China. Was not the imperialist war carried on by Russia allied with the Entente powers, was not Russia the principal agent in the war?

That is why the interests of Tsarism and of the imperialism of the West were those of imperialism in general. Could the imperialism of the West resign itself to the loss of this powerful support in the East, this source of forces and wealth, such as was the old bourgeois Russia, without trying every means, including war against the Russian Revolution, to defend and maintain Tsarism? Obviously not!”

J.V. Stalin, “The Foundations of Leninism”

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