Moscow terror attack: French Morenoite website covers up role of NATO and Ukraine

Reacting to the Moscow terror attack at Crocus City Hall, the French Morenoite website Révolution Permanente (RP) covers up the implication of the Ukrainian regime and the NATO imperialist powers in this attack, and more broadly the reactionary character of the NATO intervention in Ukraine.

In this photo taken from video released by the Investigative Committee of Russia on Saturday, March 23, 2024, firefighters work in the burned concert hall after an attack on the building of the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow, Russia. [AP Photo/AP Photo / Russlands etterforskingskomité]

This exposes the gulf separating RP, a Morenoite group linked to the Pabloite New Anti-capitalist party (NPA), from the Parti de l’égalité socialiste (PES), the French section of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI). The PES opposes French President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to send troops to defend the corrupt Ukrainian regime and wage war against Russia. RP tries to hide the aggressiveness and political criminality of NATO and the Ukrainian regime, and thus limit working class opposition to Macron’s military escalation.

In an analysis of the Moscow attack that could have been found in the pages of bourgeois papers like the New York Times or Le Monde, RP wrote:

While the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, this morning the FSB reported to Putin the arrest of 11 people, including four suspected perpetrators intercepted in the Bryansk oblast near the border with Ukraine. This was enough for the Russian authorities to proclaim Kiev’s responsibility in the attack, with the FSB affirming that the attackers had contacts on the Ukrainian side and intended to take refuge in its territory after the attack.

RP attempts to discredit the thesis of Ukrainian involvement in the Moscow attack by putting it in the mouth of the FSB, the Russian intelligence service, which descends from the Stalinist secret police who assassinated Leon Trotsky and murdered the Old Bolshevik revolutionaries.

But, in reality, decisive evidence points to the involvement of Ukrainian intelligence and the NATO powers. In the attack at Crocus City Hall, individuals from Tajikistan, a former Soviet republic in Central Asia, left 143 dead and more than 500 injured. The terrorists planned to flee to Ukraine after the attack, responsibility for which was claimed by the Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K), a terrorist network closely linked to NATO’s wars.

This attack is part of a series of repeated attacks carried out on Russian territory by Ukrainian intelligence and military services with NATO approval. The latest took place against a drone manufacturing factory and a refinery in the Russian region of Tatarstan, 1,000 km from the Ukrainian border.

Networks like IS-K and Al Qaeda emerge from US imperialism’s interventions and its decades-long wars across the Middle East and Central Asia. Tajikistan has been embroiled in armed conflicts in neighboring Afghanistan since the 1980s, when Washington used Islamist networks led by Osama bin Laden to wage war against a pro-Soviet regime in Afghanistan.

The Islamic State (IS) is itself the product of the neocolonial wars waged by the NATO imperialist powers in Iraq, Syria and across the Middle East in the period since the Stalinist dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. After the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003, NATO once again mobilized Islamist networks in the wars it launched in 2011 in Libya and Syria. French imperialism and its petty-bourgeois pseudo-left defenders played a central role in defending the mobilization of networks linked to Al Qaeda to wage wars in Libya and Syria.

RP did not yet exist under that name in 2011 but acted as a fraction of the NPA, which hailed the Syrian opposition as carrying out a “revolution.” Olivier Besancenot, spokesperson for the NPA and former presidential candidate, told RFI in 2014: “[French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent] Fabius is on repeat, he has been giving the same speech for months. He must give arms for free to the Syrian revolutionaries.”

Rejecting reservations of certain sections of the imperialist establishment, who feared that flooding the Syrian opposition with weapons would arm terrorists, Besancenot said: “Those who say ‘we should definitely not give weapons because that will end up among the jihadists,’ that is already the case ... It is my principle as an internationalist to trust people to decide their own destiny.”

In reality, NATO’s imperialist wars produced disasters for the peoples of the region. Thirteen years later, Libya and Syria are still embroiled in civil wars that left hundreds of thousands dead and turned tens of millions into refugees.

As for IS-K, it recruited among the soldiers and spies that NATO trained in Afghanistan during its occupation of that country between 2001 and 2021. These soldiers had to go into hiding when NATO left Afghanistan in 2021, and the Afghan neocolonial regime collapsed in a few days. Since then, IS-K has carried out attacks aligned with NATO needs, such as the attack in Iran in January which killed 84 people and injured 284 during the funeral of General Qasem Soleimani, murdered in Baghdad in a US drone strike.

These Islamist forces are now fighting Russia on behalf of NATO. In January 2023, the New York Times noted that nationalist and far-right elements from across the former Soviet Union, including the North Caucasus and Central Asia, had flocked to Ukraine to fight Russia.

It reported that “most of them harbor long-term political ambitions to return home and overthrow the Russian and Belarusian governments. The volunteers themselves claim that they are acting with full knowledge and under the orders of the Ukrainian army and intelligence services. Many of their operations are covert, including dangerous reconnaissance or sabotage missions behind Russian lines.”

RP remains silent on the reactionary role of NATO imperialism and of the NPA but gloats that the attack in Moscow will “embarrass” Putin. There is no acknowledgement in its article of the tragic nature of the attack for the victims’ relatives in the Russian population.

Calling the attack not a reactionary act that cost hundreds of lives, but a useful intervention that will weaken the Russian regime in the face of NATO and the Kiev regime, RP writes:

As at the time of the Nord-Ost and Beslan attacks, Putin seems embarrassed by the surprise attack which shatters the myth of ‘stability’ that his regime claims to guarantee to the population. The one who began his reign with the promise to respond brutally to each attack, proclaiming ‘we will go kill them even in the toilets,’ remained silent more than 17 hours after the attack.

The question RP poses is whether the large number of victims will destabilize Putin by stoking ethnic and religious tensions in Russia and the former USSR. This would facilitate the division and conquest of the region that Macron and the NATO powers hope to carry out by intervening on the ground in Ukraine against Russia. As seen in NATO support for the genocide in Gaza, this war is part of a reactionary imperialist-led offensive across all of Eurasia.

This highlights that RP develops its analyses entirely within the framework of imperialist politics. RP addresses neither the reactionary role of Stalinism, nor how its dissolution of the Soviet Union left the way open for the imperialist NATO powers to launch wars across the Middle East, nor the connection between imperialism and the rise of Islamist terror networks. It bases its opposition to the Putin regime not on a Trotskyist opposition to Stalinism, but on pro-imperialist opposition to Russia.

RP denies the aggressive nature of the neocolonial offensive of the NATO imperialist powers, falsely asserting that Washington does not want war. It writes:

The United States no longer wishes to play the role of world policeman. ... In this delicate balancing act, seeking not to appear weak without provoking escalation, the Biden administration responded by attacking 85 targets allied to Tehran in Iraq and in Syria, but was careful not to attack Iran directly.

This is a political lie. If Washington does not want to wage wars, why is it voting for a defense budget of nearly a trillion dollars, and why is Macron calling to send troops to Ukraine and for building a “war economy” in France and across Europe? In reality, the military command, in France as in other NATO countries, now constantly calls to prepare for “high intensity war.”

RP’s falsifications are organically linked to the anti-Trotskyist historical evolution of the petty-bourgeois Morenist tendency of which RP is a part. Led by Nahuel Moreno in Argentina, it broke with the ICFI in 1963 to carry out an unprincipled reunification with the Pabloite tendency with which the ICFI had split 10 years earlier. The political foundation of this reunification was the rejection of any independent revolutionary role for the international working class, and the false Pabloite conception that Stalinist bureaucracies would provide revolutionary leadership.

The Morenoites lined up behind the Pabloite ancestors of the NPA, who echoed imperialist commentators in welcoming Gorbachev's perestroika initiative, which paved the way for the dissolution of the USSR and the restoration of capitalism, as a “democratic reform.” This made clear their repudiation of Trotsky, who had insisted that only a political revolution of the workers against the Stalinist bureaucracy could restore proletarian democracy in the Soviet Union.

This anti-Soviet, pro-capitalist policy prepared the Pabloite and Morenoite forces, in the post-Soviet period after 1991, to applaud NATO’s imperialist wars in Libya and Syria, as well as NATO’s intervention in Ukraine, as so-called “democratic revolutions.”

Deep opposition exists in the European and international working class to the war launched by NATO against Russia. Sixty-eight percent of French people, 80 percent of Germans and 90 percent of Poles oppose sending troops to fight Russia. But the mobilization of this opposition against the emerging Third World War can only proceed through a struggle against the political and historical lies told by pseudo-left tendencies like RP.

RP reflects the material interests of affluent middle class professionals and students linked to the Stalinist bureaucracy of the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) union and its academic periphery. RP left the NPA in 2021 after making tactical criticisms of the NPA’s support for wars in Libya and Syria and the NPA’s denunciation of “yellow vest” protests against Macron. But its alignment today with anti-Russian NATO propaganda reveals that this break only served to cover up the Morenoites’ own pro-imperialist outlook.

Indeed, RP’s break with the NPA did not prevent it from calling for an NPA vote in the presidential elections in 2022, which amounted to a blank check for the war in Ukraine.

The ICFI and its French section, the PES, were alone in launching a Trotskyist attack on the support of the NPA and then of RP for imperialism. This opposition provides a perspective for building a mass international anti-war movement in the working class. The PES calls for and encourages the holding of anti-war meetings and demonstrations, in order to mobilize workers and facilitate their awareness of the need to build an international and socialist movement against the wars of NATO and the Putin regime.

The precondition for such mobilization of workers and youth is a struggle for a Trotskyist perspective of international socialist revolution, against petty-bourgeois groups like RP that align with imperialist wars and cover up imperialist complicity in terrorist crimes.