Joe Biden is deporting Russians who came to the United States to escape Putin’s draft. The Guardian reported this on March 18, despite the president not making any official announcements or indicating when the deportations began. Notably, it’s a reversal of the U.S.’s policy to suspend deportation flights to Russia over the past year.
These deportations are a heinous attack on people refusing to fight in a brutal capitalist war. Following Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, hundreds of thousands of Russians fled the country. Every person fleeing the proxy-war in Ukraine deserves the right to escape the meat grinder for Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs.
The Biden administration’s move comes as it also capitulates to the isolationism and xenophobia of the Far Right in the United States. The extreme policy of refusing to provide asylum for Russians has long been used against refugees escaping conflict and oppression throughout the Global South, much of which has also been fueled by U.S. intervention. For example, the past two years alone have seen the Biden administration rejecting asylum for refugees from Haiti and Afghanistan, two countries the United States played a central role in destabilizing.
Biden’s move shows that even as capitalists fight wars with each other, they remain united in oppressing our class siblings. Biden knows that Putin has imposed severe repression on Russian anti-war protesters and this fate no doubt awaits those he is deporting. Those who are not imprisoned will be sent to the front to either be killed or ordered to kill members of their own class in Ukraine.
Socialists must support anyone who refuses to fight wars for capitalist interests. We must also stand with the Russian working class that was not able to escape. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a reactionary offensive. This is why we call for Russian troops out of Ukraine. However, we understand that most of the Russian troops being sent to fight on the front lines are working class and oppressed people. We encourage them to fraternize with Ukrainian soldiers, against Putin who has sent them to a battlefield to be killed and maimed. By building this solidarity, soldiers on both sides can unite against their real enemies, the capitalist regimes pitting them against one another.
As socialists in the United States, we must denounce the violence that the United States is imposing on working class and oppressed people in Russia and Ukraine. From deportations to sanctions to funding and arming the Zelenskyy regime, the United States’ role in intensifying this proxy-war, and thus also the death toll of our class siblings, is undeniable.
We stand with Russian war resisters facing deportation from the United States or any other country where they seek asylum. We stand with Ukrainians who refuse to fight in Zelenskyy’s war effort, which serves NATO’s interests first and foremost. This is not the working class’s war. Ours is against the capitalist system which pushed Eastern Europe into a war being played out in Ukraine, but which threatens to expand and set the stage for greater conflicts.