Today I have this human interest story about a Donbass pro-Russian volunteer known as “Black Lenin”, due to the man’s African ethnicity and Communist (Marxist-Leninist) views. The writer is Sergei Aksenov. “Black Lenin’s” story illustrates the exquisite Kremlin hypocrisy in this matter of Russian citizenship: For starters, who gets it, and who doesn’t. On the “Da” side: Famous Boxers, wrestlers, drunken French actors and the like — they not only “get it”, but jump the queue. On the “Nyet” side: opolchentsy, people’s militias fighting for Russia; friends of Russia; international anti-fascists, the list goes on…
His real name is Beness Aijo, born 1979, in the Latvian SSR. His father was a Ugandan, that was back in the days when the Soviet Union was welcoming of African students and helping to develop sub-Saharan Africa via the magic of education. Papa married a Russian woman, and they raised their son in Rēzekne, Latvia. When the USSR broke up, young Beness somehow grandfathered into Latvian citizenship, although it is not automatic there. (Unlike in, say, the United States, you’re not a citizen simply because you’re born there; but he somehow got it nonetheless.) Upon growing up, Beness got his degree in Biology at the University of Latvia, and subsequently also studied Microbiology at the University of London.
Since 2005 Beness has been active in the international Communist movement, and is a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), not to be confused, as the wiki entry helpfully points out, in Monty Python fashion, with the Communist Party of Great Britain, the Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist), or the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist). The fraction that Beness belongs to opposes Trotskyism and follows in the Stalin-Mao line of succession. Main foreign policy ideology (this is important in telling Aijo’s story): As wiki points out, the CPGB(M-L) “supports governments around the world which it perceives to be socialist or anti-imperialist, such as those of Venezuela, Russia, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Syria, Iran, and the People’s Republic of China”. Of those countries, Cuba, China (mostly), Venezuela (in part), and perhaps Zimbabwe (not sure about that one) can be considered socialist.
Oligarchic Russia is most certainly not (any more) socialist, and is on the list only, probably, because of its status of target of American regime-change aggression. This makes it “anti-imperialist”, in the eyes of the CPGB(M-L), along with Iran and Syria. The CPGB(M-L) has been laudatory in supporting Libya and Syria, not to mention North Korea, against American aggression; and in opposing Israeli Zionism and its aggression against the Palestinian people. Their positive attitude towards Russia could stem, in part, from a nostalgia swirling around the Soviet Union and their idol, Stalin. Nonetheless, their support for Russia is a good thing, and a principled thing, and these are obviously smart people (despite their love of Stalin), they can see very clearly when nefarious forces are at work in the world.
Okay, now that we have the ideological foundation of the man and his thinking, we can appreciate Aijo’s struggle against Ukrainian fascism, and the price he has paid for his militancy. Beness is a man without a country, a man on the run, his easily recognizable face listed on many wanted posters. The Latvian government (which is about 80% fascist) has put out a warrant for his arrest, accusing him of “sedition”. Turning to Russia for help, the Motherland of his Mother, Beness received a flat “Nyet”, and he tells us, in this interview, of his trials and tribulations.
Back in the Ukraine…
All along the Donbass front line, as reporter Aksenov informs us, the guns are still booming away, despite Ukrainian President Zelensky’s promise to end the war. The mass of Ukrainian citizens who elected Zelensky and gave him an unprecedented control over the Parliament as well, made it clear that, by awarding this professional Clown such extraordinary powers, they wanted him to do something; above all, to end the war!
Unfortunately, Zelensky has a higher power to answer to; higher even than that of the Ukrainian people, higher even than God; — and that is the American State Department! And thus the war continues… Not only continues, but intensifies. The Ukrainian army cannons boom ever more frequently; more homes are being destroyed; more people are dying on both sides of the front.
In Russia, President Putin decided on a principled humanitarian move: to offer Russian citizenship to the residents of the Donetsk and Luhansk areas under constant attack of Ukrainian shelling. The people of Donbass, realistically, see Russia as their Obi-Wan Kenobi: Their only hope of survival. To date, over 15,000 Donbass residents have already applied for Russian citizenship. And yet, even that is just a drop in the bucket. In the Peoples Republics of Donetsk/Luhansk, there dwell around 3.8 million souls, and every one of these souls is in daily peril. Russian citizenship offers a final “get out of jail free” card; namely, in worst case scenario, people can get in their cars, drive to the border, show their passport, and make it to safety.
Alas, the Russian citizenship process is slow and painful, despite Putin’s order to make it easy and simple. When it comes to this sort of thing, the Russian bureaucracy is a nightmarish caricature of a Kafkaesque nightmare…
[to be continued]