Guest Post by Shilyn Shekhar
The opinion that is shared here will certainly get hate from people who side with the rational side of politics but it must be addressed.
There are many mixed opinions about the Russian-Ukrainian conflict with people having many different opinions, it is this war that reveals to us the true reality of some who claim to be leftists.
The term for them is ‘Tankies’. This word originates from the 2nd half of the 20th century when the Soviet Union would crack down any uprisings in their eastern block. There was a large divide in the left at the time when the Soviet Union rolled tanks into Hungary and Czechoslovakia because they tried to break away from the oppressive Soviet Sphere of influence. Most leftists opposed this but there was still a group that was in favor of it, these are the original tankies.
The Soviet Union wasn’t socialist or communist at the time, it was an authoritarian fascist regime whether people agree or not and the ones that supported them were not real leftists because the ideology is based on rational thinking.
The modern day tankies are a very major reason leftism is seen as evil and irrational in the west because they give a wrong image to the people which makes them see leftism as authoritarianism.
The modern day tankie ideology can be summed up as this: “It’s because of America/CIA”. They see the west as monsters whose only intention is to cause suffering and hurt “their ideology”.
I will not try to defend the US because it remains a fact that they’ve done terrible things in the middle east, africa, latin america and many more examples. But blaming them for everything isn’t right and does not solve any problems.
To them, the US is such an exaggerated evil that even the most terrible actions by their opposition is justified.
If China bans forming independent workers’ unions then a tankie would say that they have to, those unions are surely controlled by the CIA.
Cuba throws political dissidents in jail? They’d reply that Cuba has to do it because those people are puppets of the US.
The most relevant example is the current Ukrainian conflict. The tankies try to justify Russia’s actions by saying that they had to do it because of “Nato expansion”.
People understand ‘Nato expansion’ wrong. It does not mean that Nato invades other countries or recruits them to join to obtain strategic land, it means that more countries have decided to join Nato to have their protection.
Ukraine wouldn’t have to join Nato, threatening Russia if they didn’t harass them so much. It was due to Russia’s hostile behavior, funding rebels and even invading them that caused Ukraine to drift towards the west.
I have met and talked to people who argue like such tankies in a meeting about this conflict and they had 2 arguments.
The first one was that Russia is only targeting civilian targets but all the videos say otherwise, all the 300 civilians who lost their lives in a single day in Kharkiv say otherwise, People who’ve lost everything because of the war say otherwise but they deny all of this saying that my sources are biased and false.
Which is their second argument, undermining the other person’s argument by questioning their sources.
The person that I am talking about actually takes Russian propaganda as his source which explains his level of rational thinking.
The 2 arguments I mentioned are picked up by these people directly from the Russian government.
A children’s hospital was bombed by the Russians the other day in Mariupol causing the building to be unusable for those in need of urgent care. Pregnant women, Nurses, Doctors either died or were injured in the attack but Russian propaganda is trying to undermine the source to keep up the argument that only military buildings are being targeted.
They say that the woman in the image is a crisis actor knowing fully well that it’s real.
Tankies should also be reminded that the Russian soldiers dying in Ukraine are from poorer backgrounds and don’t have the means to dodge the draft.
In Russia, every able bodied man has to serve in the military as conscripts but many wealthy people are able to either bribe officers or pay a doctor to fake a medical issue so that they aren’t categorized as able bodied anymore.
In fact, a large part of the conscripts in Russia are political minorities from the vast lands of Russia.
As described by Kamil Galeev, Recruiting minorities is much more convenient and easier than recruiting someone from Moscow because they mostly target rural folks who don’t know their rights and can easily be bribed at the prospect of salary.
These minorities are also disposable because if someone from a fluent background from Moscow dies, their family will call lawyers, give interviews and be a pain for the Kremlin. On the other hand, The rural man’s mother will just cry and suffocate at home.
The man I met supports the Soviet Union and communism and that’s the reason he’s biased towards Russia or as I was told but Ukraine was also part of the Soviet Union, Why are you against them?
The conclusion is that they do not believe in the ideology of the left but are trying to be part of it, they try to justify their point of view but end up contradicting themselves.
These Tankies only use leftists symbols but not the ideology and they can and are hurting it.
Leftists don’t support political opponents getting jailed, Tankies do.
Leftists don’t support China putting Uyghurs in Concentration camps, Tankies do.
Leftists don’t deny Genocides like the Holdimor or Tianmen Square, Tankies do.
Leftists don’t support tyrannic and oppressive regimes like China or North Korea, Tankies do.
Leftists don’t support Russian imperialism in Ukraine, Tankies do.
If communism and Leftist ideologies are to win against capitalistic society then they must get rid of these tankies because they are nothing but tumors to the ideology making it harder to bring people over to the left.
(Shilyn Shekhar is a middle school student of St.Mary’s, Safdarjung Enclave, Delhi. )