How Russian Capitalism Destroys the Siberian Environment: Interview with a Russian Comrade

How Russian Capitalism Destroys the Siberian Environment: Interview with a Russian Comrade

In the past years, we have heard about the Siberian fires and the increasingly reducing landmass of Siberian forests. Every year Russia falls deeper into the horrifying possibility of the complete loss of Siberian forests. A range of materials were published on the state of logging in our Russian section, and now it is time to shed light on the problem for our English-speaking audience. This is an interview conducted with our comrade from Irkutsk (the name was changed), that had experienced the issues of mass logging first-hand.

Politsturm: Let’s start with the simplest tasks at hand: can you describe the situation in Irkutsk with active logging in the region?

Yevgeniy: Well, I will try to answer to the best of my knowledge of the problem, although I did not specifically deal with it in depth – this is one of our regional, Siberian and Russian problems that we faced, so I will try to state everything that I know. If suddenly my presentation will be somehow too vague, then please give specific questions.

As for the situation as a whole, the situation is such that for several decades after the restoration of capitalism in Russia, the Irkutsk region and some other regions have been the places of active logging, which is carried out by both large and medium-sized logging companies. Often – this logging is completely uncontrolled, as of recently, uncontrolled small-scale logging gets to face all these local entrepreneurs being ousted from this market.

However, with their ousting, little has improved for everyone, as large-scale business allows for the same abuses in law and annually, from the information of the official media, we receive data that timber is gathered for hundreds of millions, sometimes billions of rubles. They are exported abroad without paying the appropriate duties, taxes, etc. To put it very briefly, this is a very extensive field of activity for logging, the sale of timber exports, a very extensive field of activity for all sorts of legal semi-legal companies, so to speak, that are actively engaged in the sale of Siberian forests in our region.

Politsturm: From this context, could you go into specifics? What does your regional organization generally do?

Yevgeniy: If we talk about our organization then, of course, the main direction of our work is the study of Marxist-Leninist theory in the circles of people whom it interests, and who share their worldview with it. It is also the popularization of Marxist-Leninist ideas and of course, with this second task, we aim to cover all the events that take place in our region, in the country and in the world from a Marxist-Leninist position, in a sense you can call it propaganda of Marxism-Leninism. In addition, of course, we are engaged in the interaction with labour collectives who are fighting for their rights and defending their interests in labour legislation. While our experience is not that extensive, we are still growing in our abilities. We represent the stepping stone of a Marxist-Leninist organization.

Politsturm: Well, since you mentioned Marxism-Leninism, how does the basis of Marxist-Leninist theory help you in clarifying this problem?

Yevgeniy: Here we can talk about the dual meaning of the Marxist-Leninist theory. On the one hand, it is the class analysis that allows us to discover the very social foundations of such a phenomenon as the sale of forests and the mass deforestation of the Siberian forests. Thanks to our worldview and our methodology, we can note then that what happens is not some random phenomenon of the arbitrariness of individual officials, but in fact a part of the system of market relations that has developed in Russia in the post-Soviet space, in which, by the way, oil exports play one of the key roles.

On the other hand, again, using Marxism-Leninism, we not only find out the essence of this problem for ourselves and make certain forecasts, but we also try to convey to people that, in fact, market relations, capitalism, and private property, it is nothing more than the destruction of, let’s say, forest resources, destruction of nature, for us. If we see that liberal media and some opposition movements focus on officials, that is, on their lawlessness, on their arbitrariness and abuse of power, then we respectively point out that the problem is much deeper, it lies at the root of the system itself, which cannot be understood without the Marxist-Leninist approach.

Politsturm:  Thank you for this explanation. Well then, back to the original question, or rather to the original problem. How serious was the problem in Irkutsk? How did it grasp your attention?

Yevgeniy: This is indeed a very big problem and what does it express? We are residents of cities, large cities, in the Irkutsk region, by no means always directly face this problem, however, a large number of the population lives in rural areas, where the problem of logging and illegal harvesting of forest resources is more visible, and to be direct, it can be seen with your own eyes. It may be difficult for the inhabitants of the European part of the country and Europe to imagine this, but here we sometimes see caravans of trucks, whole trains loaded with timber sent for export.

At the same time, there is other evidence that the problem is of a large-scale nature, these are our annual traditional forest fires, for example, with which the authorities practically cannot do anything with. If you remember in 2019 there were these fires, they reached such proportions that all over the world our region received such a notorious reputation, also the Krasnoyarsk Territory forests burned there and then experts, in our country and abroad, wrote that the nature of the Siberian taiga was damaged, which would be restoring for several decades. At the same time, highly circulated, satellite films are present on the Internet, where you can see giant gaps in the Siberian taiga, and if we imagine Siberia as such a boundless world of forests, so to speak, boundless expanses, then this is not quite the right picture.

Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Tomponsky district. 31/07/2019
Krasnoyarsk region. 21/07/2019

Relict forests are valuable treasures, places in which there is practically no infrastructure, and which you can really call undeveloped regions, they gradually become the area of ​​operation of large companies, companies that extract timber on a miraculous scale, again, there are sources that speak about the scale of timber extraction, for example, data that I cannot refer to specifically, but they can always be found in open sources, export data from the Irkutsk region. This data indicates that this export reaches miraculous proportions. We are not even talking about billions of rubles, but about billions of dollars annually, the proceeds that export partners receive and naturally, another such indirect sign for us is the deterioration in the availability of everything that is a resource processing product, it will seem a little strange, but in the Irkutsk region, which is one of the largest timber exporters in the country, we have very expensive sawn timber and ordinary residents – rural residents locality, they cannot afford to purchase these materials for some more or less initial money, because everything is export-oriented, all forests are cut down and what is processed, as a rule, everything goes abroad, because that is where the liquidity for it exists, therefore, we, the inhabitants of this forest region, can say that we are cut off from the products of this timber industry in no small way.

Politsturm:  Well, since you mentioned the same problem, then why not get into the specifics of how you deal with all this?

Yevgeniy: I must say that we are talking about a really big problem, we are talking about the really big business, business that may well be comparable to the extraction of coal, and gold, somewhat far from oil and gas, of course, but it is one of the most valuable resources and naturally, on this, a lot of money is spinning on the market and, let’s say, high circles of capitalists are engaged in logging and, in general, a similar business, therefore, based on the general rather poor level of development of the labour movement, not only in our region, but throughout the country, our opportunities, alas, are not great at the moment, therefore, we are unable to remain aloof from this problem and use it as a very clear and very vivid example for our agitation, that is, at present, we cannot directly influence the situation, and moreover, no one can directly influence what is happening directly in the field of extraction and export of forest resources. Therefore, for us, this is a reason for enlightenment, a reason for agitation, a reason for drawing people’s attention to this problem and the problems of capitalist Russia as a whole.

Politsturm: How has massive deforestation personally affected you?

Yevgeniy: If we talk specifically about the perception of what is happening to me and the impact of it on me, then, like other residents of the region, for example, I am experiencing for myself the existence of environmental problems caused by deforestation, it is not only about those large-scale fires that went on in our region last year and the year before last but also, for example, the drying up of many reservoirs. Our rivers, our lakes, all this is drying up and all this is an indirect consequence of the barbaric deforestation.

Also, if we talk about my living space and the impact of this problem on my living space, we can recall here, for example, broken roads, village roads, and highways broken by timber trucks. Most of the damage that is inflicted on the roads in our region, I now assume in this case, unfortunately, I cannot refer to a specific source, but I’m almost sure, again from open sources, that most of the significant damage is caused by just the same logging trucks that are without any control without any plan, without any system, they just cruise to the places where the timber is toppled. Therefore, the ecology, roads and, perhaps, the high cost of building materials, even if this does not directly affect me, As I live in a city, but some of my relatives live in the countryside and I communicate closely with them, often and for rural residents this is a big problem. For example a purchase of affordable timber, a board of various sizes, why? Because all this is not intended for ordinary residents of the countryside of the Irkutsk region. These are perhaps the most obvious consequences that have influenced my life with this problem.

Lumber prices increased by 150% in 2020

Politsturm: Moving and growing from the subject of one person to many, how has deforestation affected other members of your organization?

Yevgeniy: Well, unfortunately, I can’t speak in detail here for all the comrades, but what is concerned, has already been mentioned, the drying of reservoirs, broken roads, the deterioration of the environment, in particular, the air in the whole region, this is something that all residents of the Irkutsk region experience, regardless of whether they are members of Marxist circles or not. Surely one of my comrades has some other more detailed personal stories, I also forgot to say, for example, in our region, ecotourism is quite developed in our region, a large number of ecological trails exist and for many years in a row, it has become unsafe to appear on these trails due to forest predators, for example, which go closer to human habitats, closer to tourist routes. Why? Because their natural habitat has been destroyed or confirmed by this excessive anthropogenic impact. This may seem like a small thing compared to other problems. But yes, we do have such a problem, we have a completely serious opportunity to meet a bear somewhere on a seemingly developed tourist route, which, as you understand, can also end in tragedy for a person.

Politsturm: Considering just how many of these problems are here, what other environmental problems are there that appeared from logging?

Yevgeniy: As I already said, this is the drying of waters, respectively, rivers, lakes, and naturally, this entails a decrease in biological diversity, again in reservoirs and forests, we can say that the destruction of forests is always a thing that is also accompanied by soil erosion. However, I am not competent here to talk about how serious the scale of this particular problem is, but one cannot exist without the other, it is not a sin to recall Peter Jackson’s classic film The Lord of the Rings “I feel it in the water, I feel it in the earth”. In this sense, the destruction of forest resources cannot but affect all 7 regions. Well, of course, we can say that there are already a whole number of secondary consequences due to the fact that our big business is focused on this barbaric extraction of resources.

Capital, serious capital, they invest in these industries that give a very quick profit, and in our region, for example, and in many other regions, people still often heat for example, by the way, this is another interesting problem, people heat stoves with wood and due to the general rise in the cost of wood, it too becomes inaccessible, for example, this type of fuel for people is very expensive, oddly enough, firewood in the region, as a result, poor rural residents suffer from this, people get serious problems with the law, for example, due to the fact that a large business has focused on the extraction of forest resources, there is no infrastructure development. Boiler houses built in the region in the 60s and 70s continue to operate in the same form in which they were originally created. Often using coal, for example, as fuel, although there is a gas site in our region. Yet we do not switch to environmentally friendlier fuels because this big business is afraid of long-term provisions, preferring, for example, to harvest timber, respectively, cities are heated mainly with coal and air quality in our cities, does not just expect much to be desired, and is instead plainly just terrible, people get poisoned as a result.

Yes, this is already indirectly related to the extraction of timber, but nevertheless, this problem is also related to this. Naturally, one can recall that there is not only, for example, the inability of people to provide themselves with firewood, but also the collapse of the traditional way of life, the people of the countryside, who, for example, are used to fishing and hunting, for whom this is a very important source of livelihood, as rivers and fish in the rivers are getting smaller, the animals are accordingly fleeing from the destroyed forests, many people are also seriously financially hurt as a result and, let’s say, experience life difficulties with this, so this is a very wide problem, in fact, maybe I’m even missing something here.

An analysis of air pollution levels within the federal districts shows that about 60% (26 out of 46) of cities with high and very high pollution levels are located in the Siberian Federal District.

Politsturm: Well, since you just said that this problem affects everyone massively, were there any examples of actionism or just some kind of strikes as a result of logging?

Yevgeniy: I am not ready to talk about any more or less large-scale actions that have taken place recently, as far as I remember, there was nothing of the kind. In general, in my memory, there were no serious gatherings, more or less of a mass character, related to this problem. Yes, this problem could often be raised, for example, at some opposition events, but only indirectly and only in order to pinch specific politicians, specific statesmen, precisely in the activities of which the root of this whole problem allegedly lay, which in fact is not true. We could say that there is a certain kind of discontent, especially among the inhabitants of rural areas – directly, whose life is purely connected with forest resources – this is fuel, hunting, picking up mushrooms, berries, wildly garlic and other resources, these people are not allowed into the forest if there is some kind of logging organization nearby.

There is already protection of private property. But in this case, usually, no one listens to people, no one asks people, and they are most often limited to just some kind of restrained resistance. Even if people are forbidden to harvest, for example, firewood, they still go to the forest and, in fact, illegally extract wood for heating their houses, and illegally extract other resources, that is, they go against official prohibitions and, of course, this is not solved in any way, and maybe even aggravates the issue. I am not ready to report on any organized protest of any nature.

Politsturm: Since the topic of business is also constantly circling over us, how exactly did businesses circumvent the law in order to continue cutting down?

Yevgeniy: You can get an idea about this from different materials, including the materials that were published on our resource. However, of course, we do not have the opportunity to reveal all the ins and outs, because in the bourgeois state such dens are created for the direct, simple and understandable operation of the law that some experts in the field of jurisprudence will easily find 100 loopholes, from the most common means of which we can really get proper information about from the media, open sources – this is direct illegal logging, it was done properly by small entrepreneurs who have recently been under serious pressure from the state, I talked about the fact that big business is crowding out small business and if earlier some local – small tailoring capitalists – they could just drive a few trucks and tractors into the taiga and just steal the forest, in the literal sense of the word, without notifying anyone, now it’s more difficult with this matter, more often firms get a permit for logging, as logging is very poorly monitored and controlled by the state, they just spread the area of logging at their own discretion, contrary to the agreed scale of logging. Roughly speaking, they bought for themselves the right to extract forests on 80 hectares and obtained forests on 150 hectares. By the time it’s all set, if it’s set, the money can already be received and where it should be sent, it would be sent (implying paying off authorities).

In addition, a very, very common phenomenon is the export of timber is not paying the appropriate duties and taxes, which we also repeatedly written about, what the official media write about, believing that this is one of the most common ways, I can’t say thanks to what legal subtleties they bypass these prohibitions, but apparently, it does not amount to any big difficulties for big business. They bring out the forest for hundreds of millions of rubles without paying a penny to the state. Perhaps here we are talking about some kind of bribery of officials, maybe some kind of fraud on documents, unfortunately, I am not ready to answer specifically, only knowing that this is a very common method.

But of course, in our region there is also such a means of illegal logging, masking illegal logging with sanitary cuttings when officially the authorities get the right to sanitary cuttings – these cuttings should help improve the forest species, the environmental situation and they allow for new trees to sprout so that the old ones do not eliminate the life of young trees. These sanitary cuttings are often disguised as simply illegal logging, sanitary cuttings are carried out where, for example, they are not needed at least according to the law, or documents, and it turns out that it falls into the legal field. As long as they still assume sanitary logging, providing them with a non-commercial purpose, here entrepreneurs get the opportunity to use their machinations in order to sell the forest to cover up, in fact, the provision of a certain service to the state. So if you briefly list this, it is direct illegal logging, unauthorized expansion of logging, export of timber without paying duties and covering up commercial logging, through sanitary logging.

Politsturm: Remembering the law again, are there any international standards that limit logging or is it just as calmly ignored, and the business gets its money?

Yevgeniy: Unfortunately, I am not ready to answer this question, I am sure that there are certainly international agreements, and not only those directly related to the rules for timber export. Surely such agreements exist between states occupying a certain niche in this market, but they also certainly exist within the framework of the UN and EU documentation, convention agreements relating specifically to the environmental side of the issue, but I must say as much as control here is purposefully practically reduced to NULL from the state, I am practically sure that there are no mechanisms for monitoring compliance with agreements, if they exist, they are not effective mechanisms. It is possible to determine the damage caused to the environment post factum, through the satellite we can determine the scale of the deforestation, but something that could prevent damage and prevent deforestation is simply not there.

Politsturm: Well, just as you mentioned, you said that the capitalist superstructure is the main cause of this problem, can you go a little deeper, what are these?

Yevgeniy: The main economic incentive for an entrepreneur’s activity is to make a profit while reducing costs, there is nothing easier than simply cutting down trees without making any effort to ensure that this resource has essentially been renewed. Therefore, everything is very simple, costs for logging are minimal, and is ensured from the point of view of the law. Some kind of cover, more or less legal and very fast barbaric logging, which simply gives gigantic profits for entrepreneurs investing in this direction. The forest is mainly exported, not only to European countries but also to China – this is the most profitable business that, in the conditions of current Russia, can be established on the basis of the exploitation of the forest’s resources. The timber processing industry is in an extremely stunted state, it also depends on the import of machine tools and equipment from abroad and no one intends to invest some serious money in the timber processing industry, as shown by three decades of capitalism. Simply put, it is much more profitable for the capitalist to cut down this forest using any means, without looking back at the damage caused to the environment, without thinking about the consequences and quickly transport it abroad. It sounds as simple as possible, but these are the realities of life.

China has been the main buyer of Russian Roundwood since 2002.

Politsturm: By the same logic, we can explain why the capitalist carelessly treats nature.

Yevgeniy: Yes, absolutely true, everything that is not beneficial to the capitalist, does not have the slightest value for the capitalist. I very much doubt that the people who own the largest timber companies in the Irkutsk region, that they directly experience the consequences of their activities. Most likely, these are people living in other regions, people living in other conditions, and people who, with the help of the capital they have, provide themselves with a completely different way of life, and a different environment. What is happening here, with the Siberian forests, with the population of Siberia and Russia – these people are not interested, therefore they quite calmly destroy centuries-old forests, cut down where they cannot be cut down, endanger the existence of entire species in the Taiga, doom reservoirs to dry out – they don’t care as long as it makes a profit.

Politsturm: Since you mentioned international as well as local companies, is there any difference between them? For example, the capitalists of Russia and China?

Yevgeniy: No, I am absolutely convinced that there is no such difference, the fact is that not only export to China is an international fairway for the extraction of forests in Siberia. A large number of logging companies belong to Chinese owners and not only Chinese, I am not ready to provide specific data on the share of entrepreneurs from different countries in the extraction of forest resources, but I know for sure that a significant part of logging companies are entrepreneurs from China and not only, it is also the Japanese, European entrepreneurs, I have some doubts about American ones, but specific data is needed here. What we call barbarism is happening not only by our Russian, and Siberian entrepreneurs, not at all, it is an international team, of business sharks, who profit from this area. Here we can recall not only the example of Siberia but also other countries and regions. We can recall the Brazilian forests and I think if we get some information about what is happening on basis of deforestation in Brazil, we understand that capital has exactly the same predatory face, in Siberia, Brazil, the USA, in In China, in this sense, the capitalists are exactly the same. They may differ in some ways, methods, and forms, but the essence is always the same.

Politsturm: Well, moving on to more global things, you mentioned the fires in Siberia, due to major events that have occurred since, has the logging industry changed in Russia? Have the fires in Siberia affected forest management in any way?

Yevgeniy: I must say that there was definitely a certain reaction, and this is due to the traditional methods of politics in bourgeois states, if the problem can no longer be hidden, then certain consequences of this problem, at least some of them, must be eliminated with maximum pomp. Yes, in our press, reports of the capture of black loggers (addition of black/dark to a job implies it being illegal), as a rule, small entrepreneurs, have become more frequent, reports of inspections of deforestation sites have become more frequent, a certain public outcry has attracted the attention of not only Siberians, Russians, but the whole world to the problem of Siberian forests. It had some effect for a short while. Why am I saying “for a short while”? because a year after those fires, new fires of almost comparable scale occurred, which the media did not report so much because other problems in society were exacerbated, that is, the problem of combating coronavirus, with a new strain of coronavirus and in the media space, this problem of the burning of Siberian forests has passed into the background, if something had changed structurally and radically, then nothing like this would happen again. In addition, if you look again at the media materials, and at the statistics that are published, we will see that production volumes remain the same. While maintaining the entire system, the entire economic basis, one cannot count on any serious qualitative changes. Within a certain period, supervision can be strengthened, and the most egregious brazen violations can be minimized, but in general, of course, this will not solve the problem of barbaric deforestation.

Politsturm: That is, even if we talk about the current sanctions due to the “special operation” in Ukraine, the timber trade has not changed much either, especially its sale.

Yevgeniy: I am even ready to say that this trade has become more intensified. According to data that was published not so long ago, again, in open sources, the export of timber to foreign countries has increased even more. Our capitalists are even more involved in the race for profits in this area, as the price of timber is still rising in fact, and against the backdrop of the “special operation” too. We can pay attention in connection to the trade in any resources, we are talking about the aggravation of international relations, that blood is shed among the people who participated in this conflict, that politicians have entered into this squabble that is ongoing daily, and threats are voiced, including and the threat of destroying the whole world with nuclear weapons. But the capitalists continue to trade, and since the beginning of the “special operation”, as we can see, the gas trade has increased, yes, there are now some problems with the oil trade, but there is still timber, and with timber, our capitalists are trading with lethal force against the backdrop of all these sanctions.

Politsturm: Not very surprising, as they say, war is war and business is on schedule (editor’s note: A parody of the Russian expression ‘War is war, but lunch is on schedule’)

Yevgeniy: Yes, that’s right.

Politsturm: So, if in your articles you point out the inability of the authorities and the apparatus of capitalism in general to correct this, what can be done?

Yevgeniy: This may not seem constructive, but this is one of the important conclusions to which we push each person, analyzing any problem, and talking about some truly global things, such as wasting resources, it is impossible to do anything within this system. I’ll repeat myself again. You can for a certain time minimize the damage, but the general trend will remain the same. I forgot to say that after the special operation began, a number of by-laws were adopted, which allow expanding timber production to those regions and those areas where timber production has not been curled before.

Now, under the roar of cannons, under the loud statement about confrontation with the collective West, we are expanding the scope of the business intrusion into nature reserves, and now it will be possible to steal the forest, I beg your pardon, cut it down, including directly from the area of Lake Baikal, which was previously impossible to do. This cannot be reversed in any way, this cannot be corrected in any way, this cannot be corrected by the arrival of a new governor, president, mayor or other deputies, this cannot be corrected by establishing a mechanism of public control, because, no matter how strong public control is, it cannot be opposed to power by force resources of these largest companies, which are also very numerous and which spend gigantic resources to support their business, lobby for it, go to any means to protect their business, law enforcement officers will not help here either, because they are built into this system, they are entirely dependent on the ruling class and for the net, they are involved in all possible corruption schemes. Therefore, we can expect only some kind of cosmetic change at best. But the most anticipated scenario is simply the continuation of this general trend until the capitalist no longer sees any benefit in selling the timber. Simply put, if we do not change the very structure of socio-economic relations, we will simply lose such wealth, including not only Siberia’s and Russia’s but also world wealth like Siberian forests.

Politsturm: Then, judging by your logic, can one also make the assertion that organizations like the EU and other institutions also follow the logic of capitalism and cannot influence this issue in any way other than cosmetic and brief temporary changes?

Yevgeniy: Yes, I am absolutely convinced of this, it concerns not only the aggravation of relations, for example, in the current realities between the European countries of the EU and separately the EU and the Russian Federation. After all, one must also remember this factor, the capitalists of all countries themselves initiate political-military conflicts pointing fingers at each other, as an aggressor, increasing the pressure of big business on all spheres of public life. Deterioration of labour legislation, violation of environmental legislation, and exposing the natural environment of their countries and the countries they exploit to such an impact that everything that can be degraded is degraded.

Therefore, I do not think that we should expect from the EU anything significant, in principle, in the near or long term, as some significant impact on the very procedure for the exploitation of Siberian forests, especially since this forest also goes to European countries, European companies are also built into this system for the extraction of forest resources, one can recall the same IKEA (it was mentioned yesterday in the Russian media) that left Russia and stopped its business, but probably soon it will return under a different brand, or its place will be taken by other companies that, with permission so to speak, the European states are also built into this system, that is, we cannot say that this is some kind of conspiracy, the situation is much worse, unfortunately this is not a world conspiracy of the capitalists, but the normal state of affairs for them – the capitalists of all countries, when the planet’s resources are depleted in order to enrich a handful of owners of capital.

Politsturm: Well, since we are talking about capitalism with such an emphasis, then we can remember the alternative that you propose, can you please explain how your alternative differs from the capitalist one?

Yevgeniy: First of all, of course, a communist is not only one who advances under a red flag and mentions Marx, Engels and Lenin on all convenient and inconvenient occasions, a communist is one who advocates the socialization of all means of production and resources, including forest resources. Only when timber production is in the hands of the working class and all workers are united, then it will be possible to establish effective control over the spending and circulation of resources, even if, as was the case in Soviet Russia in the 1920s, capitalist firms will be engaged in the extraction of timber and other resources. permitted within the framework of concession agreements for the extraction of forests, only the working government will be able to organize competent real effective supervision over the extraction of these resources, then they will not be extracted barbarically, but in such a way that it would be possible to restore these resources, because this is how the forest was extracted, for example, by the Soviet Union, that is, it left us in the legacy of the taiga, which could feed us for decades and provide for decades many and many millions of people with everything they need.

Citizens of the USSR are obliged to preserve nature, protect its wealth.” By Witter V., 1979.

Now we see a rapid degradation precisely because it is impossible to establish an effective mechanism of control on the basis of capitalist relations. The very approach to resources will change with the social structure for which we will say so, we are fighting and standing, the resource will be not just a means to enrich individuals, but be a value necessary for the development of society for the development of the entire working people, there will be no point in this vein to mindlessly destroy the forest because we will have to spend it economically for ourselves and leave it for our descendants. As a matter of fact, socialist public ownership of the means of production is what is the foundation for solving this problem, and the main means for solving this problem is the power of workers and other working strata of society. Without these two factors, nothing can be radically changed, public control, and control of special services like forestry, which were practically destroyed – this is the development of modern monitoring technologies – this is attention to the restoration of forests, animals, and living resources, biological resources. All this can be given attention only if we approach the forest as a guarantee of our life, but only if they are in the hands of working people.

Politsturm: For our last question, we want to ask, what can be done right now?

Yevgeniy: Again, I am forced here to disappoint people who will get acquainted with the materials of this interview. Right now, it is impossible to directly influence the situation, just as it is impossible right now to eliminate the hunger that tens of millions of people are subject to, just as it is impossible right now to stop all the wars that are being waged and are being prepared by the capitalists of all countries. In this sense, unfortunately, as long as the working class in the main passively perceives its role as an exploited class, we can only talk about preparing a future movement for real changes, but this movement is already in preparation now, starting already from those steps we are taking. This is agitation, propaganda – this is not only the hope for some kind of broad public associations and interaction with public activists of various views, but this is the rallying of communists, first of all, and the construction of an organization that could again effectively deal with agitation-propaganda and the organization of labour collectives, interaction with them and organizations of large social groups.

Only when, on the one hand, society sets in motion and is ready to part with the old way of life and old habits, on the other hand, when there will be people who are not just spontaneously and paralyzed, but systemically ready to offer a real alternative, that’s what old way of life and old thinking, then we will be able to say that something can be done, stop barbaric logging, stop any war, stop hunger, destroy slavery, the lawlessness that exists in many countries. Now we are at the stage of forming the basis of the future movement, alas. But this work is underway!