In the weeks leading up to the anniversary, 50,000 of
the city's residents signed a petition in favour of changing the city's
name back to Stalingrad on a permanent basis. The Communist Party of
the Russian Federation has also collected 500,000 names on a petition.
News reports indicate that many significant projects were realized in Volgograd leading up to the festivities. "The bearing road network was renewed; the public spaces and parks were modernized; sporting, municipal, medical facilities and hotels were renovated; the Central Embankment was renewed [also known as the 62nd Army Embankment after the military unit that defended the city during the Battle of Stalingrad, preventing the enemy from reaching the bank of the Volga]; the airport was modernized and the new line of the railway to the airport is almost constructed," a report by the Volgograd State Technical University informs.
work during the
battle being hosted in educational institutions of Volgograd District.
The unique project 'We Are Proud, We Remember' was carried out by
volunteers from the Volgograd District, who visited war veterans and
talked to them."
"More than 700 representatives from other districts of our country and former Soviet republics gathered under the theme 'Russia -- My History' for a conference titled "Stalingrad is the symbol of heroism, patriotism and unity of the nations of Russia [sic] and the whole world," the report continues.
The report adds, "Public and political personalities, researchers, representatives of education and culture, military and historical associations and veteran organizations; students and upper-form pupils took part in the conference. The participants of the plenary meeting remarked on the huge role played by the Stalingrad Victory in world history and the importance of preserving the memory of Stalingrad inhabitants' great exploit.
On Victory Day itself, an artillery salute and military parade took place in the Square of Fallen Soldiers. The military parade of some 1,000 soldiers passed through the city centre followed by a veteran T-34 tank. Two new truck-mounted Iskander ballistic missile units stood parked at the end of the square, with more rocket launchers and tanks on display behind them. Reports indicate that some 30,000 people were at the parade. "Today we are putting huge resources into the rebirth of the Russian defence industry," Dmitry Rogozin, a deputy prime minister, said at the parade. "Every enemy must see that, understand that, feel that. Let anybody who thinks of plans to seize our country remember Stalingrad," he added.
"Stalingrad will forever remain a symbol of unity and
invincibility of our people, a symbol of genuine patriotism, a
symbol of the greatest victory of the Soviet liberator soldier,"
Russian President Vladimir Putin said at an evening gala concert for
Stalingrad. "And as long as we are devoted to Russia, our language,
culture, roots and national memory, Russia will be invincible," he
said. "The defenders of Stalingrad, the entire generation of the
victors did not only demonstrate heroism at war. They passed on to us a
great legacy of love for our Motherland, readiness to protect its
interests and independence, be strong against any ordeals, take care of
our country and work for the sake of its prosperity. We will always be
proud of your heroism. We will stand up for your great victories. We
will keep the high bar of creation, unity and loyalty to Russia," Putin
President Putin's United Russia Party carried a banner reading, "We are proud of the past and we believe in the future."
Agence France Press quoted a government official, Kalachev, as saying war victory anniversaries are used to "promote the image of a country capable of accomplishments and defeating all of its enemies," and that the memory of Stalingrad should prevent any future invasion of Russia.
A statement of a different character was issued by G.A. Zyuganov, Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. Amongst other things the statement underscores the significance of the Battle of Stalingrad:
The conditions for a
successful counteroffensive were
by the entire Soviet state. While in the first half of 1942 the
Soviet military industry produced 9,600 combat aircraft, in the
second half of the year it was already 15,800. The production of
tanks and artillery pieces increased significantly. All this was
impossible to achieve without the maximum mobilization of
resources and skilful management of the country's economy,
carried out by the State Defence Committee under the leadership
[O]n the banks of the Volga, two German armies, two Romanian armies and one Italian army were destroyed. The total losses of the enemy amounted to 1.5 million people killed, wounded and captured, along with 2,000 tanks, 3,000 aircraft, more than 10,000 guns and mortars. This comprised a quarter of all the forces that operated on the Soviet-German front.
The ruling circles of Finland, Hungary and Romania began to strive for an exit from the war ... Japan, which in the event of the defeat of the Soviet troops planned to attack the USSR, refused to attack. Turkey did not join the Axis countries.
Zyuganov concludes by highlighting the need for radical
changes in Russia to uphold the aspirations of those who died in
the war. He says:
The social policy of the current Russian government cannot but cause outrage in relation to people who survived the war. Citizens who suffered all the hardships of wartime as children and teenagers, who helped adults work in factories and fields, receive scanty pensions, do not have benefits for medical care and housing and communal services. The Communist Party [in the Duma] developed the Law on the Children of War, but because of the resistance of [Putin's] United Russia [Party] it was never adopted by the State Duma.
On the 75th anniversary of
the victory at Stalingrad,
demand a radical review of state policy in the sphere of the
economy, ideology, education and culture. Betrayal of the heroism
of our fathers and grandfathers is unacceptable! Becoming the
basis of the Great Victory of 1945, the Battle of Stalingrad
calls us to [bring into being] new achievements for the sake of
Events on Mamayev Kurgan
Also on Victory Day, February 2, thousands of mourners
climbed the steps of the Motherland Calls statue on Mamayev Kurgan to
lay carnations at the statue and at the eternal flame in the nearby
Hall of Military Glory where the names of 7,000 military and civilian
casualties of the battle are engraved on plaques on the surrounding
walls. They paid homage to the sacrifice made to defend the city during
Some of the most ferocious fighting occurred on Mamayev
Kurgan, the hill overlooking the Volga River which was a former Tatar
burial ground. The hill itself changed hands numerous
times during the battle. In 1967, the 20-storey tall statue
Motherland Calls, depicting a woman holding high a sword, was
erected atop the hill, beneath which the bodies of 35,000
soldiers are buried. The statue, at 285 feet in height, is the
tallest in Europe.
Since the 1980s, searchers have found more than 35,000 more bodies, but only 1,500 have been identified. The remains of some of those identified are buried in a cemetery about 30 minutes from the city. On top of each headstone, volunteers have placed a helmet recovered from the battlefield, many of them badly damaged from shrapnel or bullets.
Celebrations Across Russia and Former Soviet Republics
He threatened Americans to stand together or face punishment. Reiterating several times the need for unity to "Make America Great Again," he said this is necessary to avert civil war. He gave his definition of an American and threatened that those who do not adhere to this definition will be branded terrorists and enemy combatants and treated accordingly. This includes the Guantánamo torture camp which is being used increasingly.
From the beginning of his speech, Trump addressed the warring factions within the ruling class. "Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people we were elected to serve," he said.
The reference to "the people we were elected to serve" sounds much broader but the State of the Union speech is delivered to the joint houses of Congress, which is filled with millionaires and is, in large part, comprised of people who represent private interests.
Speaking of his administration he said, "Together, we are building a safe, strong, and proud America." Later he said, "Tonight, I want to talk about what kind of future we are going to have, and what kind of Nation we are going to be. All of us, together, as one team, one people, and one American family."
Note the reference to "family," not to a polity which signifies a people with political rights, including the right to political power.
He goes on to define just what it means to be part of this "American family."
"We all share the same home, the same heart, the same destiny, and the same great American flag. Together, we are rediscovering the American way," Trump says.
He explains this "American way:"
In America, we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of the American life. Our motto is "In God We Trust." And we celebrate our police, our military, and our amazing veterans as heroes who deserve our total and unwavering support... Young patriots like Preston [a boy who put flags on the graves of veterans] teach all of us about our civic duty as Americans. Preston's reverence for those who have served our Nation reminds us why we salute our flag, why we put our hands on our hearts for the pledge of allegiance, and why we proudly stand for the national anthem.
Here Trump is not only calling for unity among the factions, but also targeting all those who may support a different flag, such as the flag of peace which the U.S. flag certainly does not represent. Recent polls again confirm that the large majority of people in the U.S. are anti-war and stand against U.S. wars of aggression and occupation.
Trump also specifically targeted all those who have stood against police brutality and killings as well as the African American athletes and the many youth and people across the country who have joined them in refusing to stand for the anthem. These forces have all targeted the government and demanded that action be taken to end police impunity and inequality and to defend the right to speak out and resist.
The national anthem represents the Republic, its wars
constitution, which are thoroughly racist and founded on genocide
of the Indigenous peoples and the enslavement of Africans. All
those who refuse to pledge and stand are not part of the
"American family," Trump implied. He backed this emphasis by
promoting guests from the military, Immigration and Customs Enforcement
(ICE) and police, applauding
them as the country's heroes.
In his State of the Union, Trump also called for the destruction of federal workers' unions through "at-will" contract arrangements. "[...] I call on Congress to empower every Cabinet Secretary with the authority to reward good workers and to remove federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people," Trump said.
Trump bragged of having fired 1,500 Veterans Affairs (VA) health care workers for allegedly not providing proper care for veterans. He also alluded to the fact that the "right" of health care workers not to provide medical service on grounds of religious or moral belief has been imposed in the name of defending religious freedom. This is said to permit and protect those who do not believe in abortion to refuse to provide the service.
The paradox lies in saying that workers have the right to affirm their conscience on religious/moral grounds but when it comes to working conditions it is another story. The firing of VA workers was the segue to declaring that to honor veterans means eliminating workers' rights to not be fired arbitrarily and without cause. This aspect of Trump's anti-worker, anti-union actions was generally ignored in the monopoly media's coverage of Trump's State of the Union speech as well as in the official response of the Democratic Party.
The notion of loyalty to veterans and soldiers Trump gave in his State of the Union is used to justify that the government should be able to fire federal workers "at will." This would establish what is called "at will workers." He said that in order to have accountability, workers must be deprived of all rights and that this will ensure veterans and others get what they need.
"At-will" employment is a term used in U.S. labor law for contractual relationships in which an employee can be dismissed by an employer for any reason (that is, without having to establish "just cause" for termination), and without warning. This notion is typically traced to a treatise published by H.G. Wood in 1877, called Master and Servant. As if 140 years of the struggle for rights never took place, it is an argument advanced today within U.S. ruling circles to make the reintroduction of slave-labor official legal policy with penalties for non-compliance.
Trump used immigration to further set the stage to
criminalize not only immigrants but those who support them,
including at the level of state and local governments. He made a point
of branding undocumented immigrants as criminals and
gang members. By way of example he used the tragic killing of two young
families with African American heritage:
The savage gang MS-13 have [sic] been charged with Kayla and Nisa's murders. Many of these gang members took advantage of glaring loopholes in our laws to enter the country as unaccompanied alien minors -- and wound up in Kayla and Nisa's high school.
Here we see several aspects of how Trump operates. He is striving to win backing among the ruling factions for immigration laws that greatly increase enforcement and criminalization. He is also striving to divide workers, attempting to pit African American families against Hispanic families, particularly those targeted by current laws, especially Salvadorans who have been a significant portion of the immigrants coming into the country recently, many of them youth. He leaves out that the U.S. is responsible for conditions in El Salvador forcing many to emigrate, and that the MS-13 gang, now in El Salvador, has its origins in Los Angeles. Trump has removed Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Salvadorans, meaning that many who have lived here for decades are now to be deported.
Workers originally from El Salvador, like many from Mexico, are an integral part of the U.S. working class. Both are a significant part of the resistance among U.S. workers and united efforts to defend the rights of all, such as at May Day demonstrations. Trump is hoping to block the further development of a political movement of the workers with these various attacks.
The many demonstrations involving hundreds and thousands of Americans from all walks of life, including the women's marches and actions opposing Trump's immigration bans, border wall and promotion of Nazis and KKKers, show the persistence of the people to build their united resistance for their rights.
The Trump administration is also threatening to bring charges against city officials, such as those in California and New York, who provide sanctuary cities for undocumented immigrants. These officials do not fully cooperate with ICE in holding or turning over immigrants who have been arrested on minor charges. Trump has already said sanctuary cites are a threat to national security. His State of the Union address raised the spectre that if he does not secure the unity he demands, he may consider these government officials enemy combatants. He is already implying that those who defend immigrant rights and stand against police impunity should be considered "un-American" and treated accordingly.
Trump specifically resurrected the use of the term "unlawful enemy combatant" and reintroduced the policy to use torture camps such as Guantánamo:
Terrorists who do things
like place bombs in civilian
hospitals are evil. When possible, we annihilate them. When
necessary, we must be able to detain and question them. But we
must be clear: Terrorists are not merely criminals. They are
unlawful enemy combatants. And when captured overseas, they should be
treated like the terrorists they are...I am asking Congress to ensure
that, in the fight against ISIS and al Qaeda, we continue to have all
necessary power to detain terrorists, wherever we chase them down,
wherever we find them. And in many cases, for them, it will now be
This reiterates that the president alone determines who
is and is not a terrorist, to be annihilated, and who is and is not an
unlawful enemy combatant. The history of Guantánamo, its torture
and illegal and indefinite detention, has shown this. The "wherever we
chase them down" includes the U.S., as already occurred under Obama.
Trump is telling people at home and abroad that he is
prepared to criminalize all who do not submit to his definition
of being American and supporting America. He stated this directly
in relation to those abroad: "Around the world, we face rogue
regimes, terrorist groups, and rivals like China and Russia that
challenge our interests, our economy, and our values. In
confronting these dangers, we know that weakness is the surest
path to conflict, and unmatched power is the surest means of our
The "unmatched power" includes modernizing the U.S.
nuclear arsenal and increasing the Pentagon budget still further, and
further threats against Korea and Iran. Trump repeated the U.S. nuclear
policy of "peace through strength," saying: "We must modernize and
rebuild our nuclear arsenal, hopefully never having to use it, but
making it so strong and so powerful that it will deter any acts of
aggression by any other nation or anyone else."
"Perhaps someday in the future, there will be a magical moment when the countries of the world will get together to eliminate their nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, we are not there yet, sadly," he added.
Trump also said that those who vote against the U.S. in the UN will be subject to this "unmatched power," and deprived of U.S. aid. Referencing the UN vote where the large majority voted against U.S. plans to move its embassy to Jerusalem, he said, "I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to America's friends. As we strengthen friendships around the world, we are also restoring clarity about our adversaries."
Trump once again presented the use of force as the solution to deal with all those who his administration cannot control, whether at home or abroad.
At a time the old arrangements of the Constitution are no longer adequate to resolve conflicts within and between the warring factions which are striving to control the political power for themselves, the conditions lead to open civil war and U.S.-led imperialist war. At the same time the striving of the American people and the peoples of the world is increasing to find solutions that serve their interests.
Trump is attempting to contend with the problem faced by U.S. rulers of open, violent civil war among the factions, coalitions and cartels and its spill-over into broader imperialist war where the U.S. cannot predict the outcome. He is calling for unity based on a pledge of allegiance to the U.S. state, its military and police powers, while using "unmatched power" against those at home and abroad who refuse to submit.
How he thinks this will happen or how it would solve
problem facing the United States at this time has become a matter
of much diversionary speculation. What the working class and
people need is an anti-war government and a new direction for the
economy that such a government would require.
1. "At Will Employment," Wikipedia.
Demonstrations on the one-year anniversary of U.S.
President Trump's inauguration were spirited and large -- in New York
City 200,000 people participated. Many of the actions were organized on
January 20 under the banner of Women's March 2018. The need to resist
and the need for different forms of resistance were the major concerns
put forward by the participants, which included many youth, in
particular young women.
(Photos: USMLO, Women's March 2018, National Domestic Workers Alliance, Xinhua, Code Pink, Z.D. Roberts, J. Katigbak, S. Mraz, L. Sarsour, momopersister, J. Hogan, B. Talbot-Swan)
In Canada, marches marked the one-year anniversary of the sister marches held in conjunction with the Women's March on Washington. The 2017 marches were part of the emphatic No! given by people around the world to the Trump presidency and what it stood for. This year, along with affirming women's rights, the demand for justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls was very much on the minds of those participating in the Canadian marches. In Toronto, women were asked to wear red scarves to honour the missing and murdered women and their families.
(Photos: TML, Women's March 2018, Xinhua, Les EssentiElles, A. Gagnon, R. Boilbeau, G. Caliskan, D. Osmond, Foundry Photo, L. MacDonald, A. Hufane, @huile_doppler, N. Tabandcura, K. Rosenkrantz, snapd, J. Jules, C. Marie, K. Shields, D. Maria, YWCA, T. Philips, D. Fairbairn, G. Decelled)
Website: www.cpcml.ca Email: email@example.com