Why is Leninism the set of ideas that imperialism's propaganda is built around discrediting? Why is it that every time the imperialists vilify a government that challenges them, they compare its leaders to their bogeyman version of who Stalin was? Why has Marxist-Leninist China become the country which U.S. foreign policy consistently ties back to dealing harm towards? Why have the old tropes of anti-Sovietism carried over into how capitalist Russia is portrayed? Why have the imperialists, in their attempts to portray Russia, China, and Iran as imperialist powers, had to rely on an intellectual framework that implicitly seeks to discredit the Leninist definition of imperialism?
The answer to the latter is that a Leninist analysis of what imperialism is proves these countries don't fit the criteria for "imperialism," as they don't base their economies off of extracting surplus from the exploited countries. This power that Leninism has to refute the central aspect of Washington's propaganda"-that being that the "west" is defending the globe from bad actors"-extends to the rest of imperialism's narratives. The imperialists say that if it weren't America violently dominating the globe, it would be someone else. But China is proving that it's possible to construct a peaceful, cooperative global order, without capitalism's dynamic of endlessly perpetuating wars and without the exploitation of most of the planet.
The lies the imperialists use to conceal this truth are able to be recognized as lies when one has become a Leninist. When the imperialists say the DPRK is a "monarchical" tyranny that mistreats its people, Leninism provides the ideological framework for rejecting that view, as the DPRK is a Marxist-Leninist workers' democracy. When the imperialists say Operation Z isn't justified, Leninism shows how Russia is carrying out a historically revolutionary action by weakening imperialism. When the imperialists say China is carrying out neo-colonialism with its Belt and Road Initiative, Leninism clarifies that the BRI is in fact reversing neo-colonialism's global inequities by providing poor countries with the tools to develop. When one considers the framework for analyzing imperialism that Lenin and Stalin laid down, it becomes easy to recognize when the imperialists are trying to deceive you.
I describe this framework as "Leninism" rather than merely "Marxism" because Leninism is of course inseparable from Marxism, but if one doesn't accept Leninism's analysis, they can be led towards a pro-imperialist position. And that's even if they've accepted Marxism's analysis on property relations; Leninism is essential to come to an anti-imperialist stance, the key ingredient that prevents one from feeding into imperialist ideas. Marx and Engels correctly analyzed our conditions under capitalism, those being that it's in the proletariat's interests to supplant the bourgeoisie as the dominant class. Lenin and Stalin correctly analyzed our conditions under capitalism's highest stage: imperialism. Those conditions being that capitalism can now only survive by exporting capital from the core to the peripheries (i.e. modern imperialism), and that therefore the way for the proletariat to supplant the bourgeoisie is by maneuvering towards imperialism's defeat.
What Lenin and Stalin learned through their social practice was that to deal blows against imperialism, communists must replace the capitalist state with a workers state, which is the only thing that can defend from the reactionaries for as long as the reactionaries exist as a social force. This is the stance that all communists take, though as Russia shows, a state can be in an anti-imperialist role when it's a capitalist state. What makes it anti-imperialist is when it opposes the primary reactionary force in the world today, that being the pro-U.S. bloc. When Russia's communists take back power, the country's current ruling class will represent a wholly reactionary force. But for now, Russia's communists and Russia's capitalist state aren't so antagonistic, as they're carrying forth their shared goal.
That goal being the demilitarization of Washington's fascist Kiev puppet regime, which poses a menace towards the Russian people. Russia's capitalist state is only a "revolutionary" force in a global context, nonetheless having a reactionary role within its own borders. But that doesn't mean communists shouldn't support its efforts to defeat imperialism's scheme for destabilizing Eurasia, efforts which are supported by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation.
Liberals throw around whatever arguments they can think of to try to discredit these Leninist ideas, and there are people who listen to these arguments. But they're the ones who, out of material self-interest, lack of education, or a combination of the two, don't understand where the Leninists are coming from. This being a place of primary concern for the peoples who imperialism has been subjugating for centuries, and who imperialism is trying to colonize.
It's possible to be educated on colonialism, at least on a more basic level, without being educated on Marxist-Leninist theory. As I said, one can even understand the exploitative nature of capitalism without understanding Leninism's revolutionary path. But one can adequately understand neither capitalist property relations, nor imperialism, without studying the impacts that colonialism continues to have on the peoples imperialism has targeted. Central to this is knowing that colonialism is not a transactional relationship where the colonized are given the tools to improve their conditions, as the reactionaries continue to assert. It's an incomprehensibly violent act of assault, where entire civilizations get robbed of their autonomy, cultural identities, and resources for the benefit of the colonizers. That's the difference between the BRI and the IMF, for instance; the BRI is mutually beneficial, whereas the IMF is the instrument for a mafia of international capital.
Because of the chauvinistic lens through which those in the colonizing countries are conditioned to view history, this basic reality is predominantly rejected in our discourse. You only need to look at Zionism, and our political mainstream's refusal to advocate for Israel's abolition even when recognizing Israel's atrocities, to see this dynamic in the modern day. But there are ways to unlearn this supremacist worldview, studying colonialism's crimes being a starting point. It's because I was taught about the California genocide as a kid that I grew up to recognize how the area I live in is under settler-colonial occupation, and how having the tribes regain full jurisdiction is an integral part of establishing socialism under my conditions. Anti-colonialism is essential for a Marxist-Leninist analysis, because Leninism is about defeating imperialism and imperialism is capitalism's means for survival. That applies to internal imperialism, like the kind the U.S. empire's occupied nations are subjected to.
The reactionaries act like colonialism is irrelevant and in the past, but in both the settler-colonial countries and the neo-colonies, the extractive relations that it established are still here. Like the Native and African nations continue to be imprisoned by the occupier, most of Asia, Africa, and Latin America continue to be exploited by the original colonizing powers. And if these powers got their way, Russia, China, and Eurasia's other anti-imperialist countries would become exploited as well. Washington's project to use Ukraine as a tool for throwing Eurasia into chaos is an attempt to finish what Hitler started, which was the genocide and colonization of the Eurasian population.
The Nazi campaign to depopulate the Slavs and settle the eastern landmass, directly inspired by America's indigenous genocide, led to the deaths of 27 million Russians. The Russians beat back Hitler's invasion, but they still haven't recovered from this crime against them, as Russia's population continues to drop due to how gargantuan the World War II casualties were. The guiding ideology of the Ukrainian ultra-nationalist regime is informed by Nazism, and is why Kiev has been threatening to ethnically cleanse the Donbass, banning the use of the Russian language in public life, glorifying Nazi collaborators, facilitating racially motivated atrocities by the militias, and shelling the Donbass to cruel effect for the last eight years. They've been trying to forcibly relocate the Russian speakers to Russia so that those considered to be the true "Ukrainians" can settle on the leftover land. And if they were to get the rest of what they want, they would carry out mass extermination within Russia itself so that they can expand the master race's territory.
The imperialists are trying to turn the Russians into a colonized people, which they would practically be able to accomplish by applying the Yugoslavia model: break up a country into several pieces, install puppet regimes in the different sections, and open up markets to western capital. Then it would be on to the colonization of China, then to the northern half of Korea, then to socialist Vietnam and Laos. The imperialists won't be satisfied until absolutely no one is able to be politically or economically autonomous, because capital requires endless expansion into new markets.
Washington is backing Ukraine's Nazis because the two share a goal: to turn Russians into a subjugated group. Because the imperialists have used fascism as their instrument for doing this, that mission will entail mass extermination if it's able to be carried out. The U.S. empire and its apologists have shown they're willing to overlook every atrocity fascist Ukraine has committed, so much that they try to discredit their own human rights NGOs for exposing Ukraine's war crimes. There's no limit to what they'll excuse from Kiev, like there's no limit to what the Zionists will excuse from Israel. They don't care how huge the human cost is, as long as the targeted peoples are subdued to make way for manifest destiny. It's American settler-colonialism's logic applied to the rest of the globe.
Already, so many have suffered and died due to the horrors Washington has engineered in Ukraine. In the recently recaptured territories alone, Kiev has placed the residents in danger of fascist forces which are known to carry out brutal extrajudicial punishments. But Russia is on its way towards demilitarizing the regime, and the guidance of Marxism-Leninism has helped make this possible. At least in terms of the pressure that the communists have helped provide for the government to take military action. After the 2014 coup, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation concluded that from a communist perspective, the kind of action Russia is now carrying out would be necessary and justified:
The situation calls for vigorous support of the political forces, non-governmental groups that come out in defense of the historical friendship between our peoples. A green light should be given to all the initiatives aimed at supporting our fellow countrymen in Ukraine, initiatives of the Russian regions aimed at strengthening bilateral cooperation. We must alleviate the lot of the political refugees from Ukraine, its politicians and public figures and members of the law enforcement bodies who would seek refuge in Russia from persecution by extremists. Russia must resolutely condemn the sweeping removal of the monuments to the liberator warriors who vanquished the fascist plague, the magnificent monuments to our common history. If the Russian leadership fails to react to the events in Ukraine or shows a lack of will it will become the next victim. The West is already preparing forces and means for that and a "fifth column" has already been formed inside Russia. We call on all the responsible patriotic forces of Russia to unite and show solidarity with the fraternal people of Ukraine.
Operation Z is not Putin's operation. As a personality, he's irrelevant to it from a materialist standpoint, because any country in Russia's situation would be doing this. Putin is only the one who happened to be in power when the intervention inevitably occurred. Operation Z is the Russian people's operation, an effort by a people who've been targeted by colonialism to not let the colonial powers and their fascist Kiev proxies complete the colonization process. The CPRF advocated for something like Z because Marxism, and Marxism-Leninism even more explicitly, recognize the need for armed resistance against oppression. Whether it's the proletariat waging guerrilla warfare against a capitalist state, or an oppressed nation waging war against an oppressor nation, or a past victim of a colonization attempt waging war against a country that's been taken over by imperialist puppets. Whenever the conditions call for it, we must be willing to engage in such struggle against the forces of reaction. That's the essence of Leninism, the militant, scientifically based tool that the world's oppressed and exploited peoples have for smashing imperialism.