If you read the statements of many of the communist parties (of which I was a member and leader for many years), they argue that Putin’s actions should be understood as defensive and reactive to NATO’s expansion rather than a reckless and empire aggrandizing gambit by Putin. In their analysis, the Ukrainian people – fighting, dying, fleeing – aren’t invisible, but they aren’t the primary in the narrative either.

Moreover, Ukraine’s fledgling democracy barely appears. Meanwhile, Lenin’s insistence on the right to national self determination – supposedly a core principal of the communist movement – receives no mention, except as an explanation legitimizing the formation of breakaway separatists republics in the Donbass region.

In this interpretation, responsibility for the conflict’s origins and consequences rests on the shoulders of Biden and NATO. Putin, in this telling, was pushed into a corner and had few options but to invade Ukraine. His hand, in effect, was forced. Never was any thought given to the possibility that NATO’s expansion as unwise and provocative as it was might serve as a cover for Putin’s own expansionist/empire building plans. Even Putin’s decision to place Russia’s nuclear forces on alert didn’t seem to stir much concern or reappraisal of his designs and motives.

When they finally opposed Putin’s aggression, and it was late, they, nevertheless, repeated his false political characterization of Ukraine and its government as nothing more than a cesspool of Nazis and fascists. To cap things off, the belligerent and chauvinist statement of the leader of the Russian Communist Party was met, from what I can see, with silence or tacit approval.

Not a good showing.