Marxism and the war in Donbass

By Victor Shapinov
Union Borotba (Struggle)

Borotba is often criticized for supporting the Donbass people’s republics, for the fact that our comrades fight in the militia and assist the peaceful nation-building in Lugansk (LC) and Donetsk (DNR). This criticism is heard not only from those former leftists who succumbed to nationalist fervor and supported first Maidan, then Kiev’s war of conquest in the Donbass. Others criticize us and from the standpoint of “Marxist pacifism,” calling themselves “the new Zimmerwald.”

“War is nothing more than the continuation of policy by other means,” wrote the military theorist Carl von Clausewitz. This statement is recognized approvingly by the classics of Marxism. 

What are the policies continued by Kiev and Donbass? To justify a “neutral” position, the imaginary “Zimmerwaldists” try to prove that these policies are the same. “All cats are gray” – that’s the apex of their “Marxist” wisdom.

The World War of 1914-1918 was really a continuation of the same policies by Britain, France, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia – policies of colonial plunder, the struggle for colonies and markets, the fight for the destruction of imperialist competitors. The Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905 was a continuation of the same policies.

However, it would be foolish to argue that there could be a civil war where the parties are continuing the same policy. The essence of civil war is to impose one’s policies on the enemy, to break the political force and suppress the social classes or layers that conduct this policy. North and South Vietnam carried out different policies, resulting in a civil war. Different policies are also carried out, for example, by the regime of Bashar al-Assad and the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda and other Islamists in Syria. Different policies guided the Spanish Republic and Franco in the years 1936-1939. Different policies were pursued by Muammar Gaddafi and his opponents in the civil war in Libya in 2011.

So the civil war in Ukraine is not a continuation of the same policy. What are the different policies of Kiev and Donbass?


Visenya Targaryen, the elder sister-queen of Aegon the Conqueror. She was a fierce warrior, wielding the Valyrian sword Dark Sister. True to form, her dark, passionate temperament made her the more enigmatic queen. She rode the dragon Vhagar, with whom she fought alongside her siblings and their respective dragons–Aegon and his Balerion, Rhaenys and her Meraxes–at the Field of Fire, where all three unleashed their power to secure Targaryen victory. The Arryns of the Vale surrendered to her; their fleet burned at Gulltown, and their stronghold relinquished bloodlessly. Lords of Cracklaw Point bent the knee. Maegor I, otherwise known as Maegor the Cruel, was her son, the third Targaryen king of Westeros.


The boy-king Ronnel Arryn and his mother Sharra Arryn, his Queen Regent, had ruled over the Kingdom of the Vale during the War of Conquest. Sharra was considered one of the most beautiful women of Westeros. When Aegon sought to conquer the Seven Kingdoms, she offered him her hand in marriage if he would declare Ronnel his heir. He refused, and in the battles that came after, Sharra stood firm. The Arryn fleet won against Targaryen ships at the Battle of Gulltown. In retaliation, Aegon sent his sister-wife Visenya. Riding Vhagar, her dragon, Visenya burned the Arryn fleet at anchor. Sharra refused to bend the knee. She amassed the strength of the Vale at the Bloody Gate, expecting an onslaught from the Targaryens. However, defeat was not in blood but in coercion: through the boy-king himself. With the army diverted from the Eyrie, Visenya flew Vhagar into the very heart of the stronghold. Sharra returned to her son sitting on Visenya’s lap, enchanted by the sight of Vhagar in the courtyard. Sharra bent the knee, and the Eyrie fell without a fight.

(with Rosamund Pike as Visenya Targaryen.)

Visenya Targaryen was the older of King Aegon I Targaryen’s sisters-wives. During the War of Conquest, she rode her dragon, Vhagar, to battle.

Aegon’s eldest sister Visenya was a passionate, temperamental woman. She was both stern and sensual, with a dark and unforgiving side. Visenya was a warrior, more comfortable in ringmail than in silk. She was described as having a “harsh beauty” and was reputed to have dabbled in sorcery.  

Visenya wielded the Valyrian steel sword Dark Sister. She is mainly remembered and respected as a strong, capable warrior, something few women are acknowledged as in Westerosi history.


Mariya Martell, the Princess of Dorne, was an old woman during the War of Conquest–called "The Yellow Toad of Dorne" by Argilac Durrendon, the Storm King. When Aegon Targaryen came with his dragons, Mariya promised the might of Dorne if she would be delivered the fall of the House of Durrendon–sword and steed, bearing the sun and spear of her house–yet she refused to bend the knee. She offered only her allegiance, and no more. The Targaryens wanted absolute surrender. Rhaenys, Aegon’s sister-queen, led the invasion of Dorne. Masters of their land, the Dornishmen retaliated with petty skirmishes that plagued the Targaryen army, only to retreat, hide, and attack anew when they found the opportunity. Their enemies elusive, Rhaenys finally flew to Sunspear on her dragon Meraxes, and there demanded the princess’ surrender. She refused. Rhaenys promised to return, to destroy them with fire and blood. Unbowed, unbent, unbroken, said the princess, and since then Dorne had remained free and independent of the Iron Throne.

(with Lea Seydoux as Rhaenys Targaryen)

Ours is the Fury

It was a celebration of red and black that hung in the halls of Storm’s End, a feast to honor Aegon the Conqueror and his sister-wives. The air was thick with Targaryens, the smell of dragon smoke and victory. Three-headed dragon sigils had taken the place of the stags, as if the creatures had been devoured completely. Orys Baratheon was at her side as always, heating up the blood of the defeated Storm Queen into an internal tempest. He was smiling, laughing with Queen Rhaenys, and they were so close. If Argella had the courage, she could stab one of them. But the Targaryen king was ever watchful.

“When shall we expect a wedding?” Aegon asked Orys. It was the first time Argella had ever seen the man blush. “If I recall, you were quite taken with her when you saw her portrait. What’s been the delay?”

Orys’ shook his head, “It seemed too cruel. Her father-”

“Enough time has passed my friend, you have been very considerate. But it would serve you better to take her claim soon,” said Aegon. 

There was never enough wine for situations like these, but Argella tried her best to down as much as she could. Tears were already swimming in her eyes, her throat was catching. She turned a thunderous gaze towards her sovereign. “Your highness, I am unwell. Do forgive my departure,” she said and stormed out, almost knocking her chair over. The last that she saw of that glittering scene was Orys’ concerned face.

It was dark, cold, and blue as she raced almost sightlessly up the steps to the castle tower.  She climbed onto the large window and looked out at the night, the icy moon peered from the clouds above, and the heaving sea swirled below. The waves’ roars echoed serenely through her, as it had always did. When she was a child there had been no loss. Her father was there, the kingdom was there. Now Argella was merely a guest in her own home, forced to spend day after day with the man who had taken everything. It would have been easier if Orys treated her roughly, if he’d been cruel. She could hate him as much as she wanted and she’d try to kill him at every opportunity. There’d be nothing to live for, and she wouldn’t have to be so tormented by the kindness in his eyes.

She could end it all now if she wanted, finally alone with the ocean. The wind tugged at her gown, just one step into the air-


He had followed her. Argella turned to look, Orys had been running, eyes wide with panic.

“Don’t come any closer,” she said. He obeyed, hands raised and empty.

“It wouldn’t be so bad if we were married,” he said soothingly. “You’d still remain here, with everything you could possibly need. Nothing else will be taken from you again, Argella. You will be honored all your life with a family to comfort you.” 

Argella felt her hands loosen on the window frame, so she forced a laugh. “Those are the cunning words of a captor. Have you not shamed me twice over with your chivalry? You know what has been done to me. How can you, as a man, say such things?”

The sadness that came over Orys tasted bitter in Argella’s tongue. It wasn’t fair that he too could show such cloudy-eyed grief. “As a man, I would love you if you’d let me.”

It really was too much, Argella turned away to hide her tears. Those soft words were as sharp as a blade into her longing. She poised to jump when Orys’ arms hooked around her waist and dragged her backwards. Argella stumbled, held fast in his arms.

“Please,” she felt him beg, his face buried in her hair, “My brave, brave, Storm Queen, I would love you. I’ll treat you well, I’ll adopt your sigil. Ours is the Fury. Please.”

Argella tore herself away and looked at him. He was so beautiful in the dark. He was everything. She threw herself at Orys, meeting his startled lips with her hungry mouth. They kissed hard and deeply. She held him close, his arms slid around her waist. At long last, they came up for air and he wiped the tears off her cheeks. It was the second time their faces had been so near each other’s. The first had been when Orys threw his cloak around her naked body. He’d knelt before her trembling form and called her brave. He’d been so gentle. 

Orys kissed Argella again, so tenderly she could cry. Their breaths were filled with wine, the warm fragrance of its spices ran down both their throats. The kisses that followed pattered upon her lips as softly as rain. His thumb moved across her cheek, and Argella imagined that it left a streak of blood. She pushed Orys away.

“You killed my father. You stole my freedom. I cannot shame the House of Durrendon by marrying his killer. A bastard no less.”

“You can and you will,” came a voice from the entrance. “Had Argilac not dishonored one of the best men in Westeros, he would still be alive. This marriage was inevitable.” Aegon the Conquerer held his torch up at the couple. “It’s hardly good manners to abandon your guests, brother.”

“I was worried about her,” Orys said.

“That is your right. But if this so-called Storm Queen is as strong and noble as you have claimed, she will do what is best, and marry you without a fuss.” Aegon walked towards Argella. “Do not presume that your honor is any greater for being highborn. Orys is the finest man you will ever know, and if you dare insult this dragon for the means of his birth, I will have your tongue.”


“You don’t frighten me,” Argella said. “I will not be compelled into marriage, your highness. When I choose to wed Orys, it will be because I want him.”

The king glanced at this commander. “Do you want him?”

Argella looked down. “Yes.” It was barely audible, but it was enough to satisfy. Aegon nodded and moved to depart.

“I trust both of you will come down?” he said.

“Soon,” Orys replied. The firelight vanished down the stairs. With the light went the warmth they had felt in each other’s arms. The night felt darker, and both felt lonelier. The sound of the waves filled the tower.

Orys had not heard Argella’s reply, and his expression made her heart ache. “If I could, I’d bring your father back,” he said. “If it would make you smile.” He received no answer from the Storm Queen, so he took her hand and led her to the stairs. The moon watched them go, Argella looked back. The pure whiteness of it seemed an omen of hope. In the end she knew she really had no choice but marry to the bastard dragon. 

When he squeezed her hand, it squeezed her breath, making her blood quicken along. When they reached the foot of the stairs she squeezed his hand back. When those indigo eyes turned her way, she smiled. It was a small one, a half smile, all that she could give. “I’m sorry,” she said.

“Don’t be. It seems baseborn men have no place anywhere.” Orys was startled to find himself embraced, and was reluctant to allow himself hope by reciprocating. She smelled of wind and lightning, he of smoke and wine. He gave up his resistance, intoxicated. They stood together, half in light and shadows as the sky beyond began to rumble.


Aegon the Conqueror, Aegon The Dragon, Aegon Targaryen the first of his name. He, with his two sister wives Visenya and Rhaenys, conquered six of the seven kingdoms of Westeros. It was said that for every night he spent with Visenya, who was as passionate as she was temperamental, he spent ten with Rhaenys. The majority of the Targaryen line descends from Aegon and Rhaenys, Daenerys Targaryen being the last. However, Visenya and Aegon’s only son Maegor the Cruel is responsible for spreading the Targaryen blood line throughout major houses of Westeros due to his insistence of having multiple wives outside of the Targaryen line.


Widely known as a tyrant, Harren Hoare or Harren the Black was King of the Riverlands and the Iron Isles during the War of Conquest. When Aegon invaded Westeros, the Riverlands were the first to be scorched by dragon fire. Harren saw the completion of Harrenhal, the greatest of the strongholds of Westeros, for which Weirwood trees were felled in order to be built. Confident in the strength of its walls, Harren was undeterred by the small Targaryen army and refused to bend the knee. Aegon destroyed Harrenhal with his dragon, burning Harren and his entire house within its walls. Aegon awarded the Iron Islands to House Greyjoy and the Riverlands to House Tully, and both swore fealty to the Iron Throne.

(with Simon Woods as Aegon Targaryen.)


War of Conquest

Orys was the rumored bastard half-brother of Aegon I Targaryen. He was one of Aegon’s fiercest commanders and was regarded as Aegon’s only true friend.

During the War of Conquest Orys and Rhaenys Targaryen with her dragon were tasked with taking Storm’s End. The Storm King, Argilac Durrendon rode out to give open battle. Orys slew Argilac the Arrogant, the last Storm King.

After the battle, Argella Durrendon, the daughter of Argilac, declared herself the Storm Queen and continued to hold Storm’s End until her household turned against her. They delivered her to Orys, naked and chained. Orys, however, covered her with his cloak and treated her chivalrously.

Aegon rewarded Orys with Storm’s End. Orys took Argella as his wife and adopted the stag banner, honors and words of the Durrendons, Ours is the Fury, forming House Baratheon.

Vhagar, Conquest of the Vale

The head of House Arryn, King of Mountain and Vale was a young boy, Ronnel Arryn. His mother, Sharra Arryn, ruled as regent. She sent a massive army to the Bloody Gate and then she returned to the Eyrie for safety. Visenya Targaryen simply rode her dragon, Vhagar, up into the courtyard of the Eyrie. The regent then rushed outside to see the young king seated on the dragon begging for a ride. The regent acknowledged King Aegon’s supremacy, and the young king got his ride (x).


Fancast Meme: Five Canon Historical Figures (3-4/5):

Eva Green as Argella Durrandon 
Liam McIntyre as Orys Baratheon

During the War of Conquest, Orys Baratheon, Aegon I’s bastard half-brother, was charged with taking Storm’s End.  He slew the Storm King, Argilac Durrandon in open combat.  In response, Argilac’s daughter Argella declared herself Storm Queen and refused to yield.  Not wanting to share the same fate as Harrenhal, her people turned on her.  They delivered her naked in chains to Orys.  He gave her his cloak and treated her with kindness.  When Aegon named him the Lord of Storm’s End, Orys married Argella, and adopted the family sigil, colors, and words, “Ours is the fury.”  Together they founded House Baratheon. 

Aegon I Targaryen by Feliche

When King Harren refused to surrender, Aegon used his dragon to overcome Harrenhal’s defenses and burned Harren and his sons alive in what was later called Kingspyre Tower. The remaining ironborn fled back to the Iron Islands, Aegon hounded them all the way back with the aid of the Riverlords, where he demanded their fealty. The ironborn elected Lord Vickon Greyjoy of Pyke to lead them, and Greyjoy and Tully were among the first to swear their fealty to Aegon.

Text Source: A Wiki of Ice and Fire


Mern XI Gardener was the King of the Reach and the Lord of Highgarden during the War of Conquest. He defied Aegon the Conqueror, and allied himself with Loren Lannister, the King of the Rock, to face the invaders in open battle. The combined might of the Reach and the Rock defeated the Targaryen army, until Aegon and his sisters Rhaenys and Visenya unleashed their dragons in what has since been called the Field of Fire. Defeated, Loren Lannister bent the knee. Mern Gardener died, and his house died with him.

(with Simon Woods as Aegon Targaryen.)