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Russian Communist Party brings young blood in its leadership, leaving self-perpetuating leader at helm of party

February 25, 2013, 14:03 UTC+3 Alexandrova Lyudmila

The Russian Communist Party, which is well-integrated in the Russian political system and is quite suitable for the Russian state authorities, does not want drastic changes yet, including in its staff. The 15th anniversary congress of the Russian Communist Party, which was held last weekend, showed this fact. The party has just marked its 20th anniversary. The rumours, about a split in the party, were not confirmed. These false reports arise regularly ahead of party’s congresses. Self-perpetuating leader of the party Gennady Zyuganov, 66, did not resign.

Long before the congress some predictions were made public in the media that the leadership of the Communist Party will face the counteraction of the opposition inside the party. Former member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of Gorbachev’s era Yegor Ligachev became a mouthpiece of the opposition, as the latter criticized the leadership of the Communist Party for bourgeois moods and opportunism. The Communist opposition members urged the delegates of the congress to vote against the re-election of Zyuganov. However, skilful top party functionary Zyuganov was re-elected as the leader of the party for next four years.

Meanwhile, the problem of ageing in the party staff became the keynote of the congress. The Communists were boasting that they succeeded to reshuffle the leadership of the party by 20% mainly from young party members. Although, the Central Committee of the Communist Party has rejuvenated by one third, as Gennady Zyuganov demanded it, the Central Committee did not undergo any qualitative renovation. But there was no alternative for Gennady Zyuganov again. He remained the Communist leader for next four years.

Meanwhile, some members of the Communist Party acknowledged at the congress all the same that the party is running a fever. For instance, chairman of the central auditing committee Vladimir Nikitin stated that there were some attempts to split the ranks of the Communist Party before and they continued up to the recent forum. In his words, “the enemies found their supporters in the Central Committee of the party, and those initiated the introduction in a new draft charter of the Communist Party such amendments, which can reduce the role of the auditing committee and remove this barrier at all, as it hampers them to infect our party with the same disease, of which the Communist Party of the Soviet Union collapsed.”

“The enemies” were named concretely and expelled. Yegor Ligachev and other splitters, including Vladimir Ulas, who was among the main critics of the top leadership of the party, were expelled from the Central Committee of the Communist Party.

The congress set the tasks for the future, particularly orient at young party members, enrol more women in the ranks of the party and create “a pool of red bloggers”, learning the capabilities of the Internet propaganda.

The attention of the Russian state authorities to the congress of their political opponents was noted by the participation of head of the Domestic Policy Directorate of the Russian presidential administration Oleg Morozov. He read out to the Communists a message of greetings from President Vladimir Putin. The president “has the respect to the fact that the Communist Party invariably gives attention to such publicly important issues, as the protection of social labour rights of people, the support to education and science, production industries and agriculture, the ensuring of the defence capability and the build-up of the Russian Armed Forces and patriotic education of the younger generation.”

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev sent a congratulatory telegram to the participants in the congress.

Despite this close attention of the state authorities Gennady Zyuganov traditionally criticized “the anti-people rule”, as he did so in the times of Russia’s first President Boris Yeltsin. Joseph Stalin prevailed among authoritative figures of the Marxism-Leninism teaching, which the Communist leader cited.

The nostalgia of the Communists for the Socialism in the Soviet times surprised some foreign guests, who represented Communist and leftist parties from 95 countries at the congress. “We take negatively the experience of the Socialism in the Soviet Union,” representative of the Japanese Communist Party Minoru Tagawa told the Kommersant daily. He did not expect that the Communist Party “will be speaking so much about Stalin.”

No one will manage to replace Zyuganov in the near future, the experts believe. President of the Institute of National Strategy Mikhail Remizov, who is cited by the RBC daily, believes that Zyuganov is developing the relations in the Communist Party in the way to secure its leadership. “For him his stronger positions are more important that the strengthening of the party,” the political expert believes.

There is no split in the Communist Party, deputy director of the Political Technologies Centre Alexei Makarkin, who is cited by the Novye Izvestia daily, believes. “For a split it is needed so that a large number of people will quit the party and so that whole regional offices of the party have split from the party,” the expert explained. “The Central Committee of the party should have just an equal number of members with the opposite position. Now the party leadership made short work with the opponents very quickly,” he said.

“The point is that Zyuganov is an optimal and comfortable figure for the party. On the one side, he is an experienced party functionary, on the other hand, capable to get in contact with the state authorities Zyuganov shows the tricks of juggling. But the party is getting old, and this practice is leading to a deadlock for the Russian Communist Party,” Makarkin believes.


MOSCOW, February 25