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A Just Russia and the Communist Party refuse to have anything to do with the protest movement

October 29, 2012, 14:39 UTC+3

Experts say the parliament opposition has refused any ties with street protesters due to safety reasons

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The parliament’s leftist opposition has virtually refused to have anything to do with the protest movement – this is what comes from the decisions take by steering bodies of A Just Russia and the Communist Party this weekend. These parties however would not mind to draw “people from Bolotnaya Square.” A Just Russia for these ends has proposed an idea of “social democracy,” while the Communists stick to “Marxism-Leninism.” At an A Just Russia plenary meeting on Saturday, the party’s ideologist Sergei Mironov threw his fellow party members into a tough choice – either to work for the party or to opt for street protest movement. Experts say the parliament opposition has refused any ties with street protesters due to safety reasons – such tactics seems to be much safer in conditions of subsiding protest activity.

“Each part member must make a very simple choice: where he or she belongs to – either to the party working on a socio-democratic platform or to those who are dreaming to even liberal scores and are seeking petty riots,” the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper cites Mironov as saying. “If someone finds it difficult to make a choice our party will have to decide whom to side with.” Moreover, according to Mironov, such moods negatively told on the results of regional elections in Russia in October. Although, the party’s leader, Nikolai Levichev, voiced disagreement with Mironov, saying that the party’s inferior results at the latest elections stemmed rather from a weak regional component than from influences of retrograde moods inside the party.

After the party conference, Levichev vowed to make necessary personnel and organizational changes in the nearest future, writes the Nezavisimaya Gazeta. Gennady and Dmitry Gudkovs and Ilya Ponomaryov were offered to disarm in the face of the party. But, judging from Internet comments of those involved in the “case of the radicals,” they are not going to do that. Gudkov senior has already said he was ready to quit the party but on one principal condition – at a party congress. Levichev was quick to respond – the party is going to convene no congress in order to please the radicals.

It is obvious for Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov that the authorities have ventured “a political counter attack” because “the last winter’s protest movement” demonstrated it only too well that Marches of Millions were failing to draw millions, the Kommersant writes. Deputy chairman of the party’s central committee Vladimir Kashin, who heads the party’s “united headquarters of protest actions,” has pledged that it will be the Communist Party that “will be the centre of the unification of all honest-minded people, including those who used to come to Bolotnaya Square.” Kashin set his “headquarters,” which is only known for meeting in Moscow every Tuesday, off against “a small group of people who wilfully assumed the name of the opposition coordinating council.” Communists have had their “headquarters” for 15 years running. All it has managed to do is to organize three annual mass actions: on November 7 – to commemorate the October Revolution of 1917; on May 1 – to mark the Labour Day; and on May 9 – to commemorate the victory in WWII.

Parliamentary Leftists have denounced any ties with the off-parliament opposition “due to purely practical considerations but not because of any ideological difference with certain liberals from the opposition’s coordinating council,” the Kommersant cites Yuri Korgunyuk, an expert from the INDEM Centre. According to Korgunyuk, “the protest activities are subsiding, so its support is bringing no political benefits other than strained relations with the authorities.” Now, he forecasts, both parties “will focus on legislative work in the Duma; will make a fuss on every slightest occasion that, as a matter of fact, are of no significance for the bulk of the voters.”

Having disassociated themselves from street protesters, A Just Russia seeks to “sooth their fellow party members whom the party’s finances depend on,” according to Boris Makarenko, the chairman of the board of the Centre for Political Technologies. In the mean time, Communists will be able to “speak about the revolution and Marxism-Leninism, doing nothing at all,” said political scientist Sergei Chernyakhovsky.

Meanwhile, the majority of experts seem to be sure: as soon as the protest movement regains its force, A Just Russian members will again put on white ribbons, as their entire Duma faction did last spring, and the Communist “headquarters” will commission their supporters to wave red flags on Bolotnaya Square.

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