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Communist presidential contender unveils 20-step program to spur growth in Russia

Pavel Grudinin pledges that his program will help overcome poverty and ensure a decent standard of living for all Russians

MOSCOW, January 11. /TASS/. The Russian Communist Party’s presidential candidate Pavel Grudinin has announced his 20-step program that will make Russia strong and powerful again, overcome poverty and ensure a decent standard of living for all of its citizens.

The program’s initial points are devoted to "changing the country’s economic strategy" and "restoring Russia’s economic sovereignty." "Our priority will be the prosperity of the general public…We will make Russia’s riches, its natural, industrial and financial resources serve its people, we will nationalize strategically important and systemic industries, the power sector, railways, communications systems and leading banks," said the document published on the party’s official website on Thursday.

The state will also restore monopoly on ethyl alcohol’s wholesale, the program pledges.

If Grudinin wins Russia’s March 2018 presidential election, his team plans to "limit the access of foreign speculative capital to the Russian market." "We will withdraw from the World Trade Organization…We will use credit resources to cultivate the economy, and for this aim we will cut interest rates, put an end to wild capital outflow, and focus on investing all available assets into domestic production and people," it said.

Economic modernization and industrialization will rely on science and new technologies, the candidate vowed.

Grudinin’s team expects that Russia’s food security will be ensured by the steady development of villages. At least 10% of budget funds will be allocated for this objective. "Our historic goal is to ensure the rebirth of a provincial Russia," Grudinin said.

The presidential candidate’s plan is also to streamline the possibilities of regional budget and support small towns and villages.

The presidential contender also plans to control prices on key foodstuffs and essentials, and on public utilities rates too, which should not exceed 10% of any family income.

Taxes will be distributed "for the sake of justice and development," the candidate said. "Income taxes will grow for the rich and will be abolished for the poor. The tax system will encourage investment and innovative activity of enterprises and a value-added tax that is stifling industry will be eliminated," he promised.

The country’s minimum wage will be 25,000 rubles ($438), Grudinin said, also promising "decent" retirement benefits for citizens.

Grudinin’s team also vows to increase Russia’s combat readiness and guarantee national security and fair trials. "The president will be controlled by and accountable to the people and the parliament. The impeachment procedure will be also simplified. No one will have the right to serve as president for more than two four-year terms during their entire life," the program assured.

A Supreme State Council will be set up and no important presidential decision will be taken without its approval.

The quality of public administration will be enhanced by expanding the president’s responsibility for forming the cabinet of ministers and the government’s accountability for their actions. "All candidates for ministerial posts will be validated by the president in public," the document said.

Grudinin’s nomination

Grudinin, 57, who had led the Lenin State Farm on the outskirts of Moscow since 1995, was surprisingly nominated as the presidential candidate from Russia’s Communist Party, and left-wing and national-patriotic forces at the Communists’ convention on December 23, 2017.

His program resembles the Communist Party’s program "10 steps towards a decent living standard" unveiled for their 2016 parliamentary campaign.