Russian Elections

Richard Bos Richard.Bos at
Sun Jun 30 07:35:56 MDT 1996

I do not know if you have had much discussion about the situation in
Russia before I subscribed to the list, but I have included a couple of
editorials from the New Worker newspaper that may interest people on the
"list". Apologies that this is not all my own work,I am not a writer,but
as time goes on I hope the standard of my contributions will unprove.

                         New Worker 21st June

       Yeltsin falters

THE FIRST stage of the Russian presidential elections has left Boris
Yeltsin neck and neck with the communist-backed challenger, Gennady
 The final round will be a straight contest between Yeltsin and Zyuganov
early in July. In the meantime Yeltsin's been shuffling the chairs in the
Kremlin, sacking General Grachev, the Defence Minister, to make room for
General Lebed, who took 15 per cent of the vote in the first round.
 Though both front-runners came nowhere near the 50 per cent needed to
win the presidency outright first time, Zyuganov will be well pleased at
the turn-out for his platform. The leader of the Communist Party of the
Russian Federation was just pipped by Yeltsin, in the face of a barrage
of pro-Yeltsin propaganda churned out by the Russian media. And the
traitor Mikhail Gorbachov will have to go back to his American spealdng
tours to eam a crust following his humiliating vote of less than half a
per cent.
 All four of them campaigned on different platforms but they have at
least two things in common. The first is that they were all leading
members of the communist party when it was in power. The second is that
none of them are communists now.
 There's no doubt where Yeltsin stands. He's based his whole post-Soviet
career on anti-communism, putting himself to the head of Russia's spiv
class -- the profiteers, gangsters and drug-lords who run the country for
the benefit of the western corporations and the White House.
 General Alexander Lebed is from another stable. He made his name as a
Red Army commander in the Afghan campaign and now campaigns on a "law and
order" ticket. His avowed admiration of General Pinochet's dictatorship
in Chile leaves no-one in doubt of the sort of Russia he wants to see in
the future.
 Gennady Zyuganov however heads a "communist" party, his platform is
endorsed by the Russian Communist Workers' Party and other genuine
communists. And most of people who voted for him want a return to the
peace and prosperity they once had in the former Soviet Union.
 Zyuganov does little to dispel their illusions when he's on the campaign
trail. But when he talks to western bankers and politicians he makes it
plain that he's committed to the "market economy" reforms and he likes to
call himself a "social-democrat" -- which, in fact, is all he is. This is
why another of Russia's genuine communist forces, Nina Andreyeva's
All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks, has refused to give him any
 If Yeltsin loses in July -- and that's still a very big if -- it will
mean the defeat of the most reactionary elements in Russian society. But
they won't simply vanish just because their top man loses an election --
nor will the country suddenly transform if Zyuganov wins.
 Parties led by former communists have recently formed govemments in
eastern Europe. But in Poland or Hungary today little has changed. Like
our westem social-democrats they talk about social justice and welfare
but in practice they are pursuing the same capitalist agenda set by the
counter-revolutions in 1989 and 1990.
 They get away with it because the communist movement in eastem Europe is
still weak.That's not the case in Russia today.
 The campaign to get Yeltsin out is developing into a struggle for the
restoration of socialism in Russia involving millions upon millions of
Russia's workers and peasants. They've been crucified by the "reforms".
Workers don't get paid. Collective farmers are being ruined.Millions are
out of work and the health service has collapsed. The big cities have
been turned over to organised crime and civil war rages in Chechenia.
 Capitalism hasn't solved Russia's problems, nor will it ever do so in
the future. Only by returning to the socialist road charted by Lenin and
Stalin will the Russian masses regain their freedom.
 Zyuganov's communist party is indeed led by the same people who went
along with Gorbachov's treachery in the first place. But millions of
rank-and-file members are voting for the restoration of Soviet power and
socialism. They're taking the socialist call to the streets throughout
Russia. And so are the communists in the Russian Communist Workers Party
and the Bolsheviks.
 The destiny of Russia and all the countries of the former Soviet Union
will ultimately be decided by the communists and the workers and peasants
who produce all the wealth of the land -- not the Yeltsins and Lebeds who
strut the stage today.

                         New Worker 28th June

Zyuganov retreats in Moscow

The leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Gennady
Zyuganov, has called on Yeltsin's blok to join him in a grand coalition
in advance of the second round
presidential ballot. Zyuganov's offer, which has not been taken up, shows
that he doesn't think he can beat Yeltsin in's straight race in July.
 He could win if he rallied the millions of Russian workers and peasants
who want Soviet power restored. But Zyuganov plainly tuled out that
option with his appeal for a "national peace pact" with the forces that
broke up the old Soviet Union and brought Russia to its knees. Nor has he
any enthusiasm for a return to genuine socialism, whatever he may say on
the campaign trail.
 Millions of Russian workers and peasants voted for socialism when they
went to the polls two weeks ago. But socialism has to be fought for and
the struggle in Russia has only just begun.

                         Best wishes

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