Political Report of the Central Committee to the 15th Congress of the CPRF
Preparing for the 15th Party Congress, the Presidium of the CC CPRF has decided to publish for a broad discussion the draft Political Report of the Central Committee to the Party Congress. We invite all the Communists, Party supporters and all the country’s citizens to acquaint themselves with our position on international issues and the internal and foreign policy of Russia. The remarks and proposals made during the discussion will be taken into account in finalizing the document at the Plenary Session of the CC CPRF on the eve of the Congress.
Submitted by the Presidium of the CC to the Central Committee of the CPRF
Esteemed participants in the Congress,
We are holding our 15th Congress twenty years after our party came back into being. We are reviewing the results of the work of the Central Committee at a juncture when the time perspective is sufficient for us to make important generalizations and provide comprehensive assessments of the social-economic and political processes in the country and the world. We have an opportunity to analyze not only the events of the last four years, but of a more significant stretch of time.
What is a period of two decades? Within exactly twenty years Soviet Russia, having risen from the ruins of the First World War and the Civil War, built a mighty industrial and culturally advanced power that proved capable of destroying Hitler’s ruthless machine. In the grim year 1941 the Red Army, the heroism of our fathers and grandfathers stopped the onslaught of the fascist beast, and in 1961 Yuri Gagarin was already looking at the Earth from outer space. In the early 1970s the Soviet Union achieved nuclear missile parity and confidently declared the emergence of a new historical community, the Soviet people, but twenty years later the hands of traitors and demagogues destroyed the mainstays of the great country. The world is capable of changing dramatically within twenty years. This is what we are witnessing today. We are in a position to assess our own path and the entire historical period.
The second Extraordinary Congress of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation opened outside Moscow on February 13, 1993. Nearly a year and a half after the ban the CC RSFSR declared the resumption of our party’s activities. A Programme Statement, a Charter and a number of resolutions were passed. These documents provided the foundation for the restoration and creation of primary, city and district, okrug and oblast, regional, territorial and republican organizations of the CPRF.
It will be remembered that in recreating the party we were writing our Programme which began with the statement that the fundamental argument between capitalism and socialism is not over. At the time the wounds and scars of the ban on the CPSU were still fresh. Time had not yet blunted the pain over the loss of the Motherland, the USSR. Throughout the Warsaw Treaty area our ideas, symbols and values were subjected to humiliation by rampant vandals. But the sense of duty, the conviction that ours was the right cause, dedication to the Marxist-Leninist theory and sincere human hope impelled people to act.
Today, after the lapse of time, we can say with a full voice that our travails have not been in vain. Yes, victory has yet to be won, but our confidence that nobody can cancel the laws of history has been vindicated in a very tangible way. The present model of the world is splitting at the seams. The cyclic nature of capitalist crises discovered by Karl Marx in the century before last again makes people turn their attention to the immortal ideals of Socialism and Communism. In Russia the Communist Party of the Russian Federation is confidently upholding these ideals.
As we mark the 20th anniversary of the CPRF, one cannot but look back on the arduous path traversed by our party from its being banned to becoming a powerful popular force that is staunchly opposing the ruling regime. The Communist Party of the Russian Federation, being a party of the working people – workers, peasants and the intelligentsia – set as its main task the protection of the political and social-economic interests of the citizens. Today we can legitimately speak about the concrete results of our struggle.
First, having covered an arduous path of victories and setbacks, having lived through a great deal and having learned a great deal, having brought up heroes and survived betrayals, the party has accumulated priceless experience and is looking to the future with confidence. The CPRF has emerged as the only force that has offered society an alternative to the policy of ruining Russia, of its moral, intellectual and physical degradation. The party has a thoroughly worked out programme for the development of the country along the path of justice and progress, the path of socialist transformation.
Secondly, the CPRF has built up five party vertical structures that are necessary for sustained and effective work. It has a coherent ideology, a strong structure and a powerful intellectual and human potential. Even our opponents recognize that we are the only party in the country that lives up to the meaning of that term.
Third, election campaigns have demonstrated that the CPRF has deep roots in society. It can withstand any attack and oppose the most virulent kind of anti-Communism. The support of millions of people enables us to have significant representation in the legislative bodies across the country and to actively seek to gain real power, the power of the majority. The Party has rallied around it a bloc of popular-patriotic forces that are struggling for people’s rule and justice, for national liberation and socialist renaissance.
Fourth, the ideas of the CPRF determine the political position of the majority of honest citizens. The Party is vigorously demonstrating the superiority of the Communist ideas over the intellectual surrogates that the ruling oligarchy and its political servants have to offer. The Communists have a clear idea of the goals and paths of genuine modernization of our country, a socialist modernization.
Fifth, our work has helped to ideologically strip naked and consign to oblivion a whole slew of pro-regime parties. Democratic Russia and PRES, Russia’s Choice and Our Home Is Russia, Fatherland and Unity, which received so much hype in their time, have all sunk into oblivion. Some other parties are about to go into the dustbin of history. The alliance of oligarchs and bureaucrats has to change its masks all the time. Already Putin’s Popular Front is being groomed to replace United Russia.
The CPRF is equipped with an ideological arsenal that enables it to persistently move forward down the road of implementing its programmatic tasks. The Party offers society its vision of the key social-economic, social-political, cultural and spiritual problems.
The world around us: main dimension
Esteemed delegates and guests of the Congress, we see that the world around us is changing fast. Its present day is determined by a number of factors. Chief of them are:
1.Globalism, which has become a form of modern-day imperialism.
2.The broad and universal offensive of Capital on the rights of the working people.
3.The growing aggressiveness of imperialism on the world arena and the threat of a new major war.
4.The world financial-economic crisis which marks a new stage in the decay of capitalism.
5.The rapid growth of a number of developing countries which are challenging the hegemony of American imperialism.
6. The strengthening of the working class and popular movement; more active role of the communist parties.
7. The growing role of socialism as a necessary and only alternative to capitalism.
8. The fact that financial and oligarchic capital is increasingly relying on the most vicious and reactionary forces.
You understand that we cannot afford to ignore any of these factors. Our party has made a thorough study of the pressing problems of the modern world.
The structural crisis of capitalism worsens
The general crisis of capitalism has waxed and waned for a century already. At the end of the 20th century a temporary stabilization of capitalism resulted from the collapse of the USSR and a whole group of socialist countries. Two decades have passed. Today the systemic contradictions of capitalism continue to grow. Chief of them remains the contradiction between the social character of production and the private form of appropriation.
For more than five years the world has been in the grip of a financial and economic crisis. We are closely studying its causes, progress and consequences. The decay of imperialism has afflicted all the elements of the system: production, finances, politics, culture and morals. The USA and the European Union, in whose economies Russia has been forcibly fitted in as a raw materials appendage, are in turmoil.
The crisis in the euro zone has revealed characteristic features of capitalist integration during the course of which big business expands its opportunities to get rich at the expense of the popular masses.
For more than three decades integration in the European Union proceeded under the aegis of right-wing liberal policy. The Lisbon Treaty confirmed neoliberalism as the economic doctrine of the EU. The CPRF shares the assessment of the results of that policy given by the Communist Parties of Greece, Portugal and some other countries. We see a growing imbalance between states in the euro zone, the impoverishment and loss of sovereignty of the European periphery. Its lot is to consume goods that are left over and to provide cheap labour. We see a destruction of the production sector and an aggravation of debt problems.
The concepts of “austerity” and “expanding Europe to overcome the crisis”, various “financial rehabilitation programmes” merely help big-business to capture resources. The living and working conditions of the popular masses are worsening. It is becoming ever more difficult to combine the capitalist principles of the European Union and the rights of working people.
The debt crisis in Europe did not arise because of Greek “insolvency”. The real cause is the totality of the actions of the oligarchy, the governments of several countries and the management of several banks. The governments of Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland do not oppose the withdrawal of their countries from the European Union because it would provoke a collapse of the euro zone economy. What worries them is something else: a real opportunity would present itself for the debts of these countries to be written off by specific banks. Meanwhile the political elites of these states are not ready to rein in financial capital. They call on their citizens to have patience, citing the difficulties of the situation. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the CDU Congress last year: “We will have to hold our breath for five years or more. Those who think that we can cope in a year or two are mistaken.”
The United States is beginning to experience the consequences of having moved a significant part of material production to regions with cheap labour. It was assumed that the US citizens would have more interesting, lucrative and creative work to do. Much of the country’s population virtually lives on the subsidies derived from the unreasonably inflated price of intellectual products. As the US and other Western countries’ economies shed part of their material production they were flooded with fictitious money. When the bubbles of financial speculators started to burst the people in the regions from which industry had gone were left without a real source of income. Consumption is shrinking. The jobs question is acute.
The slide will continue as long as the rate at which dollars are printed exceeds the rate of real economic growth.
It is not easy to stop the recession. The presidential election in the USA has forced congressmen and senators to increase federal spending and cut taxes. The federal debt has grown. The US debt has reached 17 trillion dollars and is practically equal to 100% of the GDP. Unemployment runs at over 8%. These are no trifling problems.
Four years of fighting the crisis by monetarist methods have not been crowned with success. The weakening of the leading Western economies lays the ground for a more severe phase. The IMF report late last year said that “the risks of a serious global slowdown are alarmingly high… There is no sign of any significant improvement.”
Capitalism has been confronted with fundamental problems. At the early stage of the crisis the British Prime Minister Brown declared that the world financial crisis could be a catalyst for a new type of society that would not tolerate price inflation and creation of money from thin air. In 2009 Koller, the then President of the FRG and previously the head of the IMF called for an end to an ungoverned financial market. The President of the US, from which paroxysms of the crisis emanate, is speaking of the need for profound change and admonishing the “fat cats” and his advisor Volker says that the time for a new, “more regulated and controlled” capitalism has come.
Yes, the representatives of the bourgeoisie have the habit of using words to hide their thoughts. But it is becoming ever more difficult to rule in the old way. Sometimes words have to be backed up with deeds. In his New Year address to the French people President Hollande reaffirmed the intention to introduce an “anti-crisis” tax over opposition of the Constitutional Council. It will amount to 75% for the part of the income in excess of 1 million euros a year. To be sure, such steps merely infringe upon some part of the superprofits of the capitalists in order to sustain capitalism itself. But it is significant that the only method to cure the growing ills is to prescribe “socialist pills”. However, pills are not enough where a full and comprehensive treatment is required.
It is a feature of the current financial and economic crisis that it has swept the whole world and affected “related” spheres, including energy and commodities. Environmental problems have never been so sharp. The crisis is developing even as major changes are taking place in the system of international relations.
From the beginning of this century the CPRF has maintained that globalism is a form of imperialism. In general, world development is marked by the objective processes of countries and peoples drawing closer together. In the context of globalization these processes are accelerated due to the rapid progress of technologies and communications. The new stage of the scientific-technical revolution opens up before humankind colossal opportunities for economic growth and social progress. However, the preservation of capitalism distorts the process of world development and sharpens contradiction. Globalization becomes globalism.
The USA and some other countries that form the centre of imperialism are appropriating the lion’s share of the world’s wealth. The plunder of formally independent countries and their actual colonization by big capital at present uses such mechanisms as the building up of debt spirals, encouragement of offshore financial zones and the activities of rating agencies.
Capital is being centralized and concentrated, partly through privatization and the dismantling of the social function of the state. The significance of financial speculation has increased dramatically. Added value is shifting more and more from the production sphere into the pockets of financial monsters. The USA, the EU and Japan provide vivid examples. It is obvious to our party that the financial hegemony of capitalism squanders productive forces. The extremely unjust distribution of incomes between labour and capital is deepening. Unemployment is growing. The social situation is deteriorating.
Capitalism is still unable to ensure long-term social-economic development in the natural human environment. The quest for maximizing capital accumulation has a negative impact on the environment.
Under the guise of combatting the crisis the imperialists are increasing the concentration of economic and political power in the hands of major financial-economic groups. Capital in each country is increasingly dependent on transnational capital. The big monopolies are becoming more powerful and are exerting ever greater influence on supernational structures such as the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO and NATO. At a different level, centers such as the Davos Forum, the Tripartite Commission and the Bilderberg Club are performing their globalist role. The rapid merger of the economic might of capital and political power institutions puts at its disposal the growing repressive apparatus of the most powerful states. Imperialism is stepping up its policy of a new colonization of the world.
The developments in various parts of the planet vindicate Marxist-Leninist analysis. The profit margin tends to fall and capitalism is using every means to fight that trend: by increasing exploitation, engaging in financial speculation and military adventures. The exploitative and predatory nature of capitalism is clearly manifested.
The Communists have an effective toolkit for analyzing present-day capitalist economy and that is Lenin’s analysis of imperialism. It is still relevant in the 21st century. It confirms our assessment of globalism. The following are its main features:
1.Production and industrial capital is becoming totally enslaved by financial speculative capital.
2. “Market relations” have been turned into an artificial mechanism of non-economic coercion, inequitable exchange and plunder of entire countries and peoples.
3. The global model of “international division of labour” perpetuates glaring social inequalities on a planetary scale.
4. The political influence of transnational corporations and financial industrial groups is growing dramatically as they claim unlimited sovereignty in their actions.
5. The national governments are losing control over processes in the world economy. A revision of the fundamental principles of international law is aimed at creating global power structures.
6. The information and cultural expansion is being used actively as a form of aggression. Intellectual uniformity at the most primitive level is spreading. The national features of countries and peoples are being eradicated.
7. Transnational capital is becoming increasingly parasitic. It appropriates the benefits from the introduction of high technologies while the rest of the world is consigned to poverty. Scientific-technical progress is fading and its quality is deteriorating.
The numerous problems and contradictions of the global world and Russia’s place in them are at the focus of CPRF analysis. Contributing to this intellectual work are Zh.Alferov, I.Melnikov, V.Kashin, N.Arefyev, B.Komotsky, D.Novikov, Yu.Belov, S.Vaseltsov, S.Savitskaya, A.Kravets, A.Lukyanov, V.Fedotkin, V.Cherkesov, V.Chikin, L.Shvets, V.Gryzlov and a large cohort of Party leaders and journalists, Communists and sympathizers.
Aggressors become more brazen
The decay of capitalism is vividly manifested in its aggressiveness in the world. International relations are being militarized. Even against the background of the crisis NATO countries have not reduced their massive military spending. They continue to develop new weapons systems and are expanding the network of military bases across the world. The US national missile defense system poses a particular danger. The strategic nuclear balance on the planet is being violated.
The practice of the European Union attests that far from seeking to restrain the USA, it is joining it in exploiting the world together. The EU and the USA form a single bloc of imperialist powers. NATO is its military stick. The creation of the European Defense Agency in 2004 was fresh confirmation of the appetites of the Western military-industrial complex. The 2010 Lisbon NATO summit and the 2012 Chicago Summit strengthened the structure of the Alliance’s common command by bringing still more states into the criminal strategy of fomenting war and interference in the affairs of independent states.
The components of expansionist strategy are pressure on countries, instigation of conflicts and direct military aggression. The USA and its allies have carried out acts of brigandage in Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan. As a result these countries have been erased from the world map or are under occupation.
Casting about for ways to increase its potential the world financial capital is spreading its tentacles and feeling other countries like an octopus. The South Pacific is being militarized. Provocations are being staged against the People’s Republic of China. The land of Vietnam still carries the scars of monstrous bombing raids by American aggressors. The Korean Democratic People’s Republic is under constant pressure. National and religious conflicts are sharpening and blazing with unheard-of violence all over the world.
The Middle East has been a source of constant tensions and wars for nearly six decades. Israel continues to flout the UN resolutions on ending the occupation of Arab territories and the creation of an independent Palestinian state. The recent Israeli-Palestinian conflict once again put the region on the brink of a bloody war.
The centre of these stormy events – the Middle East – is close to the Russian borders. The “Arab Spring” was accompanied by interference in the affairs of Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain and Yemen. The recently prosperous Libya has been destroyed and put at the mercy of marauders. The situation in Syria has exploded, with bands of mercenaries engaging in terror and wreaking chaos, waiting for direct Western interference.
Tensions are building up around Iran. The aggression against Afghanistan threatens to spread to Pakistan. NATO air bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan aggravate the potential threat to Russia and China and create opportunities for interference in the affairs of the peoples of Central Asia and Kazakhstan. AFRICOM, the African command of the US Armed Forces headquartered in Germany, has been in existence since 2008. The imperialists have been bringing pressure on Guinea-Bissau, Cote-d’Ivoire, Somalia and some other African countries. The civil war in Congo, in the heart of the continent, has continued unabated for many years. Even after the division of Sudan into separate states its two parts are in constant armed confrontation. After the destruction of Libya Northern Mali has been seized by religious fanatics, a fact the West is using to increase its presence there.
Each of the conflicts of course has its internal causes. But what foments them is increasingly the external factor. Creating global instability is the strategy of those who seek to impose a neocolonial development scenario on mankind.
Imperialism is exerting colossal efforts trying to reverse the democratic processes in Latin America. Reactionaries target their actions at the peoples of Columbia, Mexico, Panama and Chile. Government coups have been staged in Honduras and Paraguay. Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua are the targets of imperialists. A “deterrence” strategy is being implemented against Brazil. The US presence in the region has increased, with the Yankees bringing back their 4th Fleet.
In deploying the neocolonialist policies the leading powers are resorting to state terrorism, installing puppet governments and imposing them on countries against the will of the popular masses. Prisons, torture and political assassinations debunk the myths about the delights of Western democracy. The right of nations to self-determination is being cynically violated. To justify such policies ideologically the concepts of “humanitarian intervention”, “good governance” “failed states”, and “rogue states” have been developed. As they move towards their goal, the globalists proceed under the theoretical cover of the “war of civilizations”.
Events are pushing the word towards a global military conflict. Three groups of contradictions create conditions for a world war: those among economically developed countries; between the imperialist nucleus and the world periphery; and between the aspirations of global financial capital and the national interests of the countries, including developed ones.
Those who can say “no”
The aggressiveness of capitalism poses a growing danger to mankind and is a sign of the decline of that system. Resistance to imperialist policies is mounting in the world arena. Entire groups of countries have expressed their reluctance to be dominated by the global capital.
Of particular significance today are the historic examples of China, Cuba, Vietnam, the DPRK and Laos. They are accumulating the experience of alternative-socialist -- development that may be taken into account by other peoples. China has become the “workshop of the world” and is actively expanding into new markets, including Europe and the USA. By building up its productive forces it increases its political clout. Vietnam is developing at a rapid pace. The countries of Latin America are strengthening their sovereignty. The fraternal Byelorussia is steadily following its independent course. The interaction of these states, their economic integration and political cooperation opens up broad vistas.
The emergence of interstate organizations is a feature of our times. A comparatively brief period saw the appearance of: BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the South-American Common Market (MERCOSUR), the Union of South-American Nations (UNOSUR), the Caribbean and Latin American countries community (CELAC) and the Boliarian Alliance for the Peoples of America (ALBA).
On the one hand, this kind of integration is often a manifestation of capitalist competition. On the other hand, it stems from the desire of the people to see a democratic, just and equitable world. The formation of such alliances restrains the ambitions of the USA, NATO and the world reactionary forces that stand behind them. That process provides an extra chance to bide time until new forces of resistance to imperialism, forces committed to socialism, emerge and grow stronger.
The emergence of BRICS, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, stakes a claim to the formation of an alternative world influence centre. These countries are home to more than half of the world’s population and account for an ever “heftier” share of the world economy. If they express their common will, the growing combined might of BRICS countries can be a serious obstacle in the way of the establishment of a new colonial model of the world.
Some international entities, above all ALBA, have a marked anti-imperialist character. While the processes of cooperation, integration and international division of labour in the European Union are used mainly in the interests of capital and suppression of the nations, in Latin America they serve the cause of liberating peoples. The integration of that part of the world is an important instrument of class struggle.
Today Latin America’s development is strongly influenced by progressive, anti-imperialist processes. The struggles of the peoples on the continent for sovereignty and social progress challenge the traditional US hegemony in the region. The political orientation of governments is determined by the participation of left-wing, including communist, forces.
The CPRF holds the view that the processes taking place on the planet make it possible to change the balance of world forces. It is important that an opportunity is presenting itself to restore the proper influence of the United Nations Organization. In spite of the US attempts to dominate that organization, its framework proved to be fairly durable. The principles of the balance of forces at the Security Council make it possible to restrain the aggression of financial capital. Thus, the Chinese and Russian veto prevented the West from covering up its invasion of Syria by the will of United Nations. There is a serious chance of preventing the UN from becoming an institution that legitimizes the aggressive policies of imperialist powers.
We see the confrontation of two trends in the world arena. On the one hand, the offensive the imperialists launched after the destruction of the USSR has intensified dramatically in recent years. Its key targets are: geostrategic encirclement of China, the Greater Middle East project, neocolonialist enslavement of Africa, “preventative treatment” of Latin America and drawing of the former Soviet Union states into its orbit.
At the same time there is a growing awareness on the planet that the globalist plans cost mankind dear. In the situation of temporary retreat of socialism capital has covered a long distance on the road leading to the abyss. In this context, nation states and their cooperation can be an important instrument of counteracting imperialist globalization.
Labour and capital: the battle lines
The situation is deteriorating not only on the world arena. Capital and its political parties are in a hurry to take advantage of the crisis in their interests in every respect. Through privatization and revision of legislation they bring down the living standards of the working people and increase the injustice in the distribution of wealth. Their aim is class exploitation and suppression of nations in accordance with 19th century standards. Imperialism is pushing humankind towards the path of regress.
The ruling class is deploying an offensive on the economic, social, political and cultural rights of the masses. Social polarization is growing. Labour rights guarantees that the workers gained thanks to the example of the Soviet Union, are being withdrawn. Wages and pensions are going down. The pension age is rising. State systems of education, health care and social security are being destroyed. The scale of poverty, hunger, disease and child mortality is increasing. The number of jobless in the world has topped 200 million, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO).
Even holding down a job is less and less of a guarantee against sliding into poverty. The scale of poverty in the world is growing fast. According to the UN the number of people suffering from hunger has topped one billion. In the 21st century 20,000 children die from malnutrition every day. This is not due to a shortage of food. These are the fruits of the economic system aimed at extracting profits.
The words “capitalist barbarism” no longer sound as a metaphor. People trade, slavery, child labour and sex exploitation are becoming ever more widespread. The CPRF has no doubt that the preservation of capitalism spells further aggravation of the extremely dangerous contradiction between the rapid progress of science and technology and equally rapid social regress.
The apologists for capitalism claim that the bourgeois system is eternal. They argue that poverty and class differences cannot be eliminated. Imperialism conducts its ideological offensive through traditional and new media owned by major corporations. Manifestations by thousands of working people get less coverage on television than scandalous actions staged by small groups scantily clad women.
Everything is being done to have the working people reconcile themselves to their lot. Education is being privatized and is acquiring the character of a commodity and is subjected to ideological fine-tuning. Reactionary theories, obscurantism and mysticism are openly encouraged. Various apocalyptic ideas, reports about an imminent end of the world and other rubbish of this sort are being actively used to spread the mood of apathy. Thus, contrary to common sense, scientific and technical progress under capitalism is accompanied not only by social, but also by cultural regress.
The degradation of society is a key weapon in the hands of capital. That already highlights the differences in the regularities of the development of the capitalist and socialist systems. If we look at the experience of the cultural revolution in the USSR we see that the rapid economic rise of Soviet society was not achieved by reducing social guarantees or bringing down the cultural standards of the population, on the contrary, it was achieved by raising the education level and improving the social mood of the citizens.
The aggressive actions of capital have been its response to the growing protest sentiments provoked by its own deeds. It is suppressing the democratic rights to strike and the trade union activities. The police approach is gaining strength. The ruling class is trying to control protest, water down discontent by introducing secondary issues and channeling the protests in the wrong direction. Everything is being done to localize public activity.
Capital is incapable of preventing millions of people from seeing the light and turning towards socialism. That is why it is resorting to the method of ideological “fakes”. Massive ideological work has been launched to rehabilitate social democracy.
The activities of anti-imperialist, revolutionary-progressive forces are restricted by the hurdles of bourgeois legislation. The war against Soviet history and the history of the communist movement is still being waged. The world has seen the persistence with which the PACE, OSCE and the European Parliament tried to equate Nazism and Communism. A number of “civilized” countries have imposed a ban on communist symbols. Such a ban was recently imposed on Moldavia. And in the streets of Baltic cities SS veterans and their successors stage marches unimpeded.
Anti-Communism is being imposed “from the top” and stimulated “from the bottom”. Openly fascist, nationalistic, clerical and other reactionary movements are being encouraged. Imperialism is doing everything to befuddle the people and dilute social class principles. Stimulating the growth of ultra-right organizations, it steers in a false direction part of the socially active population, especially youngsters and members of the disadvantaged social strata. Even in Ukraine, which has lived through a bloody Nazi occupation, the nationalists have managed to get into the Supreme Rada and establish a presence there.
It is not by chance that the narrative of the “browning” of Europe in the 1930s is being repeated today. We are looking at far-reaching intentions there. At a recent forum in Poland Zbigniew Brzezinski said openly that “popular activism” and “resistance to external control” threaten to derail the movement towards the new world order. He admitted that it was increasingly difficult to suppress the highly motivated resistance of the politically awakened masses. The course proposed would see them controlled by elites through technotronic manipulations. The horrors of sci-fi films may become reality.
The actions of capital throughout the world have a common “standard”. In Russia we see the same processes of the social and civil rights being attacked, the same “brainwashing” and anti-Communism.
Capital’s aspirations meet with growing resistance. Actions against the policy of bourgeois authorities that are making the proletariat and the working class bear the brunt of the crisis are becoming ever more vigorous. More and more people and social movements demand change: harmonious development of productive forces, broader social guarantees, reasonable consumption and a caring attitude to nature. It is obvious that the social base of capitalism is shrinking. The popular masses are learning the lessons of organized struggle. That struggle brings together various groups of working people who are becoming aware of their common interests.
The key factor of the “pivot to the left” in the world is the growing working class movement. In May 2012, when the conservative government in Spain cut subsidies to the mining industry by 60%, coal mines began to shut down in Asturia. Unemployment among miners soared to 25%. The miners called an indefinite strike and took to the streets. There were clashes with riot police. January this year saw massive action by steelmakers in Belgium. Examples can be multiplied. Almost all the countries of Europe, be it Britain or Greece, Portugal or France, saw mass protests.
The struggle of the working class is increasingly supported by youngsters, women and the intelligentsia. Peasants have been rising in defense of their interests, and that includes the farm labourers as well as small and medium-sized farm owners who suffer from exploitation by big agro-industrial and trade companies. Protests united the opponents of privatization and “austerity,” those who come out for labour rights, for the preservation of wages and pensions, for a system of state social guarantees and achievements of social progress.
Shared demands unite people and organizations with various ideological platforms. Consolidation is prompted by joint opposition to capitalism. A special role in creating a united front is played by the Communists and Workers Parties.
Socialism instead of barbarism
We Russian Communists maintain that more and more factors are emerging in the surrounding world for unfolding what is essentially a revolutionary struggle for Socialism. The level of productive forces today is significantly higher than a century ago. If political conditions present themselves, it makes it possible to move on to socialist construction much faster.
The exploitative, aggressive, predatory and inhumane nature of capitalism is obvious. The course of events proves the relevance of Marxist-Leninist tenets. Time washes away the dirt and slander poured on the great doctrine. It is becoming evident that humanity owes social progress in the 20th century and the prolonged period of peaceful development to the building of new society in the USSR and other states.
Characterizing the current situation in his book “Why Marx Was Right” the English philosopher Terry Eagleton writes that on the global scale capitalism has become more concentrated and predatory than ever and the working class has indeed grown numerically. It has become possible to imagine a future in which a superrich man hides in his fortified and guarded communities while a billion slum dwellers are cramped in their stinking hovels surrounded by barbed wire and watch towers. Under such circumstances to claim that Marxism is finished is tantamount to saying that the trade of the fireman is outdated because arsonists have become more inventive and better equipped than ever before.
Capitalism is obviously unable to resolve its inherent contradictions. It is not by chance that the crisis has affected its political ideology and its economic science. The worsening general crisis of capitalism spells the need to adopt a new organization of society. What is needed is the power of the working class plus conscious and active engagement of the broad masses. What is needed is public ownership of the main means of production. What is needed is rational planning of the economy. This is the only way to liberate production forces, to harness them to social good and to find solutions to the major problems facing mankind. Only Socialism can ensure all that.
The progressive, anti-imperialist processes are gaining momentum. Objectively, they contribute to the germination of socialism. For all the importance of that trend, the goal of revolutionary transformation of the world cannot be achieved without the subjective factor. The ideas of the Left in the world are becoming ever more relevant, and this is an important universal trend. But these ideas assume diverse forms and the ranks of its supporters are heterogeneous. Marxism is becoming more relevant again, neo-Marxism is being preached. Anarchists are active. Left-wing thought is reflected in different ways in the working class and student environments, and among the intelligentsia. There is a pressing need for a political vanguard of social change.
There are more than a hundred communist and workers parties active in the world today. In the late 1980s most of them faced serious problems caused by Gorbachev’s “perestroika” in the USSR as well as the features of European integration and some other circumstances. The attempts of some West European parties to solve the problem by embracing Eurocommunism have ended in failure. Ideological and organization divisions greatly weakened the mass appeal of some of these parties. One has to admit a significant weakening of the French and Italian Communist parties which were once the leading Communist Parties of Europe. In Eastern Europe some of the formerly ruling communist parties turned social democratic. The destruction of the Soviet Union dealt a heavy blow to all the progressive forces. The departure of the CPSU from the international communist movement destroyed the system of bonds between communist and workers parties. Right-wing forces almost everywhere launched a broad anti-communist campaign. Some former communist parties became proponents of right-wing opportunism or leftism. Some fell apart, with their fragments developing into new organizations, including Marxist-Leninist ones. Center-left parties that position themselves between the social-democrats and the communists have emerged: the Left party in Germany, the People’s Socialist Party in Denmark, the Left Alliance in Finland and the Left-Wing Socialists in Norway.
At the same time the late 20th-early 21st centuries saw important changes in the work of Latin American Communist Parties. Many of them have for decades fought against military juntas and dictatorial regimes while being deep underground. This struggle forged their cooperation with other left-wing and radical organizations. The authority gained by the Communists assured them of positions of influence in some Latin American countries. They are actively cooperating with the governments which are implementing reforms in the interests of the people and pursuing an independent foreign policy.
The ruling parties occupy a special place in the international communist movement. They include the communist parties of China, Vietnam, Cuba, the Labour Party of Korea and the Popular-Revolutionary Party of Laos. They spearhead the building of socialism with due account of the specific features of their countries.
Having recovered from the crisis in the late 20th century the International Communist Movement is ever more confidently rising to its feet. The CPRF sees itself as its inalienable part and is actively involved in restoring links between parties. Since our 4th Congress we have been inviting foreign guests to our forums. The CPRF is doing everything to support the development of multilateral and bilateral cooperation among Communist Parties. International meetings of Communist and Workers Parties have been held since 1998 on the initiative of the Communist Party of Greece. The first seven meetings were held in Athens and the following ones in Portugal, Byelorussia, Brazil, Syria, India, South Africa and Lebanon. Each time between 60 and 70 parties attended. The holding of the 9th meeting in Minsk was a joint initiative of the Communist Party of Byelorussia and the CPRF and all the Union of Communist Parties --CPSU parties. Exchanges among participants in the meeting continued in Moscow during the events to mark the 90th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution.
Other international cooperation forums are active. A forum of left-wing and progressive forces of Arab countries was founded in 2010 on the initiative of the Communist Party of Lebanon. The Sao Paolo forum of left-wing parties, initiated by Fidel Castro Rus and Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva has been held since 1990. Representatives of the CPRF regularly take part in the meetings of the political parties of Asia, the latest of which was recently held in Baku.
Our party took a vigorous part in mobilizing the international community to counter anti-communism and falsification of history. In the summer of 2009 representatives of 70 Communist parties expressed their joint protest against slanderous attacks on the history of the communist movement and the socialist countries. In 2010 they came out against distortions of history at the 4th European Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties on education issues held at the European Parliament. The same topics were discussed at conferences in Prague and Vilnius. As part of celebrations of the 65th anniversary of the Soviet people’s victory in the Great Patriotic War an international conference was held in Moscow. All these forums have demonstrated the considerable scientific and political potential of left-wing parties in exposing bourgeois falsifications of history.
The CC CPRF, in order to stimulate the discussion of topical theoretical issues, came up with the initiative of holding a joint roundtable on the problems of the international Communist movement. The first such meeting took place in December 2012 in Moscow. The discussion demonstrated keen interest of the parties in a continued further dialogue in this format.
A key area in the activities of the CPRF is the development of cooperation among the communist parties of the republics of the former USSR. The mechanisms of our interaction have been perfected in the framework of UCP-CPSU. A number of flagship joint events have been held in recent years. There was a forum for the revival of the Union of Fraternal Peoples in Donetsk and a Friendship of the People’s Concert in Luzhniki Stadium. In December we celebrated together the 90th anniversary of the USSR in Moscow. A little earlier an away meeting of the UCP-CPSU Executive Committee was held in Chisinau. Sending international observers to elections of various levels has become a good way of mutual support.
The CC CPRF has rendered extensive assistance to the development of international cooperation of its allied organizations. The Leninist Young Communist League of the RF and the All-Russia Women’s Union – the Hope of Russia -- have taken their due place in the ranks of the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) and the Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF). We believe that in the future systematic cooperation should be established with the World Federation of Trade Unions and the World Peace Council.
On the whole a significant amount of work has been done during the report period to build up the international efforts of the CPRF. Much of the credit for is due to the CC Secretaries L.Kalashnikov, K.Taisayev and V.Tetyokin. Communist deputies who are involved in interparliamentary cooperation are contributing to the international authority of the CPRF.
The practice of the activities of the Communist and Workers’ Parties warrants the conclusion that the crisis of the international communist movement has by and large been overcome. Our parties are united on the fundamental issues of world view, and are loyal to the dialectical-materialism as the method of analyzing reality. We have a common vision of the goals of the communist movement, we are one in assessing present-day imperialism, we recognize the revolutionary character of the transition to socialism.
Of course there are differences in the interpretation of some problems. However, the past decade has seen not only more active contacts, but a drawing closer of the positions of communist parties on complicated issues.
The CPRF takes the view that the Communist Parties are called upon to take advantage of the crisis of capitalism to strengthen their positions with the working class and the popular masses. The Communists in various countries must be strong enough to mobilize the working people. That task will have to be performed in the conditions of inevitable struggle against social reformism, left-wing adventurism and sectarianism.
Every Communist Party organizes its activities with due account of the national specificities of its country, the level of its socio-economic and cultural development. In this way every party also performs its internationalist duty acting as a unit of the world communist movement. The global character of the financial and economic crisis and the aggressiveness of imperialism make it incumbent upon Communists to ensure a dialectical link between the national and international dimensions of their struggle. It is their duty to strengthen cooperation and solidarity among the Communist Parties.
Russia under the juggernaut
Esteemed participants in the Congress,
Every state machine seeks to be viable in the interests of the ruling classes. That is why any state, regardless of its social-political system, performs a number of functions:
- regulating the economy;
- implementing social and cultural policies; and
- ensuring national security.
Characterizing the course pursued in this country we often describe it as “anti-people”, “anti-social” and “destructive”. These are not propaganda labels. This is the reality of the policy pursued by the authorities. Russia’s rollback to capitalism has resulted in massive degradation of its economy, the decline of the social and cultural sphere and undermined its security. The stark truth of our words is based on a huge body of evidence.
“The pipeline economy” is the economy of a colony
Predatory privatization has liquidated public ownership in the material sphere. Simultaneously the system of division of labor that emerged during a long period of Russian history was destroyed. That system, rational distribution of productive forces throughout the country’s territory, sustained a powerful economic complex. Among the first steps of the “new power” was to abolish Gosplan, the centre for the management of that complex.
While a handful of the government’s pets, appointed to be business tycoons, was grabbing the property of the whole people the entire mechanism of managing the country’s productive forces was destroyed. The established systems of monitoring the use of material, financial, labor and intellectual resources were also abolished. The destructive processes in the economy were compounded by a distorted commercial credit system. It provided channels for siphoning off the turnover assets of industrial, construction and agricultural enterprises.
During the time of “reforms” two-thirds of industry and more than half of agriculture were lost. The share of real production in the economy plummeted. Whatever remains of industry accounts for just 36% of the economy. Agriculture accounts for less than 4%. Oil and gas provide about 60% of the national budget revenue. Russia has become a raw materials appendage of the West and a market for the goods of global monopolies. Its raw materials and financial resources are being spread through the world market sustaining it in a viable condition.
By destroying Russian production the trans-Atlantic puppeteers of our home-grown reformers were preparing a bridgehead for their own economic expansion. Industrial facilities of key importance for the country were severed from the people’s economy and turned into private structures. These fragments of the once powerful Soviet economy have been built into transnational corporations.
By stimulating “reforms” in Russia world capital eliminated rivals and in the process weakened the combat potential of its class enemy, the proletariat. Deindustrialization that was launched in our country more than two decades ago has reduced the size of its working class. The number of workers in the sphere of material production – in industry, construction and agriculture – dropped by 5 million in the last ten years.
We hear the representatives of the ruling elite talk about Russia “rising from its knees”, about “stabilization” or about “sovereign democracy”. The fabric of these myths is designed to hide the reality in which degradation of the national economy is increasing and the living standards of the majority of citizens are falling. Analysts from Credit Suisse consider that 91% of Russians live below the poverty line by European measure. Data show that 10% of the poorest Russians own only 1% of the national wealth. By contrast, a hundred dollar billionaires own 30% of private capital in Russia.
The working man struggles to survive physically. The average wage in the country is 27,000 roubles a month. But that includes the multimillion incomes of the oligarchs. Even those who work in metallurgical production as a rule earn 20,000-25,000 roubles a month. The average wage in construction and the processing industries is 24,000-25,000, in agriculture 14,000 and in the light industry 12,000 roubles. It is only in extractive industries and in the financial sphere that wages reach 50,000-60,000 roubles.
Farmers are on the receiving end of brutal exploitation. Their work accounts for 8-10% of the price of the end product whereas in the developed countries it is at least 50%. Poverty, unemployment and economic disarray reign in the Russian countryside. More than 30,000 villages have been wiped off the face of the earth. Schools and kindergartens, clubs and medical institutions are being shut down. More than 40 million hectares of land is overgrown with weeds and brushwood. Where agriculture has managed to survive, the farmer is crushed by debt, price disparity and the dominance of middlemen. There is an acute shortage of new machinery. Agricultural enterprises continue to go bankrupt.
Small and medium-sized businesses are suffering more and more. For the ruling elite the representatives of that sphere are no more than a source of taxes and levies. They are denied cheap credits. With the support of the authorities the owners of big trading centers drive small traders under their roof in order to collect indemnities from them. Beginning from 2007, 2000 retail markets have been closed in Russia, the markets that provided livelihood for thousands of people, former workers of the factories that had been shut down. In the last year and a half alone the number of selling points diminished by 12%.
Whatever remains of industry and finances in Russia is being taken over by world capital. Glib TV adverts proclaim Gazprom to be part of the national heritage. But that “heritage” is also head over ears in debt and has gentlemen from abroad sitting happily on its board of directors. As early as 2002 Russia paid about 14 billion dollars to defray Gazprom’s external debts. Today it has become a pernicious tradition. Gazprom’s profits amount to 879 billion roubles while its debts to foreign creditors stand at some 2 trillion. Credits are taken out with gas fields as collateral. The “national heritage” may end up in alien hands at any moment. In helping Gazprom to meet its external obligations the state is raising electricity rates inside the country. Impoverished citizens are being made to pay the debts of the billionaires in the fuel and energy complex.
Even Sberbank is being taken over by foreign owners. A large part of its shareholders come from the UK, USA and Canada. Foreign companies are seizing such sectors as energy and water supply. Many of them are 70-90% owned by companies from France, Italy, Spain, Germany and other countries. The share of foreign capital in the country’s economy has surpassed all reasonable limits.
These trends can only be countered by strengthening the regulatory role of the state in the economy and strengthening the government sector. Instead the Government has launched a new spiral of privatization. Juicy pieces of state property are being sold. About 1400 enterprises are going under the hammer. The Treasury gets only one-off income from that. Besides, the price of assets in the times of crisis is grossly underestimated. The main beneficiary again is foreign capital.
Russia is being openly robbed. The lion’s share of big property has been moved to offshore zones. The outflow of capital abroad has become a national disaster. During the last 20 years, 2 trillion dollars has been taken out of Russia. In 2001 the country lost 84 billion. A further 100 billion dollars account for shadow export, according to expert evaluations. The capital export situation was practically the same in 2012.
Russia’s debts are growing fast. The external debt of government bodies increased by 28.9% to 44.72 billion dollars last year. Corporate debts run up by banks and major companies are also growing. The aggregate external debt increased by 15.14%, i.e. 83.4 billion dollars, in 2012. As of January 1, 2013 it stood at 624 billion dollars. Thus, last year the debt increased more than during 2011 or 2010. No social indicator has registered positive dynamics in the country.
As of the beginning of the year Russia’s external debt accounted for 140% of the federal budget revenue for 2013. Russia’s international reserves as of January 1 stood at 537.6 billion dollars. Thus, its consolidated foreign debt exceeded its international reserves by 86.3 billion dollars. This amounts to a hidden default.
In the next three years internal state debt will increase by 1.5 times and the external debt by 1.7 times. The cost of servicing the debt is growing. By 2015 it will have increased by a third exceeding the spending on health care, culture, the film industry and sport combined.
Meanwhile the government is generously sending its gold and currency reserves abroad, and this at the time when the country badly needs real modernization. The wear and tear of the basic assets is variously estimated at between 50 and 70%.
The creation of the Russian Financial Agency is dealing another blow at the prospects of Russia’s economic growth. The country’s huge financial savings including its Reserve Fund and the National Wellbeing Fund are separated from the state budget and being put outside parliament’s control. In future these colossal assets may end up in the hands of private owners.
The destruction of domestic production in Russia is “compensated for” by the influx of imports, often of inferior quality. Their share in the country’s food market exceeds 60%, in the drugs market, 80%, in the textile and garments market, about 80%. Imports account for 90% of household appliances, electronics, computers and science-intensive equipment sold to the population.
According to Rosstat, between 2000 and 2010 imports of meat, milk and dairy products into Russia increased by three times, of aircraft by almost 7 times, of drugs by 8 times, cars by ten times, telephones by 17 times, cement by 21 times, computers by 23 times and metal cutting machine tools by more than 27 times. During the last ten years gross imports of finished products into Russia exceeded 2 trillion dollars. The price that people have had to pay for this illusion of rising living standards was loss of jobs and the enrichment of the owners of the transnational corporations.
Negative processes are certain to increase because the country has joined the WTO on extremely unfavorable terms. By the end of the transitional period Russia has committed itself to lift customs duties on the import of computers, components, various types of technological and research equipment. Duties on drugs will be cut. Internal energy prices will be brought up to the level of world prices. The share of foreign participation in the total capital of insurance companies may exceed 45%. It may reach 50% in the authorized capitals of Russian banks and 75% in the authorized capital of securities market operators. Within several years Russia will cut its subsidies to agriculture by half. Caps will be introduced on export duties for more than 700 categories of goods. This will apply to fish industry products, fossil fuels and oils, leather, timber, paper pulp and non-ferrous metals.
Even according to the Ministry of Economic Development, the Russian economy will lose 240 billion in 2013 and 320 billion roubles in 2014 due to its accession to the WTO. At the November 2012 meeting of the Russian Security Council Vladimir Putin at long last admitted that accession to the WTO could create particular problems for livestock breeding, the automobile industry, the light and food industries, pharmaceutics, and the production of medical equipment. Additional problems may arise in economically depressed regions and in mono-cities. The closure of enterprises would increase unemployment.
Surprisingly, it is only in the wake of Russia’s accession to the WTO that the President has proposed to work out a programme to support the vulnerable sectors. Up until then the citizens were assured that the necessary preparations had been made and that Russia would only gain from becoming a member of the WTO. “All of a sudden” it turns out that accession to the organization which is in the grip of a permanent trade and economic war, has been carried out without the requisite weaponry and logistical support. And yet bureaucrats have been negotiating our membership of the WTO for a whole 18 years. They had before their eyes the experience of many countries in Latin America, South East Asia and Africa, Eastern Europe, the Baltics, Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan. Each time in the countries without a developed industry and strong government support, joining the WTO resulted in rapid deindustrialization and increased dependence on the abroad.
There are already early signs of imminent problems. AvtoVAZ is canceling its purchase of rolled sheet metal from Russian metallurgists switching to China and India where the prices are much lower. Major domestic agricultural machinery producers report an unprecedented drop in production. Orders for their products dropped by 2-3 times in the past few months.
Today world capital is obtaining new levers to destroy competitive enterprises in Russia. Further curtailment of the country’s industrial and scientific-technical potential is inevitable.
Degradation of science and technology is proceeding at full speed. During the past 20 years the output of hi-tech products dropped by 3-5 times, and for certain kinds by tens of times. Russia’s share in the world market of science-intensive products dropped by 25 times between 1990 and 2011.
The policy of the ruling circles de facto seals our country’s status as a commodity-producing colony, a market and a source of cheap labor for transnational corporations. The government, far from opposing that trend, is making decisions that encourage it. The budget spending on the national economy accounts for 3.2% of the GDP and on Russian science for 1.3% of GDP. These indicators are three times lower than in the US, the EU and Japan. In this context Russia is doomed to losing whatever remains of its scientific-technical and production potential.
The anti-social policy of the “social state”
The Soviet state had made unprecedented advances in providing social guarantees. History offers no other examples. Every person born in the USSR did not only have formal rights. At birth he received a guarantee that the authorities would provide free health care and education, access to the achievements of culture and science and care for his children. Yes, some people might have felt that the walls in the hospitals were drab and the schools buildings all looked alike. However, they were of very high quality and rightly recognized as being advanced.
If one believes the country’s Constitution, Russia is a social state. But the condition of key social systems proves otherwise. The past 20 years can be divided into two stages: dismantling of the Soviet social gains and the imposition of ultra-capitalist methods.
Law after law, rule after rule, amendment after amendment – the masters of the “new Russia” and their political servants were taking apart the fortress of the Soviet social policy. Its walls still stood for some time, but the blows were hard, interconnected and systematic. Today the country is reaping the results of this bombardment.
Social stratification is the key indicator. According to a number of experts, a handful of 0.2% of rich people have grabbed 70% of all property. The gap between the incomes of the top 10% and the bottom 10% of Russian citizens has officially been declared to be 16 times.
In fact it is not less than 35 times. Even bourgeois economic science recognizes that the coefficient of 10 is critical for social stability.
The second indicator is the demographic situation and the quality of life. Population is growing only due to migration. In the UN’s rating Russia is in 53rd place in terms of education. In terms of the development and accessibility of medical care it is already in 120th place, according to the World Health Organization. Children’s tuberculosis and other social diseases are spreading like fire. All this has combined to put our country in 97th place in terms of life expectancy.
The third indicator is government spending. The oil bonanza continued for almost ten years but it did not benefit science, health care education or culture. Russia’s spending on science is half of that of developed countries and on health care three times less than in developed countries. Spending on education covers only half of the minimum need. Highly skilled work has been catastrophically devalued. Some of the lowest paid professions in the country are those of doctors, scientists, teachers and cultural workers.
All these facts and figures are a logical result of systematic, well-planned actions by those who seek to restore capitalism. As the authorities see it, social spending is ancillary and is only needed to prevent the people from rioting.
The unique Soviet education system, which has managed to survive the horrible 1990s, is now on the receiving end of knock-out blows. The Unified State Examination (EGE) has been imposed by force contrary to public objections. The new form of testing knowledge introduces into education a virus that destroys man’s natural passion for cognition. Already 20% of Russian school leavers are functionally illiterate: they are unable to understand the text they read.
Federal Law No.83 has provided the legal basis for commercialization of public institutions. Instead of free knowledge it would have people buy services. The swirl of scandals connected with “restructuring” – liquidation or merger – of schools and higher education institutions is growing ever more violent.
Contrary to the wish of citizens to get out of the dead end into which Andrei Fursenko drove education and science, the new head of the Ministry of Education and Science, Dmitry Livanov, plunged headlong into continued liberal pogrom. The country is aghast at the hastily compiled list of “inefficient higher education institutions”. The official strategy is obvious: fewer universities, fewer teachers, fewer students. In other words, less education. As a spinoff, property will become available that will be up for grabs. The financing of general education this year will drop by 11.5% on the previous year, and in 2014-2015 by 76% compared with 2013. The bourgeois state finds the money to support banks but persists in cutting government spending on schools and universities. And yet Russia is far from being a leader in that respect. According to purchasing power parity, annual spending per pupil in South Korea is in excess of 6000 dollars, in Germany 7000 and in the USA about 10,000. In the Russian Federation it is less than 2000 dollars.
The country is being saddled with a policy of bringing up slaves referred to as “consumers”. The academic council of Moscow University’s philology department has declared that the current policy is aimed at creating a docile mass. Intelligent people are coming to understand what is really taking place better and better. In response the authorities are reaffirming their choice: there should be as few clever people as possible. It has sealed this approach in the law On Education in the RF. Under the guise of additional paid services the way has been paved for abolishing free education in favor of paid education. The law abolishes preferential treatment for orphans in university admittance, strips the rural teacher of utilities benefits and Doctors and Candidates of Sciences of pay increases for scientific degrees.
One thing leads to another. If there is no developed and socially oriented education system, there will be no science that can deliver breakthroughs.
By the beginning of the 1990s Russian science was engaged in modern research on all fronts and was an unchallenged leader in some of them. Sectoral research institutes were closely linked with production. The high social status of the scientist was matched by the levels of his incomes. Non-market regulation made it possible to concentrate resources and achieve breakthroughs. They occurred in nuclear research, space exploration and energy fields.
Two decades after the anti-Soviet coup Russia sharply reduced the funding of science. The number of researchers has dropped by half, and their average age has increased to a critical mark. The earnings of scientific workers are well below the world standard or the incomes of those employed in banks and business, in the civil service and IT enterprises. That is where talented university graduates and promising researchers go. One in every four of them has left the country.
In the once great scientific power sectoral science has been practically destroyed, many research institutes and entire scientific schools have been lost. In terms of scientific publications Russia is now in 22nd place in the world. Only the Russian Academy of Sciences is managing to preserve its personnel and property, but it is catastrophically underfunded.
And yet in spite of everything the country’s intellectual capital amounts to 25 trillion dollars. However, the authorities put it at just 1.5 trillion. By understating that indicator by almost 17 times the government seeks to justify its course for copying the worst of Western education and is importing foreign scientists for incredibly high pay while leaving pittance for our own scientists.
The crisis in education and science is reflected in the health care system. The health care system has inherited a massive legacy from the Soviet Union: numerous clinical and preventative institutions, educational institutions and research institutions. The brilliant Semashko system was based on the principles of health care accessible to all, particular attention to motherhood and childhood, the fusion of prevention and treatment, and liquidation of the social causes of disease. It was almost a model system. All it needed was some polishing through purely technological modernization. But the new authorities have dismantled it.
The integrated health care system has been fragmented and ruined. Liberal reforms produce a hail of scary figures. Losses as a result of high death rate are estimated at 15 million. The birth rate has dropped. Already 80% of school leavers have medical pathology and addictive bad habits. Less than half of men in Russia live to be 60. Only 10% of people’s needs for drugs are met free. The country has 50% of the number of general practitioners it needs, 84% of rheumatologists and pulmonologists and 86% of neurologists. The shortage of children’s oncologists is even greater.
Ignoring the rising morbidity, the government is committed to cutting the financing of health care by half by 2015. And yet even today the USA spends twice as much on health care in terms of GDP percentage than Russia. And one has to keep in mind that America’s GDP is 9 times greater than ours. Consequently, in financial terms the spending on health care there is 18 times greater than in this country.
Contrary to the Constitution of the RF paid medical assistance at state and municipal health care institutions is being legitimized. Tests, X-ray, tomography are becoming paid services almost everywhere. Dentistry has long become a luxury. One need hardly speak about complicated surgery. Yet it is becoming increasingly difficult to get quality medical assistance even for money.
The authorities have reduced support of motherhood and childhood to the “right” to some benefits paid out of regional and local budgets. In a whole number of regions a child allowance is 2.5 roubles per day. In Moscow of course it is “immeasurably” higher, i.e. 25 roubles a day. And yet even a prison inmate is entitled to a daily 300 roubles. Shabby Moscow pet hotels spend 130 roubles a day on every animal.
There are nursery schools only for 62% of children, with 1.8 million kids on the waiting list. 9000 preschool childcare centers for 200 places each need to be built for them. The federal budget has set aside enough money to build only a hundred. The CPRF declares that Putin’s electoral promises are not being fulfilled.
Neither children, nor old people feel protected where lust for gain holds sway. The government is preparing another pension “gift” to the working people. It is planning to deprive of old-age pensions the citizens who have worked less than 30 years for women and 35 years for men. That increases the mandatory seniority by ten years. And secondly, illegal employment has been practiced in Russia for 20 years. That problem affects about a quarter of the able-bodied population.
Just as the present-day economy lives off the Soviet production potential culture mainly exploits the Soviet infrastructure. However, increasingly it is providing the material basis for activities that are invested with a different content that is alien and dangerous for the nation. The meaning and tradition both of the Soviet civilization and the centuries-old culture of Russia are being brazenly humiliated. Our “enlightened” Culture Minister is preoccupied with the idea of reburying Lenin’s body.
In the hands of the ruling regime culture becomes an instrument for controlling and distorting history. Films about the Soviet times are peopled with “vicious NKVD men”, “special department officers”, penal army units and “victims of the GULAG”. The cultural space in Russia is filled with American movies, primitive talk shows, obscurantism and occult rubbish. Sensation-seeking hooliganism has invaded some of the greatest theatre stages.
On the whole, considering the inflation forecast, federal budget social spending will continue to diminish. The authorities are doing everything to rob the working man, to underpay him and to shortchange him materially and intellectually. And he is being made to pay for everything, to pay more and more. For education and housing, for drugs and medical consultations, for countless certificates, law courts and fines. In addition the octopus of corruption exacts kickbacks and bribes.
State financing of the housing and utilities sector will drop by 30% by 2015. But the bosses of Home Owners’ Partnerships and managing companies who are making residents pay more and more will not suffer. The money will be taken out of citizens’ pockets. Tariffs are set to grow every year: by an average 12% for electricity, 11% for central heating and 15% for natural gas. Railway fares will increase by 10%. Beginning from 2014 and perhaps earlier the authorities intend to raise the real estate tax by ten times which will greatly increase payment for housing.
The growing prices and tariffs will “eat up” the miserly rises of wages and pensions, pushing “to the bottom” millions upon millions of our countrymen. The CPRF in parliament has been pressing for a doubling of the minimum wage, but United Russia set it at 5205 roubles. This sum is nothing if not an expression of contempt the “hamhanded” legislators from United Russia feel for the ordinary man.
Thus, in its first ten years the current regime simply ignored the social norms written down in the Constitution. In the past ten years it has been passing laws that increasingly emasculate and abolish its guarantees. Appalling social injustice is enshrined in laws on the budget, taxes and social standards. The deepest social and cultural split brought about by the restoration of capitalism is being sealed in legislation.
For Russian citizens this means that the struggle to hold on to their rights and guarantees granted under socialism is being replaced with the struggle to restore them. Every guarantee removed from the law should generate a new popular demand. The number of such demands is multiplying with every passing day. The political vanguard is called upon to formulate the precise slogans of the working people, the youth and the veterans. The Communist Party of the Russian Federation is consistently fulfilling that important task.
Disarming the Army, arming the police
The world imperialist elite has become far more arrogant in the absence of the “USSR factor”. It would seem that the ruling regime itself should be interested in strengthening national security. But neither the Kremlin’s foreign policy nor its attitude to the defense complex bear this out. Russia’s national security has been undermined. The future of the country and the world is under threat.
After 1991 Moscow toed the Washington policy line. Since that time the North Atlantic bloc has admitted 13 new member states. First Yeltsin agreed to the accession to NATO of the former Soviet allies: Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Then Putin accepted the new wave of the alliance expansion by adding Bulgaria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. The NATO military machine advanced more than 1000 km to the East. Its bases are located not only in Eastern Europe but also in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Russia is being strategically encircled. With the connivance of the Putin-Medvedev government the “Western hawks” are consolidating the results of victory in the Cold War. Below are just some facts attesting to the global foreign policy capitulation of bourgeois Russia:
- sabotage of the creation of the Union State with Byelorussia;
- dismantling of the ultra-modern radar station at Lourdes (Cuba);
- giving away the naval base in Kamran Harbor (Vietnam);
- de facto support of NATO aggression in Afghanistan and Iraq;
- support of the blockade of Iran, even contrary to Russia’s economic interests;
- failure to take measures against the discrimination of Russians in the Baltic states, against the sway of fascists in a number of East European countries;
- the handover to Norway of areas of the Barents Sea where Russian fishermen caught 60% of their total catch.
The list goes on and on. Russia’s refusal to veto the UN Security Council Resolution 1973 that paved the way for the bombings of Libya was a shameful act of complicity in aggression. In 2010 Dmitry Medvedev signed the Russian-American treaty on further reductions and strategic offensive weapons control (START-3) in Prague. It does nothing to prevent the Pentagon from building up its offensive weapons, including high-precision cruise missiles. It does not limit the US capacity to protect itself from retaliation with its National Missile Defense shield.
Continuing the tactic of unilateral concessions to the West, Russia has opened its territory for the supply of NATO occupation forces in Afghanistan. Moreover, the Alliance has been allowed to create a staging post near Ulyanovsk, in the very heart of Russia.
What are the results of the “peace-loving” policy pursued by Russia? The situation in the world is deteriorating. Wars are approaching closer and closer to our country’s borders. The US and its allies are intensively developing new types of weapons, including anti-missile systems and hypersonic offensive weapons.
The Alliance’s troop strength in the European theatre is 10-12 times that of the Russian Army. During the course of exercises and command-and-staff games NATO, in 70% of cases, practices the early period of a full-scale war and offensive operations. It takes for a very naïve person to believe that all this is intended to fight international terrorism.
Meanwhile Russia’s defense capability is at an intolerably low level. The destruction of the Armed Forces under the guise of reforming them has been going on since 1991. The reforms were declared completed in 2006. But in less than a year it turned out that the reforms were only starting. The much-touted “new look” of the Armed Forces was really about finishing off the remnants of the great Soviet Army which had defeated fascism.
The Russian Air Force has about 1500 frontline and interceptor planes. But a little more than half of them can actually take off and fulfill their combat mission. The Army aviation’s fleet has no more than 1330 combat and transport helicopters. By contrast, the NATO Air Force has about 4000 war planes and more than 9000 helicopters.
Only about 30% of the already modest fleet of long-range aviation are airworthy. Among the acute problems are catastrophic shortage of engines, the small number of refueling planes, lack of operational airfields in the Arctic and their cover against air and space attack. All this brings the capability of long-range aviation down to zero. And yet it is a component of the nuclear triad.
The Army and Navy are catastrophically short of new weapons. Armored vehicles and planes have exhausted their lifespan by 80%. The country’s military-industrial complex is unable to rectify the situation. From the start of the “reforms” it has been dismembered, privatized, artificially bankrupted and sold for a song.
Russia’s defense capability is sustained almost exclusively by the Strategic Missile Forces. But they too have been reduced and the locations where they are deployed are poorly protected from space attacks. The programme of procurement of heavy strategic missiles has not been fulfilled. By the middle of the next decade the Russian nuclear forces may become five times weaker. Meanwhile the potential enemy has ensured rapid development of air defense and air and space attack capability. Very soon the Russian Strategic Missile Forces will be unable to act as a nuclear deterrent, which is a threat to the whole world.
The command bodies, including the General Staff, have been seriously affected. The staffs of the main commands of the Armed Forces have been reduced to an absurd degree. The system of military education and military science has been decimated. Famous military schools and academies have been destroyed. Thus the transfer of the Zhukovsky and Gagarin Air Force Academies to Voronezh amounted to their liquidation. Both the personnel and the unique training facilities have been lost.
Russia’s potential to protect itself has been seriously undermined. The NATO armies have made a great stride forward. Even the Turkish Army, which has built up its muscle, can hold its own against the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.
The CPRF is campaigning vigorously for the strengthening of the country’s defense capability. Our deputies are actively working on that in parliament. Our comrades take an active part in the State Duma discussions on issues connected with the Armed Forces and the defense industry. The CPRF in parliament has initiated a series of parliamentary hearings and roundtables involving foremost military experts. The problems of all the armed services have been discussed and professional assessments of the state of the armed forces have been made. Specific recommendations on how to rectify the situation have been given.
We had no illusions all along about the meaning of the measures to give the Armed Forces “a new look” that were being taken with a nod from the Kremlin bosses. We have repeatedly drawn attention to the dire consequences of the activities of the Defense Minister. Pickets were held in front of the Defense Ministry to demand an end to the destructive “reforms”. Our party press worked hard to expose the destructive character of the “transformations”. The CPRF was consistently seeking to cause Defense Minister Serdyukov to resign. That issue has been solved now. We will continue to do everything we can to revive the Russian Armed Forces and oppose attempts to turn them against the people.
Mr Serdyukov once remarked that he had received an assignment from Putin: “To see how effectively the funds allocated for defense are used”. The Minister went about fulfilling that task with a vengeance. As a result, the huge military budget of recent years has failed to improve the state of affairs in the Army and Navy. It was simply and brazenly stolen. The flourishing of corruption at the Defense Ministry came to the surface as a result of the scandal around Oboronservis.
In general corruption in Russia has reached a scale that threatens national security. The arrogance of the bureaucrats is mind-boggling. According to the Audit Chamber about a trillion roubles a year “disappears” in the state procurement system alone. Studies have shown that a 10% annual drop in corruption could ensure a 5% annual growth of the economy.
The scale of corruption is not only a symbol of the greed of the bureaucrat from Putin’s “vertical power structure”. It highlights the flawed nature of the entire social and economic system. In this system law enforcement bodies are assigned a distinct role: to ensure that the ruling group stays in power.
Throughout the years when the masters of “new Russia” were trashing the Armed Forces, they were fostering their own police machine. While the Army was being downsized the ranks of repressive bodies were swelling. The spending on their equipment increased. The authorities are adhering to the formula: “Arm the police, disarm the Army”.
The number of citizens’ complaints filed with the law courts and law enforcement bodies is steadily growing. In 2011, 2.4 million crimes were registered, but specialists believe that the official data are clearly understated. During the same year more than 40,000 people died at the hands of criminals. Criminal statistics for 2012 are still being verified, but they are sure not to be comforting. Meanwhile law enforcement bodies are used for reprisals against political opponents. They made short shrift of the Mayor of Bratsk, Alexander Serov. Attempts are being made to prosecute Communist deputy Vladimir Bessonov. Sergei Reznikov, a member of a district electoral commission, was arrested in Moscow, but it has since been proven that narcotics had been planted on him to frame him up. These facts indicate that the “party in power” seeks to shed its reputation of “a party of crooks and thieves”.
Their “effective” protection of the powers that be earns the law enforcers indulgence over their inefficiency in fighting bandits, thieves and corrupt officials. This state of affairs shows the rot affecting the law enforcement system. What is particularly painful for society is that the judiciary has become an instrument in fulfilling the will of the ruling forces.
Thus, the foreign, defense and internal policies of Russia are deeply flawed. Dry rot affects all the security systems.
What are the hopes of the bureaucratic and oligarchic octopus? It is planning to protect itself from internal threats with the sticks of OMON. To dot all the i’s the militia has been replaced with police. But what to do about the external threat?
The Russian financial and political oligarchy hopes to buy Western benevolence by selling the country down the river. Such a prospect suits these gentlemen in every way. It has enabled them to safely stash their personal “safety cushions” in overseas banks.
The policy of the ruling circles follows logically from the role modern Russia plays in the global world. More and more enterprises in the country are owned by foreigners. But big “national capital” is not noted for any desire to change the situation and push rivals aside. Why would that be? The answer is that in reality we are talking not about national capital but a subservient branch of the international financial elite.
The oligarchs and top officials who have a shared umbilical cord are quite happy with the role of dodgy voyevodas given a license to feed off their fiefs. That role is ensured through the mercy of global capital. But mercy cannot be eternal. It would seem that with the examples of Hussein, Qaddafi and Mubarak before his eyes Putin surely understands that financial imperialism is ready to “conduct dialogue” only up to a point. At the end of the day it always follows the “winner takes all” principle. The appearance of the “Magnitsky List” is a wake-up call for the Russian elite.
Putin and the people around him surely understand this. Indeed the fate of Bashar Assad is a clear case of, among other things, historical revenge for being friends with the USSR-Russia.
But even the issue of personal safety fails to cause Putin to revise the course, he is making no attempts to detach himself from the interests of the Russian and world oligarchy. Truly, class interest comes first.
The realities of the 21st century confirm the truth that the progressive aspirations of big business are history. Patriotism and democracy, freedom and justice, independence and equality are becoming values espoused only by the working people, the popular masses. The struggle of the alliance of the left and the popular-patriotic forces of Russia for a change of the ruling regime does not cancel out another task: to force the authorities to restore social guarantees, to seek economic development and ensure national security.
“Vertical structure” of lies and suppression
The class that rules Russia today arose as a result of the anti-Soviet coup of 1991-1993. It is a symbiosis of corrupt bureaucracy, speculative capital and organized crime. During the Yeltsin period it was more or less an alliance of equals, with each having its slice of the cake in plundering the property of the whole people. With the advent of Putin the terms of the tacit agreement within the ruling class were “corrected”. The bureaucracy, mobilizing the potential of the special services, has gained ascendancy over the two other allies. The bureaucratic elite and big capital formed a single oligarchy bonded together by a multitude of threads.
Marxism attributes the emergence of such Bonapartist regimes to weakness and mutual debilitation of the main classes of bourgeois society. As a result bureaucracy is vested with special powers and is able to build a rigid “vertical power structure”. In Russia there was yet another circumstance: the fact that the weakening of the country’s economic unity was compensated for by the strengthening of the “unity of bureaucrats”.
The political essence of Bonapartism is maneuvering. Maneuvering between the oligarchs by supporting some and jailing others, maneuvering between different groups of the bourgeoisie. Finally, maneuvering between the exploiters and the exploited. There is a continuous game with various political scenarios in the liberal framework: either the utterly corrupt liberalism of the oligarchs or a Pinochet-style liberal dictatorship or an “orange revolution” staged by the liberal forces.
In a certain sense this is Bonapartism turned inside out. The essence of classical Bonapartism is to try to dampen internal conflicts through foreign policy expansion and all sorts of adventures. The modern-day Russian analogue behaves differently. Because it is surrendering its geopolitical positions and toeing the Washington line in politics it is unable to solve internal problems by increased external activity. A minor exception was the “little victorious” war against Georgia. On the whole Russian Bonapartism tends to drive the social conflict deeper into the system.
The current authorities put a brake on the development of the country’s productive and spiritual forces. Pinning its hopes on the strong “vertical power structure” the regime refuses to admit the dead-end character of its policy. It refuses to change the rules of the game that ensure unheard of enrichment of the ruling clan. The authoritarian system is impervious to criticism. Power is getting fat, increasingly less flexible and efficient. The internal crisis will inevitably sharpen.
Demand for change in society has not only matured. It has assumed a form of demands backed by actions. Protest sentiments have rocked Russia and are already changing its political life. It is becoming clear even to ordinary people that the ruling group has neither notable successes to show for it, nor a clear-cut plan of action. All its activities are geared to one goal, to hold on to power at any cost. It has to compensate for its setbacks by intensifying its PR activities. The regime has passed on from using diverse propaganda ploys to “brainwashing” across the whole front.
The clannish-oligarchic character of power is becoming ever more apparent. The Putin-Medvedev “job swap” elicited an extremely negative reaction from the population. This move is seen as dishonest collusion. Those citizens who tried to see some differences between the two political figures have lost all interest in this matter.
Dmitry Medvedev’s speech at the Gaidar Forum in January made no difference. It has become clear that his attempts to project an image of independence by embracing out-and-out liberalism would not add to his political weight. Moreover, such a U-turn is at odds with the methods of hoodwinking the masses perfected by the United Russia. And yet Medvedev is its official leader today. In his speech at the above forum the Prime Minister concentrated on private business and advocated further privatization. He stressed that it is necessary to sell off state property even though the value of assets has been grossly understated as a result of the crisis. The fact that it is understated was highlighted by the sale in January 2013 of the government stake in the Vanino Port, one of the country’s key ports, for just 15 billion roubles.
Society is becoming more and more aware of the falsehood of official propaganda which trumpets successes in the country’s development. One factor is the spread of the internet and especially the social networks. There are grounds already for talking about a new role of small internet media, namely, personal blogs, pages in social networks, local forums and sites where interest groups communicate with one another. Between them they are beginning to influence urban public opinion as much as television.
As it loses public trust the political regime is increasingly making a travesty of the key value of democracy, that is, free and fair elections. Exactly 100 years ago Lenin wrote in his article “The Results of Elections”: “The distinctive feature of elections for the Duma that is becoming ever more apparent is systematic faking of these elections by the government. It is not our aim here to sum up the results of “rigged elections”; the liberal and democratic press has said enough about it.” The aftertaste left by the 2012 elections is uncomfortably similar to that of 1912.
We Communists are well aware of the hypocrisy of the present electoral system. Bourgeois democracy as a vehicle of the people’s will and people’s power exhausted itself in the first third of the 20th century. Joseph Stalin provided a pithy description of that phenomenon at the 19th Congress of the CPSU: “The banner of bourgeois-democratic freedoms has been thrown overboard. I believe that you, the representatives of Communist and democratic parties, will have to pick up that banner and carry it forward if you want to rally around you the majority of the people. There is no one else to lift it up”.
Stalin’s conclusion has been fully vindicated. Bourgeois democracy today has been reduced to a set of technologies. They are not being used to ensure citizens’ participation in running the state and society. Their task is to guarantee the stability of the system at all costs. With the destruction of the Soviet system this political model has been imposed in Russia. The system created here is derivative in character because it imitates Western patterns. Bourgeois-democratic structures in Russian society are extremely weak. The ruling circles are quite content with “token” democracy.
Putin has carried the presidential power in Russia in the form it was created by Yeltsin to its logical conclusion. Even the token democracy is being consistently emasculated by the “vertical power structure”. This is the aim of the latest and thoroughly hypocritical “modernization” of the political system. In another attempt to cheat the electorate the ruling circles are implementing a new project aimed at fragmenting the opposition. A sweeping campaign to create new parties is underway. Today it is enough to have 500 members to create an all-Russian political party. The declared “elections” of governors involving a collection of signatures by municipal deputies leaves the issue entirely at the mercy of the ruling bureaucracy. Punitive laws are being passed concerning mass protest actions. There are other examples of official hypocrisy. While paying lip-service to democracy the bureaucrats and oligarchs are increasing their arbitrary rule. While installing web cameras to monitor polling stations they throw out observers. They install ballot counting machines, but without the right to verify and recount votes. They talk about political competition but oppose normal debate. A single voting day has been introduced, but it has been fixed for the first half of September when the holiday season in the country is in full swing.
Russia is fast evolving from a country with the rudiments of bourgeois democracy towards an ever tougher system of personal power. Because the current regime is unfit for creative activities, the option of bourgeois dictatorship is becoming a likely scenario of future development.
Delegitimization of elections, citizens’ mistrust of their results have been rising in recent years. The climax was reached in December 2011 which saw cynical vote-rigging during the elections for the State Duma. The CPRF has refused to recognize the results and mistrust of the official vote count has provoked mass protests.
The outburst of indignation forced the authorities to announce a political reform. But as early as October 14 it became clear what has been the real result. That day saw the first regional elections after the “political reform”. New parties joined the electoral race. For the first time in a long period there were several contending gubernatorial candidates. The main result of the single voting day has been further delegitimization of the institution of elections and, as a consequence, decline of popular interest in them. The majority of the population shares the sarcasm of the current joke: “The single falsification day has been a success. Some insignificant elections have been registered by they made no difference to the final outcome.”
Support for the United Russia has been falling since October 2008. The October 14, 2012 elections dramatically bucked that trend. The “miracles” worked by the Federal Election Commission under Churov were easily overturned. The United Russia vote increased by almost 20%.
A formal result for the spin doctors proved to be more important than the legitimacy of the political system. United Russia has become a party with a high percentage of votes while the real number of people who voted for it has diminished. Its underpinning now is the electorate that depends on the administration and votes as it is told out of fear or for the sake of material gain. Its hope is low turnout at polling stations, “voting” at home or according to additional lists. Its main resource is “carousel voting” when teams of voters are bussed from one polling station to another and vote several times.
Assessing the state of present-day Russian “democracy” one can say that it is in deep crisis. Democratic norms seem to be written down in the law and a multi-party system seems to be functioning, but all this is of little value. This fact is revealed by recent opinion polls. And no wonder: we witness the decay of bourgeois liberal values.
The experience of the USSR and the future of socialism
We have just marked the 90th anniversary of the formation of the USSR. It is 20 years since our common Motherland was destroyed. Both dates stimulated the discussion of the lessons of the historical path of the Soviet Union and the causes of its defeat. It is time to sum up the results of these discussions. This is one reason for concentrating our attention on what happened to the first leap towards socialism.
Another reason is the dialectics of the historical process. The legacy of the USSR is still important for all its peoples. Alas, at every turn of history the prospects of integration for Russia and the prospect of its disintegration go hand-in-hand.
There is also a third reason. As international meetings of Communist parties show, interest in the problem of the collapse of the USSR has not spent itself. It is our internationalist duty to continue the analysis of the causes and consequences of the tragedy we have lived through and to present our view of the problem. There are important factors behind the interest in this problem of our comrades in arms:
- drawing lessons from the experience of real socialism is extremely important for future socialism;
- the struggle “for history” between political forces is continuing and assessments of history have direct relevance to political practice;
- the defeat of the USSR in the information war – a new type of war – has taught us important lessons that popular governments and revolutionary forces must take into account if they are to effectively oppose new forms of imperialist aggression.
Two questions connected with the history of the USSR are of particular significance for current political struggle. The first is the emergence of the Soviet people and possible ways of reviving it. The second is our vision of the future, revealing the look of socialism in the 21st century with, of course, due account of the lessons of real socialism.
The Soviet people and the prospects of its revival
The Soviet people as a new historical community was formed first and foremost as a result of the replacement of the economic basis of capitalism with the economic basis of socialism. The Bolshevik slogan “Factories to the Workers” envisaged liquidation of the private capitalist form of ownership in industry and the implementation of the slogan “Land to the Peasants” abolished land owners’ property in agriculture.
The complicated and dramatic process of the liquidation of exploitative classes in Russia began in October 1917 and ended with the adoption of the Soviet Constitution in 1936. By that time capitalist and land owners’ forms of property had been replaced with socialist property owned by the state and collective farms. As a consequence, the working class and the peasantry assumed a new position. They ceased to be the exploited majority of the working people. They came to wield political power and to own the means of production.
Relations of equality, comradely cooperation and mutual assistance were established in the socialist economy. They were asserted as a result of class struggle against the kulaks and the proponents of the old regime values who embarked on the path of opposing the Soviet state. Simultaneously a difficult process was taking place of overcoming the tenacious private ownership mentality, a struggle was being waged between “mine” and “ours”.
Socialist production dictated the priority of the public interest over the private interest. Manpower ceased to be a commodity. Market competition receded into the past. All this united people in a new community. The Soviet people is the first historical community of people free from the exploitation of their labour. It was formed after the vast majority of working people asserted their power in the shape of Soviets. The primary cell of the Soviet people is the work collective of a socialist enterprise. It did not only seek social equality but was an important form of internationalist education. Equal comradely relations brought together the representatives of all the peoples of the USSR into a single entity called the Soviet people.
The Soviet people became the first international community in the history of mankind that was free of national oppression. The shared historical destiny predetermined fraternal relations between the Russians and the other peoples of our country even before Russia was transformed along socialist lines. However, these relations were beclouded by ethnic clashes caused by the policy of the ruling classes. Contradictions were growing as Great Russian chauvinism was kindled by Tsarism and local nationalism was incited by the emergent bourgeoisie in the national borderlands. Contemporaries attest that by 1917 the Russian state was splitting at the seams on ethnic grounds.
The creation of the economic base of socialism made it possible to pass on to planned and proportional development of the economy and the creation of a single economic complex. Helping various peoples to overcome their economic and cultural backwardness Soviet power relied heavily on the leading role of the Russian people in the country, on its working class, peasantry and working intelligentsia. Based on proletarian and later socialist internationalism, the brotherhood of the Soviet peoples provided the cement that bonded the foundation of the multinational community.
Gorbachev’s perestroika marked the start of the dismantling of socialism. The “fifth column” and external forces made active use of nationalism as a ram to destroy the Soviet Union. In August 1991 the country found itself in a situation when the social class structure of socialist society was being distorted and the bourgeois class was emerging. It was recruited from amongst “shadow businessmen”, speculators and members of the underworld and it started growing thanks to the “development” of bourgeois cooperatives and other “economic transformations”. The new class was rapidly growing stronger and merging with corrupt bureaucrats. The emergence of national “sovereignties,” customs barriers and national currencies was in the interests of the rapidly growing bourgeoisie. This was an illustration of the law discovered by Karl Marx: the basis requires a matching superstructure.
With the restoration of capitalism in Russia the socialist form of ownership was liquidated. Exploiters and the exploited again entered the scene. Competition in the labour market was back. The alienation of people from the means of production and from the results of their labour inevitably created alienation of people from one another.
With the destruction of Soviet power and the economic basis of socialism the Soviet people ceased to exist as a stable historical community. It was destroyed in the political and political-economic sense. But it did not disappear in the cultural and historical sense. The Soviet people still exists in elements of socialist culture. People with the Soviet mentality are still alive. The experience of real socialism, its great and dramatic lessons are etched on the historical memory of these people. The cultural-historical type of the Soviet man, the creator, collectivist and internationalist and a fighter against bourgeois egoism has survived. The majority of CPRF members and its supporters are people of this type.
A very important question is the possibility of using these factors to revive the Soviet people, the character and prospects of integration processes in the post-Soviet space.
The economic complex created in the Soviet Union proved to be so powerful that economic links between the Russian Federation and its neighbours have survived even after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Historical necessity forced the authorities in the CIS countries to form EurAsEC, and the bourgeois leadership of Russia and Kazakhstan created a Customs Union with the Republic of Belarus where the foundations of socialist economy have been preserved.
Yet even this capitalist integration is proceeding slowly. As a sequel to the “divorce” of the former Union Republics there are mutual territorial claims, “gas”, “wine” and other trade wars and disputes over water resources. Contrary to objective needs, the level of interaction is going down. In 1990 trade between the former republics of the USSR accounted for 69% of their foreign trade. By the early 2012 that figure dropped to 22%. Russia’s foreign trade with the former Soviet Union countries dropped from 57% to 15% during this period. The slip-ups in the interaction in the framework of EurAsEC and the Customs Union are telltale. The Russian oligarchy is sabotaging reintegration with Byelorussia.
Unification in the post-Soviet space is extremely important for stopping the disintegration inside Russia. The adoption of the economic basis of capitalism led to the restoration of ethnic separatism here. It manifests itself now as the struggle for national sovereignty, now as the demand for economic preferences and sometimes it puts on a religious garb. What is particularly dangerous is that the virus of nationalism has infected part of the core people, and its young generation which has taken up the slogan “Russia for Russians”. The response is fresh intensification of national separatism. Given the dramatic weakening of the Russian people, the threat of disintegration of Russia is very real. That is a threat for all our peoples and for the integrity of our country. It can only be effectively prevented by transforming the economic basis of society along socialist lines. Only then will the great international community, the Soviet people, spring back to life.
In the current political and social economic reality both trends on the territory of the former USSR are important: the trend for integration and the trend for disintegration. Success or failure in bringing our peoples closer together hinges on the behavior of the popular masses and the actions of political forces. Contrary to official Russia, the CPRF is advocating not capitalist integration “from scratch”, but reintegration, i.e. integration that makes creative use of Soviet experience. There are a good many objective conditions for that.
Unification is prompted by geographical proximity, the links surviving from the highly integrated economy of the USSR, the situation in the world markets and issues of security. The centuries-old experience of peoples living together in one and the same state, the traditions of the common struggle of the working people of different nationalities against exploiters and foreign invaders are also important factors.
Ethnic factors also play an important unifying role. First, the Soviet people was a multinational family, with one in every seven marriages in the Soviet Union being a mixed marriage. Second, the majority of the Russian population in all the new states comes out for revival of the unity of the peoples. Third, the majority of citizens in the former USSR belong to the Eastern Slavic community.
In the Soviet Union, for the first time in the history of mankind, a cultural and social community had arisen in which the main values were labour, conscience, truth, dignity and justice. These concepts were treated as a centuries-old dream being put into practice. In spite of all the losses, common values still unite people separated by state boundaries. The Soviet Atlantis still beckons.
The Soviet people as a cultural, moral and spiritual community of people has not disappeared. No matter how hard the barbarians of capitalism tried to destroy the cultural legacy of the USSR, it is far from finished. Spiritual values tend to be more enduring than material values. It is impossible to destroy Sholokhov’s great novel “The Quiet Don” or to “cancel” Tvardovsky’s “Vasily Tyorkin”, and the music by Shostakovich, Prokofyev and Sviridov. The bronze sculptures by Vuchetich, Kibalnikov and Anikushin and the canvases by outstanding artists Petrov-Vodkin, Korin and Deineka are still impressive. Soviet cinema created by great directors and actors is still alive. It is impossible to remove from the hall of fame of world science the names of Pavlov, Kurchatov, Korolev, Semenov, Kapitsa, Keldysh and Landau. The space flight of Yuri Gagarin cannot be erased from popular memory.
Soviet culture is a powerful part of the spiritual heritage of mankind. We can rightly be proud of being the contemporaries of many of its representatives and of being able to read Yuri Bondarev’s “Hot Snow”, Valentin Rasputin’s “Live and Remember”, Vasily Belov’s “Lad”, and the poems of Yegor Isayev of Stalingrad.
Soviet culture can withstand any invasions of barbarians if all the honest, thinking and courageous people stand up in its defense. Such defense is particularly needed in the sphere of education. It is in education that the battle line for rescuing the spiritual heritage of the Soviet people passes.
The CPRF is tirelessly protecting socialist culture, the Soviet civilization and the memory of the Soviet past. All this is a critically important condition for the resurgence of the Soviet nation. But we are very well aware that important though it is, that condition is not sufficient. In order to restore the Soviet community of people the economic basis of capitalism must be replaced with the economic basis of socialism.
The anti-crisis programme of the CPRF envisages the liquidation of big capitalist business and its handover to the state. This would be the first step in the transition towards socialist production that will revive the relations of comradely cooperation among people and rule out exploitation of man by man.
The crisis of capitalism in the CIS countries takes a particularly acute form. As it deepens the experience of Soviet socialism becomes ever more relevant. Clearly the revival of the Union of Fraternal Peoples calls for a radical change of the political and socio-economic situation in the former union republics, including Russia. “Pressure from below”, pushing the authorities towards reintegration can be effective only if it is combined with the struggle for socialism.
The most consistent advocates of the recreation of the Union State are the parties that form the UCP-CPSU, and we will continue to strengthen our links vigorously. In our struggle for the Union we can count on the support of the progressive forces in the world, the Communists and all the genuine patriots and democrats and opponents of imperialist globalization. In order to bring our peoples closer together the CPRF is promoting citizens’ diplomacy and intends to broaden contacts among non-governmental organizations, trade unions, research institutions and societies, cultural and creative associations. The forum of the champions of brotherhood of the peoples organized by UCP-CPSU in Donetsk marked a milestone. Fraternal links are growing stronger between chapters of the Communist Party of Belarus, the Communist Party of Ukraine and the CPRF in the border regions. It is necessary to expand this practice to celebrate joint holidays, initiate Days and Weeks of the Culture of Fraternal Peoples, forums of veterans, meetings of young people and sporting events. It is important to promote information exchanges and foster economic links at the level of enterprises and regions.
The recreation of a renewed Union Soviet Socialist state and, by implication, of the Soviet people within its historical boundaries is possible. This is a legitimate and absolutely necessary process. Resistance of course will be colossal. But there are no grounds for pessimism. Opinion surveys confirm that our peoples still cherish a dream of recreating the Union. The results of the national referendum in 1991 for the preservation of the USSR cannot be cancelled. It is now up to the will of the popular masses and the effectiveness of their political vanguard.
Towards 21st century socialism
Esteemed participants in the Congress,
The position of the CPRF on the fundamental issues is set forth in the Party programme. The new edition includes a thesis on 21st century socialism and declares a commitment to further study of the problem. The CPRF is working towards that end.
Of course the look of socialism in the 21st century should not be a utopian picture prompted by wishful thinking. What we need is serious analysis that would enable us to give an accurate forecast and to set viable practical tasks. We need a scientific picture of the development of society. No more, but no less.
First of all socialism presupposes a replacement of private ownership of the means of production with public ownership. This is a necessary precondition for overcoming class divisions and introducing a planned organization of social life “to ensure the well-being and all-round development of all members of society”, to quote Lenin. What the Marxist-Leninist classics meant by replacement of property is an issue that merits attention.
Neither Marx, nor Lenin regarded the act of turning private capitalist property into state property as the final aim of the communist movement. They saw it merely as a first step towards creating a society without a state, without money, without violent enforcement of rules of human activity. On the way towards communist society state property should develop into genuinely public property of which every individual is a co-owner. Everyone will regard this property as his/her own, being able to use it to meet his/her personal and socially significant needs.
By wealth Marx and Lenin meant not the total body of “things” but the wealth of culture produced by mankind. The essence of Marxism is that social development is called upon to solve an overarching task: to enable every individual to use the wealth accumulated by mankind and from which he was alienated under capitalism. The social form of ownership of all the benefits of culture, as they saw it, would help to solve the key historical task, i.e. to turn every individual from a narrow professional, from a slave of the division of labour into intellectual and physical labour, into a rounded individual who can freely change types of activity and who runs the affairs of the whole society.
The trail-blazing path that Soviet society was following was difficult and involved sacrifice. The danger of a war aimed at destroying the USSR made it necessary to establish a monopoly of state property over a long period. No other forms of ownership were tolerated except the property of collective farms and cooperatives and personal property. This was the requirement of the mobilization economy dictated by historical realities. It ensured the industrialization of the country, saved the Soviet Union during the Great Patriotic War and made it possible to quickly restore the war-devastated economy and create a nuclear shield for the Soviet power.
Having guaranteed its national security the USSR was able to pass on to a new stage in the transformation of Soviet society. The objective need for this was already evident by the end of the 1970s. The range of conditions for the transition of society to a new level of development had taken shape. The path leading up to that goal was expanding self-government and tapping the creative potential of people. But then the treacherous Gorbachev “perestroika” broke out, which of course was not an accident. The country was preparing to move into a new stage of development. World capital had to exert an enormous effort to destroy a dangerous rival. Reagan’s term “the evil empire” signaled the readiness of imperialism to engage the USSR in a life-and-death battle.
With the help of the “fifth column” the plan of defeating the socialist citadel was put into practice. And yet the hardship and deprivation people experienced in order to build a new society had not been in vain. Our people and the entire mankind made a colossal leap towards social progress. The history of the USSR provided priceless experience for all those who continue the great struggle for a just society. Building on what has been achieved, socialism is moving forward in the third millennium.
The look of socialism in the 21st century is that of a developing socialism with a communist perspective. For us communism is a logical result of scientifically planned progressive movement of socialism. It is not just a beautiful dream, nor is it a position that can be achieved by a certain date. That was why Khrushchev’s slogan of “building Communism by the 1980s” caused great damage to socialism.
Joseph Stalin in his time thus formulated the main economic law of socialism: “Maximum satisfaction of the constantly growing material and cultural needs of the whole society through continuous growth and improvement of socialist production on the basis of high technology”. This provision fully meets the goals of socialist progress.
Our view of socialism is inseparably bound up with the priority of science in the life of society. In its policy documents the CPRF stresses the development of science-intensive production, the revival of the best of the Soviet education system that builds up intellectual reserves capable of accomplishing scientific and technical breakthroughs. Today scientists, having experienced the “delights” of capitalism, are coming to understand the validity of Lenin’s statement: “Only socialism will liberate science from its bourgeois shackles, from its enslavement by capital, from its subservience to the interests of vile capitalist lust for gain. Only socialism will make it possible to spread and really effect social production and distribution of products on scientific grounds.” Socialism in the 21st century is unthinkable without scientific forecasting and planning of economic development.
If people are to identify themselves with socialism, socialism must incorporate the culture of the whole mankind. That calls for fundamental education. That is why the CPRF will not relinquish its struggle for free and high-quality education for all. It must be aimed at fostering the ability to think independently, to assimilate imparted knowledge creatively and to use it in practice in the rapidly changing living conditions.
Our vision of socialism is that of a society of social justice in which working people would regain and increase their social rights. They are the right to housing, labour and leisure, free education and health care, decent old-age and disability pensions. Socialism alone guarantees that great social package. It alone provides equal opportunities for all to meet the basic human needs for creativity, procreation, communication, knowledge and beauty.
Transition to a society of justice implies elimination of social inequalities. The first step is nationalization of big capitalist property. It does not yet mean socialist transformation of production, that is impossible in a bourgeois state. But in the case of nationalization, as Lenin said, “we are not talking about introducing socialism now, directly, overnight, but about exposing embezzlement”. Nationalization in today’s Russia would rid it of the omnipotence of foreign capital which has taken control of the country’s economy.
Increased role of state property is not yet socialism, but it facilitates a transition to socialism. It is a necessary condition for the period of transition towards socialism, when, while state property is predominant collective forms of ownership, people’s enterprises, will get all the support they need. These enterprises, building on the national historical traditions of collective life, will become seats of self-government in Russia, the foundation of socialist democracy. As part of planned development of social production the state will establish proper control over the market sector. During the prolonged period of transition to socialism the private sector too acquires a socially oriented character. Its owners will have to use it for the benefit of the whole society combining private interest with the social interest. It would not pay to act otherwise. Private entrepreneurship for the benefit of the people will have the status of socially relevant activity protected by the state.
Socialism in the 21st century is socialism of genuine people’s rule. The CPRF seeks a replacement of the Western-type parliamentary democracy in Russia with a Soviet-type democracy. The Soviet democracy was the result of the creativity of the masses displayed during the revolutionary events in the early 20th century. Its foundations were formed in ancient Rus and survived for centuries in the Russian peasant commune. The power of the Soviets, being an instance of democracy of the vast majority of working people in the country, had a basically class nature. Reflecting and protecting the interests of the working people, it matched the national features of the Russian people that forms the core of the state, as well as the Ukrainian, Byelorussian and many other peoples of the USSR. The tradition of solving fateful issues “by the whole commune”, i.e. by a peasant meeting, a meeting of Cossacks, was symptomatic of a desire to see a just government based on the will of the people and grassroots control.
The liquidation of Soviet power and restoration of capitalism dealt a blow at the interests of the working people and at the national identity of Russia. Under the pressure of the propaganda by the advocates of perestroika, bureaucratization was seen by most people as a sign that Soviet power was somehow bereft by comparison with Western parliamentalism which is basically designed to cover up the power of capital. In the 21st century only the restoration of the Soviet organization of state power and socialist democracy will safeguard Russia from the forces of national separatism and stop the centrifugal forces.
Socialism in the 21st century will continue to develop within national borders. It is called upon to guarantee for Russia national security in accordance with the country’s geopolitical position and international threats. That is impossible without a powerful military-industrial complex that meets the requirements of scientific and technical progress. It needs armed forces that can defend the country and defeat the aggressor.
Military threats will not go away as long as world imperialism exists. The struggle for raw materials in the capitalist world is becoming ever tougher. Russia is the main target of that struggle and the target of a possible aggression. The Soviet power, which had the strongest army, only guaranteed its security when it created a nuclear shield. Without such a shield aggression against the USSR would have been inevitable. All the talk about new-look socialism is worth nothing unless it ensures the protection of national independence. Without it the freedom of the individual and all-round development of the individual cannot be guaranteed.
Socialism in the 21st century is socialism of high culture. Access to its achievements will become equal for all members of society, like it was in the USSR. Socialism will further develop on the basis of the historic achievements of the Soviet civilization. The key role in the development of literature and the arts will be played by the forms of classical Russian critical realism and socialist, Sholokhov-style realism. That does not rule out the development of other forms through which, as Stanislavsky said, the power of the human spirit and its creative might is conveyed. Crass materialism, a vulgar consumerist attitude to culture that are features of bourgeois culture, will not go away by themselves. They can only be overcome by high culture which, under a new socialism, like in the Soviet times, will be national in form and socialist in content.
The new socialism will restore the word of truth. The system of people’s education in which the main hero will be the working man who creates a life that is free of exploitation and its vices will become the main hero. He will be at the focus of socialist culture in all its forms.
The role of family and school in transmitting cultural values will increase many times over. School will ensure uniformity of intellectual and moral education, which has always been the cornerstone of the education system in this country. In accordance with Lenin’s behest, the teacher’s position will be more exalted than it has ever been in bourgeois society. The process of education at school will be based on teachers and pupils forming a single collective.
Of course it is difficult to draw a complete picture of the future, even of not very remote future. But the outlines of the future socialism are visible, understandable and attract millions of people.
Determining the look of socialism in the 21st century the CPRF naturally includes the features that have long been discovered by Marxist-Leninist science and the experience of real socialism. It takes into account current historical conditions, the achievements of scientific-technical progress and the national features of specific countries. Scientific forecasting of social development forms the basis of the communists’ political programme, the programme developed in the interests of the majority of the people.
The CPRF and its Central Committee in the report period
As you understand, comrades, the crisis of capitalism creates a situation that is increasingly unstable and dangerous. By the same token it offers some new opportunities for the struggle for socialism. In this context the subjective factor of the revolutionary process is extremely important. The Communist Party is called upon to strengthen links with the masses of the people, to rely on their creative potential, to perform the role of the vanguard of the working class and all the working people, veterans and the youth. Only such a party can launch a struggle against capital on a broad front. It alone can ensure success at the time of revolutionary upsurge. In order to build up its strength and lead the masses to victory the Communist Party needs:
- ideological strength and a robust programme,
- strong organization,
- effective political work among the grassroots, including work collectives, parliament and the street,
- increased propaganda potential;
- a wider front of allies,
- solidarity of progressive forces on the international arena,
- greater material and financial independence from capital and the bourgeois state.
To rely on the power of ideas
The adoption of a new Party Programme will be the key item on the agenda of the 13th Congress of the CPRF.
Its first version appeared in 1995 when there were still high hopes in society for an early restoration of the USSR and the return of the country to the track of socialist development. Fifteen years later the situation is different. Restoration of capitalism has become a reality. The results of the heroic labour effort of generations of Soviet people were destroyed or appropriated by the new rich. It has become clear that the struggle for socialist transformation would have a prolonged character. Our Programme takes all that into account.
In Russia, like everywhere in the world, the bourgeoisie and its ruling regime are engaged in constant ideological struggle. They try to impress it upon the masses that there is no alternative to capitalism and that the socialist organization of society is a utopia. Their anticommunism is imaginative and takes diverse forms. Under such conditions, political maturity of the masses will not come about by itself. To impart socialist ideas to society is the key task of the communists. Speaking about the uncompromising nature of the struggle against bourgeois ideology Lenin stressed: “There are only two options: either bourgeois or socialist ideology. There is no middle ground (because humanity has not worked out a “third” ideology, and in general, in a society rent apart by contradictions there can never be a non-class or supra-class ideology). That is why any diminution of socialist ideology, its sidelining means the strengthening of bourgeois ideology.”
Success in achieving the party’s goals is directly linked to the strength of its ideological foundations. The CPRF must be impervious to the influence of bourgeois interests, ideology and politics. Only then can it fulfill the role of the party of the working class, of working people, all the social groups that come out against capitalism. Only this way will it be confidently moving towards the establishment of socialism, a society free of capitalist exploitation and national oppression.
At its plenary session in October 2012 the CC CPRF examined the issues of improving our ideological and theoretical work. Important conclusions were drawn. Equally important tasks were set.
First, the party is convinced that it can only fulfill its role of vanguard of the working people if it strictly adheres to Marxist-Leninist theory which forms the basis of the party’s ideology. We are called upon to cherish the ideological legacy of Marxist-Leninist classics and to prevent its distortion and vulgarization. We know only too well that the ideological apostasy of part of the CPSU leadership logically led to political betrayal and betrayal of the socialist motherland. That was one more confirmation of the truth that concessions cannot be tolerated in ideological struggle.
Second, in developing theoretical thought the party is consistently guided by the dialectical materialist method of cognition and analysis of reality and is using the class approach to the analysis and assessment of social facts and phenomena. The study of this method is the cornerstone of party political education. In constantly analyzing society in which we work, the party uses theory as a guide to action and is looking for non-standard solutions to the pressing problems of our time.
Third, only Marxist-Leninist ideas and their creative elaboration can be propagated within the CPRF. The dissemination within the party of idealistic views in whatever form cannot be tolerated. Freedom of conscience within the CPRF does not mean freedom to propagate ideas that are alien to dialectical materialism. Nevertheless the party is open to cooperation and alliance with those who preach a different worldview, but support the CPRF’s Anti-Crisis Programme and reject anti-Sovietism and anti-Communism.
Fourth, the party is persistent in exposing attempts to hide the social class nature of the policy of the ruling regime and its anti-national character. The class approach best reveals and exposes the umbilical link between the interests of the oligarchy and its anti-Russian domestic and foreign policies. By opposing that course, the CPRF complies with the principle of combining the social class and national liberation struggle.
Fifth, the CPRF seeks to develop theoretical thought. Representatives of RUSO (Russian Scientists of the Socialist Orientation) and other Marxist scientists hold seminars, conferences, roundtables and various other forms of theoretical discussions. Problems of history and the present time are being studied. In order to support these activities we propose that the Congress pass a decision on founding the party journal Questions of Theory.
Sixth, the party intends to focus its propaganda and political education on the study and popularisation of the relevant works by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin. It is necessary to systematically publish textbooks and methodological literature for the education and self-education of communists, in the first place young people. Examples of such work in 2011-2012 were the party’s support for the publication of A Course in National History by Professor L.Olshtynsky and the manuals by professor A.Borovikov The Beginnings of Marxism-Leninism and The Fundamentals of Political Science.
Seventh, the party seeks to raise the ideological and theoretical level of its members and is setting up an effective system of training cadres for these activities. The report period was marked by growing awareness of the dramatically increased significance of party political studies which is prompted by the renewal of the party’s composition, the complexity of the political situation and the sophisticated methods the authorities use in information and psychological warfare. It has been decided to create a Political Training Centre under the CC CPRF. At the same time there is a need for permanent interregional party schools and courses for training the party cadre borrowing the experience accumulated by our comrades in the Omsk, Oryol, Volgograd and Irkutsk regional committees and the Karsnoyarsk Territory party committee. The journal Politicheskoye Prosveshcheniye, for which subscription has increased noticeably plays an important role in party training. We have yet to fully implement the rule: at least one journal for every primary cell. In nominating candidates for secretary of city, district and regional CPRF committees their ideological and theoretical background needs to be taken into account.
During the four-odd years since the 13th Congress of the CPRF all the political forces in Russia have been acting in the conditions of the world financial and economic turmoil. Looking back, we note that our assessment of the situation in the country and the world has been correct. We warned that the crisis was inevitable, that it was necessary to thoroughly prepare ourselves for it and that all the talk about a “safe haven” was untenable and false. The way the authorities have behaved steered events according to what may easily be described as the worst scenario. Its main “anti-crisis measures” were: a wholesale offensive on the social guarantees while assisting some privileged banks in patching up financial holes with the tax-payers’ money. Against this background the measures proposed by the Communists for getting out of the crisis are becoming ever more urgent.
The Party was equipped in a timely manner with the necessary programmatic materials. The CPRF anti-crisis programme incorporates our analytical studies of recent years, proposals by top specialists, scientists and economic managers in the country. If the popular-patriotic forces come to power the implementation of that programme will ensure a decent life for the working people in a fair and strong, democratic and prosperous Russia. The anti-crisis programme provided the basis for the electoral programme of the CPRF in the State Duma elections in 2011 and the programme of its candidate in the presidential elections of 2012.
The growing relevance of the proposals made by our party was the result of purposeful work by the Communists and millions of our supporters. An important party initiative was the holding of People’s Referendum in 2011-early 2012. This was the second time that we used a nationwide referendum despite the fact that the authorities have blocked any attempts to hold an All-Russia Referendum whose results would be legally binding. We put up for a broad discussion the key issues of life in the country and we have met with full support. An overwhelming majority of our fellow citizens said a firm “yes” to the key point on our programme, i.e. nationalization of the key sectors of the economy and the banking sphere.
In the report period the CC CPRF resolutely opposed anti-communism and every manifestation of reactionary ideology, exposed the nature of capitalism and the essence of the ruling regime in Russia, exposed the underlying purpose of the existence of pseudo-opposition “spoiler parties”. International meetings of left-wing parties help the CPRF in its theoretical quests. In 2010 fifty scientists and politicians from 21 countries met in Moscow for an international scientific conference “For Historical Truth and Truthful Portrayal of the Events of Our Era”. A substantive exchange of opinions with comrades from 30 countries took place during the celebration of the jubilee of the newspaper Pravda in May of last year. Two months ago, at a meeting in Moscow we compared the views on the topical problems of our time with our comrades from 11 Communist Parties working in various parts of the world. The CPRF is convinced that joint struggle of left-wing forces against anti-communism will continue.
Looking ahead, the CPRF continues to propagate the achievements of Soviet power, to oppose the falsification of the Soviet history and to mark every important date in the country’s heroic past. We put up our red flags every year on May 1, on November 7 and May 9. During the past four years we celebrated the 140th anniversary of Lenin’s birth and the 130th anniversary of Stalin’s birth. We celebrated the following dates: 95th anniversary of the Great October Revolution, the 90th anniversary of the USSR, the 50th anniversary of the first manned spaceflight, the centenary of the founding of the party’s printed organ, the newspaper “Pravda”. We could not afford to ignore the 70th anniversary of the Victory over fascist invaders near Moscow and in Stalingrad, the 70th anniversary of the heroic deeds of “the Young Guard,” the 300th anniversary of the birth of Mikhailo Lomonosov, the 200th anniversary of the victory over Napoleon, the 400th anniversary of the expulsion of foreign invaders from Moscow by Minin and Pozharsky.
The party is working persistently to combine the social-class struggle against exploitation of man by man with the national liberation struggle against imperialist globalization. Being aware of the scale of poverty and the shrinking population, we raised the “Russian question” at our 10th Congress. The grave problems facing the people that forms the core of the state threaten the entire framework of our vast multinational home which we have been building together for more than a thousand years. The CPRF is well aware of this danger and counters it by its initiatives aimed against economic, social and cultural degradation of society. The work of enlightenment is not the least of our concerns. On the initiative of our party the Day of the Russian Language was introduced in the calendar of memorable dates. From now on it will be marked every year on Pushkin’s birthday, June 6.
At the end of 2012 we held the founding congress of the Russky Lad (Russian Harmony) movement. It brings together the country’s patriots in cultural and educational work to counteract the multi-pronged expansion of imperialism. It is necessary to encourage such unification. More and more people realize that all moral values are alien to capital. This is clear to the supporters of socialism and genuine patriots and many of those who embrace the values of Christianity, Islam and Buddhism. Conditions are emerging for the pooling of efforts of people holding different views. The working people of Russia would only gain if believers among them actively joined the struggle for liberation from social oppression, the struggle for socialism.
The CPRF sees the alliance of popular-patriotic forces as a form of uniting the proletarian and non-proletarian masses. The party has cooperated closely with its allies throughout the report period. In February 2011 our youth wing held its 5th Congress which created the Leninist Communist Youth League. Thus the Komsomol has recovered its name that is associated with glorious deeds and has to be backed up with concrete actions. In April of that same year we helped to prepare the 3d Congress of the All-Russia Women’s Union – Nadezhda Rossii. A year and a half ago the CPRF organized a congress of the education community which was attended by teachers from all over Russia who wholeheartedly supported our draft law On People’s Education. The CPRF was actively involved in the registration of the War Children movement. RUSO and the movement In Support of the Army, the Defense Industry and Military Science have continued their important mission.
Today we would like to express appreciation to all the Communists and their supporters who are working actively with non-governmental associations and cooperating with our allies. They include A.Aparina, Yu.Afonin, L.Baranova, V.Komoyedov, V.Nikitin, I.Nikitchuk, V.Pozdnyakov, O.Smolin and V.Shevelukha. Special thanks are due to the CC CPRF Advisory Board headed by P.Romanov. The CPRF is disseminating its views in various ways. This is the aim of direct communication with people, mass actions in defense of the rights and interests of citizens, reports of our parliamentary deputies to their constituencies. Together with Pravda and Sovetskaya Rossiya we use more than a hundred party newspapers and almost as many internet sites to inform the population. The Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Rostov and other party branches have fostered a tradition of celebrating Pravda days, and days of the party press. Last year this interesting experience was spread to other regions. The KPRF.ru website provides diverse information and is updated on a daily basis. It is the most substantive and most visited internet site among the sites of political parties. Integrated with that site is the internet site kprf.tv which posts the party’s video materials. Its archive contains three thousand stories about the Communist activities in the country. In fact a video chronicle of party life is being built.
The specialized site of the CC CPRF, politpros.com is very helpful for propaganda workers. The related politpros.tv resource has offered topical and highly professional video products to its users. This became possible because the Central Committee created a video studio two years ago. Diverse and interesting materials have attracted the attention of viewers to the problems that official TV channels shy away from. Thus our creative team carried stories about people’s enterprises headed by communists, showed the life and endeavors of fraternal Byelorussia and spoke about the ingredients of successful reforms in China. The information and propaganda work done so far has enabled us to launch an extremely important project to create our own TV channel.
The task of creating our internet sites in every regional branch of the party set for the report period has been practically solved. In the next four years it is important to match quantity everywhere with high quality. So far not all the regional sites meet the challenges of the day in terms of presentation and content.
To build up our efforts in this area work on the internet and in social networks in particular should be stepped up. Social networks and blogs are a cheap and effective way of spreading information. It is necessary to create a pool of “Red bloggers” who help to debunk anti-communist stereotypes and break through the information blockade. We need interesting and profound discussions on internet forums, sharp satirical commentaries, popular information sites, blogs and “live journals”.
To close our ranks, to strengthen the party
The history of our party has seen the fight against the autocracy of the tsars when the party operated underground, the period when it was the ruling party in the largest state on the planet and the period of struggle in opposition. However, we never forget Lenin’s thesis to the effect that organizational issues can never be separated from politics.
At present the CPRF has 81 regional, 2278 local and 13793 primary branches. During the report period membership of the CPRF has increased to 158,000. The Lenin and Stalin call-ups to the CPRF in 2009-2010 had great political and organizational significance. During its course about 30,000 people joined the party.
Among the leaders in terms of admission of new members in absolute terms are the following regional branches: North Ossetia (870), Krasnoyarsk (780), Volgograd (770), the Moscow Region (761), and Stavropol (454). Forty regional party branches annually admitted ten and more percent of their total membership. The most active work in this respect was carried out by our comrades in North Ossetia (22.8%), Ingushetia (22.1%), the Yaroslavl Region (17%), Udmurtia (17%) and the Chelyabinsk Region (16.3%).
Considering the objective conditions the coming years should be a period of increased class maturity of the Russian proletariat. Today about 12% of CPRF members are representatives of the working class. More than 7% are rural workers. We are aware that their share in party ranks is obviously not sufficient. The country has 73 million hired workers, 40 million are employed in various industries, construction, on transport and in agriculture. To strengthen the party’s influence in the workers’ midst, the number of communists in production collectives must increase several times. The media, pampered by the authorities, have for 20 years been working to impress it upon the masses that the CPRF is a “party of the past”, “a party of elderly people”. The vile emotional implication of these descriptions is a continuation of the 1990s policy of undisguised genocide with regard to the older generations of Soviet citizens. It is not by chance that one of our “Young Democrats” recently said: “Our aim is to eradicate all things Soviet together with the pensioners who are dying out.”
Yes, more than 44% of our party are people who have earned a pension by their labor. Many of them continue to work in production and in the services. Pensioners account for more than a third of the population in many small towns and villages across Russia. Even on the most optimistic estimate provided by Rosstat, elderly people will account for 40% of the country’s population by 2040. For us Communists labour veterans are custodians of social experience, wisdom and the best cultural traditions. It is a multimillion stratum of people many of whom are highly active socially. We have every reason not only to be proud of having their support, but to work to broaden this support. 34.4% of the CPRF members are women whose contribution to the struggle for the interests of working people has been recognized by their fellow party members. Many of them are members of the leadership of party organizations. The increased role of women in party building is an important area of our organizational and personnel policy. Party committees should keep this in mind.
The recent years have seen an increase of the number of CPRF members aged under 30. Their share has reached 10% of the total party membership. As of January 1, 2013 there were 16,000 of them. The party branches in the Krasnoyarsk Territory, Moscow, Novosibirsk, Oryol, Tula and Sverdlovsk Region have noticeably stepped up their work among students.
On the whole during the report period we have solved an important task of stabilizing the membership of our party. Nevertheless it is too soon yet to say that this is a sustained trend. To make it really so the new Central Committee and all the party branches will have to work hard. The reserves for achieving the result are there.
In the constituent entities of the federation dozens of non-governmental associations act as allies of the CPRF: regional level organizations and branches of all Russian organizations, small and large groups, groups that are registered with the justice bodies and groups that do not set themselves such a task. Interaction with these associations provides opportunities for reinforcing the ranks of our party and expanding our cadre. During the report period more representatives of small business have joined the party branches in St Petersburg, the Saratov and Sverdlovsk Regions. More retired servicemen have been joining the party in the Primorye Territory, Udmurtia, the Leningrad and Murmansk Regions. Communists in the Krasnodar and Stavropol Territories, Orenburg and Rostov Regions have expanded their contacts with the Cossacks. Communists in Moscow and St Petersburg have been interacting more with the creative intelligentsia.
Lenin wrote early last century: “genuine party unity is impossible without a single control centre, without a single central body”. During the report period 140 members and 100 alternate members of the CC CPRF, 35 members of the Central and Auditing Commission were working in the party’s central bodies.
Fourteen plenary meetings of the Central Committee considered a range of issues that are of key importance for the life of the party and the country. Fifteen all-Russian and more than 30 interregional meetings and seminars for our regional functionaries were held. Members of the Presidium, secretaries of the CC and functionaries of the central party apparatus made more than 800 trips to various localities to help the Communists there.
The Central Committee has conducted work with the population on a daily basis. About 35,000 written complaints have been considered. More than 16,000 queries were sent to administrative instances and various institutions.
Primary cells form the basis of our party
In line with that principle the 13th (July 2012) plenum of the CC CPRF considered issues that have to do with the work of primary and local party bodies and identified concrete measures to strengthen them.
Guided by the decisions of the CPRF congresses and Central Committee plenums, many party organizations have been working systemically, persistently and creatively. Wherever there is constant work to strengthen the five party “vertical structures” our comrades have been achieving significant results. A good example is offered by meetings of citizens and promotional car rallies in the Rostov Region (first secretary N.Kolomeitsev). In North Ossetia (Ch.Zangiyev) and Novosibirsk Regions (A.Lokot) extensive work is being done to provide targeted assistance to individuals and work collectives. Part of the practice of Communist activities in the regions in the Vladimir (A.Bobrov) and Moscow (N.Vasilyev) regions is party “adoption” of children’s boarding schools, nursing homes for the elderly and the disabled, and interaction with the local power bodies to protect the interests of citizens. Regular open party meetings have been held in the Ryazan regional branch (V.Fedotkin). The Belgorod (V.Shevlyakov), Irkutsk (S. Levchenko), Kurgan (V.Kislitsin), Oryol (V.Ikonnikov), Primorye (V.Grishukov), Samara (A.Leskin) and some others regional branches have organized summer camps for children and young people.
In the period between the 13th and 15th congresses the majority of regional and local branches paid much attention to forming the institution of party organizers. At present there are more than 11,000 party organizers. However, sometimes this area of activity gets only token attention, which cannot be tolerated.
The majority of regional committees created and intensified the activities of their human resource commissions during the report period. Increasingly their work assumes a planned character. The personnel commission under the CC Presidium was headed by V.Romanov. In collaboration with the regional committees it came up with proposals on the composition of the Central Committee and the Central Control and Auditing Commission, worked with candidates for State Duma deputy and for regional legislative assemblies.
Improving personnel policy will remain a challenge for the party. We are working out effective criteria for selecting, training, promoting and monitoring the activities of party functionaries. However, there are still many shortcomings in the work of this party vertical structure. Alas, these shortcomings are not always due to objective causes. Departure from Leninist principles of work with the party cadre, neglect of the opinion of party members and lack of self-criticism led to serious distortions in the way a number of party branches are managed. Such situations occurred in the Moscow and St Petersburg city organizations, the Krasnoyarsk Territory and Chelyabinsk regional organizations. Vigorous intervention by the presidiums of the Central Committee and the Central Control and Auditing Commission of the CPRF were required to rectify the situation. Difficult, but necessary decisions to dissolve some regional committees had to be taken. In correcting the situation the CC Presidium’s working groups were confronted with what amounted to factional activities of certain groups. Many months of arduous work, numerous meetings with Communists aimed at overcoming vacillations and prejudice among some comrades made it possible to rally the overwhelming majority of members around the position of the Central Committee.
The new Central Committee will have to work in conditions when developments would demand a constant search for innovative approaches and critical assessment of the results. This would call for new and energetic people, for out-of-the-box ground-breaking ideas. It is not by chance that Stalin said that to correctly select cadres means … to promote young cadres in a timely and bold manner so as not to allow them to get in the rut and to wilt.”.
Based on the results of the report and election campaign that was recently held in the party, the average age of first secretaries of regional and local committees is 56-57. That is a year less than in the previous period. In some places there is still fear of promoting young party members to leading positions. Sometimes the career growth of young comrades who have matured for more responsible work is deliberately held back. Sometimes they are even expelled from the party while cronies are appointed to party positions.
These unhealthy tendencies should be resolutely resisted. It is necessary that the Presidium and the Secretariat of the CC step up control over work with the party reserve. The first secretaries of regional committees must be personally responsible for including young communists who have acquitted themselves well in the cadre reserve and for interacting with them. It is still necessary to give an unbiased assessment of the cases when career-seekers and cynics, of whatever age, appear in the party. Operating in bourgeois society which is permeated with individualism and lust for gain, it is impossible to avoid such phenomena.
The CPRF has flung its doors open for young people. During the report period the Central Committee was working hard to put together a strong young team inside and around our party. There are more young people in the party governing bodies. This work is yielding results and it needs to be pursued with redoubled energy.
The CPRF is actively introducing new forms of work with the young generation, it supports the Young Pioneer movement. The Young Communist League has an important role to play in that. Our Komsomol is growing stronger to become a major youth organization in Russia. Young men and women perform ever more important tasks during election campaigns. The programme “Komsomol Summer-2012” covered the whole country and confirmed the influx of fresh young forces into our ranks.
Even so, the influence of the YCL on young people is still not sufficient and needs to be increased. This is particularly important because neoliberal, anarchist and other petty bourgeois ideas are being actively foisted on young people, and many may be misled. The party and Komsomol organizations have to do more to look for effective forms of interaction with the student trade unions, the youth patriotic, cultural and sporting associations. One good example is the CPRF sports club which has been created and is expanding.
Comrades, the organizational, political and ideological independence of the CPRF can only be guaranteed by its financial resources. The strengthening of the party structure and of its propaganda structure requires a strong material and technical base. More effective work is impossible without professionalism, and that too calls for certain resources.
The sources of revenue for any party’s budget are known. They include party dues, donations, proceeds from the sale of political literature and souvenirs, and budget deductions for parliamentary parties. Soviet communists also had other sources. During the long years in power the CPSU built up a huge body of property ranging from printing shops and education institutions to administrative buildings and sanatoria. All this was created primarily with the money from party dues. And all this was grabbed by the champions of “sacred and untouchable property”. The CPRF which carries on the cause of generations of Communists, was deliberately deprived of the Communist legacy.
We are creating our material and technical base from scratch. During the report period the Central Committee continued to work on that. Considerable results have been achieved. During the last seven years the collection of party dues per member increased 3.5 times from 14.5 to 49.9 roubles. In some regional branches it exceeds 200 roubles a month. In 2012 83.4 million roubles were collected in party dues. The assets accumulated by the party are being used to strengthen our branches and to pursue active election campaigns. The Central Committee has continued the course for providing the regional committees of the CPRF with everything they need. As of today, 36 offices worth 180 million roubles have been acquired for them. Local committees are using a further fourteen offices.
The CPRF owns equipment worth 75.6 million roubles. In recent years 39 million roubles have been allocated to acquire motor vehicles. Party printing shops are working in Pskov, Omsk and Saratov. Party committees are able to increase the number of full-time workers. This practice will be continued in the coming years.
We have every reason to be grateful to the party branches which have increased the collection of dues and donations during the report period. Unfortunately not all of them have managed to do so. Nine regional branches have yet to fulfill the Central Committee decision to collect at least 20 roubles a month in party dues from every Communist. Many organizations have failed to increase subscriptions for the newspapers Pravda and Sovetskaya Rossiya. These would then remain the key tasks for the new period.
The success of our propaganda hinges on the use of modern technologies, which are costly. One has to understand that the sale and distribution of our newspapers by subscription is an important way to compensate for our party’s spending on publishing activities. Building up a CPRF television channel should be the cause for the whole party. It is necessary not only to ensure broadcasting via the internet but to make our channel accessible through satellite and cable networks. It has been suggested that contributions be collected regularly twice a year in accordance with the “daily pay for party television” principle. This could be done on the eve of every anniversary of the Great October Revolution and the 1 May holiday.
We need strict discipline in collecting dues and special payments by CPRF members. In particular one cannot tolerate facts when party members who hold elected office or positions in the civil service ignore the established forms of financial support for the common cause. Communists refusing to pay or paying less than is required is a situation that cannot be tolerated.
Due attention should be paid to collecting donations from members, supporters and friends of the party. Collection of dues should be pursued more actively and the exact persons responsible for this must be named. Party organs should spend money in strict accordance with the CPRF Charter and financial discipline rules. We are sure that the proposals on this matter prepared by the Central Committee Business Administration Directorate under A.Ponomarev will be further implemented in the new report period.
We cannot allow financial problems of the party to jeopardize its effective work and the achievement of its policy tasks.
Combatting authoritarianism and electoral fraud
Contrary to vote-rigging and other tricks of the authorities the past election campaigns have reaffirmed the status of the CPRF as the main opposition force. The party won millions of new supporters during the federal elections. The number of our seats in the State Duma has almost doubled.
During the four report years the average percentage of those who voted for the CPRF in the regional elections increased to 17-20% and in the gubernatorial elections to 23%. To be sure, this is no cause for complacency. However, in many regions we were able to hold our own against the party in power” although the odds were against us. In spite of exceptionally “dirty” elections in October of last year, the CPRF increased its lead on Just Russia and the LDPR parties. We have won more votes than those two parties combined.
The CPRF has been more active in municipal elections. Nevertheless there is still considerable room for improvement in that department. The “filters” for participation in gubernatorial elections introduced by the authorities make representation in the local government bodies more important.
We use diverse forms, including the parliament, in our political struggle. By taking part in elections at various levels we come out before our voters to present our programme for the revival of Russia. During that period every party committee turns into campaign headquarters. Specialized structures are also created. The electoral headquarters headed by I.Melnikov are coordinating this work on a permanent basis. Significant contributions to developing and implementing campaign strategies are being made by S.Obukhov, V.Solovyov, A.Klychkov, V.Kumin, V.Peshkov and other comrades.
Sadly, none of the recent elections can be described as democratic and free. During these elections the ruling party eschewed substantive discussion of problems and was afraid to engage in an open contest of programmes. Even though he has an overwhelming advantage in the information field, Mr Putin stayed away from debates and instead published his verbose “programmatic articles” replete with wishful thinking.
Elections are simply stolen from Russia. In a bid to achieve the planned result the “vertical power structure” deploys a whole arsenal of fakes and fraud. Local bureaucrats are handed down targets for the number of votes. “Law enforcers” shut their eyes to irregularities. The phenomenon of the 1990s when bogus newspapers were issued of the “God Forbid” sort is back. The removal of observers not only from the CPRF but of election commission members who have the right of casting vote was the ultimate in cynicism.
We understand why all this is happening. The masses in their majority reject the social-economic and political course. The authorities know this and use every trick in the book to prevent the citizens from exercising their constitutional right to elect and to be elected. Nevertheless during the latest elections the CPRF offered society an agenda that was at the focus of the election campaign. We have received mass support from the citizens when we came out for nationalization of natural resources, control of the financial system, for a new social policy, for introducing a progressive income tax, for education guarantees, for a reliable national security system and for vigorous struggle against corruption. Our proposals have become part of society’s heritage. The seeds for a new policy have been planted. We are sure that these seeds of creativity, justice and progress will produce shoots. The voice of the people is growing stronger: Russia demands change.
The tougher the confrontation the more obvious it becomes that the CPRF is better equipped than others to oppose authoritarianism. One has to have the endurance of Communists to withstand the information terror and police state methods. One has to have strong nerves when you are on the receiving end of slander. One needs courage to fight at the polling station and stop electoral fraud. Today the CPRF is the main pole that opposes the machine of the “party in power”, the machine of lies, diktat and fraud.
The country’s distorted political landscape today is dominated by the “party in power”, i.e. United Russia. The LDPR and Just Russia are its accomplices. A swarm of small and often artificially created parties is used to fill the political void. They are second-tier satellites for the ruling party. Their task is to create a semblance of a multi-party system and draw away from the CPRF the votes of those who are moving to the left and are about to join the mass base of the Communist Party. Besides, the spoiler parties intercept the votes of the 15-17% who have a tendency to be tempted by anything “new” and entertaining in political matters. This is how the “electoral trap” prevents new supporters from moving to the left. One of the roles the authorities assign to small parties is to discredit the opposition. The methods are widely known. One can provoke scandals and clashes. One can confuse major politicians with clowns. One can turn elections into a “circus of cripples” while representatives of the “party in power” stay out of the fray.
In spite of the spectacular results “organized” for United Russia in the last elections, the authorities understand that its popularity has plummeted. In this situation the ruling circles have fallen back on the time-tested tactic of changing their look. Putin’s “Popular Front” is being groomed for this role.
The character of the “Rublyovka Front” is demonstrated by its Coordinating Council. It includes members of the General and Supreme Councils of United Russia, United Russia members at the Duma, and the heads of associations that are close to the ruling party. This lineup of “new faces” confirms that the Front hoovers in the organizations whose leaders have long been functionaries of the ruling party. Should it come to pass that the United Russia is finally discredited these gentlemen have already reserved business-class seats on the new political airliner with the sonorous name “Popular Front”.
The CPRF has countered the authorities’ attempts to pose as the champions of the interests of all Russians with purposeful work to unite popular-patriotic forces. The party supports the initiatives of creating the People’s Volunteer Army and Russky Lad. The People’s Volunteer Army project was successfully implemented during the Duma elections helping to mobilize supporters of the CPRF programme. The Russky Lad movement is growing and its future, in our opinion, lies in active cooperation among various sections of the patriotic movement.
At the end of the day all non-governmental associations and their alliances act in the interests of certain social groups. One of the programmatic tasks of the CPRF is to bring about a merger of the social class and national liberation struggles. It is becoming increasingly clear that only the largest classes in society – workers and peasants --reflect general national interests. They, together with the working intelligentsia, constitute the proletariat in the broadest sense of the word. At the stage of globalism Stalin’s words take on added relevance: “Formerly the bourgeoisie was considered to be the leader of the nation, it was upholding the rights and independence of the nation putting them ‘above all’. Now not a trace of that ‘national principle’ remains. Now the bourgeoisie sells the rights and independence of nations for dollars. The banner of national independence and national sovereignty has been thrown overboard. There is no doubt that you, the representatives of communist and democratic parties, will have to lift that banner and carry it forward if you want to be the patriots of your country, if you want to be the leading force of the nation. Nobody else can lift it.”
Russia is a multinational country. The diversity of its peoples and their cultures is part of the wealth of our common Motherland. However, the counterrevolution of the 1990s generated acute interethnic problems. The CPRF is a party of the friendship of the peoples. Only our policy can make Russia a single family of all its nationalities, big and small. Fifteen years have passed since we adopted a document called “The Position of the CPRF on the Nationalities Issue”. The new Central Committee will need to work on a full-scale Concept of the Nationalities Policy and to devote one of its plenary sessions to that topic.
The CPRF is convinced that the solution of the national tasks of Russia, its liberation from foreign diktat, restoration of sovereignty and independence depend directly on the active struggle of the working people for free labour, a just society and genuine people’s rule, the struggle for socialism.
The party is striving to make sure that the growing protest of the working people against brutal exploitation and oppression assumes an organized and purposeful character and combines economic and political demands. An important centre of this work is the All-Russian Protest Action Headquarters led by V.Kashin. The headquarters bring together 37 public organizations, including the YCL, the Union of Soviet Officers and the Movement in Support of the Army, the All-Russia Women’s Union –Nadezhda Rossii, several sectoral trade unions and the Children of War non-governmental organization created last year. Protest action headquarters and rapid reaction groups are active in the regions. This makes it possible to promptly respond to acute social and political problems. This work is well organized in regional branches in Volgograd, Voronezh, Irkutsk, Kirov, the Moscow Region, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Oryol, Pskov, Rostov, Sverdlovsk, North Ossetia, Yaroslavl and Chuvashia.
During the report period the Headquarters organized a series of protest actions against the infringement upon the rights of the working people. The more significant actions were directed against electoral fraud, low wages, miserly pensions and allowances, against rising prices for prime necessities and tariffs, against the deployment of a NATO base near Ulyanovsk, Russia’s accession to the WTO and in defense of education and science.
With the support of allies and the party structures at the centre and in the localities, the CPRF Central Committee responds to any challenge that Capital presents to the working people of Russia. On the initiative of the Protest Action Headquarters two congresses of representatives of work collectives have been prepared and held. The Communist Party of Russia is committed to creating its own trade union association and increasing the power of the protest movement.
Organised struggle exerts an immense influence on the consciousness of the working people. It is the main weapon in the battle to regain the rights of the working people, for a change of power.
The ruling regime’s arsenal of political manipulations is shrinking. Therefore it will continue to give different guises to the “party in power”, intimidate opponents and steal votes at elections. We will have to play in a hostile field, by the rules set by others and with venal judges. But we are not complaining. It would be meaningless and naïve to do so. The ruling regime simply has no resources left for a fair competition with its opponents.
The CPRF is very much interested in protecting democratic norms. We want real political competition in Russia to replace the dictatorship of the venal media, of the moneybag and the policeman’s baton. We oppose political censorship and demand that the system of wholesale fraud in the holding of elections be scrpped.
The struggle for the victory of the CPRF is not only in the party’s interests. We are talking about the victory of the programme of the majority, a victory of the broad popular masses.
In the interests of the majority
Dear comrades, delegates and guests to the Congress,
There may be different outcomes to the current crisis for Russia. Below are some of the scenarios:
- the establishment of a repressive, openly dictatorial regime by oligarchic capital and still greater oppression of the masses;
- accelerated processes of disintegration of Russia with the participation of external forces;
- left-wing-patriotic forces coming to power by peaceful means through bourgeois-democratic procedures;
- a social revolution as a result of a nationwide crisis that breaks out regardless of the wishes of social classes, parties and leaders.
Our party will do everything to make our programme one for the salvation of the country so that Russia’s pivot to the left be consolidated by the formation of a government of popular trust.
The Communist Party in the State Duma and the parliamentary aspect of the CPRF’s activities have become an important centre for developing a state policy that provides an alternative to the current policy. Central Committee secretaries S.Reshulsky, and V.Shorchanov are working in a purposive manner towards that end. V.Rashkin, N.Kolomeitsev, A.Lokot, T.Pletneva, S.Shtorgin, V.Bortko, B.Kashin and N.Razvorotnev are actively using the parliamentary rostrum to promote the party’s initiative. Six representatives of our party chair State Duma committees, 11 are first deputy chairmen, 22 are deputies and another two deputy chairmen of the State Duma commissions.
During the report period the work of the CPRF in regional legislative assemblies has become noticeably more active. Today they are active in 79 constituent entities of the Russian Federation, their number having increased threefold in the last eight years. The biggest CPRF groups are active in the parliaments of the Novosibirsk (16 persons), Oryol (14 deputies), Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod (12 persons each) regions. The communists of Udmurtia scored a major success in the latest elections gaining 11 seats at the State Council of the Republic. All this makes it possible to coordinate and unite the efforts of our deputies and to achieve practical results.
There are many instances of effective law-making work by our comrades. The communist deputies in the Stavropol Territory have caused the adoption of a regional law On Veterans and the granting of subsidies for the purchase or building of homes for veterans. The Voronezh regional duma passed a law granting discounts on the utility rates to retired rural culture workers. Our deputies in the Kuban Area have succeeded in having more than half of the price of holidays and treatment of children being subsidized. The initiative of CPRF deputies in Moscow, Moscow and Leningrad Regions connected with the Victory Banner has been successful. On May 9, 2012, along with the official flags of Russia and its regions, many of the country’s cities were flying replicas of the red Victory Banner.
Such experience should be spread as widely as possible. The Central Committee believes that our congress could support the local initiatives on holding an all-Russian forum of CPRF deputies of every level.
The party urges its deputies to work actively. The Communists use the rostrum of legislative bodies to propagate and explain our policy principles and to expose the anti-people policies of power today. The CPRF deputies in legislative bodies provide constant links between the party and the constituencies. They should contribute to encouraging the grassroots movement for a new political and social-economic course. Simultaneously the activity of deputies is a source of experience thus helping to train a qualified managerial cadre.
The CPRF insists on a drastic revision of the entire legal framework in the country. Our specific proposals have been put forward at parliamentary hearings and roundtables and have been discussed with top scientists and specialists. The party has already cast its key proposals in the shape of draft laws. They include draft laws on nationalization, on the progressive taxation scale, on state strategic planning, on industrial policy, on the support of agriculture, on the basic principles of innovative activities, on people’s education, on health care, on bankruptcy, on reform of the housing and utilities sector, on social support of “war children”, on the fight against corruption, on responsibility for illegal enrichment and others. It has developed alternative Labour, Land, Forestry and Water Codes. The whole complement of those documents provides a legal foundation for genuine modernization and sustained growth of the economy, for improving the quality of life and ensuring national security.
The CPRF is ready to assume the responsibility for the country being well aware that Russia’s margin of strength is shrinking. It has 5-7, or 10 years at most, to lay the foundation for a new development. Russia needs to start rising immediately if it does not want to see itself at the very bottom. The country has the money for development, but it is being sent to Western banks. It has natural resources, but they are being squandered. It has the intellectual potential but it is being destroyed through the destruction of the education system and through brain drain. Our party is ready to put an end to the dominance of the oligarchs and to give Russia a social system that would bring it peace and sustained development and its citizens security, well-being and personal dignity.
We are once again urging the citizens to familiarize themselves with our programme for taking the country out of the crisis. This programme is far more preferable to the savagery and chaos or dictatorial arbitrariness that are already looming on the horizon.
The CPRF proposes a transition from economic decline to accelerated development, from the “economy of the oil well” to an economy of growth. This is our New Economic Policy.
- 1. We will nationalize all the key industries. This is the pivotal item of our programme.
During the years of privatization and “reforms” more than two-thirds of the country’s industrial potential have been destroyed. What has remained? In the extractive industries there are almost 10,000 operating enterprises today. Only 400 of them are state-owned. As a result, the profits of the oligarchs are many times those the country gets from the exploitation of natural resources. Nationalization would concentrate in the hands of the state major financial resources which would be used to restore the production potential and address other problems.
In addition to the extractive industries metallurgy, aircraft building, machine-building, the power industry and other basic industries will be partly nationalized. The country will get rid of the destructive dominance of the “wild” market. State regulation of economic life, planning of the financial, industrial and agricultural policy principles will be restored. The state budget revenues will grow and will start being used in the interests of all citizens.
- 2. We will carry out a new industrialization in accordance with the principle of “Non-Stop Modernization”
The new industrialization will be driven by advanced scientific and technical achievements. Science will be back in all the sectors of the economy, in the first place electronics, the building of machine tools, instrument building, engineering, aircraft building, the automobile industry, ship building and the chemical industry. These products will again be produced in Russia rather than being bought from abroad. The United Energy System will get off the ground. The tariffs for electricity, the prices of coal and fuel and lubricants will be cut and will be strictly regulated.
- 3. Particular attention will be paid to agriculture
The food crisis in the world is worsening. Russia may play a special role in overcoming it. Therefore state support for agriculture should not be seen as funneling money into a “black hole”.
The CPRF guarantees the revival of the Russian countryside and the restoration of the country’s food security. Allocations for the development of agriculture will amount to 10-15% of the federal budget spending. The price gap will be closed. The government will ensure the restoration of major collective farms and modernize agriculture. The countryside will get a new lease of life. The country’s food and environmental security will be ensured.
- 4. Russia will have a new financial policy
The foundation of the Russian banking system will be the new state banks, including Vneshtorgbank, Sberbank, Stroybank and Selkhozbank. They will ensure rational use of the country’s financial resources and effective money circulation. The speculative banking system which is choking the economy with exorbitant interest rates will be curtailed. Commercial banks that will provide services stimulating economic and social development will remain.
- 5. The taxation system will change
A progressive income tax will be introduced, with the poor segments of the population relieved of any taxes. Taxes for enterprises in the real sector of the economy will be reduced. Considerable benefits will be granted to production facilities which produce hi-tech, competitive products and allocate money for research and development.
- 6. The state will ensure effective interaction between Russian science and the production sphere
In order to build up the nation’s intellectual potential we will double the financing of national science. Science cities and other scientific centres in Russia will spearhead its revival. The country will provide scientists with decent salaries and all the technical equipment for their activities. Promising young scientists will be guaranteed housing accommodation and other measures of support and incentives. The stipends of those working for their Candidates and Doctor’s degrees will increase fourfold on average. Specialists who have left to work in other countries will be encouraged to return.
Russian science will become involved in working out all important state decisions. Power will stimulate the restoration and development of science-intensive production rather than screwdriver assembly of foreign cars.
- 7. All types of transport will develop in a comprehensive way
We will bring back railways into state ownership. New high-speed railways will link different parts of the country. Regulation of carriage tariffs will reduce the costs of economic entities and give citizens freedom of movement. Much of the Reserve Fund will be used to build federal roads and local roads with a modern infrastructure. The cities will get new systems of rapid transit, including metro, light metro and high-speed trams. The devastated infrastructure of the passenger air fleet will be restored. The aviation industry will get sufficient investments. Air companies will be enlarged with a view to eventually establishing a state monopoly of this sector. Modern regional aviation will again appear in the country. The state will support domestic shipping companies and ship-building enterprises through programmes of the development of marine and river transport.
The government of popular trust created by the CPRF will put an end to the export of oil and gas revenues from the country. This money will be harnessed to crediting the economy, modernizing and developing enterprises and raising the population’s purchasing power.
The CPRF programme guarantees an end to poverty and social degradation. The change of state priorities will ensure victory over the “social jungle”. The course for building a society of social justice will immediately be adopted. We maintain that only the CPRF, in alliance with the popular-patriotic forces, are capable of terminating the low-intensity civil war provoked by the dramatic social split of Russia.
- 1. The state will guarantee the right to housing for all its citizens
The responsibility of power for housing and utilities will be restored. State housing construction will expand. The practice of evicting people will be outlawed. The utilities rates will be limited to 10% of the aggregate family income.
- 2. The country will get new labour and social legislation
The current government and the United Russia are conducting a massive attack on social guarantees. The CPRF Programme envisages: an enlarged network of social institutions, solid protection of motherhood and childhood, a decent old age and care of the disabled. Child allowances will be increased to match the actual cost of raising a child. We will put an end to the shortage of preschool childcare institutions. Society will forget about “juvenile technologies” that break up families. A massive system of benefits will be introduced for families with many children. Programmes of summer holidays and health camps for children will be significantly enlarged.
The working people will again have guaranteed decent pay and labour conditions, the use of leisure and health facilities, the chance to upgrade their educational and cultural standards. Unemployment, that feature of savage capitalism, will be eradicated.
- 3. Our principle is “quality education for all”
Our youth policy will be based on the following principles: free access to quality education, placement in jobs in accordance with one’s core speciality, provision of housing for young families. The CPRF will bring back to the people the greatest gain of Soviet power, i.e. universal free education. Universities and schools will stop being shut down. Vocational training will be revived. The work of the teacher will be decently remunerated and his prestige will be enhanced. State spending on education will rise to 10% of the GDP.
Student grants will be increased and so will be the number of recipients. The state will vigorously support gifted children and youngsters, young inventors, scientists and authors of cutting-edge projects.
- 4. The health of the nation will become a state priority
Quality medical service, including the most complicated operations, will be available free. Private clinics will become only an addition to the full-fledged state health care system. The average wage in the health care system will be higher than the national average wage. We will restore emergency medical assistance in rural areas and the health care system at large production facilities. Those in need will get drugs at a discount. The state will ensure comprehensive preventative activities, accessible sanatoria and health resorts and a large-scale propaganda of a healthy lifestyle. The Healthy Nation programme will offer broad opportunities for sports and tourism, will restore the system of children’s and youth sports schools, clubs and groups.
- 5. A cultural upsurge will be an indispensable condition for the revival of Russia
We will ensure the blossoming of culture in the country, protect our history against the encroachments of those who seek to belittle the heroic deeds of the past generations. Budgetary spending on culture will double over three years. Large-scale programmes to protect the language and traditions of the Russian and all other peoples of Russia, to protect historical monuments and propagate outstanding works of Soviet culture will be launched. Television and the film industry will again become vehicles for nurturing basic moral values, the feeling of patriotism and civic responsibility.
Russia’s national security will be strengthened. The country will have a new foreign and defense policy.
The preservation of the current political regime has a destructive impact on Russia. Our people need a new power that would strengthen the country’s position in the international arena and guarantee its sovereignty.
- 1. Above all the approach to national security issues will become comprehensive.
All the necessary measures will need to be taken to stop the dying out of the population and launch a massive anti-poverty campaign. The priority of internal debt over external debt will be established.
- 2. We will establish new foreign policy priorities.
Our policy in the world will be aimed at establishing equitable relations, increasing the number of Russia’s allies and permanent partners. We will remove all the obstacles in the way of creating a strong Byelorussia-Russia union state. Support for reintegration of the former Soviet Union countries will form the basis for a new Union of Fraternal Peoples. Russia will bend every effort to enhance the role of the UN in world politics and to contain NATO.
- 3. The Armed Forces and the defense industry will have to be revived and the country’s defense capability strengthened
The popular government will put an end to thoughtless “reform” of the Army and the reduction of military units, will recreate the system of military education and military science, finance decent upkeep of the Armed Forces, the procurement of military hardware and military training. We will raise the prestige of military service, restore the system of military training for future conscripts and increase mobilization readiness. The command of the Army and Navy, their families will be provided with housing, schools, preschool institutions and Houses of Culture.
- 4. We will ensure the territorial integrity of the country and the protection of fellow countrymen abroad
The CPRF will implement a programme of measures to develop Siberia, the Far East and the North of Russia and to stop the outflow of the population from these territories. The social and economic development of our Far Eastern lands will help to promote mutually beneficial cooperation in the Asia Pacific Region. The state will provide solid guarantees of the protection of Russian citizens outside its borders.
- 5. The government of popular trust will launch a relentless struggle against crime and corruption
We intend to have the law enforcement system to protect the interests of all citizens and not privileged property owners. The country’s legislation will envisage confiscation of property of those who have committed economic crimes. The moratorium on the death penalty for very serious crimes will be lifted.
The CPRF is convinced that the implementation of this programme calls for active involvement of the people’s masses. That is why our approach would establish people’s rule.
1. We will take the necessary measures to restore civil rights. The system of all-pervasive electoral fraud will be smashed. Citizens will be able to freely express their will. The authorities will ensure genuine equality of all the actors in the electoral process. Punishment for violating the law in organizing elections will be toughened. The citizens will have a real right to a referendum.
2. The CPRF Programme guarantees democratization of the political system and enhancement of its effectiveness. The powers and supervisory functions of the parliament will expand. Members of the Federation Council, the heads of executive bodies and people’s judges in the cities and districts will be elected directly by the citizens. They will be able to recall deputies and heads of any level for violating their campaign promises. The CPRF guarantees reorganization of the entire administrative system. The state apparatus will become leaner and more effective.
3. Various forms of people’s government will be promoted. One of its major concerns will be public control over the work of officials. Various forms of self-organization of citizens will be encouraged. That will prepare the ground for the emergence of a renewed system of Soviet people’s rule.
4. We believe that the solving all these problems have implications both for social justice and for national security.
World development is dialectical. With the strengthening of the forces of progress and socialism new threats to the modern world are growing. Another aspect of dialectics is that the counter-offensive of imperialism is fraught with colossal danger, but at the same time it reveals its true nature and thus contributes to the growth of revolutionary struggles.
The world is experiencing massive economic, social, political and cultural changes. These changes will have far-reaching consequences. Their outcome would depend on the actions of the entire front of the forces that oppose imperialism. Individual states and their ability to unite in pursuit of common goals will play a part. The degree of mobilization of peoples to struggle for their sovereignty and independence will be important. The struggle of the working class and other proletarian strata for their rights will be highly significant. The balance of forces that will take shape as a result of all this will determine the future of mankind.
New vistas are opening up for the champions of socialism. The complex and contradictory situation demands from us, Communists, a profound theoretical analysis, energetic practical actions and an unerring approach to choosing the forms and methods of struggle.
The CPRF has developed and presented to society a comprehensive programme for taking Russia out of the crisis. It reflects the interests of the absolute majority of citizens. Increased support for the party in elections held in recent years means that the voters trust our position. The future activities of the CPRF will be connected with propaganda and popularization of our programme in attempting to rally the broad masses to support it. The masses must take a conscious, persistent and creative role in the building of a new society. Following that rule, the CPRF is helping the country’s workers to understand the need for replacing capitalism and encourages them to self-organize and join class struggle.
Capitalism is dangerous. Humanity’s need to get rid of it is becoming ever more urgent. “Socialism or barbarism” – this is an increasingly stark choice.
We Communists have no right to lose that battle.Our policy is the policy of the majority.
Our goal is the victory of Socialism.