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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Russian Communists protest elections

by New Worker correspondent

RUSSIA’S COMMUNISTS rallied in Moscow on Monday evening for a massive protest in Pushkin Square challenging the results of parliamentary elections that saw Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party retain its grip on power.

Although President Putin remains immensely popular throughout Russia his United Russia movement has faltered as living standards have declined following years of economic stagnation.

“These are fake elections that nobody needs, and they are deepening social divisions in society,” Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) told reporters in Moscow on Monday. The communists had “received colossal support” and that the “stealing of votes” had undermined trust in Putin and his government.

But despite the routine massaging of the votes by the authorities and the blatant manipulation of the electronic voting system in Moscow, they could not totally stifle the big swing to the communists throughout the Russian Federation.

Although the United Russia bloc bagged 324 seats in the State Duma, the Russian parliament, this was 19 seats less than they had before and their official vote was equally down five per cent.

On the other hand, despite reports of widespread rigging the CPRF saw a significant increase in its support base across the country, taking 19 per cent of the votes cast and winning 57 seats in the Duma – up 15 from the last election.

main opposition

The CPRF, the main heir to the old CPSU that led the country during the Soviet era, has strengthened its position as the main opposition party in the bourgeois parliament.

Three smaller parties also crossed the five per cent threshold to get into the Duma. The misleading named Liberal Democratic Party, led by a mouthy racist called Vladimir Zhirinovsky, came third with 7.55 per cent, closely followed by Just Russia for Truth – a self-proclaimed social-democratic platform that usually supports Vladimir Putin – with 7.46 per cent. Finally, the New People party founded by an oligarch last year on a bourgeois liberal platform scraped in with 5.32 per cent.

United Russia’s Andrei Turchak said the election was a “convincing and clean victory” for his party. But the communists say Putin’s platform used every trick in the book to massage the vote.

larger scale

The communists routinely accuse the authorities of robbing them of at least 10 per cent of their vote. This time they say ballot rigging was on an even larger scale to ensure that Putin’s party retained its two-thirds majority in parliament.

Zyuganov told the Moscow media: “We do not recognise the results of the remote electronic voting (DEG), we will ask together with experts to investigate all these facts, because this is unacceptable, especially since it is done directly in Moscow, the capital of our state.”

Nevertheless, the communist leader said, the CPRF did well in the poll. “The Communist Party together with the left patriotic forces performed quite successfully at these elections,” Zyuganov told a news conference. This was because the party came up with “a full-fledged programme, a development budget and 12 key laws that will help the country get out of a systemic crisis”.

“We were heard by remote parts of Russia first of all, not only responding to our appeals but also turning out en masse” to vote communist, Zyuganov said. This was happening throughout Siberia, “which gives us grounds to state that the wind of freedom and revival of the country is now blowing from the east”