Communists will protest with restraint – Newspaper Kommersant No. 173 (7135) dated 09.24.2021

The leadership of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, despite the improvement in the results of the party in the past elections compared to previous ones, intends to challenge the results of remote electronic voting in Moscow and even hold a series of protests in the form of meetings of deputies with voters. The political scientist predicts that the Communist Party will not take more radical steps, since the distribution of committees in the Duma is ahead, and besides, this party is already the most oppositional in parliament.

The Communist Party of the Russian Federation held on September 23 in an online format an all-Russian meeting of party activists following the results of the September 17-19 elections. The chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Gennady Zyuganov, said that he was “very happy with the results” of the Communists, who increased their representation in the State Duma and many regional legislative assemblies. At the same time, the party leader believes that the elections were “such a hoax that it is difficult to convey in words.” He intends to raise questions about irregularities in the last elections, about a three-day and remote voting at a video meeting between President Vladimir Putin and the leaders of the parties that entered the Duma, which is scheduled for September 25. According to the head of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, “a three-day plus a distance is like a two-phase bomb that will explode stability in society and finally discredit the stability that the president has been creating for many years.”

The communists believe that they won a “moral victory” in the elections, because, as unregistered candidate Pavel Grudinin put it, the party “showed the whole world that there is socialism,” but the “victory by numbers” was stolen from it. “We know the elections were not fair,” agreed State Duma First Deputy Speaker Ivan Melnikov. The first deputy chairman of the Central Committee, Yuri Afonin, said that the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation had filed 230 complaints of violations during the voting to law enforcement agencies and the Central Election Commission.

And the head of the Moscow branch of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Valery Rashkin, hoarse after speaking at a protest action in the capital on September 20, in a voice announced that the party did not recognize the results of the elections to the State Duma in Moscow.

According to him, the communists have prepared a lawsuit to cancel the voting results in Moscow, which will be submitted to the Supreme Court on September 24.

Note that, as the chairman of the CEC Ella Pamfilova said at a meeting of the commission on September 23, most complaints about violations in the elections of deputies to the State Duma came from St. Petersburg, and the CEC sent materials on them to the Investigative Committee and the Prosecutor General’s Office. Ms Pamfilova called the campaign in Moscow “one of the best”, praising its organizers for “maximum transparency”.

On Saturday, the Communist Party intends to hold an all-Russian action to protect the votes of voters. The party website reports on a meeting of deputies with voters scheduled for this day on Pushkin Square in Moscow. The head of the headquarters of the protest actions of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Kashin, explained that the party “needs to build up the protest movement”, given that the number of Communist deputies has increased at all levels. And the ally of the Communist Party, the leader of the movement “For New Socialism” Nikolai Platoshkin added that if the communists now recognize the results of the elections, then “there will be no second take-off,” and urged future deputies even “not to shake hands with United Russia.” At the same time, Gennady Zyuganov, summing up the results of the meeting, asked his comrades-in-arms “to show maximum restraint in this harsh time.”

According to political scientist Alexei Makarkin, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation is a centaur, which has two components: “one is oppositional, and the other is about agreements with the authorities.”

For example, in winter this centaur showed its other side, when Gennady Zyuganov, together with other leaders of parliamentary parties, opposed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and during the election campaign the centaur turned as an opposition party, the expert explains. He recalls that Mr. Platoshkin, who calls on the party to take more radical steps, has already been sentenced to probation for inciting riots, and as a politician he is less experienced than the leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. In addition, the question of the distribution of committees in the new Duma is now being resolved, so the leadership of the Communist Party will behave carefully in order to maintain their positions, Mr. Makarkin suggests. And the disenchanted voters who supported the communists out of a sense of protest still have “nowhere to go”, the political scientist sums up: the Communist Party of the Russian Federation is now the most oppositional party in parliament, and it does not need to become more radical.

Maria Makutina

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