Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Communists Speak Out

On September 22, 2007, Russia's Communist party vowed to re-nationalise "strategic" industries as opponents of President Vladimir Putin on the left and right set out their pre-election stalls.

Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov kicked off the party's annual congress at a farming village outside Moscow with an indictment of Putin's rule and a promise to restore some methods from the Soviet past.

Since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, "wild, bandit capitalism has been established," Zyuganov declared from a podium featuring a statue of the Soviet Union's founder, Vladimir Lenin.

Outlining plans to re-nationalise key industries and reunite Russia with ex-Soviet neighbours Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, Zyuganov said that stability had been achieved for just five percent of the population under a government of "bureaucrats, oligarchs and bandits."

The event was one of two taking place over the weekend ahead of parliamentary and presidential elections and followed the surprise appointment of new Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov earlier this month.

The Communist party, which was due to approve candidates for December's election Saturday, has remained a significant grouping, regularly getting its views across in the pro-government media.

A host of theories have emerged about next year's handover, with some suspecting that Putin could remain as the power behind the throne, perhaps becoming leader of the pro-Kremlin United Russian party, or that he will install a weak figurehead so as to return as president later.

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