Sao Paolo, November, 21-23, 2008
Russia will return to Socialism
By Viacheslav (Slava) Tetekin
Member of the Central Committee,
Communist Party of the Russian Federation
I am happy to be in Brazil – the country where the Left forces after many years of hard struggle gained enough power to start reversing centuries-old patterns of injustice and social deprivation.
When I am thinking of the role of our host country in global affairs I am recalling that the most successful trade union project in Russia – an increasingly powerful union of automobile workers – developed under direct influence of Brazilian trade unions. This is positive case of globalization or rather display of international workers’ solidarity.
I must inform you however that the leader of the Russian autoworkers’ union Alexei Etmanov – who has got an inspiration and practical experience from the of “Ford Motor Company” trade union in Brazil – within last 10 day was the victim of two assaults.
These attacks show that the forces of reaction are not prepared to accept the growing fighting spirit of the working people.
I am not going to dwell on the global crisis of Capitalism. The signs are obvious. The nature and possible consequences of the crisis were brilliantly analysed by comrades from other parties yesterday and today.
I think it more important to inform you what we – Russian Communists – can do in these circumstances to promote our ideas, to gain political power in order to start revival of Socialism.
We in Russia fully understand our responsibility. It was Russia, which since 1917 Revolution has shown the world the first example of Socialist construction. But it was in our country that Socialism suffered a major setback, which led to the destruction of the Soviet Union. So it is our special responsibility to make sure that Russia is back again in the first ranks of the countries constructing Socialism.
What are the prospects? We believe that the prospects of Socialist revival are certainly there. Of course the global crisis of Capitalism will do a lot to bring about the changes in the balance of political forces in Russia. But I would like to dwell on specific conditions in Russia that allow me to make optimistic assessments. The current ruling group represents the strategic alliance of oligarchy and top bureaucracy. It represents the interests of 2-3% of the population. And despite seemingly full control of the country the ruling group is in trouble.
The reason is that the bourgeois class in Russia now as in 1917 is failing to solve vital problems of Russia. The free market forces came to power in 1991 promising the people that Capitalism will liberate productive and intellectual forces of the society and thus ensure very rapid growth of the prosperity of the nation.
People were led to believe by brainwashing machine of the TV that if they reject the rule of the Communist Party they will obtain prosperous life style of the West European middle class while retaining the advantages of real socialism.
It proved to be lies. The current regime has produced the 2nd largest number of billionaires in the world. On the over hand in produced poverty and misery of tens of millions of Russian unheard of since 1917. Now we have collapse of manufacturing industries and agriculture, destruction of education and health care systems, growing unemployment and crime, lack of cheap housing.
The ruling class in Russia claims that there is political stability in Russia. But this relative stability is based exclusively on the exceptionally favourable combination of economic factors for Mr Putin and his clique. Russia is a major oil producer. And the oil prices increased during Putin’s term in office from 18 to 140 dollars a barrel. It was an 8-years long golden rain. Millions of people voted for class alliance represented by Putin in the hoping that this “oiled” prosperity will last forever and they will get crams from oligarch’s pie.
Now the ruling class in Russia is in crisis. The oil prices went down to 55 dollars a barrel. At the same time the oil production in Russia started to fall. The golden rain is over. The draught is coming.
The huge superprofits from oil exports – over 500 billion dollars – were placed in American banks. The ruling clique in Russia absolutely failed to use a unique opportunity to modernize the economy. Thus they have destroyed the chance to perpetuate their rule. The collapse of the current regime is only a matter of time and circumstances.
I deeply believe that there is no Capitalism in Russia. Capitalism presupposes the investment into the means of production. In Russia for two decades there was no productive investment. The current system in Russia is characterized even by such a staunch imperialist as George Soros as mafia Capitalism. The national wealth accumulated by several generations of our predecessors was plundered in the crazy wave of luxurious consumption. Even now when the world and Russia are facing the deep crisis, the ruling elite is keen to line their pockets instead of reviving the economy.
But the pie of national wealth is dwindling. Yesterday Putin’s regime was able to give handouts to people bribing them to close their eyes to the disastrous economic and social policies. Tomorrow they no longer will be able to do it.
People are already having second thoughts. Millions of people increasingly admit that Communists were right when they exposed criminal nature of the current political and economic system in Russia. We have seen that at the presidential elections this March when nearly 20% of voters, despite terrible intimidation and brainwashing, supported Communist Presidential Candidate Comrade Zyuganov.
In fact we received greater support than it was admitted officially. It is generally recognized that the ruling group in Russia manipulate the voters and the results of the elections in the most shameful way. In many areas the candidate of the ruling class received up to 95%. In one area he has received 102%. It is not only ridiculous. It also shows the lack of confidence of the ruling group.
Our task is to convert the dissatisfaction of the people into the organized action that would end the rule of the exploiting class. It is not an easy task. One particular problem is that of transition from the state of a ruling party, which we were until 1991, into an opposition party. It proved to be a long and painful process. And the social structure of the society is still in transition. The working class has been destroyed by the policy of deindustrialization. The class-consciousness comes only now when the exploitive nature of the new owners becomes clear. The independent trade unions are weak while the official unions serve workers class enemies.
However the growing unemployment, the cuts in social spending and general collapse of social services are increasing raising political awareness of the people. Furthermore that they still have vivid memories of how secure life was in the Soviet Union.
The nation is quietly getting prepared for a change. The widespread and primitive anti-communism of the 90-s is over. The ruling group has to manipulate the elections they fear to reveal the real mood of the people. The current decision to prolong the presidential term from 4 to 6 years is yet another sign of insecurity.
One of the indications of changing tendencies is the national Internet survey under the title “The Symbol of Russia”. Firstly 50 most significant national leaders of all times were selected out of the list of 500. Then top 12 were to be selected out of the 50. This is when the organizers realized they were in trouble. Because despite two decades of the most dirty daily anticommunist propaganda Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin inevitably emerge on top. The people recognize them as the most significant historic leaders of the nation.
And the Internet voters are not pensioners. They are youth and middle age people. It confirms our observation that at the elections we receive support not of nostalgic veterans but of young, clever and dynamic.
In conclusion I would like to inform you that we are going to have a party Congress next week. And the main subject of discussion is going to be how to convert the growing moral support of the people into the practical action, how to strengthen and modernize our Party.
Capitalism is a dismal failure in Russia. Russia again, just as one hundred years ago, is a weak link in the chain of Capitalism.
We in Russia had an opportunity to live both under Socialism and Capitalism. Now tens of millions of people can compare. They can make an informed decision. And we know what the historic decision will be. Russian will inevitably return to Socialism. There is no doubt of that.
Thank you very much, Comrades!