On September 2, 2015 to commemorate the end of the World War II communists, headed by comrade Gennagy Zyuganov laid flowers to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the Kremlin wall.
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Gennady Zyuganov, Chairman of the CC CPRF, «The Banner of the Great Victory»
Chairman of the CC CPRF, Head of the CPRF at the State Duma
The Banner of the Great Victory
Comrades, friends and comrades-in-arms,
We are glad to welcome you to Moscow on these days in May, the days of the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Victory of the Soviet People over Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.
Every honest person in every corner of the world recognizes that the courage of the Red Army soldiers and the mass heroism of the whole Soviet people played the decisive role in the defeat of Nazi Germany. The Soviet Union bore the brunt of the struggle against Hitlerism. It also made the decisive contribution to the defeat of militaristic Japan thus bringing an end to the entire Second World War.
By the time they attacked the USSR the German Nazi invaders had conquered almost the whole of the continental Europe. No bourgeois state was able to stand up against Hitler’s military machine. Even France – one of the most advanced states in the world – succumbed to the occupiers within just 40 days. It was only the Soviet Union, which was in the process of building socialism, that first withstood the onslaught of the Wermacht and then broke the back of the fascist beast. Only Soviet power led by the Bolshevik party proved to be capable of organizing resistance to the powerful enemy and lead its people to victory. It is not by chance that Soviet Marshal Georgy Zhukov wrote: “Under the impact of the Soviet way of life and massive educational work of the party a new man emerged in our country, a man convinced of his righteous cause and deeply conscious of his personal responsibility for the destiny of his Motherland.” The Soviet man brought up by the Communist Party became the main force that crushed fascism. Likewise the communists became the advance unit of the anti-fascist resistance in the countries occupied by Hitler.
In two years’ time we will be celebrating the centenary of the Great October Socialist Revolution. It is the Red Banner of the Revolution that was hoisted over the defeated Reichstag in May 1945. This was not accidental. As John Reed, an outstanding American journalist and public figure, wrote, the events that took place in Russia in October of 1917 “shook the world”. Our planet was never the same again. For the first time in history there emerged a state of the workers and peasants which did away with exploitation of man by man.
Soviet Russia rapidly rose from the ruins left by the Civil War and the foreign Intervention of 14 states. Within a brief space of time the USSR created modern science and education and on their basis an advanced economic model. Industrialization did its great job. The average annual industrial growth rate throughout the 1930s was 16.5%. It was a veritable economic miracle. A powerful potential was created during the two first Stalin Five-Year-Plan periods. Labour productivity doubled. In 1937 80% of industrial goods in the USSR were produced at new enterprises.
Historically German industry was far more advanced than that in the agrarian Russia. However, Soviet scientists, engineers and workers managed to develop weapons systems that were superior to Hitler’s. The victory of the Soviet Union over fascism marked a victory of the ideas of humanism, the ideas of progress over the dark forces of evil, over man-hating ideology. Joseph Stalin had every reason to say in February 1946: “After the object lessons of the war no skeptics would dare to express doubts about the viability of the Soviet social system. We can say today that the Soviet system… is the best form of organizing society…”
The supreme heroism on the war front had a sequel in the rapid restoration of the war-devastated national economy. In spite of all the hardship of that period the Soviet Union created the foundations of a nuclear missile shield which reliably protected the world from the threat of a third world war. The qualitative intellectual leap society had accomplished in the prewar period was developed through the increase of the industrial, scientific and educational potential in the 1950s-1970s.
The victory of the Soviet Union in the Great Patriotic War, the rapid recovery of the country from the ravages of the war, the embarking of new states on the path of socialist construction, Yuri Gagarin’s spaceflight, and active participation of the USSR in the liquidation of the world colonial system convincingly proved the advantages of socialism. The difficulties the Soviet Union and its closest allies faced in the 1980s were certainly not insuperable. The decisive role in destroying the USSR was played by the betrayal of Gorbachev and his close associates. Without those dramatic events the world would be a totally different place today.
The modern world: key characteristics
Speaking about the 70th anniversary of the Great Victory over Fascism we should remember the causes which brought forth Nazism. As early as 1916 Vladimir Lenin in his work “Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism” demonstrated that by the beginning of the 20th century capitalism had spent its progressive character. The First World War that was raging at the time proved that capitalism had become an absolutely reactionary phenomenon.
The path of the imperialist powers is the path of unbridled exploitation of working people, colonialism and plunder of entire peoples. It is the path of supporting the most reactionary political forces and conserving the most primitive economic arrangements. Finally, it is the path of endless bloody wars. The road of imperialist states is paved with millions of victims and untold human suffering.
Today, looking back at human history from the vantage point of the 21st century, we see clearly that capitalism simply knows of no other ways. It is incapable of changing for the better. Proof of this was provided by Yugoslavia and Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, Syria and Ukraine. In recent years all these states became victims of increased aggressiveness of the American imperialism.
We can well understand the causes of this aggressiveness. The general crisis of capitalism has been developing on the planet for more than a century. In the late 20th century it was temporarily dampened by the collapse of the USSR and the system of socialist countries in Eastern Europe. Colossal resources fell into the hands of capital, above all the US capital. The world market situation also changed in favour of the West which now has fewer strong rivals. However, barely two decades later the world again plunged into the abyss of crisis. Systemic contradictions of capitalism surfaced again. The key contradiction, as before, is the contradiction between the social character of production and the private form of appropriation.
The current crisis has engulfed the whole world. Along with finances and economics, it also affected the sphere of energy and raw materials. Environmental problems are becoming increasingly acute. The crisis is acquiring the features of a structural crisis. The two previous crises on this scale led to two world wars.
Making a thorough study of the trends of the recent decades the CPRF has defined the modern form of imperialism as globalism. Yes, integration processes in the world are objective in character. Humanity is developing towards ever closer and all-embracing unity. In our day these processes are accelerated many times over due to the rapid progress of technologies and communications. The new stage of the scientific and technical revolution opens up for mankind colossal opportunities for economic growth and social progress. However, the preservation of capitalism distorts the process of world development and sharpens its contradictions. Imperialism and globalism are reactionary, perverted forms of world integration.
Today the imperialist centre includes the USA and a number of European powers. They appropriate the lion’s share of the world’s wealth plundering other states. The colonization of formally independent countries by big capital today involves such methods as the spinning of debt spirals, the creation of offshore financial zones and the activities of the rating agencies.
Privatization is actively used and the social functions of the state are being destroyed for the sake of further concentration of capital. The significance of financial speculations has increased dramatically. Added value is shifting more and more from the production sphere to the pockets of financial monsters. The USA, the European Union and Japan provide vivid examples.
The CPRF believes that the financial hegemony of capitalism squanders productive forces. Unfair distribution of incomes between labour and capital is becoming ever more glaring. Unemployment is growing. The social situation is deteriorating.
Capitalism is unable to ensure long-term socio-economic development in the natural human environment. The rush to maximize capital accumulation is destroying the environment.
What is happening on our planet vindicates Marxist-Leninist analysis. The profit margin tends to diminish, something capitalism is fighting by any means available: by stepping up exploitation, financial speculations and military adventures. The predatory nature of capital is readily apparent.
Two years ago, during the 15th Congress of the CPRF, our party made a thorough review of the state of affairs in the modern world. Below are its key characteristics:
1.The establishment of globalism as the modern form of imperialism.
2.Broad and universal offensive of capital on the rights of the working people.
3.Growing aggressiveness of imperialism in the world arena, increased number of military conflicts and the growing threat of a new major war.
4.The world financial-economic crisis that marks a new stage in the degradation of capitalism.
5.The rapid growth of the number of developing countries which are challenging the hegemony of the American imperialism.
6.The mounting movement of the working class and the people; more active role of the left-wing parties after the crisis of the Communist movement in the late 20th century.
7. The growing role of socialism as the necessary and sole alternative to capitalism.
8. The financial-oligarchic capital putting its stake more and more openly on the most vicious and reactionary forces.
Every day brings fresh proof of the validity of these assessments. Capital is pushing the world closer and closer towards a global military conflict. The conditions for a new world war are formed by three groups of contradictions: between economically developed countries; between the imperialist nucleus and the world periphery; between the aspirations of global financial capital and the national interests of countries, including developed ones.
In launching its neocolonialist policy the leading powers widely resort to state terrorism. In effect they install puppet governments and impose them on weaker countries against the will of the popular masses. The latest striking and tragic example of this kind is the fate of Ukraine.
Ukraine: victim of state terrorism
A government coup took place in Kiev in February of last year. To a large extent it was provoked by the ruling circles of the USA and its NATO allies. For a long time Western policy with regard to Ukraine was marked by crude interference in the internal affairs of that sovereign state. This was highlighted during the first Maidan in 2004, when pro-American president Yushchenko came to power as a result of external interference. Today Washington does not bother to hide its role in the Ukrainian crisis: US assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland openly said that in order to boost its influence in Ukraine Washington had spent at least five billion dollars.
The aggressive policy of pro-Bandera circles has the full support of the USA. Moreover, the overseas puppeteers who pull the strings of their puppets in Kiev are capturing the natural resources and the Ukrainian market. And in the process they are turning Ukraine into a ram against Russia crushing the centuries-old links between our fraternal peoples.
The government coup in Kiev was vital for the USA. Its huge government debt of more than 18 trillion dollars increasingly prompts Washington to embark on adventurous ways of solving its problems. For the US leadership the establishment of the power of reactionary forces in Ukraine and provoking the civil war there solves several tasks at once. They create a seat of tensions that would make Europe less competitive, weaken Russia and serve as a fuse for a possible large-scale war.
The conflict in Ukraine enables the USA to “strangle the West European countries in its embrace”. Economic sanctions against Russia boomerang against the economy of the European Union. Washington is taking advantage of this to achieve its long-coveted goal and to gain control of the European market.
The Poroshenko-Yatsenyuk policy leads to a collapse of the Ukrainian economy and the loss of the last vestiges of the country’s independence. Although Ukraine has many talented and competent people, there are already foreign nationals in its government. And there are even more foreign advisors. In effect the former Soviet republic is turning into a colony. Simultaneously Ukraine is being dragged into the aggressive NATO military bloc.
Against this background the CPRF supported the reunification of the Crimea and Sebastopol with Russia a year ago. This was support of a broad popular movement of an anti-fascist character. The popular movement in Crimea was absolutely Soviet in its character and the results of the totally democratic referendum were unchallengeable.
By the same token, following its anti-fascist position, the CPRF is rendering constant assistance to the People’s Republics of Lugansk and Donetsk. We are a party that consistently provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Novorossia who became the victims of neo-nazism in Ukraine. We sent 35 convoys of trucks with humanitarian assistance, notably food and medical supplies, to Ukraine. The CPRF believes that the population of Novorossia is waging a national-liberation struggle against the oligarchic Banderovite regime in Kiev. We urge the Russian leadership to recognize the independence of the DPR and LPR based on the results of the referendums held there.
We believe that the current difficult situation in Ukraine was the result of a serious failure of Russia’s official policy. In fact the Russian authorities gave the USA a free hand in that country to create hundreds of “non-governmental organizations”, “think tanks” and “independent media outlets”. The Russian elite confined its concerns in relations with Ukraine to the issue of the gas pipeline. In effect it was an act of collusion between the Russian and Ukrainian oligarchies which weakened the centuries-old links between our peoples. It highlighted the class character of the Russian foreign policy.
To be sure, the fact that the CPRF supports some foreign policy decisions of the Russian leadership does not mean that it supports its overall policy and its economic course. We are convinced that the crisis that struck Russia has not been caused by international sanctions or the fall of the world oil prices. This economic crisis is the result of the long-term liberal policy aimed at satisfying the appetites of the financial-speculative and resource-exporting oligarchy at the expense of the broad popular masses. Just one striking example: the Russian authorities allocated nearly 2 trillion roubles to shore up banks in recent months compared with about 20 billion in support of industry.
No to reaction and fascism!
On the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Victory over Hitler’s Germany world imperialism in Ukraine has put its stake on the most radical nationalistic forces. Alas, this is nothing new. It was not yesterday that the West embarked on the path of creeping rehabilitation of Nazism. Back in the mid 2000s the PACE passed resolution 1481 condemning the “totalitarian communist regimes of Europe”. It was clear even then that there was more to it than simply hatred of the Soviet Union. It was an element of fascist revenge. Today the “brown resurgence” is becoming part of daily reality in Europe. We have no right to turn a blind eye to this.
Historically imperialism has existed in two varieties: the liberal and fascist-dictatorial. They differ in the form of political structure but their economic foundation is the same. Imperialism always seeks to increase capital by exploiting entire countries and peoples. As history attests, liberalism easily morphs into fascism.
Today humanity faces a very crucial choice. Either, remembering the great victory in May 1945, it will say a resolute “no” to fascist restoration or imperialism will drag the world into the maelstrom of a new military conflict. It is the task of all the progressive forces to unite in the face of the threats engendered by the forces of reaction and neo-fascism.
In this context the Russian Federation finds itself in a very difficult situation. The victory of counterrevolution and the establishment of a bourgeois system brought untold hardship and colossal devastation to our country. Many sectors of the Russian industry have been thrown back decades. During the last 15 years the number of industrial workers shrank by more than 2 million people. Two sectors – commodity exports and banking – dominate Russian capital. Other sectors of the economy, especially science-intensive ones, have been ruthlessly destroyed with direct participation of transnational monopolies. The industries that were competitive in the world market suffered the most. Having become in many ways a raw materials appendage of the West, Russia lost its economic independence and national security.
The CPRF defines the capitalism that has been restored in Russia as regressive and parasitic, oligarchic and comprador in character. As a consequence, it is not viable and historically doomed. Integration into the system of “global capitalism” has put the country in bondage to world capital.
Again, like a hundred years ago, capitalism has split our country into two opposing social classes: the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The stratification of Russian society has brought about an unprecedented degree of wealth polarization. Almost a third of Russian citizens live in poverty.
With private property holding sway in the country, the working class has again become an oppressed and exploited class. That is why it is objectively interested in restructuring Russia along socialist lines. The plenary session of the CC CPRF held in October 2014 closely studied the issue of the party’s work in the proletarian milieu. We see the strengthening of our links with the working class and other proletarian strata as a guarantee of successful implementation of the programmatic goal of the CPRF, i.e. the building of a new socialism.
Our party is well aware that it is only by forming proletarian class consciousness of the majority of the workers that we can form the same consciousness in social strata that are close to them. We critically need a strong alliance of the industrial working class, the workers by brain, the working peasantry, the semi-proletarian strata in the town and countryside and in the sphere of small business. In the showdown with big capital only such an alliance makes it possible to neutralize the “upper tiers” of petty bourgeoisie and the medium bourgeoisie and ensure a confident transition to socialism in the confrontation with big bourgeoisie.
The experience of the October Revolution is a beacon
The Great October Socialist Revolution provided essential experience of peaceful and non-peaceful struggle for socialism. We will mark its centenary in 2017. It is an outstanding date and it calls for long and thorough preparation. We started this work in March this year. The revolutionary legacy of the Great October Revolution and the tasks of the CPRF were at the top of the agenda of the latest plenum of the party’s Central Committee.
Just like a hundred years ago, the oligarchic and bureaucratic elite in Russia is unable to take the country out of the crisis. At the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries the Russian ruling class tried to pursue a policy of “convergence of the elites”, a merger with the world oligarchy. To this end liberal reforms were forced upon Russia and the gains of socialism were dismantled step by step.
Faced with the aggression of Western imperialists Russian power and the oligarchy were disoriented and divided. Part of them, seeing that their capitals are threatened are trying to resist. The other part is ready to forego Russia’s sovereignty altogether in order to secure their own position. Both these groups are far removed from the interests of the working people. The broad masses of the people suffer the most from the profound social and economic crisis.
Modern Russia inherited a powerful economy from Soviet socialism. But the current political regime has failed to maintain the achieved standards. To justify its own inefficiency the ruling circles and their ideological apologists unloose torrents of dirt on the Soviet past. Anti-Sovietism is the trademark of the ruling regime in Russia. The CPRF is consistently fighting this phenomenon. We hold sacred the memory of the unique contribution of the Soviet people to the world civilization. This heritage is an important ideological weapon in our struggle against the class enemy.
The CPRF understands that capitalist restoration has thrown Russia far back. We are convinced that we will have to retrace the path of the October Revolution. Our main heritage is the unique practice of the trail-blazers of socialism. Undoubtedly pride of place should be given to the experience of restoring the war-devastated economy. The Bolsheviks solved that complex problem twice with flying colours.
The task of the CPRF is to put Russia back on the socialist track. To this end we have to overcome the current economic disarray and catch up with the countries that have moved ahead of us. To mobilize the people to meet that daunting task tomorrow it is necessary to win the trust of the broad masses today. It is our duty to convince the working class, the body of engineers, scientists and teachers, and all the working people that we are capable of spearheading major transformations.
To this end our party has worked out its Anti-Crisis Programme which it is actively promoting. We call for the formation of a popular trust government as the first priority in combating the crisis. The CPRF at the State Duma has developed and tabled legislative initiatives on a new industrial policy, on nationalization and on social guarantees for the working people. To strengthen our position in society we are expanding the arsenal of our agitation tools and are using advanced technologies. The party’s television channel “Red Line” has been officially registered and is beginning its broadcasts. The Political Studies Centre of the party’s Central Committee has been training our young comrades for the second year now. A purposive campaign has been launched to expose the falsifications of Soviet history.
A hundred years after the victory of the Great October Revolution the advocates of restructuring society along the principles of social justice have accumulated rich experience of struggle and victories. The new generations of the champions of a better world are inspired by the names of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin, Ernst Thalmann and Georgi Dimitrov, Georgy Zhukov and Konstantin Rokossovsky, Sergei Korolyov and Yuri Gagarin, Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, Ho Chi Minh and Salvador Allende, Daniel Ortega and Hugo Chavez. The Red Banner of the Great October Revolution and the Great Victory over Fascism is reflected in the romanticism of the Cuban revolution, in today’s successes of China and Vietnam, in the steady development of the modest and industrious Byelorussia and in the “reddening” Latin America.
The CPRF is convinced that socialism alone can provide a real and not a reactionary “utopian” alternative to the global world order. In that respect particular importance is attached to the unity of the class struggle of the working people for social liberation and the struggle of the peoples for independence, for free, democratic and individual development. All the progressive forces of the world must be together in this struggle. To achieve these goals there needs to be a unity of youth, women’s, professional, ecological and other organizations, all the groups fighting for peace and friendship among peoples, for justice and social progress.
Russian communists are confident that by strengthening their unity the progressive forces of the world can give the greatest scope to the anti-imperialist movement
For the liberation of labour from exploitation and for social justice
For internationalism and patriotism as the fundamental values of human and international life together.
Against chauvinism and cosmopolitanism.
For national and state independence
For respect for human rights, both civil and political, as well as social and economic: the right to work and leisure, education and medical care, to social security.
For freedom of expression and information. Against information totalitarianism and cultural imperialism.
For protecting the environment from the destructive impact of the “consumer race” and modern division of labour in the world.
For the right of the people to arise, to defend themselves from aggression and to fight oppressors and invaders.
Against international terrorism. For a clear distinction between terrorism and national liberation struggle.
Against racial and national discrimination and all forms of apartheid.
Against the bondage of debts.
For the elimination of total police control over the individual.
For disbanding aggressive military-political blocs.
All these are the tasks of the broad front of anti-imperialist, genuinely democratic forces.
It is our duty to achieve success, to unite the efforts of the working class, the working peasantry, the democratic intelligentsia and national liberation fighters.
The 70th anniversary of Victory over Fascism and the forthcoming centenary of the Great October Revolution provide a good stimulus for carrying on our common cause, for an optimistic view of the future, for confidence in our new victories.