We have left behind us the report period for which the start was made by the XV Congress. This stage was full of highly important, sometimes dramatic events. The time has come to review the results of the work over the past four years and set new benchmarks.
We are holding our XVII Congress in the year of the centenary of the Great October Revolution. The party started preparations for the jubilee in March 2015 at a special plenary session of the Central Committee.
Human history has seen many great events, but only some of them change the course of development of the whole world. The proletarian revolution in our country dramatically changed the face of the planet. It set Russia on the path to socialism. It solved the national crisis and saved the country from destruction. The Great October Revolution rid Russia of capitalist and national oppression. For the peoples of the Earth it became the lode star and the clarion call for the search for a future worthy of Man.
The era of the building of socialism is written into the biography of our country in golden letters. The unique experience of Lenin-Stalin modernization enabled the country to increase its industrial potential 70-fold within two decades, a rate of development unprecedented in world history. That experience is still an example of successful creation of a society of social justice.
The Jubilee of the Great October Revolution is an excellent opportunity to remind the world of its significance and highlight the achievements of socialism. To show an alternative to the omnipotence of capital. To mobilize all the forces to struggle for the triumph of the bright ideas of the working people.
The crisis of capitalism: a sign of decay
The world is immersed in a profound systemic crisis which engenders instability and threatens a new world war. This is the essence of the present stage of capitalism. The inherentcontradictions of this systemhave notgone away: the contradictions between Labor and Capital, between the social character of production and private form of appropriation of the results of labor. On the contrary, the inborn flaws of this system have assumed a worldwide character. There is no corner on Earth where the tentacles of the rapacious octopus have not reached. As Marx pointed out in his time its very nature forces it to scour the world in search of maximum profits. Therefore the miasma of overripe and decaying capitalism are poisoning practically all the countries and continents.
Crises are an inseparable part of the capitalist economy. Throughout its history capitalism has engendered several major and tens of smaller crises. The current crisis is into its tenth year. It is the biggest crisis since the Great Depression in the USA and the Second World War. The crisis has affected not just one individual sector, not one tentacle of the octopus, but the entire system.
The current crisis is a direct consequence of neoliberalism. The American Marxist David Harvey came to the conclusion that in the 1970s speculative financial capital had finally gained the upper hand over industrial capital so that not production, but the market value of shares of stock became the aim of economic activity. Financial interests, “the power of the accountants rather than the engineers” prevailed among the ruling classes and the ruling elites. Indeed, capitalism is drifting further and further away from material production. The imploding financial bubbles form a characteristic feature of modern capitalism. You will remember that the CPRF has described this phenomenon as financial imperialism and has provided its extended analysis.
Neoliberalism has led to the revision of the ideas of the “social state.” It has cast aside all the vestiges of democracy and human rights. It is relentlessly asserting its class and even caste supremacy. According to Oxfam, an international association of NGOs, one percent of the planet’s population owns more wealth than the remaining 99 percent. The combined wealth of 62 of the richest people is comparable to what the poorest half of humankind owns, and that is 3.5 billion people.
It is impossible to challenge the English philosopher Terry Eagleton who predicted in his book Why Marx Was Right that “Capitalism will behave antisocially if it is profitable for it to do so, and that can now mean human devastation on an unimaginable scale.”
The number of billionaires increased six times – to 1810 — between 2000 and 2016. At the same time more than a billion Earth people live in abject poverty. Nearly 400 million children suffer from malnutrition. This is not a coincidence. There is a direct link between the enrichment of the rich and impoverishment of the poor.
During the last crisis the lower strata were ruined, lost their jobs and dwellings, while banks and corporations drew billions in assistance from governments. This is not surprising considering that government institutions have become no more than managers hired by Big Business. While Apple pays in Europe a profit tax equal to five-thousandths of a percentage point, ordinary people are choked by high taxes, prices and credits, low wages and dismantling of social rights.
The parasitic essence of world capitalism will not disappear unless capitalism is destroyed. In its quest of maximum profits the oligarchy stops at nothing: stepping up exploitation and financial speculation, unleashing of wars and destruction of whole states.
Our XV Congress thus defined the main features of the present-day capitalist system
First, globalism is the highest form of imperialism.
Second, the world economic crisis is deepening.
Third, capitalism is mounting an attack against human rights everywhere.
Fourth, imperialism is increasingly aggressive in the world arena and the threat of a new major war is growing.
Fifth, financial-oligarchic capital ever more openly puts its stake on the most vicious and reactionary forces.
Life has vindicated our analysis. During the past four years the beastly snarl of capitalism has manifested itself in all its ugly cynicism. World capital does not tolerate competitors, let alone rivals, it strangles and destroys political regimes that think along national lines.
Over a hundred years ago Lenin drew attention to the crises connected with the transition from the “peaceful” to non-peaceful stage of the functioning of the bourgeois system. The destruction of the Soviet Union ushered in another “peaceful” period. Not encountering any serious obstacles, capitalism pursued the policy of globalization. The workers’ and communist movement was weakened. There was an upsurge of opportunism. Absolute impoverishment of the working people was taking place even in economically developed countries.
That period is now over. New trends have emerged.
First, imperialism is actively provoking internal conflicts in various countries and is using military force to redraw the world map. Examples are Iraq, Libya and Syria.
Second, a tilt to the right is encouraged in the centers of world capitalism. Even the European social-democrats have given up their pacifism and embraced aggressive imperialistic attitudes. Seeing Russia as a competitor, the West is fomenting anti-Sovietism and Russophobia.
Third, right-wing forces, including Fascism, have moved to the forefront of the capitalist world.
We believe it is wrong to assert thatRussia has immunity to Fascism. The historical experience of Italy and Germany has shown that in the “weak links” of the capitalist chain imperialism uses Fascization as an “antidote” to socialist revolutions. That is why Russia is also vulnerable. We communists have to be vigilant.
The scenario of the extreme right coming to power has already been acted out in Ukraine. Banderovites, backed by the USA and the European Union, have staged a government coup to establish a terrorist, reactionary nationalist regime which cracks down on communists and all dissenters. The proclamation of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics was a logical reaction of millions of honest and courageous people. In spite of the Minsk Agreements, the situation in Donbass is extremely tense. Today the CPRF reaffirms: “Donbass, we are by your side.” We come out for the recognition of the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and for their further rapprochement with Russia.
The decision of the people of Crimea on reunification with Russia was a landmark event. At the same time it has shown that world capitalism would not tolerate the attempts of our country to protect its borders and interests. The Western countries are turning Ukraine into an anti-Russian bulwark. In July of last year the NATO summit in Warsaw declared Russia to be the main threat and “containing Moscow” to be the key goal.
Having accused Russia of aggression, the North Atlantic Alliance has stepped up the militarization of Eastern Europe. NATO has deployed its military units in Poland, Romania and the Baltic states. NATO is strengthening its presence on the Black Sea. Montenegro has been drawn into the Alliance.
The new US Administration has not renounced its aggressive foreign policy. One of Trump’s early directives was to increase the defense budget by more than 50 billion dollars.
The USA has unleashed expansion in the Middle East under the guise of fighting ISIL. Its aim is hegemony over the key region rich in hydrocarbon resources. The American strike on Shayrat air base on April 7 shattered the myth of Trump’s “love of peace.” This put paid to Zhirinovsky’s Trumpomania.
While tirelessly instructing the world in democracy American imperialism takes part in crimes against humanity. Hundreds of civilians died during the bombings of Mosul in Iraq, the air strike on a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, claimed tens of lives. The barbaric operation in Yemen in which Saudi Arabia has the direct support of Washington, is into its third year. The death toll has topped 10,000, two-thirds of the country’s population are on the brink of starvation.
The process of decay of imperialism predicted by Lenin is unfolding. The link between world capital and religious extremism has grown stronger. The USA and its satellites support such brutal groups as Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIL. Uigur separatist and Islamic groups whose chieftains are based in the USA and Western Europe are being used to destabilize China. It is not surprising that China is one of the main targets. Acting now by threats and now by cajolery, global capital seeks to weaken the Celestial Kingdom. It is clearly scared of the successes of the new world power. To “neutralize the Chinese threat” the USA is cobbling together an alliance against the PRC trying to drag into it not only Japan and South Korea, but also the Philippines, India and some other countries. In April the American military came close to unleashing a war on the Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang is denied the right to strengthen its national defense.
In Latin America capital continues to oppose “XXI-century Socialism.” When it was embraced by Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua this put hope into the hearts of millions of disfranchised citizens. In response every trick in the book has been used: sanctions, threats of invasion, and financing of subversive actions of the right-wing opposition. The globalists have managed to bring about an impeachment of Dilma Russeff in Brazil. They have put Mauricio Macri at the head of Argentina. Now these countries opened the doors to American corporations and the rights of workers are under attack.
However, “the right-wing revenge” has stalled. In Venezuela attempts to depose Nicolas Maduro, the successor to the legendary Hugo Chavez, are failing although Washington has invested huge resources in it. In Ecuador the left-wing candidate Lenin Moreno has scored a victory. In Nicaragua Daniel Ortega comfortably won another term. Late last year the world suffered a heavy loss. Fidel Castro, the symbol and banner of anti-imperialist struggle, died. His like-minded fellow fighters carry on his courageous cause.
Thus, the international situation is determined by the clash of two trends. The first is the offensive of the forces of capitalism. It is doing all it can to shore up its global dominance. But there is also the second trend, and that is the growing resistance to capitalist hegemony, and the commitment to uphold the right to independent and sovereign existence.
We are for a better world
Opposition to the forces of capital takes various forms.
First, a number of states reject the course imposed by the ideologues of liberalism. The Communist Party of China will hold its XIX Congress in the autumn. The Chinese communists are moving steadily toward achieving the two main goals: to build a middle-level wealth society by the time of the Party’s centenary in 2021 and to create “a powerful, affluent, democratic, civilized, harmonious and modernized socialist state” by the centenary of the PRC in 2049. In the international arena Beijing comes out for peace and economic integration and is promoting the One Belt, One Road project.
Vietnam, Cuba, Laos and the DPRK are developing confidently. Belarus is setting an example to the post-Soviet space. Left governments in Latin America united in the ALBA alliance are demonstrating staunchness. Their social programs have given millions of people housing, jobs, medial care and education. All these countries prove that there is an alternative to globalism.
Second, millions of working people are struggling for their rights. In France last year the reform of labor laws involved hundreds of thousands of citizens in protests. Millions of people regularly go on strike against liberal reforms in India. The people of Brazil and Argentine are actively opposing the offensive of capitalism.
It has to be admitted that the crisis of capitalism tends to increase the influence both of the left and of the right parties. The ideas of euroscepticism are gaining popularity in Europe, as manifested by Brexit, and the electoral success in France of Marine le Pen and Jean-Luc Melanchon. In the heart of world capitalism, the USA, socialist-leaning candidate Bernie Sanders won active support before the presidential elections. Donald Trump also campaigned on criticism of the dominance of Wall Street.
It is very important for the left to prevent a “right-wing march” on the planet. Possibilities for that exist. It is clear that after the treacherous destruction of the Soviet Union no “end of history” and no “collapse of communism” have occurred. The influence of the left could not have disappeared if only because poverty, inequality and injustice did not go away. They force people to fight for a better life. The world communist movement has not been destroyed. It is building up its strength.
Communists today form part of the ruling coalitions in Nepal, Venezuela, Ecuador, Uruguay and some other countries. In recent years our comrades in Belarus and the Czech Republic have scored successes. The Labor Party in Belgium has a chance to win more seats in parliament. Communists have nearly trebled their presence in the parliament of Japan. These are just some examples.
The program of our party determines that the CPRF is part of the international communist and workers’ movement. We are actively promoting cooperation with fraternal parties, pooling our efforts in the struggle against imperialism, for the interests of the working people.
Socialism is the strategic goal of communists. In their struggle for it the communist parties are called upon to strengthen their position in the grassroots with due account of the specificities of each country. This task should be solved through opposing both social-reformism and left-wing sectarianism.
The CPRF is actively involved in the analysis of the modern stage of class struggle, and in developing its forms and methods. During the report period we initiated a number of academic-practical conferences and round tables, including: International Communist Movement Today and Tomorrow, The Image of Socialism we Are Struggling for, The Party Press and the Struggle of Communists under Current Conditions.
In May of 2015 the CPRF organized in Moscow a meeting of international democratic organizations to mark the 70th Anniversary of Victory Over Fascism. Taking part in it were The World Federation of Trade Unions, The World Peace Council, The Women’s International Democratic Federation, The World Federation of Democratic Youth, The International Federation of Democratic Lawyers, The International Federation of Anti-Fascists and Resistance Fighters. All of them have a corresponding status at UNESCO, the International Labour Organization and other UN agencies.
This year the activities of the world’s communist parties are dominated by the 100th Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution. Resolutions have been passed stressing its significance.
Our party takes an active part in International Meetings of Communist and Workers’ Parties. Since 1998 these have been held annually at the initiative of the Communist Party of Greece. The last one, held in Vietnam last year, brought together 60 parties. In the year of the October Revolution jubilee we will host the 19th International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties. It will be held in early November in the City of Lenin (St.Petersburg). Its participants will set the agenda of the communist movement in the struggle for socialism. Great responsibility devolves on us: to hold this forum in a worthy manner.
The CPRF takes part in international meetings, seminars and conferences and interacts with left-wing parties on a bilateral basis. We took part in the congresses of the communist parties of the Czech Republic and Moravia, Portugal, Finland, Bangladesh and other countries and in events staged by left-wing parties. Cooperation agreements have been signed with the communist parties of China and Vietnam. An agreement has been signed with the Workers’ Party of Korea. These agreements are being successfully implemented thanks to the efforts of L.I.Kalashnikov, K.K.Taisiyev, V.M.Tetyokin and other Russian comrades.
A Russia-China meeting 70 Years of Common Victory was held in Khabarovsk in September 2015. Delegations of young CPRF activists go to China every year to study the experience of reforms conducted in the PRC. Our comrades regularly take part in the festivals of the Portuguese Communist newspaper Avante. A joint Russia-Korea photo exhibition A History of Friendship was held in three stages in Pyongyang, Moscow and Minsk.
At all the international events the CPRF briefs the fraternal parties on its activities. Solidnet posts documents and other information about our party.
A great amount of work is being done in the framework of the UCP-CPSU. The Union brings together 17 parties. The highlights in the report period were: the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Union in Kiev before the Maidan coup, the XXXV Congress of the UCP-CPSU in Minsk, plenums of he Union Council in Moscow, the opening of the Union’s internet site and so on.
Coordination of activities takes on added importance considering that the authorities in some republics of the former USSR persecute communists. At various times pressure was brought to bear on the communists in Georgia, Moldavia and Kazakhstan. In the Baltic States, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan communist parties have to work practically underground. The UCP-CPSU parties have repeatedly come out in support of Ukrainian communists led by P.N.Simonenko. Some of our Ukrainian comrades had to be rescued from the hands of pro-fascist elements.
On 29 May 2014 a headquarters for humanitarian aid to the citizens of the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics was set up. Their population is exposed to severe trials. Within three years the CPRF sent 60 convoys with humanitarian aid to these republics. This work goes on. More than three thousand children from Donbass went to the Snegiri complex outside Moscow to rest and improve their health.
International work is covered in the Vestnik SKP-KPSS. The newspaper Pravda carries a monthly feature devoted to the Union of Communist Parties. The newly opened rubric “Communist Brotherhood” has already carried talks with the leaders of the communist parties of Portugal, Lebanon, Cyprus, Britain and India.
The CPRF takes an active part in solidarity actions with the peoples that have become victims of aggressive actions of imperialism. The voice of our party was heard in joint statements against the persecution of communist parties, manifestations of fascism and nationalism and the offensive on the rights and freedoms of working people. We have come out in defense of Libya and Syria, and the US blockade of Cuba..
The cohesion of communist and workers’ parties is the guarantee of their success. It is an uphill struggle. Capitalism will never resolve its inherent contradictions on its own. Imperialism is becoming more and more aggressive in the time of crisis. Analyzing the ideas of Marx and Lenin modern US academic James Petras writes that capitalism has proved convincingly and indisputably that it prospers thanks to the degradation of tens of millions of workers and is absolutely deaf to the endless pleas for reform and regulation. The capitalism that really exists cannot and does not want to raise the living standards of ordinary people, guarantee their employment, provide a decent life without fear and humiliation. Capitalism…is diametrically opposed to freedom, equality, democratic decision-making and common good.
There are only two paths for humanity: either socialism or further decay, wars, instability, moral degradation of society and destruction of the environment. Only the power of the working people, public ownership of the means of production and rational planning in the economy can set humankind on the path of all-round development. It is the duty of our party to actively promote these ideas among the grassroots.
Comrades, after 1991 our country became part of world capitalism. The liberal traitors who came to power cherished the hope of joining the “golden billion.” They obediently followed the instructions of the International Monetary Fund and other global capitalist institutions. Even in the West they considered the team of Yeltsin’s foreign advisers to be “economic murderers.
The Russian bourgeoisie was accorded the dubious honor of supplying the West with raw materials and fulfilling its whims. Many upstart oligarchs raised on Gaidar’s “yeast” were quite comfortable with such a role. They treated Russia as “this country,” in which they were “cowboy builders,” Russia was a place for business, while their safe landing sites were their mansions and hefty foreign bank accounts.
A regressive, parasitic, oligarchic, comprador capitalism established itself in the country. Its basis is export of commodities and banking sectors. This proves that Russia is becoming a raw materials appendage and a market for foreign goods.
However, part of the Russian bourgeoisie wants greater independence. Experessing the aspirations of this part of “the newest Russians” government has ratcheted up patriotic rhetoric and took some independent steps. The Crimea was brought back to where it belongs. Support was rendered to the legitimate government of Syria. The people of Russia, tired of self-abasement, welcomed these steps. This state of affairs was not to the West’s liking. Sanctions are introduced and a massive information campaign leavened with Russophobia and anti-Sovietism are launched against Russia. If the Russian leadership does not want to repeat the fate of Milosevic, Hussein and Kaddafi, it has no other option but strengthening the country’s sovereignty.
However, the Russian oligarchy has neither the strength nor the desire to break with the system of global capitalism. It has till not recognized the DPR and LPR. “The pivot to the East” policy is clearly marking time. Attacks continue on Belarus which undermine the process of closer union between our peoples. The process of integration of the post-Soviet space, which the CPRF has always welcomed, is meeting with serious difficulties.
After the devastating Serdyukov “reforms” many, but not all the problems of the Armed Forces combat ability have been solved. The cuts of the defense budget which have started run counter to the need to restore military education and science. Our precision weapons still need imported components while the software built into them may be set in motion at any moment. It is impossible to effectively protect the country’s sovereignty without a powerful defense industry independent of foreign suppliers.
On the whole the quarter century of liberal reforms in Russia has produced an extremely cruel socio-economic model. A peripheral oligarchic-bureaucratic regime has taken shape in the country.
Russia’s joining the World Trade Organization was a major concession to global capital. Only the CPRF has consistently opposed it. Restrictions on production, reduction of customs duties and other novelties gave an edge to foreign “partners.” During five years of WTO membership the Russian budget lost about 800 billion roubles due to lower customs duties. Indirect losses topped 4 trillion.
Big owners have been given a free hand in plundering Russia. The economy is being deprived of vitally needed investments. Today they account for a mere 18 percent of the GDP, only half of what they were in the RSFSR in 1990. But the authorities calmly look on as the oligarchs transfer capital to offshore zones and foreign banks. In the last two years alone capital flight exceeded 70 billion dollars. And we are constantly being called to “civil peace” with those who are simply robbing Russia.
Dependence on foreign capital is beginning to threaten the country’s sovereignty. Companies with foreign capital account for 75 percent of the communications sphere, 56 percent of the extractive industries and 49 percent of processing industries.
This is highly reminiscent of the situation in the early XX century when Western capital dominated the industry and banking sector in the Russian Empire. The dependence cost Russia dearly: it was drawn into the First World War defending the interests of the Entente capitalists. The Russian GDP has been shrinking for more than two years. Since 2014 it dropped by 8 percent. The state budget is losing trillions of roubles. Modernization and diversification of the economy have failed. The Government ministries incharge of economy and finances are unable to cope with the crisis. They are misleading the country. The Ministry of Economic Development reported a 0.4 percent growth of GDP at the end of the first quarter. However, these data were promptly challenged by Vneshekonombank analysts who proved that the GDP continues to fall.
The socio-economnic course followed by the government has turned the country into a society of mass poverty. According to official data, real income in Russia dropped by nearly 13 percent, and consumption has gone down by 15 percent. The number of paupers has increased by 3 million. Twenty million, one in every seven citizens, live below the poverty line. The CPRF points out that the official living minimum is 2-2.5 times lower than the actual level.
Sociology confirms the picture of mass impoverishment. Last year three quarters of citizens significantly cut their consumption. Forty percent say they do not have enough money to buy food and clothing. Almost 30 percent need food stamps to survive.
Russia has become a country of appalling inequality. Dollar millionaires own 62 percent of Russia’s wealth and billionaires own 29 percent. A handful of moneybags own nine tenths of the national wealth. The international research organization The New World of Welfare has concluded that Russia ranks first in the world in terms of wealth inequality.
During the past year alone the aggregate wealth of 200 of Russia’s richest businessmen increased by 100 billion dollars. The ”income champions” own 460 billion dollars, which is twice the annual budget of a country of 150 million people.
These then are the main problems of the Russian economy:
— its reliance on commodity production,
the destruction of its industrial potential,
— poverty and the low purchasing power of its citizens,
— a flawed monetary policy,
— inefficient governance.
The sanctions compounded the situation.
The government’s regional policy is extremely ineffective. Receiving only 30 percent of the total national income, the regions are struggling to maintain the social sphere. There are only nine donor regions left. The debt of regional budgets has already reached 2.5 trillion roubles, of which more than 50 percent are commercial credits. The budgets are overburdened with commitments.
The CPRF is ready to change the situation drastically. We maintain that the crisis in Russia is man-made. It is created by the government which has no coherent development program. Spinoza said that He who knows not where he is sailing will never have fair wind.” So, our government is either full of bad navigators, or they deliberately lead us into a dead end.
The Russian crisis is at the same time part of the global crisis of capitalism. In the framework of this system our country has no favorable prospect. There is no room for such a Russia in the modern world: it will be torn to pieces and simply swallowed by the sharks of world capital. Our country lived through such an experience before. The brief period when the Provisional Government was in power in 1917 nearly brought about the demise of Russia. It was rescued by the Red Project of the Great October Revolution. The Bolsheviks restored the country’s sovereignty, and prevented it being “digested” in the insatiable stomach of world capitalism. This lesson is still relevant to Russia today.
One of the main contradictions is that between the interests of the country and the interests of Russian capital. It can only be resolved by a cardinal change of the socio-economic system. Only a renewed socialism will be able to cope with social inequality, economic disarray and create an effective governance system.
The working majority and false “class peace.”
The question arises, what are the driving forces of socialist change? We turned to this question more than once over the past years. The destruction of socialism and Shock Therapy of the 1990s had a negative impact on the social class structure of society. The situation continued to worsen after 2000. The number of workers in industry dropped by more than 2 million. The past few years alone have seen the closure of the Likhachev Plant in Moscow, the Nickel Plant in Norilsk, the Khimprom chemical plant in Volgograd and other giants. Many enterprises dramatically cut production. The share of the processing industry fell to a pitiful 13 percent.
The main change that occurred in the life of the working class and the peasantry is their proletarization. Under Soviet government the worker and the peasant were co-owners of the means of production and the national wealth. Now almost two-thirds of gainfully employed population (64.6 percent) work for the benefit of private capital.
Workers have fewer and fewer chances to rise up the social “lifts.” The degree of class polarization in this country is among the highest on the planet. It is impossible to achieve class peace under such conditions. The exploiters and the exploited have diametrically opposite opportunities and interests.
“The masters of the world” behave like time-servers. It is no accident that capital flight increases. High-ranking officials increasingly behave in a criminal way. More and more governors are charged with corruption. The elite’s inability to “rule in the old way” causes it to swing from liberalism to conservatism, from nationalism to a token crackdown on Russian nationalists, etc.
The past quarter century has seen a sharp growth in the number of those engaged in petty commodity production and speculative-usury sectors. A sizable stratum has emerged of people who live by “gigs.” In the European Middle Ages these people were referred to as “free-lancers.” Most of them are young people in the 20 to 45 age bracket. Their instrument of production is the computer. What they want out of life is above all independence. These new phenomena merit a very close study.
For all that there are no grounds for saying that the working class in Russia is disappearing. It numbers about 30 million. Does it mean many or few? Much fewer than in the RSFSR but times more than in Russia in 1917.
“The proletariat of workers by brain,” as Engels called it, is being exploited too. It has to get hired by the bourgeoisie for meager pay. There are almost 20 million such people in modern Russia. To this you have to add small businessmen and small farmers. The crisis ruins tens of thousands of small owners, which makes it easier for us to promote our ideology to them.
CPRF is for the working people
Esteemed delegates and guests of the Congress,
To achieve its goals the proletariat needs a political vanguard. Only a modern communist party can rise to this task. In turn, the communists ”have no interests separate from the interests of the proletariat as a whole,” as Marx and Engels wrote.
It is the duty of the CPRF to staunchly adhere to the position of defending the interests of the working class. We have to regularly revisit the decisions of the October 2014 Plenum which was devoted entirely to our goal of increasing our influence in the proletarian milieu. The decisions taken then are highly concrete and are easily verifiable.
Two and a half years have passed since then. It is high time to ask ourselves, what has been accomplished? Have we strengthened our positions in the midst of the working class? Can we report to the Congress an influx of workers into the CPRF? Let us answer this question looking the truth straight in the face. For the workers’ issue is the key issue in our political struggle for power.
The share of workers in the CPRF ranks has risen to 14 percent during the report period. Yet no dramatic change has taken place. Overall, the party influence on the working class is obviously insufficient. We have to admit that on that issue we are still at the start of the road.
Thus, our tasks are directly linked with strengthening the party’s influence on the workers’ and trade union movement, the youth and non-governmental groups.
We have to be more active in seeking freedom of political activity in the street. However, we should breathe new life into various forms of protest even within the existing framework. We value all those who form the nucleus of our actions. We are grateful to them. But we must broaden our ranks if we are to be reckoned with. Big politics is where the millions are. The topics of our slogans should be relevant and specific. We should “strike at the nerve” of the social atmosphere, use the whole arsenal of technologies to arouse citizens in their struggle for their rights.
About 60 percent of Russians prefer “society of social equality” to “society of individual freedom.” So, the ideological component of protest sentiments is growing, turning such actions into class struggle.
The communists must prevent mass protests from being hijacked by pro-Western anti-national forces. Under these conditions it is vital for the CPRF to formulate a clear-cut class position.
The party and the young communist league must pay particular attention to the youth. The youth has shown its readiness for street action. It is not only that the liberals use inexperienced young people while keeping them in the dark. Today young people are the most vulnerable social stratum. Even pensioners are in a more secure situation because of what remains of the Soviet system of social guarantees.
Today’s young people are the first to have grown up after the dismantling of the system of Soviet social guarantees. They are defenseless in the face of capitalist society. These young people have no chance to study, work and raise families normally. Housing becomes an insuperable problem for many of them. Feeling like outsiders they are not ready to reconcile themselves to such a position and plunge into street protests without always understanding the slogans. In Ukraine the bourgeoisie used popular wrath to establish a dictatorial regime. Russia faces a similar danger. It is the task for the CPRF to go to the youth, to help it transform the demand for social justice into massive and resolute protest.
The prerequisites for success are there. According to the Public Opinion Fund, less than 20 percent of young people are infected with the ideas of liberalism. 73 percent come out for state ownership of the enterprises and natural resources. 28 percent think of themselves as staunch supporters of socialism. The share of those who support capitalism is even less among other age groups.
We need to mobilize CPRF supporters to struggle to bring the country back to the socialist path. Each of us must contribute to strengthening the party’s authority as the only force fighting to assert the people’s rule
Along with the development of the workers’, protest and youth movement we have often stressed the importance of work with the trade unions and non-governmental groups.
The nucleus of a new life
I would like to draw your attention to the fact that “stability” in Russia does not have a solid basis. The number of poor people has doubled compared to the pre-crisis period. The dynamic of social inequality has intensified. The gap between the richest 10 percent and the poorest 10 percent has reached 30 times. Inequality of access to quality healthcare and education has deepened. Russian society is in an anxious state of not knowing what the future holds in store for it.
The liberals in government continue to tighten the financial noose around the people’s neck. The only alternative to this disastrous course is consolidation of the healthy forces on the basis of socialism and genuine patriotism. This nucleus will be able to counter the destructive energy of Maidan and the ruinous experiments of the “monetarists” in government.
People are having less and less hope that this power will come up with a creative development project. Such a project was proposed by our party at the Oryol Economic Forum in February of last year. Here is our program Ten Steps toward a Decent Life for a Government of Popular Trust.
1. Russia’s wealth must serve the people. It is high time to rein in the oligarchs, to bring back to the state the oil and gas industry, key banks, the power industry, railways, and defense industries. A powerful state sector will protect the economy from foreign capital pressure. The draft law on nationalization is ready. It will bring several trillion roubles to the treasury every year. Planning will make the economy more competitive in the world.
2. To guarantee economic sovereignty. The CPRF wants Russia to leave the WTO. We will create an independent financial system, rid the country of the diktat of the dollar, and free the Central Bank from the influence of the US Federal Reserve System. State control over the banking system and currency transactions will stem the staggering flight of capital. Small and medium-sized business and people’s and collective enterprises will get active support.
3. To develop industry, science and technologies. Russia needs a new industrialization driven by micro-electronics, robotics and machine tool building. Today the processing industry accounts for 14 percent of the GDP. It is necessary to double that share within a short space of time. The decimation of the Russian Academy of Sciences is a crime against the future. Financing of science must be increased several times over. We will be able to do away with unemployment.
4. A new life for rural Russia. Russia is not secure in terms of food. It imports half of its food from abroad. A third of the arable land is overgrown with weeds. The task of the Government of Popular Trust is to revive large-scale agricultural production and the rural social infrastructure. At least 10 percent of the budget spending should go into agriculture. We are ready to adopt new Land, Forestry and Water Codes and improve the environmental situation.
5. Credits must be used to revive the country. Russia is in 48th place in terms of transport infrastructure and in 87th place in terms of air transport. The regions are heavily in debt. The Government complains about shortage of resources, while at the same time crediting the US economy. We should direct investments into the development of the Russian economy. To help the regions, the Popular Trust Government will replace commercial loans with subsidies and subventions out of the federal budget.
6. State control of prices and tariffs. As for living standards, Russia has dropped to 90th place in the world, which puts it in the same company with Guatemala and Namibia. The state must control the prices. The housing and utilities rates should not exceed 10 percent of the family income. The government must regulate the tariffs for electricity, fuel and transportation.
7. The country must have fair and effective taxes. Russia has a distorted tax system. The CPRF proposes to abolish the VAT, which will make domestic products cheaper. We are ready to scrap the PLATON system and raise taxes on property and settlement lands. Budget losses will be compensated for by a progressive tax on the incomes of physical persons. It will add an annual 3-4 trillion roubles to the treasury. State monopoly on the production of alcohol will yield another 2-5 trillion. Russia will have a budget of development, not degradation.
8. People are the nation’s main value. The CPRF guarantees accessible and high-quality education and health service. A law on “war children” will be passed without delay. Youth, children and mothers, disabled people and old folks will receive particular attention. Science, education and healthcare will get 7 percent of the budget each. The CPRF has the corresponding package of laws. The state will build social housing and will be responsible for the state of the domestic infrastructure. Levies for capital repair of housing will be scrapped.
9. Strong power, secure life. Russia needs a strong defense. It should go hand-in-hand with information and technological security and defense against cyber-weapons. The CPRF is in favor of stronger EAEU, SCO, and BRICS, of integration in the post-Soviet space and protection of fellow-countrymen abroad. We have to make governance more effective, tighten oversight over the activities of government officials and curb corruption and crime.
10. A country of high culture. We will protect the people from anti-Sovietism, nationalism and Russophobia, from immorality, vulgarity and cynicism. Culture will be reigned by talent, not money. Writers and composers, the cinema and television can multiply our cultural heritage. Our government will surround with care museums and theaters, Houses of Culture and philharmonics, libraries and archives. Russian talents, creativity of young people, physical culture and sport will be supported.
Seeking to implement this program, the CPRF is engaged in a constant dialog with the country’s citizens. Our proposals have been approved during the course of many election campaigns over the past year. We held an All-Russia Council of Work Collectives attended by more than 600 representatives of factories, farms and trade unions from 82 regions. A program of rural development was presented at the Congress of Russian Agro-Industrial Complex Workers held at Zvenigovsky center. The All-Russia Congress of Public-Sector Workers approved proposals on how to preserve and develop social institutions.
Concrete steps to implement our programmatic ideas and proposals are critical. Our Duma deputies have a special role to play. In the previous Duma the CPRF deputies secured the adoption of the laws On Strategic Planning, On State Defense Order and On Industrial Policy in the RF. The Medvedev government isobviously dragging its feet over fulfilling them. In the meantime we are pressing for the next step; the creation of a State Committee for Strategic Planning.
Practice shows that the anti-crisis measures proposed by the CPRF are highly effective. The key task is to go to the grassroots and explain this. It is our duty to demonstrate that the results of the party’s work indicate that it has proved to be a credible nucleus of genuine power of the people.
To Struggle for Power
Comrades. The presidential election is fast approaching. It will be held in an atmosphere of growing public discontent and alienation from power. The ruling circles will have to press into service administrative resources and resort to other gimmicks. The regime may exhibit growing Bonapartist traits. Such a regime is a dictatorship of big bourgeoisie steering its course between opposing classes. Its internal contradictions are mitigated by foreign policy confrontation.
Russia today is a super-presidential republic. The number one person has more powers than the Tsar and the General Secretary combined. Power in the country has not changed hands for more than seventeen years. In fact, a whole generation has grown up under one president and one governing party. During this period the USA and France had four presidents each.
What are the key features of the political regime in Russia?
First, monopolization of power in the hands of the president and the narrow circle around him. Secrecy of taking key decisions. The political process has turned into a succession of special operations.
Second, the ruling United Russia party has merged with the bureaucratic apparatus. The party is merely the ”driving belt” and not the subject of making key decisions.
Third, opposition exists in and outside parliament, but on an ever smaller limited scale. Simulation of democratic institutions and procedures in order to legitimize the ruling group.
Fourth, monopolization of the main media outlets and the introduction of political censorship and “self-censorship.”
Fifth, the absence of truly independent justice coupled with pervasive corruption and political control over the law courts.
Sixth, liberal fundamentalism in the economy remains the bedrock foundation of the current regime. The ruling elite dreads the prospect of being isolated form the Western world and openly woos the centers of capitalism.
Seventh, the regime is not bound by any ideological principles, its postulates changing depending on the exigencies of the day. Personal safety calls for a more patriotic policy, which we have been witnessing recently.
The figure of the president is at the center of the political regime. Official propaganda is at pains to convince the masses of the danger of his departure. However, elections remain as trappings of democracy. For us taking part in the elections is like wrestling on a small patch of legal opposition activities and that opportunity should be effectively used.
But, to repeat a well-known idea, it is naïve to put the stake on elections. They may only be crowned with victory when revolutionary sentiments grow. Only then would the party be able to hold on to its electoral victory with the support of millions of activists. An electoral victory is only possible in the event of a major change of the balance of political forces and active support of the street.
On the face of it, the protest potential among the population is low and the president’s approval rating is high. But the stability of a regime of personal power is not a given that is eternal. The situation may change quickly. The CPRF is duty-bound to use its participation in elections to promote its ideas, to strengthen its structures and attract new cadres and supporters.
In December you read my appeal “Time demands a new policy.” We agreed to thoroughly discuss all the candidates for elections in the coming years. This work must continue. At the Central Committee level it is coordinated by the CPRF Headquarters headed by I.I.Melnikov.
In the report period the CPRF has preserved its status of the main opposition force. The party scored some high-profile victories but also faced some difficulties during the elections. The setback in 2016 is due to the fact that the elections had been turned into a special operation against Russian society. They were not a free expression of the citizens’ will, but a criminal mechanism of delivering the pre-determined result. This is witnessed, among other things, by several dozen criminal cases opened thanks to our activists.
When we brought our voters to the polling stations our candidates won by a comfortable margin. A.Lokot was elected Mayor of Novosibirsk, V.Potomsky Mayor of the Oryol Region, S.Levchenko Governor of the Irkutsk Region. Seven of our comrades won seats in the State Duma in single-mandate constituencies. They are V.Bortko (St.Petersburg), S.Kazankov (Mariy El), A.Kurinniy (Ulyanovsk Region), D.Parfyonov (Moscow), O.Smolin (Omsk Region), N.Kharitonov (Krasnodar Territory) and M.Shchapov (Irkutsk Region).
In the elections to the Moscow City Duma in 2014communists won five single-mandate constituencies. One of the highlights was the election of A.Klychkov who defeated the prefect of the South-Western Electoral District, Zotov.
On the whole, the party’s average result in elections in recent years is 15 percent. The CPRF never drops below 20-25 percent in Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, Oryol regions and in North Ossetia where we are contesting first place with the governing party, like in Mariy El and the Omsk Region where our result is just shy of 30 percent. So, it is possible to fight and win. On the other hand, there has emerged a stable zone of election rigging in the Volga Area and in the North Caucasus.
Our party comes out for democratization of the political system and for fair elections. The tactic of the ruling regime consists in constantly changing the rules of the game in the political field in order to falsify results. Changingtheelection dateto September greatly affected the turnout. In general trust in the institution of elections has diminished. Turnout is plummeting. All the parties are losing votes in absolute terms. The institution of debates has been discredited. Neither the president, nor the governors take part in them. On the whole low turnout is the citizens’ indictment of the unfair electoral system.
Power deliberately adjusts the political system in favor of the governing party. We for our part will insist on direct and free elections of the heads of regions. On electing municipal deputies by party lists. On debarring from elections the governors who retire in order to be able to take part in fresh elections.
Battling in parliament
Letters of citizens to the CPRF faction in the State Duma and to the Central Committee are symptomatic of the Russian problems. They criticize the government policy, complain about the plight of the people and about court rulings. Many complaints have to do with impossibility of getting housing, the unreasonable utilities rates, soliciting financial help for medical treatment.
Protecting the rights of working people is at the focus of our deputies attention. At present we have 42 deputies at the State Duma and two members of the Federation Council (V.Markhayev and V.Ikonnikov). The CPRF has 81 factions (a total of 342 deputies) in regional legislatures. There are 9360 communist deputies in local government bodies.
Although the CPRF lost some seats in the State Duma it still spearheads the struggle for the interests of the common people in parliament. I.Melnikov is first deputy speaker of the Duma. Five communist deputies – V.Kashin, N.Kharitonov, L.Kalashnikov, T.Pletneva and S. Gavrilov— head up key Duma committees. S.Reshulsky, N.Kolomeitsev and V.Shurchanov coordinate the work of the Duma deputies on a day-to-day basis.
Communist deputies did not support the draft federal budgets. Even with amendments, they lead to the degradation of the country and impoverishment of the working people. The oligarchy relentlessly shifts the burden of the economic crisis on the ordinary working people and those who need social help: children, pensioners and disabled people.
For the CPRF education policy is the key to building up the human potential. Without it modernization in the XXI century is impossible. At the initiative of deputy O.Smolin the CPRF faction prepared a draft law On Education for Everyone. Although the draft was rejected, in recent years we managed to bring about a partial reform of the Unified State Examination, the retention of preferential treatment when entering higher education institutions for disabled people, orphaned children and people who saw combat action, adjustment of pay for places in student dormitories, official fixing of teachers’ salaries at a level not below the average pay in the region, although 75 regions are known to have ignored these regulations.
The CPRF is categorically against raising of the retirement age, against the dropping of indexation of pensions of working pensioners and the cut of monthly payments towards accumulative pensions. The pro-government majority stubbornly blocks our draft law On War Children, but we have again submitted it to parliament.
Communists’ work in the regional legislatures is exceedingly important.
The CPRF has increased the number of local deputies by 15.5 percent to nearly ten thousand. Almost 200 heads of local governments have been elected with the party’s support.
As part of strengthening the body of deputies the CPRF CC held two All-Russia Congresses of Communist Deputies and Heads of Executive Power Bodies in June 2013 and May 2016. Mandates of the deputies and their duties to the citizens of Russia have been adopted.
Of all the parliamentary parties the CPRF commands the highest level of popular trust. The United Russia is unable to hide its face of the party of oligarchs and bureaucrats. The Just Russia party has never managed to shed its role of an appendage to the “governing party.” The LDPR plays a similar function at the other end of the spectrum
One of the CPRF’s tasks is protecting citizens against arbitrary rule and lawlessness. The profound crisis caused a degradation of the social environment, criminalization of society and diminished the level of people’s safety. Key human rights – to life, work and healthcare – are not guaranteed. More than 2 million crimes were registered in Russia during the past year, and by no means all the crimes have been registered.
100th anniversary of the Great October Revolution and our struggle
Esteemed participants in the Congress,
The 100th anniversary of the biggest event in human history, the Great October Socialist Revolution, is drawing closer and closer. The Bolshevik victory in 1917 saved Russia from a disastrous liberal experiment. It pulled our country away from the edge of a precipice, paved the way for progress in the economy, the social sphere, culture and education.
The anniversary is less than six months away. It is our duty to celebrate it in a dignified, substantive and spectacular way. Much has already been done. Enrolment of new members to mark the revolution jubilee continues. Mass actions on April 12 and 22, May 1 and 9 were major political events.A Lenin evening has been organized at the Gubenko Theater. A working group for the preparation of the 19th International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties has had its meeting. The Lenin Prize has been brought back in tribute to those who are faithful to the working people.
A series of conferences and round tables has been held. Important discussions took place of Lenin’s theory of imperialism and his April Theses, on the theme “From February to October” and on the experience of building the Soviet Armed Forces. Some interesting films have been released on the CPRF’s Red Line TV channel. To give but some examples, they include The Stalin Model, The World Cabal, To Live without Lying, By Hook or by Crook, Blind Leaders of the Blind, The Soviet Man, Master of the Russian Land. They should be used more actively in our propaganda work. Party media outlets regularly publish materials devoted to the events of 1917, Lenin and Soviet history. Internet projects specifically devoted to the 100th Anniversary of the October Revolution have been launched. The topic of the socialist revolution must be reflected at the World Festival of Youth and Students in Sochi. The LCYU of the RF is taking part in the preparations for the Festival.
The best proof of loyalty to the ideas of the October Revolution is constant struggle for the interests of the working people, and for socialist transformation of Russia. However, practical work can only be effective if it rests on a strong and sound theoretical foundation. We have such a foundation in the shape of the Marxist-Leninist ideology, the dialectical materialist method of cognition and the class analysis and assessment of social facts and phenomena.
The programmatic goal of the CPRF is socialism. It can only be achieved by introducing advanced socialist consciousness into the ranks of the working people.
The crisis in Russia opens the eyes of the masses to the fact that bourgeois recipes for development do not work. This tends to increase the activities of those whowould like to “improve capitalism,” to replace “savage” capitalism with a “civilized” market, to combine the best features of capitalism and socialism. We resolutely reject the attempts to gloss over the flaws of globalism.
I would like to remind you of Lenin’s succinct formula from his book What Is to Be Done: ”It is either bourgeois or socialist ideology. There is no middle road here… Therefore any belittling of socialist ideology, any alienation from it signifies the strengthening of the bourgeois ideology.”
The CPRF is convinced that socialism alone will save Russia and the world from a catastrophe, a catastrophe that capitalism is preparing by each new step it takes. Therefore a revision of communist ideas cannot be tolerated. As history shows this path leads to total capitulation to the bourgeoisie. It is not by chance that many leaders of the Second International ended up by viciously condemning the October Revolution. Indeed, the ineffectual representatives of the top leadership of the CPSU gave up the communist ideology and went on to destroy the party and the state. Some of them openly defected to the anti-communist camp. The French writer and philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre was categorical : ”Every anti-communist is a rascal.”
Ideological struggle never stops. Seeking to bolster its positions the oligarchy fosters anti-communism, anti-Sovietism and Russophobia. This reveals the genetic link of the liberal bureaucrats with Gorbachev and Yeltsin on the one hand and with the “orange’ opposition, the Navalnys and others. Shying away from socialism, they all play the role of anti-national, anti-people forces.
Russophobia and anti-Sovietism are close relatives, as the CC CPRF proved convincingly at its latest Plenum. The October Revolution and the Soviet system are inseparable from the historical destiny of the Russian people. A fierce campaign is being waged against our history, against communist ideas. The Svanidzes, Gozmans and Zhirinovskys never tire of pouring venomous lies on the pages and images of our past that we hold sacred. The celebration of the jubilee of Solzhenitsyn, the man who called for aggression against his own country and actively backed the Banderovites, promises to be wider and wider. The building of the Yeltsin Center in Yekaterinburg did not only “consume” 7 billion roubles of budget money. It openly calls for rehabilitation of Vlasov. Is it not because of this that the Center has been awarded the Best European Museum 2017 prize?
Here and there monuments and memorial plaques are put up to Kolchak, Krasnov, Mannerheim and the White Czechs. At the same time Soviet monuments are pulled down or moved. Streets and even cities are being renamed.
Take the nationwide dictation test. This year the participants were offered a text by the writer Yuzefovich in which a White general makes scathing remarks about a monument to Lenin. How does that square with the condemnation of illegal Kiev rulers for vandalism and for dismantling Lenin monuments?.
The authorities cannot afford to ignore mass sentiments. Sociologists have found that there are more supporters of the Soviet political system in this country than there are admirers of the current political system and Western democracy combined. The Immortal Regiment action sent a very clear political and cultural message. The prevailing sentiment of this impressive march was the victorious Soviet spirit. It remains to lament the fact that the Immortal Regiment, unlike the regiments that marched straight to the front in 1941, is marching past the Lenin Mausoleum that has been covered in drape.
While resorting to patriotic slogans the authorities seek to erase the positive perception of socialism from people’s consciousness. We for our part should confidently uphold truth and justice, protect the historical memory and make active use of our experience of combating anti-Sovietism, anti-Communism and Russophobia and distortion of history.
Nationalism is another evil for which an antidote is needed. Only the CPRF has a clear-cut program on the nationalities issue. It stresses the value of the friendship of the peoples and the multinational character of our country. Our position was accurately expressed by the October 2013 Plenary Session of the Central Committee which stressed that the main cause of the aggravation of inter-ethnic relations is the deepening of social and economic problems. Big Capital uses the nationality card to distract people’s attention from the widening social schism.
We maintain that socialism alone can make the working people masters of their land and of their destiny. Only then will inter-ethnic conflicts vanish like a nightmare.
Mass events staged by the CPRF help to promote the party’s ideas. A year ago Ufa hosted the All-Russia Forum Friendship and Brotherhood of the Peoples: Guarantee of Russia’s Resurgence in which guests from Belarus, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics took part. Every year in June the party holds Pushkin Days and Days of the Russian Language and Culture. The tradition was initiated by the North Ossetia Republican Committee of the CPRF. A big contribution to official recognition of the Russian Language Days was made by the communists in the State Duma and the Russky Lad movement. The CPRF’s proposal to outlaw calls for the dismemberment of Russia has met with public approval.
The entire edifice of party propaganda should be built on a solid ideological foundation. People under the age of 40 did not study the basics of Marxism-Leninism at school or university. This is the generation that is joining the party and its consciousness is often littered with pseudo-socialist rubbish. The party education system is called upon to address this problem.
The CPRF Political Education Center set up after the ХV party Congress to train our activists has already had 21 enrolments. More than 700 young communists from all the Russian regions as well as Transdniestria, Georgia, South Ossetia, Kyrgyzstan, the DPR and LPR have attended. Many of the Center’s graduates have been elected secretaries of the regional and local CPRF branches and head up Young Communist League organizations. The journal Politicheskoye prosveshcheniye helps the party members to build up their theoretical luggage and train party activists in the provinces.
Lenin never tired of stressing the importance of party press and believed that the newspaper should not merely ‘disseminate ideas” but also act as a collective organizer. Important information outlets today are the newspapers Pravda and Sovetskaya Rossiya. Oblast, region and city party branches put out more than a hundred periodicals. Some good experience has been accumulated by the editorial offices of many party newspapers including Podmoskovnaya Pravda, Krasniy Put’ (Omsk Oblast), KPRF v Nizhnem Novgorode, Leviy marsh (Ulyanovsk Oblast), Priangarye (Irkutsk Oblast), Donskaya iskra (Rostov Oblast), Za narodnuyu vlast’ (Novosibirsk oblast) and Rodina (Stavropol Territory).
Party life is regularly reported on the Central Committee site, politpros.com, regional and local party sites. KPRF.RU has launched such internet projects as Narodnaya initsiativa, Storonniki KPRF, Antikorruptsionniy komitet imeni Stalina. At the end of 2016 the Central Committee site competed convincingly with the United Russia resource. Even so, we are still seriously losing out to the liberals in terms of volume and presentation. That situation should be urgently rectified.
The opening of the Krasnaya Liniya TV channel in the wake of the XV CPRF Congress was a big step forward. Since 2015 it has been broadcast via satellite. The round-the-clock channel is beamed to an audience of nearly 7 million people. Krasnaya Liniya has an internet site and accounts in social networks. It puts out daily news bulletins. Among its more popular programs are Special Report, Viewpoint, Soviet-Era Brands, Politpros, to mention but some.
The Agitpunkt section of Political Education site carries video, audio and photo materials and samples of printed copy. This is particularly important during election campaigns.
To strengthen the party at all levels
Comrades, we must strengthen all the party links. The past four years have seen a growth of the number of primary and local CPRF branches. Today the party has 162173 members. During the report period it enrolled more than 60,000 new members.
The biggest regional branches are: Moscow oblast — 7528 members, Volgograd oblast — 6536 members, Krasnoyarsk Territory — 6153 members, Moscow City — 5712 members, Dagestan Republic — 5547 members, Stavropol Territory— 5510 members. Last year we had no regional branches where the rate of admission of new members did not exceed 5 percent of the total membership.
Contrary to the allegations of our opponents, more than half of Russian communists are people of active working age. They include14 percent — workers; 13 percent — salary earners; almost 7 percent — unemployed people; 6.6 percent — farmers; 4.3 percent — students; 4.2 percent — engineers and technicians; 4 percent — members of the creative intelligentsia; 3 percent — entrepreneurs; 1.2percent — enterprise managers.
The percentage of workers who joined the party increased somewhat. The average age of CPRF members is 55.6, slightly less than the 2013 indicator. Thus the party has both experienced and young members. Still, the share of older members is high. Our distinguished veterans form the party’s “golden fund.” There are 70,000 of them, or 42.5 percent.
Many young people joined the party during the enrolment campaigns to mark the 70th anniversary of Victory and the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution. In the period between the XV and XVII party congresses almost two thousand people under 30 joined the CPRF to bring their total number to 11.6 percent. Women account for 33 percent.
Our party operates in a society divided by class. Power in Russia is in the hands of oligarchic capital and the top bureaucrats. This sets high demandsto the ideological and moral character of its members.
The latest report-and-election campaign makes it possible to formulate the main challenges facing the CPRF organization.
1. Annual admission of 10 percent of the total membership barely keeps the size of membership constant. The figure must definitely increase if the CPRF is to increase its influence in society.
2. Party branches should be more active among workers, there should be more workers, professionals and farmers in the CPRF.
3. Full-scale training of party activists for participation in election campaigns needs to be improved.
4. Our priorities must include work with potential allies and supporters of the CPRF, the creation of a data base of supporters in each regional party branch.
5. The quality of the training of the reserve cadres, especially at the local and primary level, is still a challenge.
On the whole, much remains to be done to improve the style and methods of party work. All these tasks need to be addressed now.
The material base of our work
Esteemed participants in the Congress,
Shortly after the 100th anniversary of the socialist revolution we shall be marking the 25th anniversary of the re-creation of our party. The architects and stewards of national betrayal were aware that our people would still be drawn to the ideals of socialism. That is why they tried to leave the CPRF without its material and technical base and thus limit its influence at the grassroots level. At the time the party was re-created we were deprived of the basic conditions for daily work, for agitation, communications, and cadre training. And all the while we were in the authorities’ gunsights and under fire from left and right.
In fact we had to rebuild the economic base of the CPRF from scratch twice, the first time after the Gorbachev-Yeltsin betrayal and the second time after attempts to privatize the party’s property by the supporters of the “wet congress.”
Today we have not only revived our party, but have provided it with considerable assets. In 2004 the party owned only two buildings in Moscow and some built-in space in Cherkessk. Since then we have acquired 109 offices for regional and local branches. Only 10 regional committees still have to rent space. I think we will be able to solve the problem within two years.
The main sources for replenishing the party budget are: party dues, donations to the party fund, budget financing and other. On the whole more than 80 percent of the money goes to regional party branches. This enables them to work more effectively and meaningfully.
The country’s future is the future of the party
One of our key tasks is work with the youth. Only one-third of the people aged 18 to 22 are interested in politics. The blows sustained by the education system, the decline of young people’s educational level makes them easy prey for political manipulation.
The state goes through the motions of pursuing a youth policy. Youth councils and parliaments create an illusion of the social lift. 64 percent of university graduates are unsure of their future. One in every two of them cannot find a job for which he/she has been trained. More than 50 percent of unemployed people in Russia are citizens between 18 and 35.
For the CPRF the youth is not only the target of electoral battles. It is the future of our country. The party pays particular attention to its youth policy.
The share of young people in the party is growing. Our opponents can no longer claim that the CPRF is a party of elderly people. Leading positions are more and more often occupied by people of young and under middle age. Party cadres are becoming younger due to new members who have gone through serious schooling as members of the Komsomol. D.Novikov, Yu.Afonin and K.Taysyev established themselves as politicians in the past report periods. After the XV CPRF Congress important jobs at the Central Committee were entrusted to our young workers A.Klychkov,A.Korniyenko, M.Kostrikov and I.Makarov.
We have many young people who are willing and able to work. Thanks to them we can safely say that the CPRF is a XXI-century party, a party of the future. Let us recall that in 1917 more than half of the Bolshevik party members were under 35.
The LKSM (Leninist Communist Youth Union) is a youth organization that preserves the Soviet traditions. Its track record includes protection of education institutions from being closed, preventing a rise of pay for student dormitories and transport fares, the fight against curtailment of social benefits.
The Leninist Komsomol is the reserve cadre of the party
The nationwide Komsomol action The Banner of Our Victory is an example of patriotic upbringing of young people. It included more than 18,000 school lessons where students were told about the heroic exploits of the Soviet people. The project has a follow-up under the title The October Banner is the Banner of Victory.
Every year hundreds of children are enrolled in the Young Pioneers at a ceremony in Red Square. Today more than 250,000 children and teenagers wear the Young Pioneer red scarves.
On the agenda is the issue of uniting all the Young Pioneers in a single Lenin Union of Young Pioneer Organizations. This end is to be served by the Second All-Russia Meeting of Young Pioneer Guides in which the Party and the Komsomol will take part.
The Komsomol faces the challenging task of increasing our ranks and attracting new supporters. The Party and Komsomol members must conduct the difficult but very necessary educational work with the young generation. Strong links with the working class youth are particularly important.
Next year sees the 100th anniversary of the Lenin Komsomol. The organizing committee “Komsomol is 100” is already active. This date is not only an occasion for remembering the accomplishments of Soviet Power, the outstanding role of the youth in developing and defending the country, but also for encouraging the new generations to uphold their rights and a worthy future.
Keep in mind the main thing
Esteemed delegates and guests of the Congress,
A new stage of history began 100 years ago. The world’s first state of workers and peasants was formed. In the year of the 100th anniversary of the Great October Revolution we recall more and more often the name of Lenin, the revolutionary and statesman, a genuine romantic and an outstanding scholar. It was the great idea of social justice that enabled him to translate a great theory into the practice of great accomplishments.
Lenin constantly stressed that at the end of the day the central issue of all politics is the economic issue. And today Russia is faced with challenges that stem directly from its economic lag and its reliance on commodity production, from technological degradation and mass impoverishment of citizens. This is the system that was established in this country after the collapse of the USSR.
The authorities are unable to meet these challenges. The incomes of big Russian businessmen are growing at a fantastic rate even today. This means that the oligarchy has no economic incentives to overcome the crisis. The anti-national essence of such an “elite” is obvious.
At the beginning of the last century Lenin came to the conclusion that Russia was the weak link in the chain of capitalist states. This fact set the stage for a revolution. OtherwiseRussia would have remained a raw materials appendage of more developed countries. This conviction was reaffirmed by Stalin at the XV Congress of the AUCP(B):”We must make our country economically self-reliant, independent, based on the internal market. We must build our economy in such a way as to prevent our country from becoming an appendage of the capitalist system.”
The supreme meaning of the socialist revolution was the embodiment of the ideal of social justice. This was achieved through the building of a truly independent state based on new economic relations. As Stalin said, “Soviet power did not have to replace one form of exploitation with another, as did the old revolutions, but to liquidate all exploitation.”
A revolution is genuine only if it leads to a large-scale class restructuring of society. Otherwise it is a “color” simulation of one, which brings to power liberal “fighters against the regime” guided by foreign principals.
This was the kind of threat that hung over Russia in February 1917. But Lenin came forward with convincing calls: Peace to the peoples, Bread to the hungry,” “Factories to the workers” and “Land to the peasants.”These slogans arose from the deepest convictions of a romantic and politician, a fighter and a scholar. The simplicity and clarity of Lenin’s slogans disguises deep insight into the problems.
Reread Lenin’s works “The Immediate Tasks of Soviet Power,” “On Cooperation,” and “On the Food Tax.” You will find there a massive scientific basis on which Lenin based his practice. Those who run the country today are incapable of such vision. Russia is reaping the bitter fruits of their economic illiteracy and irresponsibility.
Myth has it that by introducing the New Economic Policy Lenin admitted the need to return to the capitalist market. Some even say that Gorbachev’s line was a successor to the NEP. Only his perestroika led to a dismantling of socialism and the collapse of the country while the Soviet State grew stronger under the NEP.
After the First World War and the Civil War and foreign Intervention production had shrunk by nearly five times and agriculture by half. Crop failure and famine compounded the situation. The NEP saved the country. As for foreign companies, they were allowed at enterprises that accounted for less than one percent of the total industrial output.
The decisions taken then strengthened the state system of controlling the socialist economy. In 1921 the State Central Bank was founded in the country. It issued up to 70 percent of all the credits. The state invested in the economy. During the first five years of the NEP agricultural output doubled and industrial output trebled. The economy grew by 13 percent in 1927 and by 19 percent in 1928. National revenue increased at an annual rate of 18 percent. Between 1922 and 1929 the USSR built more than 200 big industrial enterprises. Prices were going down rapidly. The world had not known such economic success.
This was Lenin’s New Economic Policy. It is a brilliant example of an anti-crisis program capable of rescuing the country from economic collapse. The CPRF program has echoes of Lenin’s approach. It is becoming more relevant every day. The Moscow Economic Forum confirmed that more and more experts are proposing measures consonant with our approach.
Russia today needs a financial system that serves the interests of the country and not of transnational capital. The banking system must be put under state control. Only then will it be able to provide effective loans to the national industry and to small businesses. The country needs to replace the flat income tax rate with a progressive one and to exempt the poor from all taxes. Without a fair distribution of national wealth the Soviet State could not have overcome mass poverty and provide the economy with investments. The same is true of today.
Lenin passed away in 1924, but his economic policy lived on. The foundation had been laid for a staggering breakthrough that was Stalin’s industrialization. Think of Stalin’s amazingly bold words: “We are 50—100 years behind the advanced countries. We must run this distance within ten years. Either we do it or we shall be crushed.” This appeal was imbued with the Lenin spirit. The titanic task was fulfilled. In January 1932 the French newspaper Le Temps wrote: “The USSR has won the first round, it industrialized without the aid of foreign capital.” This was recognition of the Soviet economic achievements, recognition of the success of Lenin’s ideas and accomplishments.
Lenin’s economic policy is behind the colossal success of Stalin’s industrialization and total liquidation of unemployment by the beginning of the 1930s. The great Victory over Fascism is also the result of Lenin’s policy. So was the Soviet conquest of outer space. So was the level of social guarantees one can only dream of today.
Vladimir Lenin won the Great Socialist Victory which long survived him. Today the country is suffering a crushing capitalist defeat. It may turn out to be a catastrophe. Today the experience of Lenin and Stalin stands in contrast to the Yeltsin-Gaidar legacy of the 1990s. We communists will do all we can to make sure that the creative forces prevail. The number one task is to help the people to become aware of the need to restructure along socialist lines.
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The October 1917 Revolution lit the dawn of a new life. Our legacy is grandiose. Next year sees the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx. Great is the power of Lenin’s ideas. The Bolsheviks have colossal experience of opposing capital.
The greatest achievement of Lenin and his comrades-in-arms was the creation of the Bolshevik Party, a party of a new type. Bolshevism linked the proletarian movement in Russia with scientific socialism. It consistently implemented the teaching on the class struggle of the proletariat, on the socialist revolution, on the building of socialism in one country surrounded by capitalism. The party of Lenin put the Russian revolutionary movement in the vanguard of the struggle against capitalism and its leading force, the financial oligarchy.
The Bolshevik Party is the party of socialist revolution, of socialist creative endeavor and the communist perspective.
Bolshevism combines loyalty to principle and flexible tactics, the romanticism of lofty dreams and pragmatic actions.
Proletarian internationalism is a characteristic of Bolshevism. However, it skillfully combined the general laws of the struggle for socialism with national-historical specificities.
Bolshevism rejects opportunism and revisionism. It upholds the purity of the Marxist-Leninist theory and opposes the falsification of this theory. At the same time it rejects sectarianism and seeks to unite left-wing forces in the struggle against the dictatorship of capital.
In October of 1917 the Russian Bolsheviks aroused the masses and won. They took up the slogan of Marx and Engels Proletarians of all lands, unite” and put it into practice. After the victory Lenin said: “Our socialist republic of the Soviets will stand firm as the torch of international socialism and as an example to all the working masses. There they have fighting, war and bloodshed, here we have a genuine policy of peace and the socialist republic of the Soviets.” That was indeed the case. The Soviet country became a bulwark and a beacon of hope for the working people of the whole planet.
The Soviet Union presented mankind with a unique experience of socialist construction. Its Red Banner became the main symbol of the fighters for justice in all the corners of the world. During the clash with Fascism this red flag called the Soviet warriors into battle and their heroism inspired the Resistance fighters of Europe. The banner with a hammer and sickle was the main symbol of the Great Victory.
Russian communists are proud of their history. Our path draws on the brilliant experience of many units of the international left movement. The wealth of this experience is our great heritage. The heritage of Soviet socialism inspired the members of the Comintern.It found its continuation in the Chinese and Cuban revolutions, in the struggle of Korea and Vietnam against the American military, in the daring exploits of Ernesto Che Guevara and the ХХI-century socialism of Hugo Chavez.
The achievements of the Soviet era are our lode star in the whirlpool of events. Building on the path covered we have to go further in upholding social justice. Remembering past victories the CPRF has to intensify its struggle against capitalist savagery and degradation. The Party must establish itself as the vanguard of the workers’ movement. It must help hired laborers to become aware of their basic interests, to acquire socialist consciousness, to master the methods of class struggle –this is our task and this is our political and civic duty.
Russia is living through an exceedingly complicated period. To protect the working people, our party has to prove itself day after day by its teamwork and convincing results.
The centuries-old dream of humanity about a better future gives us faith in the triumph of good over evil, the triumph of the values of peace and creative endeavor, justice and progress.
Let us be faithful to the cause of the October Revolution.
The race is won by the running.
Onward toward new heights.