Some excerpts from recent writings of Gennady Zyuganov, chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and its candidate for President of the Russian Federation.
From the Communist Party USA’s Political Affairs,
The CPRF is the only real opposition party that stood its ground in the face of crude pressure and falsifications. We have gained new supporters. We have increased the number of votes by half a million compared with the 2003 elections. We offered society a massive program of reviving Russia and have managed to convey it to the people by spreading tens of millions of copies of the newspapers Pravda and Sovetskaya Rossiya…
We are being told that the country is experiencing an economic, defense, cultural and scientific upsurge whereas in reality industry is not performing, agriculture is in disarray, the army is not capable of fighting, science is neglected, and national culture has been overrun by foreign-made apologies for culture.
We are told that incomes are rising and abundance is about to become reality whereas the country is in the grip of poverty.
We are told about the free press whereas every kid in Russia knows that there is no such freedom, instead there is ruthless and brazen censorship, total control over the media, above all electronic media.
Putin’s plans and the vertical power structure he has created is a mockery of democracy and constitutional order. Before our eyes Russia is turning into a gigantic “Potemkin village with oil towers,” it is sinking ever deeper in the morass of lies, semi-feudal authoritarianism and Russophobia. It is time to stop. It is time to put things in order and to respect ourselves…
We are the heirs of the party which had ensured the resurgence of the country after a devastating Civil War and had done everything to create a modern industry and defeat fascism. Not everything had been cloudless in our history, as indeed in the history of many other states. We admit the mistakes committed in the past and we do not absolve ourselves from the responsibility for them.
But simultaneously we remind you that it was under Soviet government that our country had become a real world power and was the first to conquer outer space. Everyone had a job and a decent wage. Education and medical care were free. Housing and summer vacations were very cheap. Any students, not to speak of people who worked, could afford to fly to Moscow or to the south and back on their government grants. Children went to sports schools and amateur circles. There was practically no drug addiction. Every person was confident of his future. Our country commanded enormous respect in the world. In the times of the USSR NATO would not have launched its aggression against Yugoslavia, let alone penetrate the expanse that had been Russian over thousands of years.
With the advent of Yeltsin and those who succeeded him new times began.
A handful of tightwads 2-3% – are prosperous while the majority of the people live in poverty. The official difference between the richest 10% and the poorest 10% is 15times, while some experts put it at 30-40 times. In Europe the ratio is 1 to 5-7.
The economy is addicted to oil and gas revenues. Healthcare and education are becoming inaccessible for ordinary citizen. Food and energy prices are growing day by day. Crime is rampant throughout the country. Once again there are millions of street children and illiterates. In terms of the human development index Russia has dropped to 65th place, trailing right behind Libya, an African country which is in 64th place.
And this in spite of the fact that we are the richest country in the world. The amount of natural riches in Russia is 160,000 dollars per person, in the US 16,000 and in Europe 6,000. But we live far worse than they. Why? Because the natural resources and the money are being taken abroad, enriching the handful of oligarchs and their Western masters.
What is the essence of the CPRF position? To stop the looting of Russia and to run it in a way that would make every person comfortable. We disagree with the gross injustice. Why has a tiny part of the population grabbed huge riches created by several generations of our fathers and grandfathers? They do not invest in the development of production, instead they buy castles in France, yachts in Italy and football clubs in England.
Russia has the second largest number of billionaires in the world, but is close to the bottom of the list in terms of life expectancy. Is that normal? Why is it that while the government keeps 600 billion dollars in foreign banks, teachers and doctors get puny salaries, peasants can barely make ends meet and the average pension 3000-3500 rubles is about half of what is spent on a prison inmate? Can one live decently on such pensions, especially considering the constantly growing prices?
We are categorically against working people becoming paupers in Russia. Why is it that out of 74 million of able-bodied people, 55 million earn less than 5,000 rubles a month and the living minimum is set at 2600 rubles, which is 700 rubles less than the world poverty line. Why is it that out of every 100 dollars of oil revenues only 34 go into the Russian treasury compared with 60 in the US, 82 in Norway and 91 in the Emirates? Could this be one of the reasons why the people are steeped in poverty?…
Many candidates are trying to garner votes by giving lavish promises which they are not going to fulfill. The plans of Putin and his team, as witnessed by their 8 years in power, are no more than a set of good wishes aimed at misleading the people, robbing them and pampering the Russian billionaires.
The CPRF rejects these plans. It is entering the presidential election with its own clear idea of what needs to be done.
What do we propose?
We have a minimum program that is to be implemented immediately. Its aim is to pull the country away from the edge of the abyss on which it has been teetering for many years and into which it will immediately slide as soon as the windfall profits from oil cease. The maximum program is to ensure stable and worthy living standards for all Russian citizens without exception by reviving the economy and the spirituality of Russia and restoring our positions in the world.
The CPRF is confident that the life of the people can be greatly improved if the looting of the country is stopped, industry and agriculture are restored and everybody gets a job. We are a fabulously rich country. We have absolutely everything: unique natural resources, talented, industrious and well-educated people. We have a great history and traditions. We have huge assets frozen in Western banks. We have everything to modernize the economy and improve people’s lives.
What to start with?
The CPRF demands nationalization of the country’s natural resources and strategic industries: power, the military-industrial complex, transport and communications. To introduce a government monopoly on the production and sale of alcohol and tobacco. The oligarchy must give back to society the riches grabbed during the free-for-all of the 1990s. Nationalization of big industries will be combined with measures to support small and medium business. Only then will there be money for decent wages, pensions and stipends, for housing, free education and healthcare.
It is necessary to bring back to Russia the money of the Stabilization Fund and invest it in the modernization of the industry and agriculture, the revival of science, culture, education, public health and the army.
No less than 10% of the gross domestic product (GDP) should go to fund education, 4% (and eventually up to 8%) to fund science and at least 3.5% for the armed forces.
Already at least 15% of the state budget should be allocated to support the agro-industrial complex and rural development. We must seek a parity of prices for industrial and agricultural products. Revive the system of consumer cooperatives. The purchase and sale of land must be cancelled. Schools, medical and cultural facilities must be restored everywhere in rural areas.
The CPRF is confident that the living minimum and the minimum wage must be not 2600 rubles, as now, but 10,000-12,000 rubles. Pensions must be raised by 3-4 times to equal at least 50% of the wage (and not 24%, as now). The allowance for the birth of a child should be 30,000-50,000 rubles and the monthly child allowance 1500 rubles. It is the duty of the state to control these prices.
Taxes should be redistributed to leave 60% to the regions and 40% to the federal center. People whose wages are under 10,000 rubles must be exempt from taxes. And the superrich should pay an income tax not of 13%, as now, but at least 30%. Housing loans must be offered on easy terms, at an interest of not more than 5% per annum. The birth of the first child should lead to 25% of the loan being forgiven, and of the second child, to a 50% write-off. A family with three children should have an interest-free loan.
All that can realistically be accomplished. Remember that under Soviet government the minimum wage was 100 rubles (equivalent to 10,000 today). The average pension was 90 rubles (9,000). There were no unemployed people in the country, the crime rate was very low and education and healthcare were free. We will steadfastly work to restore all this.
What else? To immediately start repayment of the bank deposits of which the people were robbed during the Yeltsin-Gaidar “reforms“. Why are we bending over backwards to pay off the debts to Western countries but stubbornly refuse to repay the debts to our population? We are categorically against it. Corruption must be curbed and the death penalty for very serious crime must be restored.
What is the difference between us and the other political forces which have nominated candidates for president? For the uninitiated it may be a confusing question. The party of power which comprises United Russia, LDPR, Fair Russia, the Agrarian Party and the Civil Force have taken to aggressive rhetoric about patriotism and social justice. Only a few years ago only the communists spoke about it. All the rest were extolling the virtues of the “free market” and “Western values“. Today they are all disguising themselves as parties of “fairness” trying to hijack the ideas and slogans from the communists.
We are not calling for turning the clock back. We call people to move forward towards a new socialism that meets the realities of present-day Russia and the world, a socialism cleansed of past mistakes and delusions.
The whole humanity, including China and Latin America, is moving towards socialism. China chose its successful road to socialism long ago, and today it is the fastest growing economy in the world. China has become the workshop of the world…
Latin America only recently turned to socialism. After decades of painful wavering it chose to follow Cuba and not the USA. For it is the only road towards salvation from abject poverty and the plunder by the “market economy“. They have already covered the road to the market which Russia is following today and they have firmly opted for socialism.
Russia will inevitably resume its march towards socialism. The sooner we change the country’s course the sooner we will return to a worthy life.