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Moscow Diary: Restoring Socialism

By Mike Davidow, People's Weekly World, 25 February 1995

The report of Valentin Kuptsev, first deputy of the Central Committee CPRF, to the Third Congress of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) was a confident, sober and self-critical look at the state of the Party's organization and activity. The 550,000 members in all 88 regions and republics, makes it the largest party in Russia.

Last year 9,000 new members were added. But Kuptsev noted this was far from enough. When it is considered that 400,000 Communists demobilized from the armed forces in the past one and a half years, lost contact with the Party as a result of Yeltsin's dissolution of Party organization in the armed forces.

Here, pointed out Kuptsev, is a great reservoir for recruitment. The same could be said about the hundreds of thousands of Communists in the enterprises who were separated from the Party in 1991.

Now the task of reestablishing the Party's ties and regaining the confidence of the workers constitutes its main objective, Kuptsev pointed out. Beginnings have been registered. Two significant workers' congresses and a series of conferences have helped establish ties with plants and unions. Party units will now be set up in enterprises.

The CPRF Congress warned that Russia faces utter chaos unless the anti-peoples' regime is removed. The Chechen crisis intensified the urgency of presidential elections and widened support for them.

The Party has not yet come out with its candidate. However, the question was raised: Why not its popular chair Gennady Zuganov? He has support far beyond the Party's ranks.

Two tendencies were reflected at the Congress. One, for a vanguard party. But, as Kuptsev pointed out, much has yet to be done in healing the Party's wounds before this can be realized. The other was for a parliamentary party. Both tendencies were rejected. The main thing is that it must be a "fighting party, a revolutionary party," Kuptsev stressed. It has to struggle and combine both the mass and parliamentary fronts.

It is moving in that direction. It led the lists in the recent regional elections. In the Karagin-Balkar Republic, it played a leading role in administering a crushing defeat to separatists in this important North Caucasus republic.

In the trade union elections in Tartarstan, the CPRF and its supporters made a clean sweep. In the industrial Ural center, Chelyabinsk, the Party would gain 38 percent of the vote were elections held today. As for the rural areas, the Congress had to consider its attitude toward the Agrarian Party. The CPRF regards it as a strategic ally. Ivan Lapshin, who heads the Agrarian Party, is aleading member of the social democratic Socialist Working Peoples Party.

The question of strengthening Party discipline was raised. Gorbachev's efforts to social-democratize the CPSU, the disorientation this fostered, the appearanceof various groupings - all contributed to weakening discipline. Kuptsev called for a two sided struggle - for implementing democratic centralism and for further democratizing the Party.

The Gorbachev years left its negative mark on ideological work. This makes clear the enormous significance of Marxist-Leninist ideology. Study, application and enrichment of the new Party program plays a decisive role. This demands the rebuilding of the Party's network of schools, establishing a central newspaper and theoretical journal.

A special resolution on strengthening the unity of Communists was adopted. The CPRF is linked to the Union of CPs-CPSU, which will hold its Congress in Moscow in May-June. The third Congress of CPRF will work for a united CP in a renovated Soviet state and for closer ties and cooperation with the world CPs.

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