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Moscow Dairy: Time for Solidarity

By Mike Davidow, People's Weekly World, 3 June 1995, p. 15

Russian President Boris Yeltsin's veto of the election law passed by the Duma is in the spirit of his dictatorial dissolution of the Supreme Soviet in September 1993. U.S. President Bill Clinton's shameless support then encouraged the tyrant to from words to bloody action. Will this tragedy be repeated?

The fear of defeat at the polls is so great that the Yeftsin Chernomyrdin regime feels its control over the mass media, particularly the privatized major TV station and its hand picked elecfion commitee, are not enough.

The recent special election in the Kolomna Region near Moscow to fill the vacancy left by a contract-murdered deputy, pointed to the increasing left trend of the voters. Lt. Col. Ghernman Titov, the Soviet Union's number two cosmonaut in space, candidate of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), won.

The Communist and Agrarian candidates polled 38 percent. The CPRF more than doubled the percentage it received in the December 1993 elections. The Chernomyrdin-Yeltsin candidate, one of the founders of Chernomyrdin's "Party of Power," was a poor second.

The results strengthened Yelisin's resolve to veto the Duma's law. At issue are two sections of the law. One declares deputies shall be equally elected on a regional and national party list basis. Chernomyrdin's Party is based overwhelmingly on the administrative apparatus of the regions' Yeltsin appointees. Second, government officials would have to resign their posts if they ran as candidates.

Yeltsin is ready for a "compromise" - in his favor! Speaker of the Duma Ivan Rybkin is prepared to play the role of the great compromiser. Gaidar's bloc prevented the Duma from receiving the necessary two-thirds vote to override the veto. However, Yeltsin's constitution gives him all the cards: two-thirds is required in both the Federal Council and Duma.

As in bloody Sept.-Oct. 1993, the aim is to close off democratic channels and goad the opposition into desperate acts. But the CPRF and the left-patriotic forces have drawn the costly lessons of the Moscow Massacre. They are determined to prevent the Yeltsin-Chernomyrdin forces from postponing or stealing the parliamentary elections in December and presidential elections in 1996.

The CPRF has called for the broadest democratic front in the Duma and throughout Russia in support of the Duma's election law. It is participating in the Consulting Committee to make sure no phony compromise is worked out. The difficulty is that the "democrats" have so discredited the democratic process that widespread apathy toward participating in the elections exists.

The Kolomna election points the way to overcome this apathy. The CPRF candidate aroused interest and wide support. The Party's grassroots work overcame the financial advantages and mass medIa ballyhoo of the pro-capitalist candidates. The comprehensive CPRF program contrasted with the empty slogans of the "reform" candidates.

The coming months will decide Russia's direction for many years. The Kolomna election reveals the great potential of the left. To be realized, it demands unity of these forces and a broad struggle for honest elections, President Clinton is the "great defender" of Yeltsin as the "champion of democracy." It is time for the real voice of the people of the U.S. to be heard!

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