Official communists in the doghouse: arrest of an official, confiscation of newspapers

2021-02-23

The Communist Party of Russian Federation (CPRF) is the second-largest political party in Russia after Putin’s “United Russia”. It officially adheres to Marxist-Leninist philosophy and is often viewed as the immediate successor of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The party’s stated goal is to create a modernized form of socialism by developing a mixed economy. According to Marxist theoretician Boris Kagarlitsky, “CPRF received Kremlin’s official approval as the sole recognized communist opposition”, and all these years it has been slowly forcing other communist organizations out of political life.

But nowadays CPRF seems to have fallen into disfavor. Recently the city authorities of Penza have arrested Alexander Smirnov who is a deputy of the City Duma and the head of the Communist Party faction. He received 7 days of arrest for inviting people to participate in an unsanctioned protest action on 23 February. At about the same time, State Duma Deputy Denis Parfyonov reported that the Moscow authorities ordered to withdraw the newspaper “Pravda Moskvy” (published by CPRF) directly from the mailboxes of citizens, allegedly because of it’s “extremist content”. But is this party really getting radicalized?

On February 19, the deputy of the Penza City Duma from the CPRF, Alexander Rogozhkin, reported on his Telegram channel about political repression:

“The head of our faction in the City Duma, Alexander Smirnov, was detained and some incomprehensible protocols are being drawn up. The secretary of the Lenin district committee of the CPRF Ruslan Bakhteev was met by four (!) policemen right next to the house. The editor of the website “Leftpenza”, Sergei Padalkin, was tied up and taken to court. The policemen, flabbergasted by permissiveness, even came to Georgy Kamnev’s house, to the house of the First Secretary of the Regional Committee of the CPRF, deputy of the Legislative Assembly! No one seems to care that deputies belong to special category of citizens and cannot be arrested”.

Such acts of the security forces were motivated by the protest action prepared by the CPRF on February 23. By itself, this action, apparently, does not go beyond the traditional measures for the CPRF, but it was not approved by the authorities. Therefore, the leaders of the city party committee were detained under article 20.2 of the Administrative Code “Organization or holding of a public event without filing a notice of holding a public event in the prescribed manner”.

In Moscow, the CPRF action was also not sanctioned. Initially, the deputy Denis Parfyonov reported that “under the public pressure, the authorities were forced to allow communists to hold the action…” The action itself was supposed to be held at the monument to the King Vladimir. However, later the Communist Party in Moscow succumbed to pressure from the authorities and limited itself to laying flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. And the action itself, which was supposed to take place in the format of a “meeting with a deputy”, was postponed to March due to the “high alert mode due to the coronavirus pandemic, weather conditions and administrative restrictions.”

At the same time, with the filing of State Duma deputy Denis Parfyonov, information appeared about attempts by the capital’s authorities to massively seize the newspaper “Pravda Moskvy” distributed by the city committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. Moreover, judging by the content of the issue, there are no “extremist” statements or appeals in it; all materials are made in a moderate tone traditional for the party.

In other words, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation is not radicalizing, it is still a “tame opposition”, but nowadays it is experiencing more and more pressure from the government. Alexander Batov, secretary of the Central Committee of the ROT FRONT party, comments on this trend:

“The Communist Party of the Russian Federation has always treated the repressions against other communists with indifference or even with malice. When in 2007 the RCWP (Russian Communist Workers’ Party) was deprived of its official registration, the leaders of the CPRF welcomed this. And when we created ROT FRONT, Gennady Zyuganov (head go the CPRF) called us “Kremlin project”. Now the CPRF itself is under attack … This is not good. However, I want to note that the Communist Party is now reaping the fruits of its own policies. For decades, this party has been demobilizing workers, led them away from the class struggle towards the “game in democratic elections”. This has resulted in weakening of the working class and strengthening of the bourgeoisie. And now the bourgeoisie doesn’t need the party of “official communists” anymore”.

The CPRF has been making the same mistakes as the “brotherly” party – the Communist Party of Ukraine. Opportunism and compromise are paving the way for the fascist dictatorship.