– Finance Minister Kudrin Rejects Participation in Future Russian Government, Laments President Medvedev’s Heavy Allocation of Funds toward Military
– Chairman Zyuganov Demands Nationalization (Communization) of Russian Industries, Restoration of Soviet Union, “Liquidation” of “Imperialist” NATO, Calls “Post”-Soviet Politics in Russia a “20-Year Experiment”
– Gorbachev Candidly Revealed Soviet Strategic Deception in 1987 Manifesto, Maintains Current Kremlin Leaders Still Implementing “Perestroika” (Socialist Restructuring), Implying Continuity between Soviet and “Post”-Communist Russia
– Kremlin-Founded Polling Firm Surveys Russians’ Views of Perestroika in 2010, Gorbachev Reviews Effects of Reforms 25 Years after Initial Implementation, Offers Praise and Criticism
This past Saturday, Russian Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin–who belongs to the “St. Petersburg clan,” the cabal of yes-men clustered around Prime Minister Vladimir Putin– announced that he will not join the new government formed after the upcoming State Duma and presidential elections. These will take place on December 4 and March x, respectively.
Kudrin is credited with repeatedly “cushioning” Russia from collapsing oil prices, on which that country’s economy is heavily dependent, and helping the country to weather the 2008 global banking collapse. Speaking with journalists on the sidelines of a joint meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington, Kudrin said:
I do not see myself in the new government. It is not just that I have not been offered the job, but I think that those differences of opinion that I have, they do not allow me to join this government. I have differences with Medvedev on economic policy, they basically have to do with considerable spending on military goals.
Kudrin elaborated that President Dmitry Medvedev, a graduate of the Soviet Komsomol, had approved an increase in military spending amounting to US$65 billion, or three percent of Russia’s gross domestic product:
This is the 2011 level of financing for the whole education system, including all universities, idle schools, and specialized education establishments. That is in three years we will pay the same sum for military spending that we pay for all education.
I am sorry, that these questions were not sufficiently discussed at the convention of United Russia. The serious sums which are being spent on military aims mark a turning point in the budgetary policy of the country.
Kudrin’s comments expose an internal conflict that has been “kept under wraps” while KGB dictator Putin and his lapdog Medvedev ironed out the wrinkles in a reshuffle at the top of the government. The latest version of “musical political posts” in Moscow, announced at the United Russia congress this weekend, essentially reverses an agreement formulated in 2008, when Putin left the presidency for the premiership of Russia, while Medvedev transferred from his role as Gazprom CEO to that that of premier. “Ex”-communist Putin was first elected president in 2000, after briefly holding the post of prime minister, a position to which he was appointed in 1999 by President Boris Yeltsin.
The delay in announcing Putin’s or Medvedev’s presidential bid in 2012 not only provoked considerable speculation among Kremlin watchers worldwide, but also spurred US$31.2 billion in capital flight from Russia in the first half of this year. The IMF, which last week chopped its forecasts for Russia’s economic growth in 2011 and 2012, said “the lack of clarity before the presidential election was a drag on foreign investment.” On September 20, Deputy Economy Minister Andrei Klepach acknowledged that in August alone capital flight exceeded US$1 billion.
Whether the post-swapping deal between Putin and Medvedev will bolster the sagging popularity of Russia’s potemkin “party of power,” United Russia, which slipped from 53 percent in early 2010 to 43 percent in April of this year, or reverse the diminishing personal approval rating of Putin, which fell from 69 percent in January 2010 to 43 percent this past spring remains to be seen. Popular support for Medvedev fell from 62 percent to 46 percent over the same period. “The decrease in the ratings is mainly due to economic problems, with the government still unable to overcome the effects of the recent recession,” Lyudmila Sergeyeva, an analyst at the independent Levada Center polling firm, commented at the time.
To this day, Western “expertdom”—dot.gov functionaries, ivory-tower academics, posturing politicians, Hollywood rabblerousers, and assorted “fellow travelers”—has not considered the possibility that the collapse of the Soviet Union 20 years ago, while reflecting real problems in that country’s command economy, was stage managed and part of a long-range strategic deception ahead of communism’s conquest of the world.
This is tragic because, as usual, the Soviet communists have been very honest about their intentions, both before the Iron Curtain came down and, ever since. Indeed, high-ranking communists, like former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and current party boss Gennady Zyuganov, continue to broadcast signals concerning the pros and cons of perestroika (socialist restructuring) and democratization (Kremlin-controlled political pluralism) in Russia. Thus, if there is a “communist conspiracy” then, in reality, it has always been an open conspiracy, to quote the title of a novel by H.G. Wells. It is in this sense, that we use the word conspiracy in our blog’s subtitle.
KGB Major Anatoliy Golitsyn, while posted in Finland, defected to the West in 1961. He acquired US citizenship. Born in Ukraine in 1926, the good major, if he is alive today, would be 85 years old. Living under an assumed name, Golitsyn fired off memo after memo to the US Central Intelligence Agency. In these missives, he warned those who had ears to hear of the Communist Party’s plan to dismantle the Soviet Union and abandon its public monopoly of power. In both New Lies for Old (1984) and The Perestroika Deception (1995), Golitsyn explained the six main reasons for this massive, unprecedented, multi-front offensive:
- to psychologically confuse the West with the notion that Soviet communism and world revolution were no longer a threat
- to establish a communist-controlled “multi-party” system in the Soviet Bloc states as the basis of “mature socialist societies” and “states of the whole people”
- to economically bleed the West by attracting a new generation of “Nepmen” into revitalizing the ailing Soviet economy
- to disarm the West by removing any grounds for NATO’s existence and transforming the Soviet war machine into an invincible force
- to create a “neutral, socialist Europe” under Moscow’s thumb
- to end the Sino-Soviet split with a treaty of friendship between the Soviet and Chinese communists and the formation of “one clenched fist” to smash the “bourgeois” nations.
In a 1990 memo, Golitsyn reveals that “The basic weapon in the Soviet political armoury is the KGB with its 5 or 6 million secret agents inside the USSR.” No doubt, the ascent to power of career Chekist Putin in 1999 and the expansion throughout the 1990s of the Federal Security Service’s staff of domestic agents and the Foreign Intelligence Service’s overseas plants reflect institutional continuity in the Soviet deception plan. Golitsyn continues:
Together, the Party and the KGB have fabricated controlled political opposition in the main cities of the USSR and in the national Republics. Together they have chosen and trained the organisers, leaders and activists of the new ‘democratic’, ‘non-Communist’, ‘nationalist’ and ‘independent’ organizations which are mushrooming under the Soviet ‘multi-Party system.’ Even non-democratic groups like the anti-Semitic ‘Pamyat’ movement are creatures of the regime (The Perestroika Deception, page 123).
Golitsyn, who 50 years ago was privy to the workings of the “inner KGB,” which veiled the long-range deception plan from rank-and-file Chekists, rebukes the West for its ideological blindness:
Until the West abandons its simplistic thinking, penetrates mentally the complexities of the ‘changes’ which have taken place in the Communist world, and comes to terms with the Leninist dialectic driving those ‘changes’, the Communist strategists will retain the upper hand. This critical state of affairs demands urgent rethinking of the West’s response to the strategy of ‘perestroika,’ and its dangers for the West. That is the main and urgent priority. This review will take courage and statesmanship of the highest order (ibid., page xxx).
Gorbachev, who continues to pound the speakers’ circuit in the West, would not disagree with Golitsyn. In 1987, Harper & Row published Gorbachev’s manifesto, Perestroika: New Thinking for Our Country and the World. There the general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union candidly reveals that all of the changes that took place and continue to take place in Russia accord with the “Leninist concept of socialist construction,” a “well-considered, systematized program,” and a “concrete strategy for the country’s further development”:
Thus, an arsenal of constructive ideas has been accumulated. Therefore, at the April 1985 Plenary Meeting we managed to propose a more or less well-considered, systematized program and to outline a concrete strategy for the country’s further development and a plan of action. It was clear that cosmetic repairs and patching would not do; a major overhaul was required. (27)
Perestroika is the all-round intensification of the Soviet economy, the revival and development of the principles of democratic centralism in running the national economy, the universal introduction of economic methods, the renunciation of management by injunction and by administrative methods, and the overall encouragement of innovation and socialist enterprise. (34)
Perestroika means the elimination from society of the distortions of socialist ethics, the consistent implementation of the principles of social justice. (35)
The essence of perestroika lies in the fact that it unites socialism with democracy and revives the Leninist concept of socialist constructionboth in theory and in practice. Such is the essence of perestroika, which accounts for its genuine revolutionary spirit and its all-embracing scope. (35)
Perestroika is closely connected with socialism as a system. (36)
I would like to point out once again that we are conducting all our reforms in accordance with the socialist choice. We are looking within socialism, rather than outside it, for the answers to all the questions that arise. We assess our success and errors alike by socialist standards. Those who hope that we shall move away from the socialist path will be greatly disappointed. Every part of our program of perestroika—and the program as a whole, for that matter—is fully based on the principle of more socialism and more democracy. (36)
We will proceed toward better socialism rather than away from it.We are saying this honestly, without trying to fool our own people or the world. Any hopes that we will begin to build a different, non-socialist society and go over to the other camp are unrealistic and futile. Those in the West who expect us to give up socialism will be disappointed. (37)
We want more socialism and, therefore, more democracy. (37)
This “Final Phase Backgrounder,” referring to the last section of Golitsyn’s first book, provides the necessary historical and ideological context for correctly evaluating the upcoming State Duma and presidential elections in “post”-communist Russia. In this, light no matter which party wins the parliamentary election or which man wins the presidential election, the Soviet strategists will nevertheless advance toward their goals, enumerated above. The election of open communists, as opposed to “ex”-CPSU cadres, will simply hasten the re-Sovietization of the “post”-Soviet space, already initiated under the Putinist regime.
Over the weekend, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, the legal successor of the CPSU and Russia’s real “party of power,” also held its own pre-election congress to present a list of candidates for the Duma vote. According to the slick Kremlin-run Russia Today, “The Communists have pledged to beat the ruling party at the parliamentary elections, saying United Russia has brought the country to a deadlock.”
“It will not be just the elections of State Duma or president, it will be a choice of the course after a 20-year experiment,” Chairman Zyuganov, alluding to the deceptive nature of Gorbachev’s perestroika reforms, told delegates and guests of the congress in the town of Moskovsky, near Moscow. Referring to the Putinist regime, he grumbled “All these years a gang of folks who cannot do anything in life apart from dollars, profits and mumbling, has humiliated the country.”
“The majority of people must win,” Zyuganov confidently predicted, presuming that most voters will support the CPRF. The communist congress stated that “Russia has entered a new phase of development when patriotic forces start a decisive struggle for power of the people and socialism.” Zyuganov urged his followers to “seize the levers of power as the country is running out of its strength.” He warned: “Russia only has a maximum of 10 years to lay a foundation of new development.” He proposed a new course that will “ensure Russia’s security, transfer from economic decline to accelerated development and overcome poverty and social degradation.”
“The Communist platform envisages the nationalization of the oil industry and the modernization of the economy,” proclaimed Zyuganov (pictured above) under a bust of the Soviet Union’s first dictator, Vladimir Lenin, whose mummified corpse still remains unburied in Red Square. He added: “The party will also campaign for the disbandment of imperialistic NATO and the establishment of a new alliance of former Soviet republics, beginning with Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.” The liquidation of NATO and the restoration of the USSR as part of a “world communist federation,” according to Golitsyn in both of his books, are key objectives of the Soviet strategists.
On the CPRF electoral list are 597 names, topped by Zyuganov, retired Navy Admiral Vladimir Komoyedov, who commanded the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet from 1998 to 2002, and the head of the Communist Youth League, Yury Afonin.
The head of the Central Elections Commission, Kremlin loyalist Vladimir Churov, attended the CPRF congress without offering any reason for his presence.
This past August, the Kremlin-contrived Just Russia party, which articulates a social democratic platform, appealed to the CPRF to form an electoral alliance in a bid to break United Russia’s dominance of the Duma since 2003. “I would like to take this platform to appeal to the leadership of the Communist Party of Russia, personally to Gennady Zyuganov (KPRF leader) with a proposal to create an alliance of left forces that would destroy United Russia’s plans to gain a majority,” Just Russia’s Duma faction leader Nikolai Levichev said at a press conference at the time.
Based on recent public opinion polls, the Communists and Just Russia would together command about 25 percent of the popular vote, compared to United Russia’s 43 percent, although Levichev claimed the two parties could in combination surpass United Russia. The Communists currently hold 57 seats in the 450-seat Duma, while United Russia has 315 seats. Sergei Mironov’s Just Russia and Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s Liberal Democrats hold a token number. The Communists can count on garnering 18 percent of the Duma vote, while Just Russia 6 to 7 percent, according to a poll by Levada released in mid-September.
In reply to Just Russia’s overture, the Сommunists said they were ready to discuss the proposal only if Just Russia severs its ties with United Russia. “It is not clear what ‘alliance’ means because [electoral] blocks are prohibited by law,” mused senior CPRF official Sergei Obukhov. He added:
If the proposal means the creation of an alliance like the one that exists de jure between United Russia and A Just Russia – an agreement between [United Russia parliamentary faction leader Boris] Gryzlov and [A Just Russia party leader Sergei] Mironov on cooperation, joint electoral staff policies, then, A Just Russia is performing like a political bigamist. They haven’t yet divorced United Russia, but are already seeking an alliance with the Communist Party. Our party has many claims to A Just Russia over its cooperation with United Russia.
Originally supportive of Putin, Just Russia leader Mironov was last May ousted from his role as speaker of the Federation Council, the Russian parliament’s upper house. At the time he came under fire from United Russia for his criticism of St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko. In June, Mironov directed his rancor toward Putin’s newly formed Stalin-esque All-Russia People’s Front, an electoral coalition designed to draw other parties and civic groups into United Russia’s orbit. “This is an attempt to camouflage United Russia as a bloc of ‘party and non-party people,’” Mironov complained. “To ensure the bloc’s victory, regional leadership… is being hastily replaced with people loyal to the ruling establishment.”
Intriguingly, state-run Novosti opines that “Mironov’s break with the Kremlin is seen by some analysts as a move to cast him as an opposition figure who might subsequently head a ‘controlled opposition,’ to lend greater legitimacy to next year’s presidential elections.”
The third party that will have no fears about gaining seats in the Duma is the mis-named neo-fascist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), under the bombastic, over-the-edge leadership of alleged KGB agent Vladimir Zhirinovsky. The LDPR should garner some 10 to 13 percent of the vote. For years, the party has campaigned against immigration, while its 2011 slogan, “We are for the Russians,” signals no change in method. The LDPR, which was founded by the CPSU two years before the dismantling of the Soviet Union, usually remains loyal to the Kremlin line.
In January 2010, All-Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM), a Kremlin-run polling agency that was also founded before the collapse of the Soviet Union, carried out a survey concerning Russian’s perceptions of the success or failure of Gorbachev’s perestroika reforms. According to VTsIOM, between 2000 and 2010 the number of Russians who were unhappy about the results of perestroika almost halved, from 75 to 42 percent. Twenty-four percent of “highly educated and affluent” Russians consider that they gained from the reforms, as opposed to 11 percent in 1999. Sixty percent of poorly educated and low-income Russians view the results of perestroika negatively.
Nearly 25 years after Gorbachev became CPSU general secretary, Russians are not agreed whether perestroika was necessary. Hence, 41 percent of respondents said that “everything should have been left as it was before 1985” when Gorbachev launched his reforms, which had already been approved by the party’s collective leadership. This figure rises to 57 percent among supporters of the CPRF and elderly respondents. Intriguingly, 48 percent of supporters of Just Russia and 45 percent of people in the 25-to-44-year-old age bracket also oppose the perestroika reforms.
Most Russians still believe that the main result of perestroika was “a rise in uncertainty about the future,” specifically 46 percent against 59 percent in 1999. They also believe there has been “a rise in chaos and confusion in the governing of the country,” specifically 35 percent as opposed to 66 percent in 1999, and “a crisis in ethnic relations,” 30 percent as opposed to 38 percent 12 years ago.
VTsIOM sociologists noted that over the last 10 years there has been a “significant rise” in the number of Russians who perceive the positive results of perestroika, such as “the start of the economic strengthening of the country,” which has risen from seven to 21 percent. A further 18 percent, as opposed to 2 percent in 1999, see “the strengthening of the country’s international positions” among the results of the reforms of that time.
On March 5 of last year, Gorbachev presented the report “Breakthrough towards Freedom and Democracy,” which was dedicated to the 25th anniversary of perestroika which, in his own words years before, “revives the Leninist concept of socialist construction.” In the former Soviet president’s opinion, “the multi-party system in Russia only exists on paper, while in practice many of the flaws of a one-party system are being reproduced.” Alluding to continuity between the Putinist and old Soviet regimes, he stated:
The current Russian reality convinces me that the breakthrough towards freedom and democracy which was started by Perestroika remains relevant. Moreover, new impulses and actions by the authorities and society as a whole aimed at democratisation are needed. Otherwise the ambitious plans for the country’s modernisation cannot be realised.
Since the old Soviet regime is supposedly “dead and buried,” it is certainly noteworthy that a Kremlin-run polling agency is concerned about Russians’ perception of Gorbachev’s legacy, while Gorby himself periodically chastises Putin for not faithfully implementing reforms that, one would think, lost their relevance with the demise of the Soviet Union. This past August, Gorbachev signalled yet again that political pluralism in “post”-communist Russia is a sham, saying to Germany’s Spiegel that “Sometimes United Russia reminds me of the old Soviet Communist party.” Well, Comrade Mike, you would know better than the rest of us!