Ilya Budraitskis: A Lone Red Flag

If the social upheaval that has just begun ends with the dismantling of the current regime — and I have no doubt that this will happen sooner or later — it will not only be Putin, United Russia, and Vasily Yakimenko and his lads who are sent to the rubbish heap. The final, irrevocable end will also come to the rotten political system built on the ruins of the parliament [the Supreme Soviet and Congress of People’s Deputies] that was executed in October 1993.

It was back then that this insulting set of false alternatives — Zyuganov, LDPR, Yavlinsky, and the “center-left” shit that constantly changes its dull leaders — was approved.  All of them have been an integral part of “managed democracy,” established by Yeltsin and brought to its present perfection by Putin over the past decade. And all of them must share with it responsibility for the privatization, impoverishment, and trampled rights and dignity of our unhappy, downtrodden population.

And of course, the most cynical and depraved part of this campaign has been the leadership of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF). The degree of their contempt for their own people, their thousands of honest, dedicated rank-and-file activists, and their millions of sincere voters is beyond belief. While United Russia and its predecessors falsified and stole votes from other parties, the Communist Party bosses sold the votes of their own supporters. They sold them for comfortable and predictable seats in the Duma, for the opportunity to huff and puff on TV while continuing to pose as the “only real opposition.” They sold them so as to avoid responsibility for anything whatsoever.

They did it in 1993 by running in the infamous elections on the ashes of the [Russian] White House [seat of the first post-Soviet Russian parliament]. They did it in 1996 by handing over their victory to Yeltsin and, in 2000, by submitting to Putin. And finally today, they are again ready to take their seats in the new Duma.

Yesterday, before going to Chistoprudny Boulevard [for the opposition rally] I went to the Communist Party rally, where rosy-cheeked mandarins were “recapping” the election results. It was like some incredibly perverse mockery of common sense. Half of our votes were stolen, they (Rashkin and Klychkov) said. There were gross violations [of election law] at almost every polling station. These elections are illegitimate, criminal. But even in these difficult conditions we have been able to increase the number of our seats in the Duma, and now we are ready to fight for the rights of working people with renewed vigor and even more effectively in the new parliament.

I stood there and thought about how doubly, triply disgusting this deal was, this deal carried out for the umpteenth time under the red flag, under the name “Communist Party,” which was deftly privatized in the wild nineties by a gang of petty grifters.

An hour later, already standing amidst the crowd on Chistoprudny, I suddenly saw a lone red flag shoot up, a flag emblazoned with the hammer and sickle, with the words “Communist Party.” And this struck me as genuinely important, for more than seeing Zyuganov and his accomplices before the tribunal of history, I would like to see the once-deceived rank-and-file members and supporters of the Communist Party alongside me on streets risen in rebellion.

Ilya Budraitskis is an activist with the Russian Socialist Movement.

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Filed under activism, leftist movements, political repression, protests, Russian society

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