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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Annals of Russian Bedlam

In a relatively short while, the fifth presidential election in Russia's history will occur, and the malignant little troll in the Kremlin will seek to consolidate his power as Russians work for $3 and hour and lose 1 million from the population each year. But Russia's opposition has more important things to think about, it seems. What a country!

The Moscow Times reports on more unselfish, dedicated hard work on behalf of the nation by Russia's lingering communist crowd:

In a bizarre dispute hearkening back to the rhetoric of the Stalin-era purges, the Communist Party's webmaster has been accused by fellow party members of hatching a Trotskyist conspiracy. Anatoly Baranov, editor of the party's web site, has been plotting to subvert party policy to reflect "the interests of pro-Western forces," the party's Central Audit Committee said a statement posted on the party's web site over the weekend. The committee is a body within the Communist Party that monitors the ideological purity of party members. "The 'Baranov group' stubbornly pushes the Communist Party from the victorious Leninist path onto the false Trotskyist path of a rapid revolution, effectively carried out in the interests of the pro-Western bourgeoisie, rather than in the interests of the Russian people, and leading to the total occupation of Russia by NATO forces," the committee's statement said.

Baranov used the party's Internet resources to disseminate Trotskyist views with the ultimate aim of discrediting the party, the statement said. It added that Baranov and his allies showed "clear signs of Trotskyism, as defined by J.V. Stalin in his article 'Trotskyism and Leninism.'" Baranov immediately denied the charges and dismissed them as a pro-Kremlin plot to discredit the Communists. Trotskyism, named after Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky, was seen in the Stalin era as a deviant branch of Marxism. Many of those arrested in the 1930s were accused of being Trotsky's followers. In a statement posted on the party's web site, Baranov described the accusations as "schizophrenic raving." Baranov called himself a "neo-Trotskyist," but said it was a term used ironically by young Communist activists. He charged that pro-Kremlin forces were trying to make the party look silly. "On the eve of the elections, such a document can be the result of only one thing -- active collaboration between the presidential administration and the party leadership," Baranov said. Baranov could not be reached for comment Monday. In a meeting Monday, the party's central committee did not disavow the accusations against Baranov but promised to remove them from the party's web site until it had reached a final decision. The accusations, as well as Baranov's response, had been removed from the web site as of Monday afternoon. State Duma Deputy Oleg Kulikov, a senior Communist official, said he would not comment on the conflict until party leaders had discussed the issue.

Meanwhile, Yabloko is going to run against itself for president and the opposition has already announced four different candidates to compete for their small clatch of votes. The MT continues:

Sergei Gulyayev, a former St. Petersburg city legislator from the liberal Yabloko party, has announced that he will run for president as an opposition candidate, RIA-Novosti reported Monday. Gulyayev is the fourth opposition figure to declare his intention to run for president. The others are former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, former Central Bank chief Viktor Gerashchenko and Soviet-era dissident Vladimir Bukovsky. [LR: But Yabloko's leader Grigory Yavlinsky is also going to announce any day now, if he hasn't already, so that makes five] Gulyayev was nominated over the weekend by The People, a new opposition group that he heads up. The group held its founding congress Saturday and Sunday in Moscow. Gulyayev has been active in The Other Russia, an opposition umbrella group that has organized protests around the country. He was detained by riot police in March after St. Petersburg authorities violently broke up an opposition rally. Later that month, he lost his seat in the St. Petersburg city legislature after Yabloko was excluded from elections for technical reasons. The presidential election is scheduled for March 2008.

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