Opposition Parties Hold Conventions

Opposition Parties Hold Conventions

Published: September 28, 2011 (Issue # 1676)

MOSCOW — Two left-leaning parliamentary parties, A Just Russia and the Communists, held their pre-election conventions on Saturday, approving relatively tame electoral lists in the shadow of United Russia’s political show at Luzhniki.

A Just Russia, which met in a congress hall in Moscow’s Sokolniki Park, picked its founder Sergei Mironov and party bosses Nikolai Levichev and Oksana Dmitriyeva to top its 600-member list of candidates for the State Duma vote on Dec. 4.

The federal list comprises mostly party officials, with the exception of Alexander Lomakin-Rumyantsev, head of the All-Russia Organization of the Disabled, and Andrei Tumanov, editor-in-chief of the Vashi Shest Sotok (Your Six Acres), a bimonthly nonpolitical agrarian newspaper with a print run of 230,000.

The federal list usually has 10 names, but A Just Russia’s only has eight because two candidates were dropped.

The party also approved its election platform, which promises to lobby for the poor and state employees.

Mironov lashed out at United Russia but stopped short of criticizing the ruling tandem, and dodged a question about whether A Just Russia would support Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s bid for presidency, announced at the United Russia convention on Saturday.

The party will reconvene in December to decide on its strategy for the March elections, Mironov said. He added that the party planned to double its results from the 2007 Duma vote from 7.7 percent to 15 percent in December.

The Communist Party stuck to its tradition of holding pre-election conventions on the premises of Moskovsky, a former collective farm seven kilometers south of Moscow.

The head of the Central Elections Commission, Kremlin loyalist Vladimir Churov, attended the event without voicing his reasons for showing up, Gazeta.ru said.

The Communists’ electoral list has 597 names and is topped by party leader Gennady Zyuganov, retired Navy Admiral Vladimir Komoyedov, who commanded the Black Sea Fleet from 1998 to 2002, and the head of the Communist Youth Union, Yury Afonin, Interfax said.

The rest of the federal top 10 includes four more party bosses; Nobel physics laureate Zhores Alfyorov, 81; Soviet-era cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya; and, most curiously, the former head of the Federal Drug Control Service, Viktor Cherkesov, who infamously decried “feuds in the Chekist community” ahead of the 2008 presidential election when his agency lost in a turf war with the Federal Security Service.

Prominent names on the regional lists include Khakassia Governor Alexei Lebed and film director Vladimir Bortko, famous for TV adaptations of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s “Idiot” and Mikhail Bulgakov’s “Master and Margarita.”

The Communist platform envisages the nationalization of the oil industry and the modernization of the economy, Zyuganov said.

The party will also campaign for the disbandment of “imperialistic” NATO and the establishment of a new alliance of former Soviet republics, he said.

He also promoted democracy, expressing regret that the word had been “devalued” recently. “Real political competition should finally replace the dictatorship of the information syringe, the money bag and the police baton,” Zyuganov said, speaking with a bust of Vladimir Lenin looming on the stage behind him.

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