By Paul Goble
A week from today, May 1, eastern Easter and the Communist May Day celebration will correspond, prompting some to call for cancelling the latter to honor the former but leading Gennady Zyuganov, the head of the KPRF, to denounce that idea and to insist that “Christ was the first Communist of the new era.”
According to the communist leader, Christ “raised his voice for the miserable, suffering, poor, sick and needy, for everyone who is in trouble; and if he was alive, he would have joined us” (tass.ru/en/society/871310). It is difficult to know who will be more offended by this: committed communists or committed Christians. Both can be expected to weigh in this week.
Many of the former are likely to see this as only the latest concession to the new order in Russia, concessions by the KPRF which also include its very capitalist demand to seek an international copyright the red star symbol (gawker.com/russian-communist-party-embraces-ownership-demands-cop-1769389191).
And many of the latter are likely to see this as nothing more than a ploy by the leader of a party that takes pride in its descent from Communist Party of the Soviet Union that carried out the most brutal suppression of Christianity in the 20th century and one of the most brutal of all times.
But perhaps most on both sides of this line and certainly many in Russian society at large will see this as yet another example of the “single stream” of Russian history that Vladimir Putin promotes and the syncretism that has led to Stalin being placed on icons and the KPRF acting like a capitalist party.