By Paul Goble
Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the KPRF which is the only parliamentary party that has come out against approving the constitutional amendments by referendum, says that Vladimir Putin’s recent actions have been “not simply disappointing but depressing.”
In the course of a wide-ranging 3,000-word interview with Anastaya Melnikova of the Znak news agency, the communist leader says that what is most disturbing is that the Kremlin leader is creating a situation in the Russian Federation very much like the one the USSR was in just before it collapsed and fell into pieces (znak.com/2020-06-22/gennadiy_zyuganov_ob_oligarhah_putina_popravkah_v_konstituciyu_i_vere_v_boga).
Zyuganov says the KPRF is not opposed to changing the constitution. In his view the 1993 document is fundamentally defective; but he and his comrades do oppose the way Putin is ramming it through. He points out that Putin allowed six months to decide on renaming the country’s airports but has permitted only two for changing the constitution.
“Without a strong state, our country cannot exist,” the KPRF leader says; but that state must be concerned about its people and not just the cronies of the top man. Unfortunately, at the present time, Putin is behaving exactly the opposite. Taking care of his friends is not the same as being a strong president.
Given Russian realities, Zyuganov continues, he and his party have to cooperate with the regime but that doesn’t mean that it supports the Kremlin no matter what. “We did not vote for Putin for president, we did not vote for him when he became prime minister, and we did not vote for Medvedev, we voted against his course.” The KPRF will follow its own line.
That is even more so now, he suggests, because all of Putin’s recent moves have been so disastrous. He has been in office too long. Brezhnev was as well; and while the general secretary was effective during the first half of his rule, he wasn’t in the second. As a result, everything went downhill quickly.
That needs to change and change soon, or Russia will go the way of the Soviet Union.