Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 37

A discussion between the veteran legal journalist Yuri Feofanov and the Communist lawyer Yuri Ivanov casts light on the plans of the RussiaÕs Communists if, as they confidently expect, they come to power following JuneÕs presidential elections. Yuri Ivanov is a member of the Duma, elected as the eighth-ranking candidate on the Communist partyÕs federal slate last December, and he is deputy chairman of the DumaÕs Legislation Committee. In other words, he is an influential member of the Communist party hierarchy. A transcript of his discussion with Feofanov was published, without commentary, by Izvestiya on February 15. Ivanov begins by revealing that the Communist party plans to re-nationalize some 200 of RussiaÕs leading (privatized or semi-privatized) enterprises and commercial banks, which represent Òa threat to society.Ó A Communist government will pass a Law on Nationalization giving the executive special powers; judicial procedures will be dispensed with. Should the Constitutional Court object that expropriation of private property infringes RussiaÕs 1993 constitution, so much the worse for the Constitutional Court. No court has the right to oppose itself to the will of society, Ivanov asserts, and the Constitutional Court will likely be replaced by a Òconstitutional oversight committee.Ó Feofanov comforts himself with the idea that, even if the third branch of government is immobilised, the fourth estate [the mass media] will remain. Certainly not, Ivanov retorts. Izvestiya will be the first newspaper to be returned to government control. RussiaÕs mass media have put themselves Òabove the stateÓ and must be returned to state control. What right, he asks rhetorically, do journalists think they have to refuse to reveal their sources to the authorities? At a time when many commentators are saying that RussiaÕs Communists have reformed themselves into Social Democrats, IvanovÕs comments make sobering reading.

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