Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 203

At a congress just held in Moscow, and numbered “thirty-first” to show continuity, the Union of Communist Parties-CPSU (SKP-CPSU) issued a political declaration calling on the peoples of the former USSR to reunite in a “federal union of equal sovereign states of the Soviet type.” Asserting that communist parties and “integration” tendencies are regaining popularity in various former Soviet republics, the document posits a “peaceful takeover of power” in individual states, to be followed by an equally peaceful and “voluntary” reunion. However, “if the bourgeoisie resists by force, then Soviet power supported by the working masses will have to respond with force, crushing the resistance.” The communists’ strategy at the present stage is to promote these processes from below.

Attending the congress, Gennady Zyuganov–whose Communist Party of the Russian Federation is not a member of SKP-CPSU–expressed similar optimism. As he put it, “the main goal [is in fact] restoration of the former single country peacefully and voluntarily, on the basis of historical necessity.” He faulted President Boris Yeltsin for failing to promote this process. In the same breath he confidently predicted that Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov’s government “will more energetically pursue the integration of former Soviet republics with Russia.” Zyuganov singled out Ukraine, Moldova and Armenia as likely prospects for joining the Russia-Belarus Union. The communists scored major electoral gains in Ukraine and Moldova this year.

More than 500 delegates of twenty-two parties and movements, some of them rivals, attended the Moscow congress. These included several leaders whose parties are banned–notably Latvia’s communist leader Alfreds Rubiks, whose followers recently returned in strength to parliament under the cover of a Latvian fellow-traveling party. The congress elected a 113-member ruling Council of SKP-CPSU and re-elected Oleg Shenin as its chairman. The Council’s vice chairmen are Yegor Ligachev, the antagonist of Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms on the CPSU Politburo in 1985-9, and Georgian United Communist Party leader Panteleimon Giorgadze (Russian agencies, NTV, October 31 through November 2; see also South Caucasus section below).