Delegations from most of the former Union republics attended the first congress of the revived Soyuz [Union] movement on October 3 in Moscow. Russian participants included more than 300 Duma deputies, who were joined by representatives of organizations ranging from diehard communist to ultranationalist to “Russia is Our Home,” Yabloko and the Assembly of the Russian Nobility.
Held in the Hall of Columns, a traditional venue of Soviet-era solemnities, the congress opened and closed with the USSR anthem. The congress proclaimed the goal of “restoring the Union” (“on one sixth of the globe,” as some speakers specified) and carrying out the purported mandate of the April 1991 referendum on the preservation of the USSR. The movement hopes to revive a single “parliament” for the entire territory of the former USSR. Soyuz further proposes to support “Russian-speakers” outside Russia as part of efforts to promote reintegration of the ex-Soviet republics.
The Duma’s CIS Affairs Committee chairman, Georgy Tikhonov, of the red-brown Narodovlastie group of deputies, was elected chairman of the Soyuz movement. Tikhonov named “materialism of Western inspiration” and “our proud Eastern spirituality” as ideological common denominators of the organizations engaged in this effort. The recently registered Soyuz is the successor to the identically named, cross-party group of deputies in the USSR’s last Supreme Soviet. That association had branch organizations in the then-Union republics and militated against their aspirations to be independent (Russian agencies, Russian Public TV, October 3; see the Monitor, October 2).
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