Liberal parties seek legal denunciation of 1917 Bolshevik revolution

A squad of armed Red Army guards on a truck, October Revolution. ©
Two of Russia’s liberal parties have joined forces to call for an official appraisal of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, demanding that an international declaration be signed to denounce the crimes of totalitarian communist regimes.

The Party of People’s Freedom together with the Yabloko party suggest drafting a bill on the legal appraisal of the coup that took place on October 25, 1917, and the forceful dissolution of the Constituent Assembly on January 5-6, 1918,” parliamentary candidate Andrey Zubov said during a televised election debate.

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Zubov added that the two parties also considered it important for Russia to join the 2006 PACE Declaration, in which the Council of Europe strongly condemns the crimes of totalitarian communist regimes, as such a move could give the country certain “perspectives.”

He did not elaborate on the nature of these perspectives, but expressed regret that the Russian delegation had opposed this declaration in its current formula.

The Party of People’s Freedom (PARNAS) initially existed as a non-registered opposition movement headed by several figures who had held major government posts during the Boris Yeltsin era, such as its current leader, ex-PM Mikhail Kasyanov.
The party held its first foundation congress in 2010, but was denied registration for technical reasons and participated in municipal and regional elections only in September 2015, after merging with the already registered Republican Party of Russia in 2012. It has so far failed to win any seats in parliament.

Yabloko is one of Russia’s oldest political parties to have had a consistently liberal and pacifist agenda. It was present in parliament in the 1990s, but has since failed to claim any parliamentary seats.

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Russian politicians often question the nature of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution and the effect that communist rule had on the country – the left wing calls for people to honor this period more, while the liberals and pro-market right-wingers as well as minor monarchist groups seek its condemnation.

In May this year, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation announced that it intended to use the image of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in its State Duma elections campaign, adding that they believed such a move could help attract additional votes, even from people who do not share communist ideals.

READ MORE: Sympathy for Stalin among Russians still high, poll shows

Parliamentary elections in Russia are scheduled for September 18 this year. The polls will be conducted under new rules – half of the 450 lower house MPs will be running on party lists and the other half from single-mandate independent constituencies, instead of the previous system in which all deputies were elected on party tickets.

In addition, the election threshold for parties has been lowered from 7 to 5 percent and party registration rules have been simplified, which has resulted in a sharp increase in political competition.