Communists snub Russian March

RIA Novosti / Ilya Pitalev
The Russian Communist party, which has been actively playing the nationalist card in the run-up to December’s elections, has nonetheless declined an invitation to take part in the Russian March scheduled for November 4.

The Communists believe that solutions to the country’s problems put forward by the organizers of the annual march are “harmful” for Russia and could even lead to its disintegration.

“As for the invitation to the event, we consider that it’s a good signal demonstrating that the principal position of the KPRF (the Communist Party of the RF) concerning the Russian people, Russian culture, Russian language, has been heard and noted,” said First Deputy Chairman of the Communist Party Ivan Melnikov, as cited by Rosbalt news agency.

At the same time, the party believes that all these issues should be addressed without “aggressive intonations” and without confrontation and conflicts. And the KPRF has developed a well-thought-out and “responsible” program, Melnikov said. He added that he is confident that it will be supported by both the ethnic Russians “who are tired of humiliations” and all the other nationalities living in Russia who want a “peaceful and dignified life”.

The opposition politician did not miss a chance to criticize United Russia, saying that the Russian March movement is a result of the socio-economic policies being pursued by the ruling party. Melnikov blamed the majority faction for not solving the problems of housing, salaries and unemployment, and said the poor social conditions produced as a result had led to “migration slants.” If “true patriots” were in power, there would be no grounds for nationalistic rallies, he noted.

While disagreeing with the policies being promoted by the nationalists, the Communists said they were going demand that information about ethnicity be included on Russian national passports. The "fifth paragraph" – a clause that made it obligatory to declare ethnicity – was dropped from identity papers in the 1990s amid concerns that it was contributing to discrimination against non-Russians.

The KPRF proposal was slammed by United Russia as a pre-election populist trick that contradicts the ideology of the Communists who claim to be internationalists. Human rights activists called the initiative dangerous since, far from maintaining the integrity of the country, it could actually exacerbate problems.

The organizers of the Russian March said earlier this week that the authorities had given them the green light to hold a demonstration and a concert in southeastern Moscow on National Unity Day, November 4. Dmitry Dyomushkin, a leader of the Russkie (Russians) movement, told Interfax that about 40 nationalist organizations are expected to join the gathering.

Meanwhile, the Communists plan to hold their own demonstration in the capital on November 7 to celebrate the 94th anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. They expect up to 100,000 people to take part in the event.