Fair Russia seeks coalition with Communists

Nikolay Levichev (RIA Novosti / Aleksey Kudenko)
Two competing opposition parties should merge to oppose United Russia. That’s according to the chairman of the Fair Russia party, who has publicly offered the head of the Russian Communist Party to form an alliance of left-wing political forces.

­“I am going to use this stage to address the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and Zyuganov [its leader] personally, in order to suggest the creation of an alliance of left-wing forces that could ruin United Russia’s plans to get a majority of votes at the forthcoming elections,” Nikolai Levichev told reporters in Moscow on Tuesday.

The Fair Russia leader also said that if the communists agreed to combine efforts at the elections, outperforming United Russia was a realistic possibility.

Gennadiy Zyuganov, who is currently on a working visit to the city of Novosibirsk, said that his party could cooperate with other political forces, but before the decision on joining forces with Fair Russia is made, Levichev should answer three questions – will Fair Russia break their cooperation treaty with United Russia, will it support the idea of a nationwide referendum on the nationalization of the country’s mineral resources and strategically important industrial enterprises and finally, would they explain why Fair Russia voted for Putin, just like United Russia did, while the Communist Party has never done so.

Another communist leader, deputy chairman of the State Duma Ivan Melnikov, said that Fair Russia was offering an alliance because they were unsure of their prospects for success at the upcoming elections. “There is an impression that they are trying to get a hold of the Communist Party as they would hold onto a life preserver. But what is in it for us? We don’t need it,” Melnikov said.

The politician added that the communists were already doing well slugging it out one-on-one with United Russia, and predicted that this tendency would only become stronger. He also reminded the public that Fair Russia had betrayed the communists at least twice – when they recalled their signatures after the letter of protests against the school reform, and when they refused to support the protests against the rigged elections in 2009.

Melnikov also noted that without any alliance, a lot of Fair Russia supporters would abandon their party and join the ranks of the communists.

Also on Tuesday, the Vedomosti daily published an article that described an alleged draft variant of Fair Russia’s election program. The party outlined its objectives, which mentioned the return of gubernatorial elections as well as the “none of the above” option to the voting ballots. The program also included the implementation of much easier registration rules for political parties, amnesty for businessmen who were sentenced due to the arbitrariness of civil servants, and also the toughening of anti-corruption legislation.

The economic platform of the program includes the nationalization of all natural resource monopolies, lowering the VAT to 10 percent, and introducing a progressive income tax and a separate tax for luxury goods. At the same time, the program stresses that to improve the standard of living of the working class, society must ensure the prosperity of the employer.