Russia’s Communist Party leader calls his presidential prospects strong

Gennady Zyuganov (RIA Novosti / Mikhail Klimentyev)
Gennady Zyuganov has said he will take part in Russia’s 2012 presidential election.

­Zyuganov accepted the proposal from young activists at a forum of the Communist party and the Home Guard movement, who asked him to run. The Communist leader, who had earlier voiced his intention to strive for the top post in the country, discussed the issue again at a party gathering in the Orel Region, where he was born.

The fate of Russia will be decided during the parliamentary elections in December 2011 and the presidential poll in March 2012, Zyuganov stressed. “The country simply will not endure another cycle led by the current ruling elite,” he told party activists and members of the newly-created Home Guard movement.

The Communists have established their Home Guard to oppose Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s Popular Front. The front is nothing more than another attempt by the ruling United Russia party “to trick voters again,” Zyuganov said.

The Communist Party (CPRF) is represented in the State Duma, and remains the biggest opposition party. It will hold its congress on September 24 to vote on a list of candidates who will participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Zyuganov’s visit to Orel coincides with Friday’s anniversary to commemorate the liberation of the city from Nazi Germany occupation in 1943. “Hitler’s Plan Barbarossa was in fact fulfilled 20 years ago, when our country was torn to pieces,” the Communist leader said, referring to the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991. The Home Guard is being created by the CPRF to restore the destroyed country, he explained.

The Communist leader argued he had more expert knowledge and experience in life than those “who are now sitting in the government and the Kremlin.” According to Zyuganov, he has worked in legislative bodies at every level, visited more than 70 countries, about 800 cities and many trouble spots, and addressed all leading universities and parliaments.

The Communist party, which claims that “the country is in crisis,” has developed a program it believes can help Russia and created a team to fulfill it. More than 40 candidates have been selected for “the government of people’s trust.” To demonstrate good results during the presidential election, the party should gather 15 million signatures at the people’s referendum, and form strong factions in the Duma, as well as in regional parliaments, he noted.

The CPRF is preparing to send half a million monitors to 100,000 polling stations in December, and organize events “to defend the results of the elections.”   

Zyuganov headed the revitalized Communist party in 1993, and was a strong challenger to then-President Boris Yeltsin during the presidential elections three years later. Zyuganov came second with 32% while Yeltsin gained 35% of the vote, though Yeltsin eventually won in the run-off.

In March 2008, Zyuganov was also second, but his almost 18% of the vote seemed to be disappointing for his followers when compared with Dmitry Medvedev, who got more than 70% of the vote.