Putin may have been a loyal Soviet KGB agent, but a Communist party built of students, intellectuals and even some businessmen challenged the Russian government’s sham parties and won 20% of the vote.
As it turns out, Communism isn’t dead. Well, it never really was dead, just transmuted into different, non-totalitarian forms. Russia’s Communist Party saw something of a resurgence in the most recent Russian elections, winning 20% of the seats in the Duma.
Republicans will probably be seeing red again come the U.S. general election, aligning Obama in some sort of communist axis bent on subverting the American way of life.
Popular Russian opinion is that the presidential election was a cynical display of democracy. That Putin’s United Russia is an absurd charade, as are the other parties, Just Russia and LDPR, which end up joining Putin’s party in a coalition government.
Thus, the only real option was the Communist Party, led by Gennady Zyuganov. Not enough to challenge Putin and United Russia for supremacy, but significant enough to create a counterforce within the Duma.
“The Communists are the only real party out there,” said one Western banker in Moscow to Reuters. “United Russia is a joke, Just Russia is a joke and the LDPR is a joke and many people know it. So they vote communist because they realize it is a real vote for the opposition and against United Russia.”
Zyuganov has stated that Communist ballot monitors were barred from polling stations and that ballot boxes were stuffed even before voting began. How odd it is that the former party of the totalitarian Soviet state is far more democratic than Putin & Co?
This anger in Russia is quite natural, of course. The transformation from Soviet-style, totalitarian communism to sudden free market crony capitalism (which took a few years to develop) has left a wide gulf between the rich and the poor. Ex-KGB agents, party leaders and, generally, anyone with connections was able to leverage their former Soviet loyalty into a lucrative career in energy, industry and advertising, as Victor Pelevin so sublimely satirized in the novel “Homo Zapiens.”
What has happened in Russia was essentially hyper-capitalism—not a true free market, but the type of capitalism that dominates nation-states. Call it crony capitalism, whatever. It was the United States redux, as ruthless and bloody, but in a rare, accelerated form.