Sunday, November 30, 2008
Russia's Communists: crisis will help us regain power
Sat Nov 29, 2008 10:56pm IST | Reuters India
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Communists expect the global financial crisis will cause social unrest and help them challenge for power, the party's leader said on Saturday.
Gennady Zyuganov told the party's annual congress the Communists should make maximum use of the growing public discontent caused by the economic downturn to try to restore their political strength.
"The wind of history is blowing in our sails again ... At this time of crisis the world of imperialism is starting to die. We are standing on the threshold of political and social shifts," Zyuganov said in a 2-hour speech opening the congress.
Russia's Communists ruled the Soviet Union for eight decades and remained a major opposition force for several years after the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991.
But the party has since lost much of its authority and many analysts say it is too weak to seriously challenge for power.
The Russian authorities are trying to minimise the impact of the financial crisis by promising billions of dollars of state aid. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has pledged higher social payments to the needy and lower taxes for business.
"The authorities are clearly not coping with managing the country ... A mass social protest is brewing and it is hard to predict now when and in what shape it will explode," Zyuganov said.
The Kremlin has acknowledged the crisis will lead to a rise in popular discontent, challenging the massive popularity that Putin secured in eight years as president and handed on to his successor, Dmitry Medvedev.
Medvedev has ordered police to stamp out any social unrest arising from the crisis and Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev has said higher unemployment could lead to a rise in crime.
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