Parties Gather in Advance of December Elections
MOSCOW (AP) _ Promising to restore everything from the old Soviet borders to its cradle-to-grave care, the Communist Party on Saturday adopted a campaign platform aimed at undoing four years of often chaotic change.
The platform calls for the virtual resurrection of the Soviet state that collapsed in 1991.
Party leader Gennady Zyuganov said the idea was to ``create a government of national salvation and eliminate the catastrophic after-effect″ of post-Soviet reforms.
The platform calls for guaranteed jobs, vacations, housing, education, medical care, for state-controlled prices, and for government ownership of land and natural resources.
It says the party, now one of the larger blocs in parliament, will work for the ``gradual″ and ``voluntary″ restoration of the Soviet borders under the Russian flag.
The Soviet Union disintegrated into more than a dozen independent countries and only a few, among them Belarus and Tajikistan, have shown any interest in uniting with Russia.
The Communist gathering was one of several party congresses held Saturday as a prelude to the Dec. 17 parliamentary elections.
At a founding conference for the Moscow branch of Our Home: Russia, the capital’s powerful mayor became the latest heavy hitter to formally endorse the so-called ``party of power.″
Mayor Yuri Luzhkov told the conference that the centrist bloc is ``the optimal political force in the country,″ the Interfax and ITAR-Tass news agencies reported.
Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, who heads Our Home: Russia, told delegates the bloc would provide ``critical solidarity″ with the government’s economic and political reforms.
Our Home won’t promise anything it can’t deliver, he vowed.
``We could promise to raise wages, to print more money. But these are just quick fixes. And collapse would follow,″ he told reporters. ``Let’s stop fooling people.″
Also on Saturday, the reformist Russia’s Democratic Choice announced at a congress that it was forming a coalition with three small reformist groups, but had too many differences with Our Home: Russia to join it.
Meanwhile, Great Power, a nationalist movement headed by former vice president Alexander Rutskoi, had less success in coalition-building.
At the party congress, Rutskoi, who led an armed uprising against President Boris Yeltsin in October 1993, blasted other nationalist parties as ``snobs″ for refusing to unite with Great Power.
His deputy, Viktor Kobelev, told delegates Great Power would force other nationalists into line. ``We’ll try to win more votes in order to dictate our conditions,″ said Kobelev, who defected from ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s party to join Rutskoi.