Staunton, March 11 – In 16 federal subject parliament, KPRF deputies voted against the new constitutional amendments, ignoring the directive of Gennady Zyuganov that they vote for them and highlighting his loss of control over his party outside of the narrow confines of the capital, according to Oleg Teploukhov.
While 33 KPRF deputies in the regions followed Zyuganov, ten did not, including ten in
in Khakassia, eight in Irkutsk Oblast, six in Moscow, three in the Altay, two in Buryatia, two in Sakhalin, and one each in the Transbaikal, St. Petersburg and one in Sakha, the URA news agency journalist reports (ura.news/articles/1036279880).
Officials in the party’s central office said they would be having conversations with those who violated discipline and would take measures against them. But one senior KPRF official conceded anonymously that this voting showed that there is a deep and systemic divide within the party and that Zyuganov’s position is weakening.
Even more than the voting itself, this official said, the decision of some party members to appeal to the KPRF Central Committee to change its position on the amendments highlights serious problems in the party outside of the Duma and beyond the ring road. (On that petition, see ura.news/articles/1036279802.)
The deputies who voted against the amendments reflect the attitudes of many Communist voters. According to a new poll by the Center for Research on Political Culture, 27 percent of these voters say that they plan to vote against the amendments, and 16 percent plan to boycott. Only 21 percent of KPRF voters say they will vote for the amendments.
This trend suggests that the extra-systemic opposition that Vladimir Putin has cultivated to maintain his image as the president of a democracy may be becoming ever less useful to him. He still controls the leadership and the votes of these groups in the Duma; but he can no longer be certain that this leadership can bring its followers outside Moscow along with them and him.