Staunton, February 25 – Because the Duma elections are ever closer and the pandemic has not yet come to an end, the Kremlin and its systemic parties are increasingly engaging in social demagogy, combining intensified nationalism with calls for greater social justice, to distract Russians from their problems, according to Rosbalt commentator Aleksandr Zhelenin.
The unification of Just Russia, Patriots of Russia, and the For Truth Party, he argues, reflects the fact that all the systemic parties have concluded that they can be most effective if they promote what is best described as “a well-articulated national socialism” (rosbalt.ru/blogs/2021/02/25/1889396.html).
“One must recognize,” Zhelenin says, “that when speaking about the Russian ‘party of power’ in the braod sense, we start from the fact that the majority of the political formations registered by the justice ministry and in particular the Duma quartet – United Russia, the KPRF, the LDPR and the SR – are not in fact independent political organizations.”
Ideologically, the four parties are “almost indistinguishable – all are patriots, and all are for a market economy adjusted for social needs. That is, the differences among them are only in details like their names, programs and the names of their leaders,” Zhelenin argues. And by orchestrating the latest unification of parties, the Kremlin has reduced the differences further.
The communists and Just Russia leaders do mention socialism in their program, but they do not seek power or even try to implement from the position of a political minority some of the goals that being for socialism implies such as opposing privatization of firms. Instead, they back the nationalism of the regime and do not challenge its capitalist oligarchic character.
Because the parties supposedly on the left don’t fight for socialism, what they are really doing as the Kremlin intends is to “strengthen capitalist statehood in a bourgeois parliament” and promoting what must be openly called national socialism. As everyone knows Hitler’s NSDAP – the National Socialist German Workers Party – had socialism in its title but not in its actions.
The last socialist elements in the Nazi Party were destroyed in the Night of the Long Knivces on June 30, 1934. After that, the Nazis while occasionally giving crumbs to the workers institutionalized a national capitalistic system for the benefit of big business in the first instance and smaller business on occasion.
In Putin’s Russia now, it would be appropriate if the party of power acknowledged that it is national capitalist. United Russia and the LDPR certainly meet all the requirements for such a label. But the KPRF and Just Russia should be fighting this set of goals. The sad fact is that they are not fighting even for that.
That is another indication of the extent to which they are creatures of the Kremlin and its party of power and helps explain the reason why the powers that be promoted the latest party combination nominally on the left, thus giving the Kremlin constellation of power the chance to gain support from an increasingly impoverished and angry population.
In short, the Kremlin is engaging in demagogy which is exactly what social nationalist unions and their leaders do when things get tough. And it has particular reason to do so. Russians no longer believe that the West is responsible for their problems. They know that those who are to blame are much closer at hand.
So it should surprise no one, Zhelenin says, that “within one of the fractions of the party of power has been inserted [Zakhar Prilepin] who not only for a long time has been a former member of the National-Bolshevik Party but has openly backed military aggression as a permissible instrument of international politics.”
Putin and his entourage in the Kremlin could not want anything better for what some still insist on thinking of his opposition.