Tatarstan Communists wait for Grudinin and support direct mayor elections
Press conference of Tatarstan Gennady Zyuganov's supporters
A press conference dedicated to the election campaign took place in the office of the Tatarstan regional organisation of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) on 16 February. Tatarstan State Council Khafiz Mirgalimov, Artyom Prokofiev and Aleksandr Komissarov told about the preparation for the election day and discussed the political situation around candidate for the presidency Pavel Grudinin. Realnoe Vremya's reporter went to talk with the Communists' leaders.
Demonstration like Maslenitsa
The February press conference of the CPRF leaders in Tatarstan is one of the moments of the election campaign that Zyuganov's party fellows are running for candidate for the presidency Pavel Grudinin. All party work depends on elections, including training of election committee members and supervisors, participation in debates on TV and even a set of anti-corruption measures announced by Tatarstan State Council deputy Aleksandr Komissarov.
On the next day, a big demonstration of Grudinin's supporters was scheduled in the Karim Tinchurin Square in Kazan. Second Secretary of the regional committee and state council deputy Artyom Prokofiev characterised it as ''political Maslenitsa''. ''Maslenitsa is a symbol of upgrade and renascence. And right renascence and upgrade are what our country is asking now. In this respect, it's time for political Maslenitsa,'' Prokofiev said.
Why Grudinin doesn't rush to Kazan
Will Pavel Grudinon who has already visited Samara, Ufa and Nizhny Novgorod since the beginning of the year come to Kazan himself? The hall asked about it several times. But there wasn't a clear answer. Meanwhile, the candidate's arrival was announced as a point on the press conference's agenda. The local Communists explain the postponement of the visit of the candidate from the Left to the capital of Tatarstan with Grudinin's occupation.
''The visit's programme was created. But there are certain changes. They are linked with the latest draw and distribution of airtime. Those flows of mud, lie that collapsed on our candidate require a reply through the media, a live speech of our candidate to communicate the real state of affairs,'' said Prokofiev.
The Tatarstan CRPF office doesn't trust para-governmental sociological surveys and thinks Grudinin's real rating among the voters is equal to that of Vladimir Putin. They consider the fact that they managed to spoil the scenario of the election as a referendum of trust in the acting president as their major achievement. And the new face in Russian politics started to be recognised among 70% of voters.
''The strategy of boycotting the elections was self-defeating, Navalny's followers understand it now''
Nevertheless, experts still doubt that it was politically correct to declare the candidacy as director of Sovkhoz named after Lenin, only because of the name of his company. But the fact that the CPRF didn't find anybody who could run for election instead of Gennady Zyuganov also characterises the situation in the party. In answer to the question whether the party wasn't afraid that Grudinin would reject the protest electorate towards Aleksey Navalny who worked better on the Internet and in the street, the participants of the press conference agreed.
''No problem. We have our own core electorate. Both our structure and ideology are strong. Of course, as for Navalny, the youth are affected by social networks. We also need to work and improve in social networks. We have our own electorate and we need to work, so that they will come and everybody bring another 10-15 people. We're fighting for a higher turnout. The people are tired of other candidates. Our candidate is a new face. He isn't a populist, he showed with his example how to organise the economy,'' CPRF leader in Tatarstan Khafiz Mirgalimov replied.
Artyom Prokofiev gave a better answer, and it was seen that he had to answer such questions often:
''The story that there is a split in the CPRF, that somebody doesn't support Grudinin is absolutely wrong. We talked with Communists from different regions and went to Moscow. The reaction to the decision to meet because of Pavel Grudinin's declaration is very positive. The strategy of boycotting the elections was self-defeating, Navalny's followers understand it now. A part of them turn to our office, and they're ready to support our candidate. We know what's going on. The turnout is high, and results of the ruling party or a party's candidate are amazing in the places where people don't go to polling stations. The boycott is a present of the current authorities.''
The participants of the press conference noted a big effect of Pavel Grudinin's participation in Yury Dud's show. They expressed their impressions in answer to Realnoe Vremya's question. Particularly Tatarstan State Council deputy Aleksandr Komissarov said that he knew examples among his acquaintances when young people changed their decision not to go to the polling station and decided to vote for Grudinin after watching the notorious interview.
Regions opposing direct mayor elections put Tatarstan as example
A fight for direct election of mayors in cities was a remarkable direction of the political activity of the CPRF. Communist deputies have already delivered speeches with such initiatives in Omsk, Ryazan, Saratov and other cities. The people chosen by the CPRF in the Tatarstan State Council offered to make amendments presupposing direct elections of heads of administrations of big cities to the 22 nd and 24th articles of the law ''On Local Government in the Republic of Tatarstan''. On 12 February, the State Council Committee on State Construction and Local Government denied the bill of the Communists. It was a topic at the press conference.
''These initiatives also close in other regions, though not so severely. Nobody needs direct elections now. And a representative of the association of local government tried to tell us that some regions tried to borrow the refusal from direct elections from Tatarstan. They do, of course! It's comfortable. Why one should depend on voters when we have a vertical and one needs to depend on their superiors. They turned the whole pyramid upside down. Power needs to form from voters to the very top, while here everything was turned upside down. And such an upside down pyramid is unstable. For this reason, there are such big concerns around the presidential elections because we have everything turned upside down,'' Artyom Prokofiev commented to Realnoe Vremya.
Khafiz Mirgalimov brings Trotsky with Stalin together
The Tatarstan office of the CPRF is going to officially celebrate the 100 th anniversary of the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army on 23 February. It was said the Communists saw the modern Armed Forces of the Russian Federation as its continuation.
Realnoe Vremya's reporter paid attention that it would be not only the 100 th anniversary of the creation of the Red Army in 2017 but also its first big victory in the Kazan operation in September 1918. Will the Communists of Tatarstan celebrate this day? If so, how will the decisive role of Lev Trotsky combine with Stalin's portrait in the Kazan CPRF headquarters? Khafiz Mirgalimov turned to the Chinese model of historical memory, which is appreciated by the Communists:
''I will say you one thing. Lenin spoke the same language with all his opponents and attracted all people whom he could to his work. Lev Trotsky has many positive moments, and this is not denied. We celebrate all political dates inside our party. I was a participant of the events in Leningrad during the 100 th anniversary of the October Revolution from 1 to 4 November. Leftists and workers' parties from about 150 countries came. And it was told about all leaders of our workers' socialist revolution. Nobody was forgotten, neither Bukharin, etc. But I won't put another example. A Chinese delegation visited us 10 years ago. And they asked about my attitude to Stalin. I said it's good. There were pros and cons. And they replied that though only 60% had a good attitude to Mao, they didn't throw him away from the mausoleum like we did Stalin. This is why we need to look in dialectics.''
Then Mirgalimov read lines written by Mao Zedong in 1956: ''Nationalists, careerists, bribers covered by the Kremlin came to power in the USSR after 1953. One day they will throw off the masks, throw off party membership cards and will publicly rule their regions like feudal lords and landowners. The press conference of the Tatarstan CPRF office ended with quoting the Great Helmsman.