RUSSIA: INTERVIEW WITH COMRADE VYERIN
(From the Centre for the Formation of the Modern Communist Doctrine, organiser of the international conference held in Moscow in November, 1996) - beginning of May 1997.
Q. Could you please shed some light for us on the origins of the present pseudo-communist movement in Russia, the objective basis for its impending collapse and the necessity for the formation of a revolutionary truly Marxist-Leninist, Stalinist party?
A. Today in Russia there exist about 40 parties and organisations of communist orientation. Most of them emerged from the ashes of the defunct CPSU, and this feature undoubtedly manifests itself in the ideological and organisational structure of these parties and organisations. Unfortunately, as a result these parties and organisations are In essence frill of opportunism, both left and right opportunism. Today, as Lenin stressed, left opportunism is not a major threat; it is a sickness that can be cured. On the other hand, right opportunism, since it has taken over the majority of these parties and organisations, is at the present time a major threat to the communist movement. These parties and organisations were founded from above, in a spontaneous way; they represent by themselves a mechanical unification of people that called themselves communists. It turned out that these people do not understand the essence of Marxism-Leninism and absolutely do not know Stalinism. In the end, as a result, these parties and organisations couldn't cope with the new historical conditions, and at the present time they are undergoing a process of massive decomposition. This process is clearly seen in the example of the Russian Communist Workers Party [founded in November 1991, right after the August events, whose leaders at that time were Victor Tyulkin and Victor Anpilov. Note of Transl.] This party has split four times in the past years. In the summer of 1996, Victor Anpilov left. In the place of the original RCWP now there exist several groups that are hostile to each other.
Q As far as Marxism-Leninism is concerned these groups do not differ from each other substantially?
A. That is true. They are basically opportunist. None of them deal with the ideological questions of Marxism-Leninism, let's add, Stalinism. In themselves they are not therefore homogenous organisations. They are more mechanical aggregations of people with different ideological backgrounds rather than ideologically defined political parties. Without ideological homogeneity there is no room for a defined organisational structure. These parties will still undergo more splits as a result. Another relevant party, founded in 1991, is the All-union Communist Party Bolshevik (AIJCPB), led by its general secretary Nina Andreeva. Her practice (or the lack of it) and theory give proof of her right opportunist essence. Needless to say from the very beginning she was never a Marxist-Leninist. She recently has openly denied the role of the working class In Russia. In the beginning Victor Anpilov did the same thing, now Nina Andreeva has followed this trend. She has repeatedly stressed in public that she doesn't see the working class in Russia.
Q When did she begin to say this openly?
A. Last year (1996) in the last congress and conference. Her party is clearly focused on the intelligentsia. Both AUCPB and the RCWP are displaying more and more tailist positions with respect to the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), led by Zyuganov, are coming closer to it, are being swallowed by the CPRF. The Russian Party of Communists (RPC), led by Kryuchov, is another party with communist orientation. This party from the very beginning advocated "market socialism". On the other hand, its membership did not have a definite homogeneous ideology. From the very beginning it was a party of intellectuals. At its foundation its membership barely reached 1500, whereas now there are no more than 300 members. It also underwent a split. De facto due to its internal heterogeneity this party doesn't function any more. In February 1993 the CPRF was founded. At that time already Zyuganov and Kuptsov had become the leaders of the party. We warned them about their open right opportunism. The CPRF was founded on the basis of the party sections of the former CPSU. Most of the membership is made of pensioners, very conservative people. We do not expect a substantial ideological development among the membership of the CPRF.
The CPRF bases its propaganda on the ideas of patriotism, on the idea of the great nation. Now the membership of the CPRF is receiving new party cards. On the old card you could read. "Workers of the world unite!" This Marxist slogan has been removed from the new party cards. This party as a whole has openly rejected the principle of proletarian internationalism. This party is opportunist, revisionist to its roots, a party of the Menshevik type. This party is harming the communist movement.
Q They stand on Brezhnevite positions?
A. Yes. You can't talk to them about a revolution. To talk about the revolutionary potential of this party is not possible in these conditions. Zyuganov has basically taken advantage of the composition of this party. In the beginning many thought that the problem of the CPRF was just the right opportunism of the leadership, that it would be enough to develop agitation among the more progressive rank-and-file membership and get rid of collaborationist and liquidationist policies of Zyuganov and Co. Unfortunately, in my opinion, 80% of the membership, by their ideology, are not communists. So it is not only a problem of the leadership. Therefore it is natural that Zyuganov was re-elected chairman Central Executive Committee of the CPRF almost unanimously at the past 4th Congress, held in April 1997. Inside the CPRF, as well as in other organisations, there are positive forces, but here unfortunately they are especially weak. It is possible that in the future these forces will split from the party that emerged in the beginning as an openly Menshevik, revisionist party. These are the biggest parties of communist orientation in the Russian political spectrum. There are other smaller parties as well. The Russian Communist Party - CPSLJ (RCP-CPSU), led by Prigarin, is openly right opportunist; they openly advocate market socialism. They deny the revolution, and usually omit the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Their leader, Prigarin, is of the opinion, as are many others, that Stalin supported the concept of market socialism, that Stalin advocated an economy oriented towards the extraction of profit.
Q Andreeva says the same thing?
A. Yes. From the point of view of Marxism-Leninism, Stalinism, these parties do not differ from each other in a substantial way. The Union of Communist Parties - CPSU (UCP-CPSU), led by Oleg Shenin, has recently begun to use some left phraseology. It began to talk about the dictatorship of the proletariat, sometimes even about the necessity of a revolution. But the fact that the leading ideologist of the party is Egor Ligachov, former member of the Politburo of the CC of the CPSU, who just till recently talked about the necessity of private property, is an indication of the ideological status of this party. Shenin was also a member of the CC of the CPSU in Gorbachev's time; he co-operated with the Politburo and participated in the policies of that time. We never heard a word against Perestroika from Shenin. Their tactics and strategy are very clear and simple: first resurrect the CPSU and then on this basis restore the Soviet Union. Very few people will join this party that holds the name of the CPSU. A name that was discredited after Stalin's time. In our opinion any attempt of unity on this basis has no future. Because of their populism, they are beginning to mention Stalin's name. In their papers and reports they sometimes quote Stalin. In fact among the rank-and-file communists, and not only among communists, but among the toiling masses, Stalin has become very popular, and his popularity is growing with time. Take Zyuganov, at the last congress of the CPRF. You read his report and you will find not only one, but even two quotations from Stalin. Zyuganov also knows that Stalin is popular among the Russian people. This is dangerous since Zyuganov and the rest tend to revive Stalin as a national-patriot, even as a Christian evangelist.
Q You say that these parties do not go beyond the CPSU?
A. Yes, of course, since they are in essence splits from the CPSU. As a result ideologically they are not in a position to go beyond the CPSU
Q This is also why their understanding of Stalin is made through the mirror of the post-Stalin period.
A. Yes, of course. They pose Stalin not as a revolutionary, not as a Marxist, not as the theorist of the socialist revolution, of the dictatorship of the proletariat, of Socialist and Communist construction, but as a leader of patriotic, Christian orientation.
Q What could you tell us about the AUCPB? In its origins the AUCPB played a progressive role. What could you tell us about Andreeva and why the AUCPB has basically collapsed?
A. The AUCPB now is openly a right opportunist party.
Q. But this is a natural development?
A. Yes it is. Also a major role has been played by Nina Andreeva's personality. Already in the beginning of 1992 you could hear something funny; "the General Secretary of the Bolshevik Party, Nina Aleksandrovna Andreeva." There were jokes about this; "If tomorrow Socialist forces win in Russia and Socialism is restored but Nina Andreeva is not the General Secretary, then we don't need this socialism." Of course, Andreeva's stand should be understood as a petty-bourgeois expression, as a result of a petty-bourgeois psychology.
Q What about its program?
A. At the time of its formation, the AUCPB's program was the most progressive of those put forward by parties and organisations of communist orientation. The AUCPB is not a shadow of what it used to be. You should take into account who advises Andreeva. The main ideologist of the AUCPB, Klushin, was a professor of philosophy in Brezhnev's time. He used to write her party reports and papers. Now after the virtual collapse of her party has become clear, Nina Andreeva calls for the unification with other revisionist parties and is working on some all-Union conference and has even organised a committee for unification. Now after so many splits arid expulsions of members, having lost the support of the progressive mass of communists, now she tries to find a common language with forces like Anpilov. This is just a petty bourgeois expression, to remain the head of a political organisation and be called General Secretary.
Q We can conclude that this pseudo-communist movement is rooted in Brezhnevism, and by itself it is not in a position to go beyond the society [of Brezhnev's time. Note of Transl.], which they call socialist?
A. Yes. Brezhnevism, Bukharinism, right opportunism in essence, has swallowed this pseudo-communist movement. However there are in the Soviet Union genuine communist forces among the rank-and-file. We can find good forces in the AUCPB, in the RCWP, some in the CPRF and eventually some in the rest.
Q. Let's move on to the Marxist-Leninist forces. What organisations and forces participate today in the process of unification and formation of the Marxist-Leninist party?
A. This is not a simple question, taking into account the present situation in the communist movement in Russia, I believe that the party will be built on the Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist ideology. Today this ideology has a tremendous force because of the present conditions. This ideology cannot be destroyed. The forces will form the party based on the principles of Marxism-Leninism, and we should say also Stalinism. These principles have been presented in the resolution of the last November conference. I will not repeat these principles here, since this resolution has been published throughout the world in several different languages. The idea of the formation of a revolutionary party, a vanguard party, not a parliamentary party like the CPRF, but one based on Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist principles, sprung up at the time of the collapse of
the Soviet Union, the collapse of the CPSU. Now this necessity has become very acute in view of the present objective and subjective conditions, especially the organisational failure of the attempts of restoring the CPSU. Many real communists, in a mass, are disappointed by the backwardness of their leadership, by the character of the political actions of their parties. These parties do not work among the working class, do not organise the working class, the ever-growing mass strike movement in Russia is developing independently and isolated from the communist movement. The working class now is receptive to communist ideas, but these organisations in fact refuse to work and organise the working class. Many communists dream of the formation of a unified Marxist-Leninist, Stalinist party.
Our centre struggles against revisionism arid its remnants in order to dust off Marxism-Leninism, Stalinism, the teaching of the revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat, from the influence of decades of revisionism. The essence of Marxism was dismissed by the CPSL and after its collapse by most of the present parties. Now we are gathering Marxist-Leninist forces throughout the whole former Soviet Union. We have a large faction of Marxist-Leninist forces among the rank-and-file of the A\3CPB and especially among those groups that split or were expelled from the AUCPB for defending Marxism-Leninism, Stalinism, and exposing the right opportunism of its leadership. This is a very important force for the formation of a unified revolutionary party and most of all they have recognised the necessity of the formation of a unified revolutionary party. There are also forces among the membership of the RCWP and a few in the CPRF. There also exist smaller organisations that always stood on correct ideological positions, for example the Leninist-Stalinist Party of Bolsheviks. There are other smaller organisations that actively participate in this process of unification. In other former republics of the Soviet Union we also find parties and organisations based on the principles of Marxism-Leninism, Stalinism. For example, the Fifty of Communist Bolsheviks of the Ukraine, sections of the CP of Tadzhikistan, in Byelorussia there are also serious forces, and in other republics.
Our main task today consists in the unification of these Marxist-Leninist forces. We are not hoping to construct a big patty. This would be a mistake. If one remembers 1908, an analogy with the present situation in Russia can easily be made. At that time the Bolshevik Party was much smaller than the Menshevik Party. But this was a party of professional revolutionaries, which underwent many hardships, the first Russian revolution in 1905, exile, jail.... This party, thanks to its will and its revolutionary character, despite a smaller membership, accomplished a lot of work, and in 1917 at the time of the revolutionary upheaval, this party grew and made the socialist revolution. We will be obliged to work in semi-legal and possibly, since repression on a revolutionary party is unavoidable, in illegal conditions.
Q. What in your opinion. is the importance of reading and studying the work of Enver Hoxha for the consolidation of Marxism-Leninism in Russia and the struggle against opportunism and revisionism?
A. Unfortunately the works of Enver Hoxha were unknown in the Soviet Union; they were forbidden. Today the vast majority of Russian communists are absolutely ignorant of Enver Hoxha. Although it might not sound very appropriate, we should be grateful to our "democrats" for making possible the collapse of the revisionist CPSU and now the material basis exists to introduce the communist movement to the works of Enver Hoxha. I have to say that communists who are reading his works are giving extremely good responses Enver Hoxha's book'. "The Khrushchevites", is having a great response. Many people do not know what Khrushchevism, Brezhnevism means, indeed about the tremendous struggle against them that Enver Hoxha carried out. We are very grateful to foreign comrades that made the circulation of the Russian translation of this book possible. The works of Enver Hoxha have a major significance for the formation of modern communist concepts
I would like to summarise. Our centre is strongly convinced that the ideas of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and their follower Enver Hoxha, will win over the heart of the common people. It is now that the common people are seeing the real significance of the historical role of Stalin, and the role of Enver Hoxha in Albania. Now we clearly see that Enver Hoxha undertook a correct struggle against Khrushchevite and Brezhnevite revisionism.
We are sure that victory will be ours.
Workers of the world unite!
Q. Thank you very much comrade.
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