RSDUY on the round table “Russian Social Democracy today: ideas, practice, perspectives”
The round table “Russian social democracy today: ideas, practice, prospective” organized by Fund of development of socialist and social democratic ideas “Plekhanov Foundation”, Russian social movement “The Union of Social Democrats”(USD) and Russian Social Democratic Union of Youth (RSDUY) took place in Moscow on January, 15. Subject gathered on this event different scientists and politicians, state and public figures, legal experts and post-graduate students, and also representatives of various social democratic organizations. A vice-president of USD and Plekhanov Foundation – Mikhail Kuznetsov – presided over the meeting.During the round table, participants mentioned that, in existing conditions, the development of social democracy in Russia is possible only within the limits of social movements, because today only movements can work most effectively to achieve current purposes of social democrats, such as: democratization of public life and creation of conditions for high-grade activity of parties.In particular, economist Soltan Dzarasov – the co-chairman of Social-democratic party of Russia (SDPR) in 1996-98 told us about that the following: “What is the sense in creation and in activity of any opposition party, if it doesn’t have at least the slightest possibility to come to power? There is no democracy in Russia, there is a crime. Russian capital, in existing conditions, doesn’t defend interests of the country. Russia as a whole is on the verge of disintegration and in a vice of internal and external contradictions.”A lot was spoken about the results of the Social Democracy within a span of 20 years in modern Russia. The anniversary of SDPR, which was closed down in 2002 due to failure to undergo the registration, was celebrated in 2010.
“We are in the historical gap between the fall of the totalitarian socialism and the rise of barbarian capitalism,” – said Boris Orlov, historian of the social democratic movements and the chairman of SDPR in 1992. – “Social Democrats are trying to form a most complex political culture in order to see the factories working, and to keep them on leash at the same time for the good of the public interests. Probably, that was the main reason why Russian social-democrats were not able to take the leading position among Russian parties.
“Social democracy has not turned out well. But what was successful?” – questioning associate professor of High School of Economy and the co-chairman of SDPR of 1990-92, Pavel Kudyukin. – “Have liberalism and conservatism in global perception been successful? The contemporary civilized political life has not been formed in Russia yet, and social democrats do not stand out on this background.”
“The voices of social democrats cannot be heard,” – convinced Elena Medvedkova, ex-member of the political council of SDPR. – “There is no criticism of the economic policy of the current authorities in public arena. We keep silence! But the European Social Democrats are also keeping silence about the situation in their own governments! And, meanwhile, only Social Democrats could be the most constructive critics of the economic politics of the Russian governing body.”Sergey Magaril – PhD in the economical science and research fellow of the Division for Sociology of the Russian State University for the Humanities – was talking about the contemporary problems of the political system. “The current amorphous political system is, in many respects, a product of people’s disappointment of their protest activity at the beginning of 1990s, but, at the same time, it is a product of the higher education system, which has been training to be specialists, but not individuals,” – he said. – The country is treading the path of disintegration of the post soviet Russian statehood, and that should be feared first of all.”
“The common democratic aspiration shouldn’t be separated from the social-economic tasks,” – Oleg Rumiantsev – co-chairman of SDPR in 1990 – 92, the leader of the constitutional commission in 1990 – 93, and one of the founder of the International Institute of the world development – is assured. “The capital will take advantage of the results of the new democratic revolution,” – he believes. – “Any alliance with Liberals is not that successful, because most of them are romantics, and the predatory capital uses the results of their work. The degradation of democracy in the common civilized sense was laid down in Constitution – in reality, the society can affect the decision-making process. We live in “so called the rule of law” with “so called Constitution”. There is no understanding of national solidarity in the country. The society is sick. And it gets pregnant with revolution. Though, the cultural part of revolution is also important, because “the running wild” of the society has reached great limits.”The chairman of RSDUY Evgeniy Konovalov was talking about the inevitability of the revolutionary development: “Maintenance of the current regime will lead to the revolutionary outcome. But we do not support revolution, because with its help anyone can come to power, including ultra right politicians. As a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union, we had received freedom, but we didn’t get what to do with it. We still need to learn more about democracy. Nowadays, almost none suggests new ideas in public. That is why it is important for social democrats to announce their views. Social democracy is a left movement oriented on a particular person and not on an isolated Russian, Chinese or American. We are not for the “good” capitalism, we are against it. But Liberals are not enemies for us, because people cannot be enemies, we oppose their idea, but not them. At the same time, for the struggle for the democratization of the country, we need to cooperate with other democratic forces. Anyway, social democrats have to suggest now a particular program of actions with clear public slogans and do not forget about real work in political field, increasing a number of our followers.”
“Even in the USSR, the authorities reacted to the requirements of a society much faster and better,” – Mikhail Kuznetsov is convinced. – “Though hardly unique way of solution of any problem was a search of a higher chief. But authorities don’t need people, if they have oil and gas”.As a result of conference it was declared that social democrats will start to write down a high-grade paper on a 20-year-old history of social democracy in modern Russia, and by 80-year-old anniversary of the head of USD Mikhail Gorbachev in March of the current year, the next round table in which course it is planned to define an order of practical work of the social democrats directed on democratization of the existing political system will be held. Besides, it was suggested that in the near future it is necessary to expect association of Russian left organizations within the limits of united social democratic movement.