Russian social democrats

SOCIAL DEMOCRATS IN POST-SOVIET RUSSIA by Vladimir Peshkov The text of 1st SDPR uses the materials provided by Viktor Anuriev. All estimates are a private opinion of the author and not the official position of organizations that he represents. Today, the Social Democrats in Russia do not have their own party. 17 years of construction of the Social Democratic Party ended in the collapse in 2007, when the Supreme Court abolished the SDPR. There were other political parties of the Social-democratic orientation, but they can not be called basic. They were all created for some individual people or some specific purposes not related to the development of political ideas. During these years there were two attempts to create a party. Moreover, the first draft was theoretically more viable, but its full development is lacking some detail. The biggest trouble of Russians in the absence of internal democracy. In modern Russia there is no party that would be created at the initiative of people. All modern Russian party – it’s political projects, and no more. And they are not democratic in its inner essence. In the Russian political parties have democratically-minded members, but usually they do not have a public tribune. All the main offices occupy are not the best people, and those who are convenient for the state administration. The process of creating of parties fully controlled by the state and the founding of the new party is impossible in fact. The latest batch, which was created from scratch, is SLON (“The Union of people for education and science”) be Vyacheslav Igrunov in 2002. In post-soviet countries people are disappointed by left ideas. All socialists for post-soviet people in the mass associated with the totalitarian regimes of the past. All liberal associated with the economic problems of 1990’s. In Russia main left party – Communist Party – essentially is party with soft national-socialistic program. For example, main idea of russian communists in late 1990’s and in early 2000’s is a genocide of russian ethnos by Yeltzin regime. In Russia leftist electorate is very small, people in general offended by politicians for the 1990’s. 1st SDPR During the formation of a multiparty system in the Soviet Union, the Social Democrats were among the first who created his own party and first in Russia. First non-communist party became Liberal democratic party of Soviet Union (LDPSS, LDPSU) by Vladimir Zhirinovsky (today Liberal democratic party of Russia, LDPR). The second party was SDPR, which was founded in May, 4 1990. SDPR was the only party in modern Russia, which was created as a result of citizens’ initiatives, rather than a powerful solution. It was believed that the LDPR/LDPSU was created by people who came out of the KGB for simulation of the multi-party system in the USSR. SDPR was founded by Soltan Dzarasov, Telman Gdlyan, Galina Starovoytova, Oleg Rumyantsev, Alexandr Obolensky and other. At the founding congress was attended by 216 delegates from 60 regions of Russia, of which 11 delegates took his degree, 6 deputies of Supreme Soviet of USSR, 4 deputies of Supreme Soviet of RSFSR and 41 deputies of local Soviets. Among the founders of the party were members of the Democratic Platform of the CPSU. The Congress elects the Presidium of the three co-chairs – Oleg Rumyantsev, Alexandr Obolensky and Pavel Kudyukin. In 1991, the members of SDPR were 5 People’s Deputies of RSFSR: Oleg Rumyantsev, Leonid Volkov, Alexandr Utkin, Gennady Bogomolov, Mikhail Kuznetsov and seven deputies of the USSR – Alexandr Obolensky, Nikolai Tutov, Nikolai Zubkov, Sergei Belozertsev, Kirilov, Davituliani and a member of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, Chairman of the Parliamentary Group Nikolay Sazonov. In Supreme Soviet of RSFSR was founded a united fraction of SDPR and the Republic Party. The Third Congress in April 1991 was elected Chairman Boris Orlov. This Congress supported the candidacy of Boris Yeltsin as Russia’s president. After the election of President Yeltsin’s representative of the party Pavel Kudyukin became Deputy Minister of Labour of RF. After that, the SDPR begins tough fight liberal and social democratic fractions, which eventually caused the disintegration of the party. In May 1993, following the resignation of all co-chairman is elected by the sole supporter of Yeltsin, Anatoly Golov. In October 1994, the VI Party Congress, in which the chairman Anatoly Golov declined to participate. New chairman became Obolensky. After Congress created the Social Democratic Union (SDU) by SDPR with People’s Social Democratic Party and Party of Labours. As a guest of SDU at a congress of SDPR was Mikhail Gorbachev. Creating a SDU has strengthened links with the Socialist International, began publishing the magazine “The Civil Messenger”. But the activity of union lasted after the 1996 presidential election in which candidates from the Union, Mikhail Gorbachev was soundly defeated. In September 1995, held a congress at which all the fractions in the party were reconciled, and was elected new chairman – Sergei Belozertsev. He did nothing and the next congress was assembled by the decision of the Board of the party. In 1996 became the new chairman Vyacheslav Makarov. The composition of the Board, among others, included two State Duma deputies – Olga Beklemischeva and Anatoly Golov. Former chairman of the SDPR Belozertsev not decided to assign printing and other party details and documents. This made it impossible to re-register its Constitution in accordance with the laws. After that, the party ceased to exist. In 2002, SDPR was liquidated by the court decision. 2nd SDPR In March 2000 was founded the Russian United Social Democratic Party (RUSDP) by Mikhail Gorbachev. In December 2000 was established youth organization of the RUSDP – Russian Social Democratic Union of Youth. “Russia is a land of forests, and a forest without undergrowth does not happen. When wood dries, it replaces the undergrowth” – says Gorbachev about this on the Party congress. Second Social Democratic Party was created in November 2001 through the merger of RUSDP and Russian Party of Social Democracy (founded in 1995 by Aleksanr Yakovlev, former member of Politburo of CPSU in Gorbachev’s era, “the ideologist of Perestroika”). Before elections to State Duma in 2003 party with Titov’s filing gone on bargain with “United Russia”. SDPR did not nominate its own election list, and in return received 30 free districts from the candidates of UR. As a result, the party has not received anything. Chairman of the new party became Konstantin Titov, the governor of the Samara region, and Gorbachev became Leader. Dual power lasted until 2004, when the party was to lead Vladimir Kishenin, a retired KGB colonel. In may 2004 Gorbachev says what SDPR is not social democratic party in fact and resigned. At the congress in 2004, Titov gave Party for Kishenin and moved to United Russia. The party has never participated in federal elections. Her best electoral wins of all time are:
  • Konstantin Titov as a governor of Samara region;

  • Aleksandr Lukichev as a Chairman of Vologda municipal Duma with fraction of 7 deputies;
  • Fraction of SDPR in Bryansk regional Duma (with Nikolai Rudenok as a leader).
In summer 2006, the current chairman of RSDUY Evgeniy Konovalov said that SDPR for Kishenin is a business project and no more. He wrote: “SDPR is a structure, designed to solve personal ambitions Kishenin. Management of SDPR are people thinking about how much money they can take from Kishenin. SDPR not have main tactics on the Russian political scene, except for occasional paid shares, which have nothing to do with caring about the real problems of the population. The main objective of SDPR – make a political career for Kishenin and learn to make money for him. SDPR for Kishenin is a joint stock company, where 100% of the shares owned by him. ”

In 2006, the project appeared SDPR association with the People’s Party by Gennady Gudkov, who even partially been implemented a year earlier, when we created with this party the election bloc in municipal elections in the Vologda region.

Many came out of the SDPR after the fourth congress in December 2006, at which Kishenin dragged in the Board his people and is fully supplanted objectionable to it. Olga Zdravomyslova, Boris Orlov, Boris Guseletov, Alexandr Lukichev and other leaders left the party. Former international secretary of SDPR Boris Guseletov says about it. “Unfortunately, the Social Democratic Party, which is still not formally re-registered, has not participated in the process of unification. Only due to my persistence heads of four parties, forming a coalition, agreed to invite the SDPR Chairman to sign a unification agreement. However, after that the SDPR Chairman has made an unreasonable statement several times that the coalition will be formed exclusively on the basis of SDPR, which in fact resulted in disavowal of his signature under the mentioned agreement. This Congress is began and end with the expulsion from the party of two worthy regional leaders (one of whom is also a deputy of the Bryansk regional parliament). They were blamed for having criticized the party chairman.” SDPR was an associate member of the Socialist International. The largest branch of SDPR was in Chechnya – 12,000 members. At the time of liquidation Party had 78,000 members. The party was dissolved by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation in July 2007 after the inspection during unification. The court decided that the party is too small regional offices, which have a statutory number of members. Some party branches have been eliminated before, a branch in Arkhangelsk in 2006, for example.

After SDPR

After the liquidation of SDPR Russian Social Democrats were in a very difficult situation. Today we have a public organization of Social Democrats – RSDUY and the Union of Social Democrats (USD) by Gorbachev. In March 2007 the court overturned a decision to overcome the first SDPR but in the register of political parties, it has not been restored. Many Social Democrats went to the “Fair Russia” and to the “Yabloko”. But it is difficult to call these two parties as a social democratic parties, although some of them this close. If in the party have the Social Democrats, it does not mean that it is social democratic party. “Fair Russia” was created by the state to simulate a democracy and is neither democratic nor left. Leader of the “Fair Russia” – Sergey Mironov – always unconditionally supported the policies of Putin. In 2004, during the presidential elections announced his candidacy and campaigned not for himself but for Putin. “Yabloko” is a member of Liberal International. Known statement of the party leader Grigory Yavlinsky that “Yabloko” will always be the liberal party and will never be socialist. In May 2010, at a conference on 20th Anniversary SDPR I saw people who are interested in social democracy, but are not willing to fight for the party. It was sad.

In the 2009-10 Executive Board of the USD discussed options for a creating of the party, but in the end it was stated that in today’s Russian reality this is impossible.


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