Russia: Then and now

Russia: Then and now

The Soviet Union collapsed for want of coordination between financial management and economic development. A Russian economy collapsed due to economic...

The Soviet Union collapsed for want of coordination between financial management and economic development. A Russian economy collapsed due to economic liberalism and the WTO XV congress of the Communist Party of Russian Federation was held from February 23 to 25 in Moscow. The Russian Communist Party invited the Communist Party of India whose National Council nominated me to go there as a fraternal delegate. That revived memories of my earlier visit. I was in Moscow in 1978-79 as a member of guest delegation to X world festival of youth & students at Berlin. I went to Tashkent and subsequently visited Moscow. There is lot of difference between these two visits to the same city. This time around I noticed political changes. I wished to visit Lenin's mausoleum at the Kremlin. The word Moscow brings back good memories. My wife and I had suffered a lot in -15 degrees Celsius cold. Yet I could not control the desire to see Russia once again. When we got down at "Revolutionary" metro station, a huge board welcomed us stating that "Lenin's mausoleum is under repair". We visited Parliament building with great disappointment. Once upon a time, the Red flag used to flutter as the national flag. Now there is a three-color flag. Putin's government is playing the drama of so-called "repair" to ensure that the significance of Lenin's mausoleum is not enhanced. But, surprisingly, sculptures depicting Lenin and sickle and hammer, and red caps are being sold in the Kremlin. This shows that people still love the Communist Party. A huge shopping complex is called "Ghoom" in Russian. I enquired about the most congested, biggest & busiest shopping complex in my memory. Its location has not changed but the interior design has changed; reshaped into corporate style and filled with branded items. We could travel by Metro from one place to another by just putting a coin of 5 kopeks whereas now we were compelled to pay 28 Rubles (2800 kopeks). We paid 80 Rubles for a half-liter water bottle, thanks to privatization.
Both the speeches of delegates and the report of the congress showed that the Russian Communist Party was active with 20% voting capacity and 92 members in the Duma of 450 (Parliament). Attention was paid on youth, students, intellectuals, artists, cultural fronts, organisations of children in this congress. Priority was given to young women and in enhancing youth representation in leadership; 30,000 young men and women have joined the party. The Soviet Union collapsed for want of coordination between financial management and economic development. Russian economy collapsed due to economic liberalism and the WTO. They were compelled to import 60% of food products & 90% aircraft machines. It could lose 320 billion dollars due to WTO. Health and education systems were dismantled. Some are living with mere 2 1/2 Rubles. In Moscow I could observe the behavior of youth in 1978. Once, three young men followed me. I have asked Keshav Gopal (who was learning Russian language at that time) why they were following me. He said they wanted my Jeans pant and in return they wanted me to take them to a shop nearby and purchase a new one and pay additional 100 Rubles. Understandably, I ran to the hostel! At a joint meeting between delegations and a delegation of entrepreneurs of Moscow, I asked why the youths could not fulfill their ambitions. The answer was simple: "Purchasing power is there. There are long queues whenever we introduce a new item in the market. If we introduce jean pants, we should manufacture at least 5 crores of them. "We have to allot budget accordingly. Ours is a planned economy. We have international commitments too. Our primary task is to provide minimum facilities domestically. Gorbachev emerged in this background with perestroika and glasnost. The West praised this. Theoreticians within the CPI too started explaining perestroika and glasnost. "Another argument was within the CPI. They branded Gorbachev as a CIA agent. As basic facilities were not being provided, even middle-aged people got dissatisfied. So there have been a lot of changes in these 20 years. These changes are being reflected in this XV congress. Some delegates spoke for restoration of the erstwhile Soviet Union". The gap between the rich and the poor has increased. Congress emphasized that there is no place for middle theories. The Socialist theory is the only correct answer to the bourgeoisie theory. Congress has also said that we have to work hard for growth of Marxist-Leninist theory. It has pointed out that education is more important for enhancing political consciousness. Congress has given political significance to the birth anniversaries of Lenin and Stalin. The writer is the Andhra Pradesh unit secretary of theA Communist Party of India.
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