Communist Party of the Russian Federation

Communist Party of the Russian Federation
Communist Party of the Russian Federation
Коммунистическая партия Российской Федерации
Leader Gennady Zyuganov
Founded 14 February 1993
Headquarters Moscow, Russia
Ideology Communism
International affiliation Union of Communist Parties — Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Official colours Red
Seats in the State Duma
57 / 450
Seats in the Regional Parliaments
411 / 3,785
Politics of Russia
Political parties

The Communist Party of the Russian Federation (Russian: Коммунистическая партия Российской Федерации; КПРФ; Kommunisticheskaya Partiya Rossiyskoy Federatsii; KPRF) is a Russian political party. It is the second major political party in the Russian Federation.



The party was founded in February 1993 at a 'Second Extraordinary Congress', declaring itself as the successor to the Communist Party of the RSFSR.[1]

The CPRF is led by Gennady Zyuganov, who co-founded the party in early 1993 with senior former Soviet politicians Yegor Ligachev and Anatoly Lukyanov among others. Zyuganov had been a critic of Alexander Yakovlev, the "godfather of glasnost", on the CPSU Central Committee, and after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 he became active in the Russian "national-patriotic" movement,[2][3] being the chairman of the National Salvation Front (some authors call him a nationalist[4]). Early external collaborators included Eurasianist philosopher Aleksandr Dugin who helped to draft earlier party documents and pushed the party in the direction of nationalism.

A new umbrella movement was formed on the initiative of the CPRF on August 7, 1996. It was called People's Patriotic Union of Russia (NPSR) and consisted of more than 30 left-wing and right-wing nationalist organizations, such as the Russian All-People's Union led by Sergey Baburin. Gennady Zyuganov was its chairman. He was supported by the party as a candidate for Russia's presidency during the 1996 presidential elections and 2000 presidential elections. During the presidential elections of 1996, the CPRF was supported by prominent intellectual Aleksandr Zinovyev (a former Soviet dissident who became a supporter of communism at the time of Perestroika). Another prominent supporter of the CPRF is the physicist Zhores Alferov, who received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2000.

Zyuganov called the 2003 elections a 'revolting spectacle' and accuses the Kremlin of setting up a "Potemkin party," Rodina, to steal its votes.

CPRF's former members include many popular politicians, who seceded after their ambitions on party leading collided with Zyuganov's, who held the stronger support. Gennady Seleznev in 2001, Sergey Glazyev in 2003 and Gennady Semigin in 2004 were the most notable "dissenters". Commentators characterize the dominating Zyuganov wing as nationalist[5] or 'popular-patriotic' (which is often used by the party militants themselves), rather than orthodox Marxist-Leninist. Some observers consider only Richard Kosolapov's minority faction of the CPRF as ideologically communist per se.[6]

A minority faction criticised the decision to candidate "millionaires" (such as Sergei Sobko, general director and owner of the TEKHOS company) in the CPRF's lists, which was seen as a contradiction to the Marxist-Leninist and anti-oligarchic policies of the Party.

In July 2004 a breakaway faction elected Vladimir Tikhonov as its leader. The faction later formed the All-Russia Communist Party of the Future. The operation wasn't successful and recently Tikhonov's party has suspended active operations, seeking rapprochement with Zyuganov's side.

CPRF was endorsed by Sergey Baburin's People's Union for the 2007 Russian parliamentary elections.[7]

The Russian Federal Registration Service says that 164,546 voters have registered with the government as members of the CPRF.[8]


The official ideology of the party is Communism, Marxism-Leninism and patriotism. The party has emphasized its uniquely Russian character and it has consistently invoked Russian patriotism and nationalism in addition to the official Marxism-Leninism of the CPSU.[9] Unlike the CPSU after 1956, the CPRF celebrates the rule of Joseph Stalin.[10] On the occasion of Stalin's birthday on 21 December 2010, Zyuganov called for the "re-Stalinisation" of Russian society in an open letter to President Dmitry Medvedev.[11]

Electoral results

In parliament, after an initial slow start with just 12.4% of vote in the first 1993 parliamentary elections, it grew to 22% in the 1995 parliamentary elections, making it by far the biggest Russian party, raised after that, to 24% in the 1999 elections and then declined dramatically by losing almost half of its votes to 13% in the 2003 parliamentary elections, resulting in 51 out of 450 seats. In the 2007 Russian parliamentary elections the party won 11.6% of the vote, a slight decrease in percentage points, although the election resulted in an increase in the number of votes obtained by the party (more than 8 million votes) and in the number of seats held by the party. The CPRF enjoyed highest support in Tambov Oblast (19.17%), Oryol Oblast (17.58%) and Bryansk Oblast (17.09%). As of 2008 the Communist Party continues to be the second largest party in Russia, as well as the largest opposition party.

In all presidential elections since the fall of the Soviet Union, the Communist candidate came second. In the 1996 elections, candidate Gennady Zyuganov rose to 32% of the votes, just short of Yeltsin's 35%. In the 2000 elections, Zyuganov was the communist candidate, and dropped slightly to 29%, but Vladimir Putin won a landslide victory with 53%. In the presidential election held on 14 March 2004, Putin's support rose to 71% and the Communist Party's candidate, Nikolay Kharitonov, won only 14%. Taking into consideration the fact that Kharitonov (a leading member of the Agrarian Party of Russia) was considered to be a "token" candidate, this was a better result than expected, showing that the CPRF still has a substantial base of support. In the 2008 presidential election, CPRF leader Gennady Zyuganov ran again for President, placing second with a surprising 17.8% (13,243,550 votes). Zyuganov even managed to beat United Russia's candidate Dimitry Medvedev in some small villages and towns. After the election, Zyuganov said that his supporters had uncovered numerous violations and that he should have gotten at least 30% of the vote and he added that he would challenge the results in court. Some weeks later, Russia's Central Election Commission admitted that most of the complaints by the CPRF regarding violations during the election were well grounded and justified,[12] but wouldn't have changed the outcome of the vote.

In February 2005 the CPRF managed to beat the ruling pro-Kremlin party, United Russia, in elections to the regional legislature of Nenets Autonomous Okrug, obtaining 27% of the popular vote.

In the Moscow Duma election held on 4 December 2005, the Party won 16.75 % and 4 seats. This was the best ever result for the CPRF in Moscow. In some observers opinion, the absence of the Rodina party contributed to the Communists' success.

On March 11, 2007, elections took place for 14 regional and local legislatures. The CPRF performed very well and increased its votes in most of the territories; it came second in Oryol Oblast (23.78%), Omsk Oblast (22.58%), Pskov Oblast (19.21%) and Samara Oblast (18.87%), Moscow Oblast (18.80%), Murmansk Oblast (17.51%) and Tomsk Oblast (13.37%).[13] These results testify that the CPRF is the most significant opposition party in Russia.

On May 21, 2007, the CPRF obtained an important success in the Volgograd's mayoral election. Communist candidate Roman Grebennikov was elected as mayor with 32.47% of the vote. Grebennikov is the youngest mayor of a regional capital. But since Roman Grebennikov has switched allegiances to United Russia, angering many Communists who accuse him of using the CPRF as a tool to become elected.

On April 7, 2011, the CPRF candidate Ilya Potapov won the Mayoral election in the town of Berdsk with a landslide victory over the United Russia candidate.

Results of the CPRF in regional parliamentary elections
Region 2003-2005
Arkhangelsk Oblast 8.61 16.67
Bryansk Oblast 18.57 22.76
Vladimir Oblast 20.33 27.75
Volgograd Oblast 25.83 23.57
Kabardino-Balkaria 8.69 8.36
Karachay-Cherkessia 15.57 10.07
Nenets Autonomous Okrug 25.86 20.51
Tatarstan 6.34 11.15
Khakassia 7.04 14.69
Total 12.79 15.88
Results of the CPRF in national elections
Region 2003
Murmansk Oblast 7.44 17.47
Komi Republic 8.72 14.23
Vologda Oblast 8.77 13.44
Leningrad Oblast 9.05 17.07
Saint Petersburg 8.48 16.02
Pskov Oblast 15.17 19.41
Moscow Oblast 9.67 18.81
Oryol Oblast 16.28 17.58
Samara Oblast 17.38 18.39
Stavropol Krai 13.70 14.28
Dagestan 18.31 6.64
Omsk Oblast 16.23 22.90
Tyumen Oblast 9.94 8.43
Tomsk Oblast 12.60 13.37
Total 12.27 16.02


The CPRF has its stronghold in large cities and major industrial and scientific centers ( the so-called "naukograds" ) and in small towns and cities around Moscow.[14] For example, one of the few polling stations that CPRF were a success during Russian legislative election, 2007, was one at Moscow State University.[15]

The Party's electorate is composed mainly of pensioners, industrial workers and not-for-profit organizations' employees. The past few years have also seen a growth in its support of the leftist youth groups,[citation needed] such as the Vanguard of Red Youth. A representative of CPRF was present at "the Other Russia" conference of opposition parties in 2006. Also recent 2007-2007 elections witnessed a growing number of protesting non-leftist voters who gave their votes to the Party since they saw no tangible alternative.

According to Mikhail Remizov, President of the Institute of the National Strategy, "The electorate of the Communist Party of Russia is becoming more variegated. Now they are not only elderly pensioners crying for the USSR. 'The new discontented' class is taking shape among potential voters and the lion’s share of their votes goes to the Communist Party, which maintains the reputation of the main oppositional force, and this affects its rating."[16]


According to Gorbachev Foundation analyst Dmitry Furman, the party's “fascistoid features are so salient that one has to be blind and deaf not to notice them.″[17] Marxist theoretician Boris Kagarlitsky writes: "It is enough to recall that within the Communist movement itself, Zyuganov's party was at first neither the sole organisation, nor the largest. Bit by bit, however, all other Communist organisations were forced out of political life. This occurred not because the organisations in question were weak, but because it was the CPRF that had received the Kremlin's official approval as the sole recognised opposition."[18] Andrei Brezhnev, grandson of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, has criticised the CPRF's Zyuganov's rapprochement with the Russian Orthodox Church.[19]


See also


  1. ^ American University (Washington, D.C.), and Moskovskiĭ gosudarstvennyĭ universitet im. M.V. Lomonosova. Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, Volume 4. Washington, D.C.: Quality Press of the Southern Tier Inc, 1996. p. 174
  2. ^ Who Are You, Comrade Zyuganov?
  3. ^ The Communist Party in Post-Soviet Russia, by ''Luke March''. Retrieved 2011-02-19. 
  4. ^ Russian politics and society - Google Books. Retrieved 2011-02-19. 
  5. ^ Ethnic Nationalism in the Russian Federation by Anatoly M. Khazanov; Daedalus, Vol. 126, 1997
  6. ^ Andrey Shabaev. "Российская многопартийность. Глава 5". Retrieved 2011-02-19. 
  7. ^ Andrey Shabaev. "Партинформ. Материал последнего номера". Retrieved 2011-02-19. 
  8. ^ Federal Registration Service of the Russian Federation
  9. ^ NUPI  — Centre for Russian Studies
  10. ^ "Thousands pay respects to Stalin". BBC News. 2003-03-06. Retrieved 2008-06-06. 
  11. ^ "Communists lay carnations for Stalin". AFP. 2010-12-22. Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  12. ^ [1][dead link]
  13. ^ "Официальный сайт КПРФ". Retrieved 2011-02-19. 
  14. ^ "Оренбургский Областной Комитет КПРФ" (in ru). Retrieved 2009-02-05. [dead link]
  15. ^ "Агентство Политических Новостей" (in ru). Retrieved 2007-12-14. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ Russian fascism By Stephen Shenfield. p. 51
  18. ^ Name: * (2001-01-17). "RUSSIA: Is there life for KPRF after Yeltsin? 17 January 2001 BY BORIS KAGARLITSKY". Retrieved 2011-02-19. 
  19. ^ "THE SATURDAY PROFILE; A Different Kind of Brezhnev in the Making". The New York Times. 2002-08-10. Retrieved 2010-03-28. 

Further reading

  • KPRF ideology and its implications for democratization in Russia by Syed Mohsin Hashim. In: Communist and Post-Communist Studies Volume 32, Issue 1, March 1999, pp. 77–89

External links

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