As the world celebrates the 90th anniversary of the October Revolution, Russia is preparing for parliamentary elections. According to press reports, Putin’s party, United Russia, is expected to dominate. This by virtue of the Russian president’s near monopoly over politics and the media. Significantly, only two parties, Putin’s and the Communists candidates will overcome a 7 percent hurdle needed to guarantee entry into the Russian Duma. Other liberal, right and centrist parties are apparently too split up to easily overcome the electoral bar. Russia communist parties too are confronted by the unity obstacle and are split up with at last count over 10 different parties, albeit with 4 or 5 carrying significant memberships.
Perhaps the Communists will make an issue of Putin’s dictatorial style as it was recently reported that Party leaders in Novosibirsk were investigated by state security services for printing jokes told about Putin in a party newsletter. Apparently it was felt humor about the Russian president was “inappropriate.” Communist Party leader Zuganov might consider auditioning for Comedy Central, even if arrested, shows might be aired by satellite and on-line, giving the media-starved left some much needed publicity. Stay tuned to politicalaffairs.net for interviews conducted by CPUSA leader John Bachtell, who recently returned from Moscow’s Red Square celebrations.