Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/167/7876

From The Socialist newspaper, 21 July 2000

Building a left-wing opposition in Russia

BORN IN 1970, a history teacher by profession, Oleg has participated in the workers' movement in Russia Shein throughout the 1990s with an internationalist perspective. A member of the Astrakhan regional council, Oleg was elected as an independent workers' deputy (MP) to the Duma (Russian parliament) in 1999. On a recent tour of Europe organised by International Solidarity with Workers in Russia, he spoke to The Socialist.
Tell us about your work and what you hope to get from this visit.

IN 1995 the independent Left trade union in Russia called 'Defence' a Workers Trade Union was established and in 1999 we began to build a Movement for a Workers' Party which is an attempt to unite various Marxist groups in Russia under a common platform through workers' struggle.

We believe we cannot win in Russia unless we establish very good contacts with workers in other countries who too are suffering under the same capitalist conditions.

What has capitalist restoration meant for the lives of working class people in the former Soviet Union?

THERE HAS been a catastrophic decrease in living standards and the destruction of access to good education and health care. Significant sections of industry have been destroyed and there's mass unemployment which has added to the 'de-proletarianisation' of the population.

This will result in the drastic reduction in the budget of the Russian state and the lowering of social services. Last spring 26 social programmes had to be cut.

Also, the government is trying to raise the retirement age. At present, women in Russia retire at 55 men at 60, the government wants to raise the retirement age for both sexes to 65. In Kazakhstan this is already the situation.

They also want to impose a system of payment for local telephone calls (at the moment local telephone calls are free).

The government is imposing taxes on soldiers and on other categories of workers who up to now have been exempt tax. This is a naked programme of ruling class self-interest. You can see this in the imposition of a flat tax where both workers and bankers pay 13% despite the huge disparities in incomes.

Putin is centralising state power. How has this increased authoritarianism affected workers rights?

RIGHT NOW we are starting to see the end of the 'bourgeois-democratic' period of the growth of capitalism in Russia.

The coming to power of Vladimir Putin and the beginning of an authoritarian state is a defining moment in this transition period.

Since 1994 there have been attempts by the bourgeoisie to impose a new labour code, to break the rights of workers under the existing law. The new code will make it easier to sack workers and liquidates all the rights of trade unions to organise.

Matters came to a head during the government of Sergei Kiriyenko [1998] who was a servant of international finance capital. The IMF and World Bank demanded that Kiriyenko change the labour laws.

The new code establishes a 12-hour working day - a four hour increase! It eliminates maternity leave. It establishes individual employment and allows for the collection political information about workers.

Workers have become used to striking and fighting back against their employers (winning about 95% of strikes and about 60% of actions brought before the courts) so now the bourgeoisie want to change the legal structure under which labour is regulated.

Trade union protests delayed the new labour law which will be reintroduced into Parliament in December. We are doing all kinds of protest actions then and we are counting on the support of workers in the West.

What are the prospects for advancing the struggles of the working class? In particular the development of a new workers party.

RIGHT NOW there is no working-class political party in Russia that defends workers interests. All the bourgeois parties (and I include the KPRF - the Communist Party of the Russian Federation) are discredited.

The active working-class movements in Russia today are generally of a socialist character. The union [Defence] includes socialist trade unions, left-wing trade unions but also other independent trade unions.

While there is every possibility of forming a workers party in Russia, we also have barriers.

One problem is the collapse of the bourgeois-democratic state that had allowed us some political leeway. Another problem is the relative weakness at an organisational level of our movements as well as problems of lack of resources.

Since 1990 [collapse of the former Soviet Union] there has formed in Russia a class of people who want to live free. These people have gone through many experiences - strikes, blockades, pickets, railway blockades.

Our group has set itself the task of uniting these people and giving them the tools to fight for and liberate themselves from capitalism and to found a society based on equality.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 21 July 2000:

Brown's Spending Mirage

Peugeot workers ballot: Strike Action Now!

M25 Three Free at Last

Building a left-wing opposition in Russia

Workers' movement adopts CWI programme


 

Home   |   The Socialist 21 July 2000   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Russia:

triangleOctober 1917 reviews: 'More bright than any heaven'

triangleRussia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Russia's October 1917 revolution

triangleTrotsky's "insightful and frank examination" of revolution out soon

triangleProtests against state repression in Russia and Kazakhstan

State:

triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

triangleShocking insight into Isis

triangleCatalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangleSolidarity with Catalonia - the people have the right to decide

Trade unions:

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Black workers and the British trade unions

triangleThe Tories must be driven out

triangleLondon: TUC lobby & rally; and London march

Labour:

triangleSheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

International

International

18/10/17

Hong Kong

Campaign against political repression in Hong Kong

11/10/17

Catalonia

Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

4/10/17

Catalonia

Solidarity with Catalonia - the people have the right to decide

4/10/17

Catalonia

Eyewitness: Irish socialist MP participates in events

2/10/17

Catalonia

Exemplary resistance by the people of Catalonia

27/9/17

Germany

Germany: Election results in political earthquake

27/9/17

Catalonia

Strike against Madrid's 'state of emergency'!

27/9/17

Germany

German elections: rise of the far right and right-wing government will provoke resistance

27/9/17

France

French Labour reform protests

25/9/17

Catalonia

Catalonia: Student strike called

20/9/17

Myanmar

Brutal repression of Rohingya people sparks massive humanitarian crisis

20/9/17

Catalonia

Solidarity with Catalonia in the Spanish state

15/9/17

Germany

Berlin hospital strike

13/9/17

Korea

Korean peninsula: is nuclear war likely?

13/9/17

Students

Interview with leader of students' union in the Spanish state: "When we fight, we win!"

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

More ...

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

triangle25 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2