The end of the Soviet Union in 1991 had been projected in some quarters as a manifestation of the 'popular will for democracy'. Yet this was not the case as is clear from the result of the March Referendum of 1991 in which 76% of the Soviet electorate upheld the continuation of the USSR constitution. The disintegration of the USSR had to be carried out behind the backs of the Soviet peoples after the failure of the 'August Coup' by Gorbachev, Yeltsin and their associates at home and abroad. Notwithstanding the entire gamut of socialist camouflage exhibited by the ruling CPSU establishment, the USSR had lost its revolutionary bearings decades before 1991 and had succumbed to the norms characteristic of a system of generalised commodity production. Today the Commonwealth of Independent States experiences an all-round social, economic and national crisis. The Soviet peoples of yesteryear are undergoing imperialist penetration, deindustrialisation, national strife, inflation, crime, unemployment, a rising death rate, a fall in the average length of life, a rising suicide rate, a drastic fall in the birth rate and an over-all declining population. The unimpeded laws of the market have not created the anticipated utopia, no more than had been possible under the decades of 'market socialism'. Yet the cloud has a silver lining. The Soviet working peoples have asserted themselves to defend the social gains of the October Revolution, the right to work, housing, education and health care. They stood up to defend the Soviet form of government when Yeltsin, with the advance approval of the heads of world imperialism, dissolved the House of the Soviets in September, 1993. They again raised the slogan of the October Revolution: "All Power to the Soviets!" After the successful military assault on the House of the Soviets hundreds of communists and militants were massacred in a barbaric fashion inside the 'White House'. While hundreds more of the remaining defenders after 'interrogation' were shot in the nearby Krasnopresenskoe Stadium.
How far has the communist movement been compelled to undergo a process of metamorphosis? The CPSU and the Communist Party of the Russian Federation headed by Gennadi Zyuganov, supported by the directors of the state-owned enterprises who wish to re-establish Russia once again as an industrial power, uphold the traditions of the 20th to the 28th Congresses of the CPSU and consider that socialism (read: bureaucratic state capitalism) may be victorious once again through peaceable, parliamentary means under the benign gaze of western imperialism and without touching the private capital which has been established after 1991. Khrushchevism is far from dead and it stands as the major obstacle in the working class movement in the struggle to establish socialism once again in Russia. It may be considered as entirely appropriate that 'our' own adherents of Khrushchev, the CPI and the CPI(M), enthusiastically participated in the recently concluded 3rd Congress of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. The militant communist parties, the Russian Communist Workers' Party headed by Victor Anpilov, and the All-Union Communist Party (Bolshevik) led by Nina Andreyeva, call for a second edition of the October socialist revolution of 1917, the re-establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and the reconstruction of the socialism of the period of Lenin and Stalin. The new communist movement, recognising the treachery of the post-Stalin leadership, has vindicated the honour of the Russian working class which led three revolutions, established the rule of the proletariat, formed a free, harmonious family of nations, carried out socialist industrialisation and collectivisation, defeated Hitler and freed central and eastern Europe from fascism and the peoples of Manchuria and Korea from the domination of Japanese militarist imperialism. The living experience of the working class impels them to reconsider their past history. The loss of the social gains of the revolution and the savage blows of reaction inflicted on the attempts to defend these gains have led to a positive reconsideration of the Stalin period. This process has been enormously facilitated by the release from the archives of a stream of documents of the Soviet period. The ongoing revolutionisation of the militant trends of the Russian communist movements faces a major impediment in the continued presence of pronounced survivals of the tradition of the 20th Congress of the CPSU. Wide sections of the communist movement defend the theory of the 'altered' commodity existing under socialism which was used as a justification for the expansion of commodity-money relations after 1953. 'Market socialism' is widely regarded as a deformed variety of socialism rather than as a form of the capitalist economy. The contemporary citadels of 'market socialism', the former people's democracies, are categorised as 'socialist states'. The expansionism of the Brezhnev period is confounded with proletarian internationalism. The relative lack of exposure to and interaction with the theoretical heritage of those international communist currents which rose to defend Marxism from the Khrushchevite-Brezhnevite betrayal is a further handicap. The task of overcoming these shortcomings has already been initiated.
The inaugural issue of 'Revolutionary Democracy' takes up some of the questions raised by the fall of the Soviet Union. The first article examines the phenomenon of post -war 'market socialism', it suggests that strong trends existed in the USSR for the retention and extension of commodity-money relations in the Stalin period which came into their own prior even to the 20th Congress of the CPSU. The second presentation takes up some of the issues which emerge from the publication of Feliks Chuyev's book 'One Hundred and Forty Conversations with Molotov' which sheds light on the internal logic of the Stalin period and the weaknesses of the defence of socialism from the Khrushchevite counter-revolution. The account of the International Seminar 'Stalin Today' organised by the International Committee for the Restoration of the Soviet Union indicates some of the assessments of Stalin by sections of the international communist movement. The interview of Nina Andreyeva and V. I. Klushin (General Secretary and Central Committee member of the AUCP (B), respectively) reveals the perspectives of one of the major trends of the developing communist movement in the former USSR which is as yet little known in this country. The special issue on Russia includes the programmatic document of the newly formed All-Union Communist Workers' Guard (Bolshevik) which is indicative of the further revolutionisation of the Russian communist movement. This issue concludes with the poem written in 1960 by Feliks Chuyev entitled "Why they demolished Stalin monuments". A number of members of the CPSU were expelled from the party for reading this in the Khrushchev period. It could not be published then but was read at poets' and literary meetings. It was highly commended by Mikhail Sholokhov.
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