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#14 - JRL 7255
Nezavisimaya Gazeta
No. 145
July 18, 2003

The opinion prevailing in the expert community suggests that the Communist Party does not need to do anything to secure its 25% of the votes at the December parliamentary elections. It is believed that the electoral situation has never before been so comfortable for the KPRF. Below is the interview, which one of the heads of the KPRF headquarters and deputy chairman of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation Ivan MELNIKOV gave to Nezavisimaya correspondent Anatoly KOSTYUKOV.

Question: Do you agree that the KPRF has already secured 25% of the votes?

Answer: Unfortunately, this is not so. We are aware of the authorities' intentions and, therefore, believe that we shall have to struggle even for 25%. However, the main thing is that we do not consider this figure to be the maximum possible result for us. We have other guidelines.

For instance, we can aspire for 40% on party lists. To achieve this goal, we have to work much.

Question: Have you read the electoral manifesto of the Union of Right Forces? It contains one interesting thesis: right- wingers say that the struggle against the Communist threat and, consequently, against the KPRF has lost its topicality.

Therefore, the KPRF has lost its most ardent and inventive critics.

Answer: Frankly speaking, the right-wing forces have never created any major problems for us. We have quite different electorates and we are quite different from each other in terms of ideology, views and assessments and, therefore, there are no grounds for any real rivalry between us. The party of power has always been and remains our main adversary.

Question: Have you clarified the issue with the first three candidates of your federal list?

Answer: I believe that we shall propose to the congress to place the candidatures of Gennady Zyuganov, Zhores Alferov, Sergei Glazyev, Svetlana Savitskaya and Nikolai Kharitonov at the top of the list. Then the congress will determine the sequence of these names in the list.

Question: You mentioned Glazyev. However, he earlier expressed the intention to create an independent left-wing and patriotic coalition and participate in the elections separately from the KPRF.

Answer: Sergei Glazyev still has time to decide: either to run together with us or separately. We believe that he will make his final choice in August.

Question: You don't believe that he will succeed in creating such a coalition, do you?

Answer: We know that this is what the Kremlin wants very much from him. Today it is impossible within a short period of time and without the support of the mass media and without financial backing to create any serious electoral association. If there is such support, then this means that this is advantageous to the Kremlin.

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