Russian Communist leader warns Putin that police ‘brutality’ & controversial online voting are ‘bomb’ waiting to ‘blow up’ society

The leader of Russia’s Communists has written an open letter to President Vladimir Putin bemoaning the arrests of his comrades and what he sees as the “unjustified brutality” of the police, warning that trouble may lie ahead.

In the missive, published on the party’s official website, Gennady Zyuganov complained about the detentions of Communists following protests on September 20 and 25. He described the arrests as “groundless” and “unlawful.”

Last month, the party organized two demonstrations against the results of September’s parliamentary election, which, for the first time, was held over multiple days. In Moscow, the Communists believe they were robbed of rightfully won seats by rigged online voting and are campaigning to annul the results. Because of the tallied remote votes, the party failed to win a single seat in the capital’s single-mandate districts, despite several candidates topping the poll in the regular physical ballot.

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FILE PHOTO. Participants, including members and supporters of the Russian Communist Party, attend an opposition rally to protest against the results of a parliamentary election in Moscow, Russia September 25, 2021. © Reuters / Evgenia Novozhenina
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Following the protests, many Communist politicians, supporters and members were detained by the authorities. The demonstrations were officially unauthorized by the Moscow government, but the party claims that it was simply a meeting of MPs with their voters, which by law does not require any approval.

“It is obvious that those who ordered and carried out these and other illegal actions are guided not by legal provisions and the interests of public safety, but by a poorly understood political expediency,” Zyuganov wrote.

According to the veteran politician, the new three-day electoral format, combined with online voting, is “a nuclear bomb which could sooner or later blow up the stability of society that patriotic forces have been building for years.”

“Instead of establishing a constructive dialogue with the leading parliamentary party, administrative pressure on the Communists is intensifying, with more and more cases of police harassment of its activists and supporters. The unjustified brutality and scale of these forceful actions are increasing before our eyes,” he continued.

In conclusion, the Communist leader asked Putin to cancel the “fundamentally flawed” electoral system, claiming that “remote voting” has been abandoned in the majority of the developed countries of the world.

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FILE PHOTO: Leader of the Russian Communist Party Gennady Zyuganov is seen in Red Square before the Victory Day Parade in Moscow, Russia June 24, 2020. © REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
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“I ask you, as the guarantor of the Constitution, to take strict measures aimed at bringing to justice the officials guilty of exceeding their authority. I sincerely hope that similar violations will be prevented in the future,” he said.

Zyuganov has led the Russian Communists since 1993, and has kept the party within the top three most-represented factions in the country’s parliament ever since. 

According to the official results of last month’s election, the party received 18.93% of the vote, maintaining its status as the largest opposition party in the Duma and pulling ahead of all other non-government factions.

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