For more about the voters’ mood in Russia, euronews spoke with Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the Communist party, the biggest in opposition.
Alexandre Shashkov, euronews: Many voters say they are disillusioned with all the parties currently in the Duma, and several other parties were banned on procedural grounds. In consequence, part of society is willing to forgo the elections altogether. How do you see this, and do you think it will influence the polls?
Gennady Zyuganov, Communist Party of the Russian Federation: “I actually think that voter turnout will be higher. Our citizens understand that Russia is at an impasse: the current ‘resource-based’ economy doesn’t work anymore; we need real modernisation and a strong anti-corruption drive, and broader representation. It’s better to correct the situation in the voting booth than to have the same wave which has rolled from Tunisia to Egypt. We think a variation of the “Arab Spring” is absolutely unacceptable for Russia.
euronews: “Opinion polls show a drop in approval for the United Russia party. How does this change the balance of things? Will it increase your support?”
Zyuganov: “In almost all cities in municipal elections this year we beat United Russia. Look at this diagram. In the biggest Russian cities – such as Novosibirsk, Nijni Novgorod and Tver – the column with our colour, red, is bigger than for blue almost everywhere. We have published our programme in huge numbers. I’m sure it has reached new voters, and in the December 4 election, we will increase our representation, and we will have a real opportunity to implement the wishes of the majority of voters. Our people are turning away from United Russia, as it has failed their expectations and hopes. The people who think, reflect and read understand that without a real opposition the new Duma will be like the old one, only worse.”
euronews: “It’s believed that your electorate rather tends to be elderly people. What do you do to attract more young and active people?”
Zyuganov: “That question dates from 10 years ago. Recently, we’ve taken on 30,000 young members. We’ve brought back patriotic clubs for children and young people, and student work brigades. Our party today is not only supported by the elderly, but by all those who read, who think and who see what is happening in the country. Young people are the portion who have lost the most in recent times. In the last two years we have had roughly two million graduates in Russia, yet for a single job position there are 17 applicants. It means 16 young people studied, paying for their studies, and are out of work. Young people do not accept this, and that’s why many young people will not only vote for us, but also work for us; of the almost 100,000 observers that we’re sending to polling stations to guard our votes, most are young and very active.”