On November 6, 1991, President Boris Yeltsin banned the version of the Communist Party that had ruled over the Soviet Union for 74 years. Two decades on, society is still split on whether it was for better or for worse.
Slightly less than half of all Russians (47 per cent) believe that Yeltsin’s decision was wrong, while only 26 per cent of citizens approve of the move, according to a poll carried out by the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) a couple of months ago. Twenty years ago, these figures were rather different, with 38 per cent of people in favor of the decision and the same number against it.
Today, the Communist party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) is the second strongest after the United Russia party, with about 13-17 per cent of supporters, according to polls, and up to 35 per cent according to the party’s own estimates. It was founded in 1993, declaring itself the successor to the Communist Party of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and had since then remained in power, taking part in both parliamentary and presidential elections.
The Soviet Communist party (KPSS) – comprised of devoted followers of Marxism and Leninism – also exists and continues to function, though not as successfully as the KPRF. It was revived in summer 1992, but the party is not officially registered by the Russian Ministry of Justice, and therefore cannot take part in the elections.
Nikolay Svanidze, a Russian TV journalist and political expert, looks back at the events of 1991 in his column, gives his opinion as to why President Yeltsin banned the Communist party and shares his views of what the KPRF is today.