Russian coalition forms to challenge Communists

October 22, 1990|By Los Angeles Times

MOSCOW -- Democrats from 10 of the Soviet Union's fledgling parties and two dozen other political organizations formed a united front yesterday against the shaken but not yet beaten Communist Party.

Democratic Russia, which claims support from 30 percent of the parliament of the Russian Federation and 60 percent of both the Moscow and Leningrad city councils, hopes to achieve a step-by-step takeover of power from the Communist Party, which has governed the Soviet Union for 73 years.

To end this long monopoly on power, the new democratic movement, in a series of resolutions adopted at a weekend congress in Moscow, called for creating a multiparty democracy with a market economy based on private ownership of property.

"The Communist Party bosses think they will be able to keep their monopoly intact because their democratic opponents are fragmented," said Vladimir S. Vedenkov, a delegate from Krasnoyarsk in Siberia. "This movement will help the opposition organize against the Communist Party."

Although the Communist Party gave up its constitutional monopoly on power early this year, no strong party has surfaced as an alternative in Russia, the largest of the Soviet Union's 15 constituent republics.

"This is the first step toward the unification of democratic forces," said Yuri N. Afanasyev, a founder of Democratic Russia and a member of the Congress of People's Deputies. "It won't be a party. It will be a coalition of sovereign, independent movements and parties."

Democratic Russia brings together most of the newly formed and still small parties in the Russia Federation: the Christian Democrats, the Democrats, the Democratic Union, the Peasant Party, the Party of Free Labor, the Party of Russia, the Social Democrats, the Constitutional Democrats and others.

With more than 1,200 delegates from across Russia, the founding congress adopted more than a dozen resolutions, ranging from demands for the resignations of Prime Minister Nikolai I. Ryzhkov and his government to calls for the independence of the Russian Federation from the Soviet Union.

"It was very surprising to me that it went so smoothly," said Arkady N. Murashev, a leader of the Democratic movement in the Congress of People's Deputies. "I expected if not a split, then many deserters."

In both the resolutions and the speeches, Democratic Russia clearly supported Russian Federation President Boris N. Yeltsin and a radical path toward a market-based economy. But Yeltsin and other high-profile democrats were conspicuously absent from the congress.

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