Today (29/08/2018) president Putin addressed citizens of Russia over TV and radio. The aim of his address was to explain his position regarding the proposed increase of retirement age. On having approved the general course of the government, he introduced a number of proposals aimed at softening the transition to the new system and its consequences. We asked the First Secretary of RCWP CC, the leader of ROT Front comrade Viktor Tyulkin to comment on the speech of the president.

Corr.: Viktor Arkad’evich, on a number of occasions you expressed your opinion that the issue of the pension reform is a sort of decency test for Putin. Why so and how you estimate the results of the test?

V.A. I believe that Putin has obviously failed this peculiar test. It’s come as an unpleasant surprise to many people that retain trust in him. Why was it so?

I’d recommend to pay more attention not to the measures aimed at softening the reform that were apparently prepared in advance, e.g. offering lower age for the retirement of women, but rather to his support of the alleged absolute indispensability of the reform itself.

First, Putin is obviously not sincere – he maneuvers and wriggles. He tries to explain why his initial position has been changed. “Then in the beginning of 2000 I was against such measures. I used to talk about it both at closed meetings and in the public. For example in the course of one of the “Hot lines”, I told outright that such changes wouldn’t be introduced before the end of my presidential term”. Next he explains that the situation has changed since then and the so called “demographic pit” has deepened and there is allegedly no other way out – the unpopular reforms will have to be adopted anyway, regardless the fact who is in power.

Still I’d like to mention that his exact wording was different then. He said “Till I’m president such decision will not be taken”. I.e. he didn’t mean a particular next presidential term of his, but meant his presidency as a whole.

Another thing is still more important. Could Putin change his opinion? We think yes, he could. Now we have to take into consideration yet another argument. We’ve recently had presidential elections and any decent politician while offering his candidature to the public should have specifically expressed his position regarding this crucial issue that concerns everybody. He could announce his views on the pension reform in the course of the elections and then have a look if he could gain enough support for the idea.

No, it wasn’t the case. Now when we see that skipped his touchy subject during presidential elections we have every right to doubt his decency. We are of the opinion that Putin has failed this decency test.

Corr.: Still, Putin brought substantial arguments in favour of the reform and thus substantiated it. He offered concrete measures that will be undoubtedly adopted.

V.A. We have no doubts that Putin is not only well informed about the issue, but that he has been in control of this anti-national campaign. Here he sounds insincere again. He says that the draft of the law was adopted by Russian parliament in the course of the first reading on 19/08. If we consider the event from the formal point of view it’s correct, whereas from political point of view the draft was adopted not “by the parliament” but exclusively with the voices of the United Russia fraction (i.e. 328 votes), whereas all other fractions were against it. What actually matters is not the formal side of the adoption but the essence of the process. Putin started familiar speech on “demographic pit” that is allegedly “a result of heavy losses in course of WWII, that include not only direct losses but also the millions that were not born during the war”. All this, according to Putin, was further aggravated by the “heaviest economic and social crisis of the mid-90-ies and its catastrophic consequences”. We are not going to dispute this. Still we must point out that here he apparently tries to distance himself from that crisis, whereas he is reluctant to mention that it was he himself together with his then boss, mayor Sobchak and the team of other reformers (Chubais, Kudrin etc) that actively carried out those reforms and should be held responsible for their results and the children that were not born then. Nevertheless, he keeps silent about it as well as he keeps silent about the main issue. They carried out the so-called privatization that was essentially the destruction of powerful united economic mechanism that had ensured the stability of the best pension system in the world. That is they destroyed the foundation and are now crying: “Danger! The whole building is falling apart!” Putin considers various suggestions (progressive taxation, taking some of the super profits from oil and gas industries, sales of some of the luxurious buildings belonging to the Pension Fund – one can easily guess how irritated people grow at the display of the Fund’s wealth). Still he claims that all this measures wouldn’t be nearly enough and could ensure pension payments for several weeks only.

These issues are subject to discussion. For example one may ask, why Putin limits progressive tax for super rich to only 20% whereas in developed countries that he so much likes this tax can reach 60%. What is more important that the president avoids considering the basic issue of property. He finds it possible “to sell part of state property” but never considers the possibility of giving back to the state all the properties that were stolen from people under the guise of privatization. Here is the essence of Putin’s position that he expressed as early as at the time when Eltsyn chose him a successor: “There will be no reconsidering of privatization!” What he means is: it is bad, it’s unfair, it’s foul, but there is no other option. Putin is a loyal servant of parasite class. That’s why his claim that “our inactivity now or taking temporary “cosmetic” measures would be irresponsible and dishonest towards both the country and our children” is in fact full of duplicity and deceit. Capitalists and officials have already looked after their children, and they have been further securing the huge class difference by introduction of professional-caste system. Their relatives have already received profitable positions and are in charge of things, whereas the rest of the crowd are free to honestly compete between each other according to their abilities.

When experts ask him why didn’t he acted earlier Putin reveals himself while answering: “We simply weren’t prepared for that. Still we couldn’t actually delay the measures”. Class analysis should be used to understand his words: they weren’t ready then, they were in the process of getting ready. Now they are ready. The current situation is suitable. The class of capitalists-exploiters has grown stronger; the system of total police suppression has been created. There is legislation that enables regime to maintain monopoly of the United Russia party. There is a whole army of officials; there are National Guards that are specialized in suppression of riots. The essence of this reform is intensification of exploitation and further enslavement of people, there is no other necessity.

Corr. What about rather sensible measures suggested by president that are aimed at protection of pre-retirement age people, at their retraining, at introduction of employers’ liability (up to criminal persecution) for their dismissal and at unemployment benefits’ increase?

V.A. Why didn’t they introduce these measures earlier? What interrupted with their introduction? He forgets that as early as 15 years ago he himself used to say: “In general I believe that there is no need to increase the retirement age. One should stimulate people who consider themselves fit enough to go on working after reaching retirement age. Yes, it is possible to motivate people, to create economic conditions stimulating people to go on working whereas their right for retirement shouldn’t be infringed”. They didn’t introduce these stimulation measures though, all their effort was aimed at creating conditions favourable to the propertied class and its interests.

Corr. It’s clear that in your opinion Putin failed to pass his decency test. Let’s now suppose that he sincerely believes that his position is correct. What in your opinion should be done for him to retain his face?

V.T. He should fulfill his own promise: “Such a decision will not be taken till I’m a president” and resign. It’s even clearer that according to Russian constitution “In Russian Federation there should not be adopted laws that either cancel or limit rights and liberties of citizen”.

Corr. Do you believe this may happen?

V.T. Of course I don’t. Decency is also a class concept. In his speech that lasted for 30 minutes, Putin 5 times addresses people as “dear friends”. He swears that he is extremely objective and sincere. He finishes his address as follows: “Please teat this with understanding”.

We understand this in a class workers’ manner: you are being robbed, they take away years of your lives, whereas the number of fat cats increases even more. Should we now treat his reasons with understanding? Sorry, no go.

Capitalists only listen to the voice of power. We call all working people for intensifying of struggle! If we don’t struggle, the parasites and their power will take away everything from us.

To the struggle, comrades! ROT Front!


Interview by correspondent Dmitry Volgin.

Leningrad, August 29 2018 г.


Russian Communist Workers Party