Gennady Zyuganov

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Gennady Zyuganov
Генна́дий Зюга́нов
First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation
Assumed office
14 February 1993
Preceded by Valentin Kuptsov
Chairman of the Union of Communist Parties — Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Assumed office
Preceded by Oleg Shenin
Chief Ideologue of the Communist Party of the Russian SFSR
In office
Personal details
Born Gennady Andreyevich Zyuganov
26 June 1944 (1944-06-26) (age 75)
Mymrino, Oryol Oblast, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Nationality Soviet Union Soviet
Russia Russian
Political party Communist Party of the Russian Federation
Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1966-1991)
Spouse(s) Nadezhda Vitalyevna,
children son
Andrey (born in 1968)
Tatiana (born in 1974) [1]
Profession Teacher, civil servant
Military service
Allegiance Soviet Union
Service/branch Soviet Army
Years of service 1963–1966
Rank Private
Awards Jubilee medal "Twenty Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945"

Gennady Andreyevich Zyuganov (Russian Wp→: Генна́дий Андре́евич Зюга́нов; born 26 June 1944) is a Russian politician, First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (since 1993), Chairman of the Union of Communist Parties - Communist Party of the Soviet Union (UCP-CPSU) (since 2001), deputy of the State Duma (since 1993), and a member of Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (since 1996).

Early life

Zyuganov was born in Mymrino, a farming village in Oryol Oblast, south of Moscow. The son and grandson of schoolteachers, he followed in their footsteps: after graduating from a secondary school, his first job was working there for one year as a physics teacher in 1961.

In 1962, he enrolled into the Department of Physics and Mathematics of Oryol Pedagogical Institute. From 1963 to 1966, he served in a Radiation, Chemical, and Biological Intelligence unit of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany. Zyuganov joined the Communist Party in 1966.

He returned to the teachers' college in 1966. Three years older than most members of the sophomore class, he was already a party member; a position of prestige, and a popular college athlete. On his return, he also married his wife, Nadezhda. He completed his degree in 1969.

Party work

Zyuganov taught mathematics but soon turned to party work in Oryol Oblast, beginning in 1967. He became the First Secretary of the local Komsomol and the regional chief for ideology and propaganda. He emerged as a popular politician in the area. Among many other functions, Zyuganov organized parties and dances as a local Komsomol leader while he was rising through the ranks of the vast network of party apparatchiks. Zyuganov rose to be second secretary, or second in command, of the party in Oryol.

He enrolled at an elite party school in Moscow, the Academy of Social Sciences in 1978, completing his doctor nauk, a post-doctoral degree, in 1980. He then returned to Oryol to become regional party chief for ideology and propaganda until 1983. In 1983, he was given a high-level position in Moscow as an instructor in the Communist Party propaganda department.

Zyuganov emerged as a leading critic of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroika and glasnost in the party's Agitation and Propaganda division (later the Ideological division), a hotbed of opposition to reform. As the party began to crumble in the late 1980s, Zyuganov took the side of hard-liners against reforms that would ultimately culminate in the end of CPSU rule and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In May 1991, he published a fiercely critical piece on Alexander Yakovlev.


"I am convinced that within the Communist Party there has always been not just the two opposing camps. In its institutional framework was constantly struggle between two completely different parties - the Party of "our country" and the party "this country". The first belonged to Lenin and Stalin, Sholokhov and Queens, Zhukov and Gagarin, Kurchatov and Stahanov. It included the first five drummers and people who stopped fascism, workers and farmers, fixed their labor power power, much of the rank and file managers and party officials, hauling strap smoothly in its most difficult days. But the most important thing - this party joined millions of patriots who always put the interests of the country above all personal wealth and privilege enjoyed only one - to be where the more difficult and dangerous, do not hide behind someone else's back. The second batch was not numerous. But its political weight and influence in the upper echelons of power have often been decisive. It included those for whom "this country" and "these people" were merely an arena, the material for the realization of their exorbitant, vainglorious ambition and lust of power-seeking, adventurous training ground for social experiments. It is the party of Trotsky and Kaganovich, Beria and Mehlis, Gorbachev and Yeltsin, Yakovlev and Shevardnadze. It is the party of traitors acting all the time on the sly, deceived people and destroyed a great power."[2]

From this we can conclude that, according to Zyuganov, the Communist Party has failed to deliver sufficient barrier to the influence of "anti-patriotic forces" as being in the minority, "antipatriots" turned out to be on the leading party posts, up to the highest. Zyuganov, however, this conclusion does not and causes the appearance of a "second party" within the Communist Party does not analyze.

Interestingly, among the persons listed Zyuganov in the "second party", there was no unity. So, Beria was in charge of the operation to eliminate Trotsky. It is well known opposition to Gorbachev and Yeltsin. Yakovlev furiously denounced Beria and Kaganovich for the genocide of the Russian population."

Head of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation

Zyuganov wrote several influential papers in the early 1990s attacking Yeltsin and calling for a return to the socialism of the pre-Gorbachev days. In July 1991, he signed the A Word to the People declaration. As the Communist Party of the Soviet Union fell into disarray, Zyuganov helped form the new Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), and became one of seven secretaries of the new group's Central Committee and in 1993 its chairman. Outside observers were surprised by the survival of Zyuganov's Communist Party into the post-Soviet era.

Quickly emerging as post-communist Russia's leading opposition leader, Zyuganov stressed the overall decline in living standards corresponding with the dismantlement of Soviet socialism. Economic power was left concentrated in the hands of a tiny share of the population, violent crime increased, and ethnic groups throughout Russia embarked on campaigns, sometimes violent, to win autonomy. Thus, many in Russia longed for a return to the days of socialism, when a strong central government guaranteed personal and economic security. Russians left behind in the new capitalist Russia emerged as Zyuganov's supporters: workers, clerks, bureaucrats, some professionals, and, above all others, the elderly. As Zyuganov succeeded in combining Communist ideas with Russian nationalism, his Communist Party of the Russian Federation joined hands with numerous other left-wing and right-wing nationalist forces, forming a common 'national-patriotic alliance.'

In the 1993 and 1995 parliamentary elections, the newly revitalized Communist Party of the Russian Federation made a strong showing, and its leader, Gennady Zyuganov, emerged as a serious challenger to President Boris Yeltsin.

1996 Russian presidential campaign

Zyuganov entered the 1996 presidential election, as the standard-bearer of the Russian Communist Party. Co-opting Russian nationalism, he attacked the infiltration of Western ideals into Russian society and portrayed Russia as a great nation that had been dismantled from within by traitors in cahoots with Western capitalists who sought the dissolution of Soviet power in order to exploit Russia's boundless resources.

In the election on June 16, Zyuganov finished second with 32%, trailing only Yeltsin, who captured 35%. Zyuganov prepared for the July 3 runoff election with confidence. He ran a campaign focusing on the president's ill health and pledged to return Russia to its Soviet days of glory. Yeltsin, however, relentlessly exploited his advantages of incumbency, patronage, and financial backing; thus, Yeltsin gained most from the elimination of the many smaller parties and the support of Alexander Lebed and eventually won the two-man showdown by 53.8% against 40.3%.

He, alongside Nikolai Ryzhkov, was considered to be the formal leaders of the People's Patriotic Union of Russia.


Political observers suggested that Zyuganov was still a force to be reckoned with in Russian politics and that his next task would be to remake the communists into a strong opposition. But after the December 1999 parliamentary elections, the number of Communist seats in the Duma was reduced. Communist support started to ebb, given the widespread electoral support at the time for the government's invasion of Chechnya in September 1999 and the popularity of Yeltsin's new prime minister, Vladimir Putin, who was widely seen as the ailing Yeltsin's heir apparent. Moreover, Communist support suffered as the extremely unpopular Yeltsin fell out of public life.

Vladimir Putin and Zyuganov
Dmitry Medvedev and Zyuganov

Thus, no one was surprised when Zyuganov placed a distant second behind Vladimir Putin in the March 2000 presidential election. In 2004, Zyuganov did not even bother to run against Putin, who secured a landslide reelection victory.

Zyuganov has also been Chairman of the Union of Communist Parties - Communist Party of the Soviet Union (UCP-CPSU) since 2001, replacing Oleg Shenin.

In October 2005, Zyuganov indicated that he would run for president in 2008, the second person to enter the race for the Kremlin following former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov. According to one report, Zyuganov pledged to quadruple pensions and state salaries, should he get elected.[3]

2008 Russian presidential campaign

In January 2008, Zyuganov challenged Dmitry Medvedev, Putin's chosen successor, to an open, televised debate,[4] but Medvedev refused to take part, citing lack of time.[5][dead link]

In the presidential election on March 2, 2008, Zyuganov garnered 17.76% of the vote and came in second to Medvedev's 70.23%.[6]


On the occasion of Zyuganov's 65th birthday in June 2009, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin presented him with a copy of the first Soviet edition of the Communist Manifesto, making Zyuganov very emotional.[7] On the occasion of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin's birthday on 21 December 2010, Zyuganov called for the "re-Stalinisation" of Russian society in an open letter to President Medvedev.[8]

After Putin's annual address to parliament on 20 April 2011, Zyuganov criticised it as inadequate in dealing with Russia's economic decline and warned that "If the [parliamentary and presidential] elections are as dirty as before, the situation will develop along the North African scenario."[9][dead link] Zyuganov denounced election irregularities in the Russian legislative election of 2011 but also expressed his opposition to the organizers of the mass demonstrations of December, 2011 who he views as ultra liberals who are exploiting unrest. The party played only a minor role in the protests, with one of its speakers, who called for restoration of Soviet power, being booed off the stage. Party rallies on December 18, 2011 in protest of election irregularities in Moscow and St. Petersberg were attended by only a few thousand, mostly elderly, party supporters. According to The New York Times it is questionable that Zyuganov due to his age and association with Soviet policies will be able to capitalize on the opportunity presented by popular disgust with the Putin regime and mobilize mass popular support of his party.[10][dead link]

2012 Russian presidential campaign

In September 2011, Zyuganov again became the CPRF's candidate for the 2012 presidential election. According to Zyuganov, "a gang of folks who cannot do anything in life apart from dollars, profits and mumbling, has humiliated the country" and called for a new international alliance to "counter the aggressive policies of imperialist circles."[11]

In the 2012 Russian presidential election on March 4, 2012 he once again came in second place by receiving 17% of the vote. [12]

See also

External links


  1. Biography of Gennady Zyuganov and children
  2. «Перед рассветом». Новая книга Г.А. Зюганова. URL accessed on 01.02.2013.
  3. Communists leader to run for president. Russia Today. URL accessed on 2008-01-03.
  4. Minenko, Sergey. "Лидер КПРФ вызвал Дмитрия Медведева на теледебаты", Argumenty i Fakty, 2008-01-18. Retrieved on 2008-01-03. (in Russian) 
  5. Krainova, Natalya, Francesca Mereu. "TV Debates Decided Without Medvedev", The Moscow Times, 2008-01-30. Retrieved on 2008-01-03. [dead link]
  6. "Medvedev 'to continue Putin work'", BBC News, 2008-03-03. Retrieved on 2008-01-03. 
  7. "Putin gives Communist leader surprise birthday gift", AFP, 29 June 2009.
  8. "Communists lay carnations for Stalin", AFP, 2010-12-22. Retrieved on 2010-12-21. 
  9. "Putin plan disastrous, opponents say", AFP, 2011-04-21. Retrieved on 2011-04-26. [dead link]
  10. David M. Herszenhorn. "Where Communists See an Opening, Many Russians See a Closed Door", December 20, 2011. Retrieved on December 22, 2011. “He, [Gennadi A. Zyuganov], has joined in popular protests against Mr. Putin’s government, while seeking to block the rise of the liberal reformers leading those rallies by denouncing them as a subversive threat to Russia’s future.” [dead link]
  11. "Communists pledge to stop ‘dollar-lovers’ experiment on Russia’", RT, 2011-09-24. Retrieved on 2011-09-24. 
  12. the results of the presidential elections in Russia 2012
Party political offices
Preceded by
Valentin Kuptsov
Communist Party of Russian Federation leader
1993 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Nikolai Ryzhkov
CPRF presidential candidate
1996 (2 rnd), 2000
Succeeded by
Nikolay Kharitonov
Preceded by
Nikolay Kharitonov
CPRF presidential candidate
Succeeded by
Last election

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ru:Зюганов, Геннадий Андреевич