Communist Party no longer a scarecrow for many Russians
The Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) still remains one of the most stable of Russia's political parties. The Russian communists prefer not to rush the events. They want to get ready for their breakthrough at the elections in 2016.
Not so many intrigues are left on the threshold of the parliamentary elections in Russia. At least three parties will get deputy mandates. The question remains only about the quantity of seats. A recent opinion poll said that communists may hope for 17 percent of votes, which would give them 85 mandates.
The CPRF received 11.57 percent of votes and 57 mandates during the previous elections. Most likely, the communists will preserve their positions if the social and economic situation in the country does not worsen considerably.
The poll also said that the number of Russians, who follow the activities of the CPRF, has not changed much. Sixty-five percent of the polled said that they "heard something" about the party (70% in 2006 and 66% in 2008). Twenty-five percent said that they carefully watch the activity of the party (19% in 2006 and 2008).
As for the support, the situation does not look that optimistic. In 1999, seven percent of respondents said that they considered themselves active supporters of the party. Also in 1999, 22 percent of the polled said that they liked the leaders of the party. As of October 2011, the number of such people dropped to 6 and 20 percent respectively.
The number of adversaries of the party reduced as well. Sixteen percent said that they treated the party negatively (18 percent in 1999). Two percent said that the party should be banned (five percent in 1999). More and more people say that their attitude to the Communist Party is neutral - 487 percent (39 percent in 1999).
The Communist Party is no longer a scarecrow for the Russian society. It has turned into a successful political party. Thus, for a certain part of the electorate, the party no longer expresses their hopes and expectations (about the return to the Soviet era, for instance).
Therefore, the communists may win the neutrally-oriented voters over to their side. They can lose them just as successfully. The party is not going to use this potential during the forthcoming elections to the State Duma. The next vote will be more suitable for it. The core of the electorate may change by that time.
Six percent of active supporters of the Communist Party today are presumably the people aged over 45. They are the pensioners who are still nostalgic about the glorious Soviet times. This category of the electorate has its pluses and minuses. On the one hand, those people will never betray Zyuganov and Co. On the other hand, they can hardly explain anyone why they vote for communists.
Young people in Russia are less categorical towards the CPRF than the older generation. The younger generation treats the idea of communism and the Soviet Union as a myth. This myth is more positive than negative. If they find the ideal of social justice in the program of the CPRF, the results of the elections may change drastically.
A lot will depend on the communists, of course. The communist Party needs a serious rebranding of its ideology and leaders. The leaders of the party get older fast, just like their basic electors do.