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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Communist Philosophies Defended

Russia's Constitutional Court on Wednesday reconvened its hearings on the Communist Party, opening the floor to summary arguments from both sides.

At least 18 representatives are expected to make concluding remarks in the case, which is to determine the legality of the Communist Party, and whether decrees issued by President Boris Yeltsin banning it after the August 1991 failed coup were constitutional.

In a speech running almost an hour-and-a-half, lawyer Viktor Zorkaltsev argued that the party had been on a course of deep reform when it was banned, and that its ban had deprived "millions" of Russian citizens their rights.

He was the first of 14 lawyers and parliamentarians who are to make concluding remarks defending the party.

In contrast, Russia's public prosecutor, Valentin Stepankov, argued that the party had actively supported the coup.

Yeltsin's defense team is expected to introduce new documents from party archives in their summaries, including a memorandum sent from the KGB to leaders in the party's Central Committee which confirms that 19, 840, 000 Soviet citizens were killed in the Stalinist purges of the 1930s, according to Alevtin Meleshnikov, a legal expert on the president's team.

Secretary of State Gemady Burbulis and lawyers Sergei Shakhrai, Andrei Makarov and Mikhail Fedotov are all expected to make concluding statements, he said.

The court is expected to hear concluding remarks into next week.