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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Big Businesses Shun Platform Of Zyuganov

Last Sunday, it was revealed that representatives of Russia's largest industries sharply criticized the economic positions of Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov.

Earlier, this group of very influential businessmen, now known as the "group of 13," issued an appeal for compromise to the main conflicting political forces. That such a union was formed, especially given that many companies were involved in struggles among themselves to divide up sectors of the Russian market, was in itself extraordinary. The real aims behind the political activity of this group were not very clear. But after the group of 13 held a series of meetings with the most significant presidential candidates, starting with Zyuganov, there was the feeling that the businessmen simply wanted to build a bridge with the communists.

If big business was apparently searching for contacts with the communists, then what would minor businessmen and simple citizens do?

Then, last Friday the group of 13 came out with the statement, "On the economic program of G. A. Zyuganov," which removed suspicions about their conformism and willingness to collaborate with any regime that comes to power after the elections.

Such suspicions were aroused right after the first letter of the bankers appeared. True, no one had any idea of the grounds on which compromise between Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Zyuganov would be based.

But it is precisely because of the dim prospects for such a compromise that many believed that the bankers were trying to come to an agreement with the Communist Party leader, whose chances of coming to power when the first letter appeared seemed better than they do now.

It is worth noting that after the meeting between Zyuganov and the group of 13, the information about the talks which would normally be leaked did not reach the public. The friendly silence of the two sides, which by joint agreement was strictly observed by the participants of the meeting, was cause for some alarm: Perhaps they had made some kind of agreement. And it seemed possible that these negotiations would be observed as strictly as the agreement to keep silence.

The present letter by the bankers contains very severe criticism of Zyuganov's economic platform and categorical disagreement with his views on the path Russia should take to get itself out of the current crisis. Undoubtedly, such sharp criticism has a sobering effect on lesser industries. It will be far more difficult now for Zyuganov to find a general language with businessmen, as he has been trying to do. Influential business leaders in Russia understand that it is impossible to negotiate with Zyuganov and that his coming to power would be dangerous for the country.

True, there are two names that are absent from the list of signatures to the letter of the group of 13 -- general director of the Yakovlev airplane design bureau, Alexander Dondukov and general director of the defense industry firm Vympel, Nikolai Mikhailov. It is possible that the reason is purely technical: Perhaps they were simply not in Moscow on Friday. But perhaps the representatives of the large military industries decided to distance themselves from the financial groups.

Mikhail Berger is economics editor for Izvestia.