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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hardline Anpilov Faces Ouster From Own Party

Viktor Anpilov, Russia's most outspoken hardline communist, may be expelled from a fringe left-wing party, which has been his main power base, because of a schism in the neo-Stalinist left of Russian politics, a party official said Tuesday.

A spokesman for the fringe Russian Communist Workers' Party, Viktor Petrov, said that the party would probably expel Anpilov at a meeting in October.

Petrov said Anpilov was splitting the neo-Stalinist left by setting up his own independent far left party on the basis of Working Russia, a movement which had previously been allied with the Russian Communist Workers' Party.

"He has launched a completely different line now -- the creation of his own party on the basis of Working Russia -- splitting Working Russia from the Russian Communist Workers' Party," he said in a telephone interview.

"But it is all a fantasy, because if there is a party, it works like a system. Working Russia and the Russian Communist Workers' are inseparable, and there cannot be a third party."

Another spokesman, Yuri Terentyev, confirmed the potential of Anpilov's expulsion in October, when he spoke to Itar-Tass on Monday.

The comments were just the latest sign of an ongoing crisis within Russia's radical left.

Anpilov founded the far-left Russian Communist Workers' Party with Leningrad dockworker Viktor Tyulkin in 1991, and a leftist bloc headed by the two men won 4.53 percent of the overall vote in last December's parliamentary elections.

But since last July, when he was removed from his post as head of the party's Moscow committee, Anpilov's position has been under threat.

The party objected to Anpilov's decision to run for the Russian presidency and then was further outraged after he withdrew from the race in favor of Gennady Zyuganov, head of the more moderate Communist Party of the Russian Federation.

After his removal as head of the Moscow committee, Anpilov charged that the move had created a schism within the Russian Communist Workers' Party, and said he would build a new party on the basis of Working Russia.

For their part, Anpilov's opponents within the party criticized him for anti-Semitic remarks he made last summer, as well as his alleged mismanagement of the Moscow committee, and even for financial improprieties.

The radical leader has apparently also become a pariah for moderates within the communist movement; he was barred from joining Zyuganov's People's Patriotic Union, a coalition of opposition groups which was launched in August.

According to some analysts, Anpilov's fight with other leaders in his own party is the result both of ideological differences and a power struggle.

"The Russian Communist Workers' Party views him as too opportunistic, because he has been too ready to cooperate with Zyuganov," said Sergei Markov of the Moscow center of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "Secondly, Anpilov is a very charismatic leader, and doesn't want to be bound by the hierarchy of the Russian Communist Workers' Party. His presence is very uncomfortable for other leaders. So they are trying to force him out."