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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Far-Left Communists Merge in Duma Bid

As Russia prepares to mark the 80th anniversary of the October Revolution on Friday, the spirit of Bolshevism is alive and making new plans for the overthrow of capitalism.

Far-left mavericks Viktor Anpilov, Eduard Limonov, and Stanislav Terekhov met in a Moscow basement Tuesday to announce that they are joining forces to launch their assault on the bastions of power.

Vladimir Lenin would have been proud of the conspiratorial backdrop for the inaugural press conference: the underground headquarters of Limonov's National Bolshevik Party.

Journalists were ushered through a maze of dimly lit corridors lined with camouflage netting and posters lauding Latin American revolutionary Che Guevara and Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb leader indicted by a UN tribunal on war crimes charges. The makeshift conference hall was lined with benches hastily constructed out of plywood sheets supported on stacks of old newspapers.

The aim of the new bloc is to run for the State Duma in the next parliamentary elections in 1999 and oust the mainstream Communist Party that, according to Anpilov, has sold out.

"Representative power has entered into a deal with the executive, with the president, and an enormous layer of the population in Russia is not represented in the Duma," said Anpilov, a fiery former journalist who heads the orthodox communist splinter group Working Russia. "The only solution is to give up one's life for the freedom of the people. Socialism or death. Otherwise, I am not worthy to be called a man."

The three leaders of the new bloc are a motley bunch. Both Terekhov, leader of the Union of Officers, and Anpilov were jailed in 1993 for their part in an abortive parliamentary coup. They received amnesties after spending several months in Moscow's Lefortovo Prison.

Limonov is an acclaimed novelist who reportedly fought on the side of Serb nationalists in the former Yugoslavia. In recent years, he has trained his sights on the Duma, but his two attempts to win a Duma seat this year were aborted when he failed to get himself registered on the ballot.

Nevertheless, the new bloc threatens to be a serious challenge to the mainstream left in the next Duma election. Commentators say that growing disillusionment with the moderate line of Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov among the party's rank-and-file could allow Anpilov to break into the Duma in 1999.

In 1993, Anpilov's party polled 4.6 percent of the vote, just short of the 5 percent needed to win representation in the lower house. One Working Russia candidate, Vladimir Grigoriev, was elected to the Duma from a single-member constituency.

The leaders of the new bloc are convinced their election bid will be sabotaged by the Kremlin, and they allege that a commission set up last week by President Boris Yeltsin to clamp down on extremism was aimed at them.

"They are trying, through law-enforcement agencies, to simply knock political organizations out of politics." Limonov said.