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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Zyuganov Calls for Walkouts

Russian Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov on Tuesday called for a national strike March 27, saying the Communists would join forces with social movements that are on the rise across the country.

"I am convinced the protests will increase day by day because the government is going bankrupt," Zyuganov told a press conference in Moscow after his return from a visit to the United States.

He said Communist militants "are already participating in the protest movements of doctors and teachers, and are planning a national strike for March 27."

Social protests have spread recently as tens of thousands of public sector workers have not been paid in months, and retired people are not receiving their pensions despite repeated government assurances.

Zyuganov, who heads the Communists, the largest Duma group, mocked President Boris Yeltsin for saying Sunday that he could "give as good as I get" after a parliamentary resolution demanded a report on the ailing president's health.

Picking up on the idiom Yeltsin had used -- which translates as "giving back change" -- Zyuganov said: "Before promising to give back the change, you have to pay the salaries."

Zyuganov, who lost to Yeltsin in last year's presidential election, repeated his call for a government of national unity, adding that the government was trying to "prepare people psychologically" for changes in the government.

Zyuganov warned against a cabinet appointment for Anatoly Chubais, the current chief of the presidential administration and the Communists' arch-enemy.

Such an appointment "could only lead to a revolt, because no Russian could find it acceptable," Zyuganov said.