Three new Communist parties also have been formed to replace the one outlawed by Yeltsin, but so far they have gained relatively few members and no influence. Even the largest of these formal parties, the Russian Communist Workers' Party, can claim no more than 40,000 members across Russia; founded recently in Ekaterinburg, an industrial center in the Ural Mountains, the party will require months of work before it matures into a cohesive political force.
Because of the general disenchantment with all ideology, the "neoconservative movement," as it prefers to call itself, is determined to avoid any "isms" as it makes its plans and appeals for support. The movement's leaders admit that they have only two emotional issues to rely on--social justice and saving a once-great nation from disintegration.
"The state of affairs when 10% of the population is getting richer by the hour and the remaining 90% look with horror at potatoes one ruble apiece simply cannot last," said Gennady A. Zyuganov, a top official of the disbanded Communist Party's Central Committee who is now wrapping up its affairs.
He envisions an alternative approach for his movement, if it gains power, saying: "We won't exclude the opposition from the government. We are already talking to several moderate democrats, inviting them to join us in the name of such fundamental values as the preservation of our statehood."
He sees not a confederation of the present republics but "a full-blooded state, guaranteeing elementary social justice and security to its citizens, political and economic stability and the revived glasnost for its mass media."
Both Zyuganov and Koryagina profess adherence to private enterprise "where it can function effectively," mostly in the economy's service sector and in the small-scale production of consumer goods. They insist that their first act in power would be to freeze prices, "to let the people breathe while the genuine reforms are being prepared."
Grebenshikov is a reporter in The Times' Moscow Bureau.