Russia Communist Speaker Denies Plans for Split
The moderate Communist speaker of Russia's State Duma lower house of parliament, Gennady Seleznyov, on Sunday dismissed accusations within the movement that he is planning a split.
Seleznyov, who this summer founded a new left wing movement called Russia, denied it was "set up by the Kremlin" and denounced his critics as "slanderers."
"Some people are desperately trying to drive a wedge between (party chief Gennady) Zyuganov and me," he said in a speech before the Communist Party's two-day annual congress in Moscow, reported by Interfax news agency.
Seleznyov, who has pursued a policy of cooperation with President Vladimir Putin's young administration, was roundly attacked Saturday by certain delegates, and accused of being behind a "schism in the heart of the party."
The speaker, whose moderate brand of communism stands in contrast to the more radical stance of Zyuganov, warned that if the party remained "sterile," its share of the vote would shrink to 10 to 12 percent.
The Communists, who polled over 24 percent in the December 1999 legislative elections, are the biggest single party, with 88 seats, in the 450-member lower house of parliament -- MOSCOW (AFP)
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