In St. Petersburg, 2,000 people took part in a rally organised by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) at Lenin Square, in front of Finland Station, to protest against Putin's counter-reform to pensions. Comrades of the IMT raised the slogan of revolution!

The Russian masses are in uproar over President Vladimir Putin’s attempt to raise retirement ages for men from 60 to 65, and for women from 55 to 63 by 2034. In addition, VAT is being raised from 18 to 20 percent. The tremendously unpopular ‘reform’ has sent Putin’s approval ratings plummeting by 15 percentage points (from 82 to 67), and has resulted in major demonstrations across the country.

Mainstream media have presented Boris Nemtsov as an anti-Putin “liberal” oppositionist. In reality he was part of the oligarchy that began to emerge after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but had fallen out of grace with the main clique that took over. Here Artem Kirpichenok in St. Petersburg gives a very different point of view from within Russia.

On 18 March in front of the Duma in Moscow, Russian president Vladimir Putin delivered a defiant speech announcing the annexation of Crimea, after a referendum on Sunday had confirmed that the vast majority of the Crimean population favours the option of becoming part of the Russian Federation. Immediately after his speech the Crimean authorities signed a treaty which puts that decision into practice, which is now being ratified by Russia's Parliament while we are writing.

Finally the presidential elections were held; massive popular protests were re-launched; and the people once again were unhappy with the fraud. The liberals stand for fair elections and for the restoration (as if they existed!) of democratic institutions of the European type. This is right and correct. We also support the slogan for fair elections. However, we also understand the limitations of representative, bourgeois democracy.

We are publishing this English translation of a leaflet produced by the comrades of Brag Kapitala in Russia on the occasions of the recent protests against the blatant rigging of many of the results declared in the recent presidential elections.

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