Presidential candidate from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, State Duma deputy Nikolai Kharitonov spoke last weekend with members of the Komsomol organization and athletes. The politician attended a training session for cyber athletes, looked into virtual reality and listened to the aspirations of young athletes. The party activist listened to his senior comrade with discipline and, despite the provocative questions of the Kommersant correspondent, did not show dissatisfaction with his candidacy.
Andrei Mazhuga, a Komsomol member and captain of the party team in the relevant disciplines, told Kommersant about the communists’ desire to conquer cyberspace at the autumn congress of the Leninist Communist Youth Union (see Kommersant, October 28, 2023). On Saturday, he was confirmed to be right by Nikolai Kharitonov, who noted the cyberathlete with the status of his confidant in the elections and briefly watched the training of the sponsored team.
The Komsomol members responded by sending the presidential candidate into virtual reality, placing massive glasses on his head. The 75-year-old deputy behaved confidently and did not show any dizziness usually characteristic of the first dive. “There are mountains on the horizon, like in Khakassia,” he reported enthusiastically.
Mr. Kharitonov spoke in more detail with the athletes (and not only cyber-athletes) an hour later in a cafe. They complained to the deputy about the unreasonably close attention of state corporations to foreign sports, the inaccessibility of infrastructure and the low salaries of local coaches.
Solutions to all the stated problems, as it turned out, were already taken into account in the candidate’s program and only needed a redistribution of financial flows long demanded by the communists. “There is money, finances allow us to solve these issues, you just have to want to!” — the politician explained to the audience, emphasizing the importance of physical education and sports in the lives of young and not so young citizens. The enthusiastic audience applauded.
Representatives of the Moscow organization of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation also listened with interest to their candidate. Contrary to information circulating last fall about their dissatisfaction with Mr. Kharitonov’s candidacy (according to rumors, the capital’s city committee would prefer to nominate party leader Gennady Zyuganov or, for example, ex-governor of the Irkutsk region Sergei Levchenko for the 2024 elections), communist deputies of the Moscow City Duma attended the first election event in the capital Almost the entire team showed up.
“There was no split! — Moscow City Duma deputy Ekaterina Engalycheva assured the Kommersant correspondent.— (Us.— “Kommersant”) several candidates were proposed: Zyuganov, Levchenko and someone else... Each branch has the right to propose candidates, and then everything is decided higher and higher.” But the Moscow branch “submits to the decision in full,” and there are “no disagreements” around it, the deputy emphasized: “The vertical, party discipline, and just respect worked: personally, I came into politics thanks to Nikolai Mikhailovich.”
The Komsomol members themselves spoke to Kommersant about the importance of party discipline, thus brushing off questions about the candidate’s age. “People in the party, both young and old, of course, could express a different opinion, but in general everyone agrees,” said, for example, Komsomol member Ivan Komendantov. According to him, members of the Komsomol must first of all be motivated by loyalty to the precepts of Marxism-Leninism: “A Marxist is one who defends his idea to the bitter end... We must present our candidate, give our all - this is the expression of our teaching, our struggle.” Ideologically savvy comrades steadfastly follow theory and understand that politics is a long process, the Komsomol member concluded: “Some of our comrades get fixated on elections, including when they argue about a candidate, but I always tell them: remember about (the party.— “Kommersant”) construction, about the Komsomol organization."
“As you can see, our assets have been mobilized,” Yuri Afonin, the first deputy chairman of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation Central Committee, stated with satisfaction in a conversation with Kommersant. According to him, party members are impressed by the “experience, knowledge and wisdom” of the nominated candidate: “We are confident in him: among the four candidates, two have extensive life, managerial and economic experience - Putin and Kharitonov. Everything else is talk for the sake of talk.” However, the financial capabilities of “some opponents” exceed those of the communists, which is reflected in more outdoor advertising, Mr. Afonin admitted: “But we also make maximum use of campaign events to promote both the team and ideas.”
Russians, according to Nikolai Kharitonov himself, carefully respond to everything that the communists tell them. “There are many issues, many issues need to be regulated in the country,” he told Kommersant, immediately recalling the complaints he had heard from entrepreneurs about the inaccessibility of loans, from young people about insufficient housing opportunities, from labor collectives about low wages. “The campaign is going well, for me, you know, it’s not the first,” recalled the politician who ran for president in 2004. “We know how to behave, how to talk to the people, we inform you about our arrival in advance.”
Local authorities, however, do not always calmly react to communist agitation, Mr. Kharitonov complained: “In some places they behave unworthily.” For example, according to him, party members from the localities have more than once complained to the center about obstacles in installing billboards: “This is undignified, disgusting and base!”