Russian communist leader Gennady Zyuganov opened his party's 15th congress at the weekend with a blistering attack on President Vladimir Putin's government.
The Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) general secretary said his country was run by "an alliance of oligarchs and bureaucrats," during a one-hour speech in Moscow.
"Russia's rollback to capitalism has resulted in massive degradation of its economy, society and culture and undermined its security,"' he told 1,400 delegates, guests and observers in the capital's Olympic Village.
Mr Zyuganov insisted that the country's "pipeline economy" had turned Russia into a colony.
Industrial decline and the privatisation of public utilities had made the federation dependent on oil revenues and foreign capital, he argued.
He emphasised the need for public ownership of the country's basic industries and utilities, as the prelude to collective ownership, control and mass participation by the people.
Last year Mr Zyuganov came second in the presidential election, with 17 per cent of the poll and 12 million votes, amid allegations that state authorities had engaged in widespread ballot rigging.
Since then the CPRF has made ground in municipal elections nationwide, confirming its status as the main opposition party. With 30,000 new recruits since 2009, party membership now stands at 158,000.
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