Dmitri Novikov, Deputy Chairman of the central committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) and First Deputy Chairman of the state Duma committee on International Affaires…
To put it simply, he is one of the top leaders of the Communist Party and plays a critical role in the Duma’s activities, especially abroad.
He applied for membership on the day Boris Yeltsin signed the decree outlawing the Communist Party.
He is an experienced politician in national and international politics.
I met Novikov in Moscow.
We had a wide conversation, including Russia, the economy, the course of the world and the war, multipolarity, and relations with Türkiye.
Russia is in conflict with the West in almost every field. But the same Russia continues to implement a Western-centered economic model. Isn’t this a contradictory situation?
Yes, the new regime established in Russia in the 90s was undoubtedly within the Western economic sphere.
Just to provide some example: Giving foreign companies the right to participate in privatizations in Russia, Russia’s participation in the programs of organizations such as the IMF and the World Bank, and the application of the Russian government to join the World Trade Organization.
With these moves, Russia became a part of the Western liberal economic model.
I come from a party that has always opposed all these policies, including the privatization and destruction of factories in Russia.
Is the system created in the 90s inconsistent with Russia’s current route to preserve its sovereignty? The answer to the question is ‘yes’.
So, can we cut all ties and change our economic model? Of course, it will be difficult.
But today we are feeling the consequences of Western sanctions. If any government wanted to cut ties with the West, it could not have done so any faster than it does today.
We have three options before us:
The third is the scenario to surrender, which means our death. I don’t even want to consider it.
The first option is to implement our achievements in the Soviet Union, especially in science schools and military formation. The construction of the Irkut MS-21 passenger planes is the product of this will.
The second option is to divert our relationship with the West and our logistics network to the East. Relations with China are important in this context.
“Trying to join the West was a mistake”
Is it possible for Russia to return to the economic model applied in the Soviet Union?
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, we had a continuing crisis. If I had to summarize the reasons for this crisis: The first mistake was to attempt to apply the Western model. Secondly, I would like to remind you of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin’s work “Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism”. At this stage, more crises were expected in the West, and today we are witnessing continuous crises in the West. Trying to join the West, which is facing constant crises, was our other mistake.
Some experts have described the early 2000s as years of abundance. They claimed that everything went well during this process.
But this was a wrong analysis. It is true that there was a certain increase in welfare in this process in Russia with the money coming from gas and oil. But this money was misused. Necessary moves were not made in the industry. For this reason, deterioration continued in the early 2000s.
Another problem was optimization policies. Within the framework of these policies, schools, hospitals and universities were closed on the grounds that they were ineffective, especially in rural areas. And as a result, poverty has increased in the country. People’s lives have become difficult.
The policies followed were, of course, far away from the Soviet Union model.
But of course, it was not possible to take away all the gains of the working class, so some practices of the Soviet model remained in force.
It is not possible to apply the capitalist model, which is currently in crisis. We must switch to the socialist model, but of course this will not be the same as in the past. I’m talking about a new socialist model.
Even capitalist leaders today point out that something is not working in capitalism.
President Putin, in his speech at the Valdai Discussion Club two years ago, stated, “the rule of capitalism has collapsed”.
“Capitalism has gone mad,” French President Macron said. If someone goes crazy, we isolate him so that he is not dangerous to those around. If a healthy person stays among the insane for a certain period of time, he may lose his sanity. That is why we must isolate the insane.
Multipolarity is “not the ultimate solution”: The world was multipolar before the first and second world war – it didn’t bring peace
What means multipolarity to you?
I do not believe that multipolarity is the ultimate solution.
Before the First and Second World Wars, the world was multipolar, but this did not prevent the war. Multipolarity does not mean a world where everyone can live in peace.
Of course, it will bring gains. For example, we will no longer pay tribute to Uncle Sam.
And these gains can take us to a further stage; a multipolar and just world.
The struggle for a just world is at least as important as multipolarity.
Now Russia, China, BRICS, Shanghai Cooperation are trying to establish a multipolar world. But again, this is a transitional phase, not the ultimate goal.
What do you think about the idea of Eurasianism?
I think more about socialism and communism than about Eurasianism.
So, let me change the question, on what basis do you criticize the idea of Eurasianism?
We do not have a frontal opposition to Eurasianism, because them and we are located in different coordinate systems and axes.
As for Aleksandr Dugin, I can say that he is not the only person working on the theory of Eurasianism.
Let me underline in order not to create polemics, we are not for or against the Eurasian movement, we have different discourses. Theoretically, Dugin explains that “it is good to turn towards the East”, as is common discourse. While doing this, he uses his own discourse and methods.
We express the same idea with our own discourses and methods.
Points of consensus with Eurasianists
Then you are of the opinion that heading towards the East is the right step…
Yes, of course… If I need to elaborate more, we agree with the Eurasianists on the point of preserving our sovereignty and abandoning the policies followed in the 90s.
We have to condemn the political and economic programs followed in the 90s that made Russia dependent on the West. We reject neoliberalism.
We must free ourselves from the fifth column, nestled in the authorities and the media-culture world.
I guess Dugin is also against new privatizations like us. There are proposals for a new privatization frenzy. The General Manager of VTB Bank Andrey Kostin is one of them.
And we share the same opinion with Dugin that Russia is a civilization of its own. But we express it in different ways. The Communist Party evaluates and interprets the facts in line with the principles of Marxism-Leninism.
How do you evaluate the fact that the parties described as far-right in Europe take an anti-American position on certain issues?
If they consider themselves patriotic and nationalist, it is normal for them to take a stand against American imperialism.
There are anti-globalization political movements coming from the right and left lines.
What they have in common is their assessment of globalization as an imperialist process.
Though they might vote similar against US-imposed policies, European Left and Right “are no allies”
Is it possible to establish a temporary or permanent anti-American bloc between the anti-globalization right and left movements?
There are opinions in the direction of such a bloc, but we do not agree with them.
Right and left parties operating in the same parliament can vote in coordination against an American-imposed law on the temporary plane. For example, in the Bundestag, Die Linke and the AfD can vote in the same direction on issues related to the Ukraine-Russia crisis. But that doesn’t mean they should rewrite their political programs. They are not allies.
A temporary bloc can be created on a specific question, but we cannot talk about a permanent alliance.
Let’s continue with the current agenda… How do you evaluate Erdogan’s re-election? Do you see Erdogan as an ally of Russia?
Erdogan is ally of Türkiye in the way he understands the Turkish national interests.
I want to say that Erdogan is no one’s ally, but Türkiye’s ally. The Turks may be evaluating the situation differently, I don’t know.
There are really positive comments about Erdogan in Russia, but these are because the United States does not see Erdogan as an ally. Erdogan is nobody’s ally and that’s good.
In our unpredictable and unstable world, some Russian experts think that Erdogan is fine as long as he is understandable.
On the Ukraine issue: How do you see the future of Ukraine? When will Russia end military operations?
We talked at length about the problems of the world. The given scenario is not only about Russia’s interests, but also about the world’s multipolarity and quest for justice.
The objectives of Ukraine’s denazification and demilitarization, which were set at the beginning of the special military operation, must be fully realized.
This means that the Zelensky regime or any other fascist regime has no right to exist.
It means that if someone proposes that the Zelensky regime or a similar regime in the Lviv region should continue to exist, it will never be accepted by us.
The possibility of nuclear war is discussed… Finally, the Russian and international press article by Sergei Karaganov on the use of nuclear weapons against the West was discussed. What are you thinking?
Karaganov’s article covered the subject broadly and contained nothing new or unsaid.
If there is no threat to Russia’s existence, Russia will not resort to nuclear power. But Russia will not be able to maintain peace at the expense of Russia’s disintegration.
Wagner is now “part of history”
The popular topic of recent weeks is the Wagner rebellion…
There is not much to say on that. It is now part of history…
The Communist Party has always stated that Russia does not need private military companies. That’s exactly why we don’t have a law regulating the status of private military companies. If we evaluate the situation legally, we will see that there is no basis for Wagner’s operations. They are outside the military structure…
But I would like to underline that what I am saying is from a legal point of view.
Last question… During the periods of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, a political bloc was established between Türkiye and Russia… Do you agree with the evaluations that there is such an opportunity today?
We do not see an Atatürk on the horizon. If a new Atatürk comes, of course, this question will be evaluated.