EiLE English - Contents
(n)PCI (new)Italian Communist Party
Central Committee
Website: http://www.nuovopci.it
e-mail: nuovopci@riseup.net

BP3 - 4, rue Lénine - 93451 L’Île St Denis (France)
e-mail: delegazione.npci@riseup.net
Facebook: Nuovo - Partito comunista italiano

EiLE - News

Edition in Foreign Language
Contents (French) (Spanish)

Four main issues
to be debated in the International Communist Movement

Download Text
in Word or Open Office

Download Text File Open Office or Word

The Voice No. 76 – March 2024

The course of things in the former Soviet countries

To have a fair and adequate understanding of international relations for the promotion and leading of the socialist revolution in our country it is essential that we distinguish among the first socialist countries those in which after the advent of the modern revisionists at the direction of the CPSU (1956, XXth Congress) the left was able to lead the struggle between the two lines in the communist party to the point of fuelling the struggle between the two paths in the country, from those in which the path of the restoration of capitalism systematically predominated and in 1989-1991 reached the turning point of dissolution of the Soviet Union and the extension of the role of the US-NATO imperialist groups. Among the latter we distinguish those in which resistance to the economic, social and human catastrophe and the loss of national independence has developed strongly, from those in which the domination of imperialist groups persists and has been strengthened and the communist parties have been suppressed or are heavily repressed.

In summary, for us protagonists of the conscious and organized communist movement (COCM) it is a question of understanding the history of the socialist revolution, of the objective transformation underway in our country and in the world. For this reason we must fight dogmatism and assimilate and use dialectical materialism. The article The restoration of the capitalist mode of production in the Soviet Union published in No. 8 of Rapporti Sociali (November 1990) and available on our website [in Italian] shows the limitations, concerning the assimilation and application of dialectical materialism in understanding the course of things in the world, of us Italian communists and also of important Marxist-Leninist-Maoist leaders from other countries. These limitations still exist in the Italian and international COCM. An example of this is the current analyses on the Russian Federation. Not only the analyses of those who consider the Russian Federation to be an imperialist country like the others or almost like the others ("imperialist pyramid"), but also the analyses of those who conclude that it is not an imperialist country because it does not have the five economic characteristics of imperialism indicated by Lenin, but they do not consider that the Russian Federation is the result of the dissolution of the first socialist country and therefore they do not take into account the role that social relations and institutions anchored to the socialist past still have in it.

So, we are happy to publish the article that one of our collaborators sent us on Belarus, a small country (about 10 million inhabitants on 208,000 square kilometres), but located in Europe at the centre of the fierce war that the USA-NATO groups are waging to slow down the decline of their role in the world and an example of the resistance growing in former Soviet countries.

The editorial staff of La Voce

On the three pillars of socialism in Belarus

In all the former Soviet countries there are still more or less important remainders of the economic and social relations and culture (conceptions and feelings) built during the first world wave of the proletarian revolution unleashed by the October Revolution. The struggle for resuming the path to communism is completely open, with the political and social contradictions, strong and weak points specific to each country.

Giving concreteness to what the "legacy of the October Revolution" means, to what it means that "the struggle is completely open between the two paths" and that the revolutionary forces in each of the former Soviet countries are anything but irrelevant, allows:

1. to the communists gathered in the Caravan of the (new)ICP to acquire a. a greater understanding of the Soviet legacy in the former Soviet countries in terms of social relations of production, characteristics and institutions of society, economic and social achievements of the popular masses, b. a greater confidence in the ability of the communists to lead the proletariat and in the ability of the proletariat, aggregated in the communist party and around it, to mobilize or drag the other social classes behind it and, therefore, to learn to lead society as a whole;

2. to the Italian "red base" [that is, all who have hammer and sickle and red banner in their hearts] to assess the Soviet experience with a far-sighted look that overcomes identitarianism, sectarianism, nostalgia and, therefore, the mistrust deriving both from the dissolution (December 1991) of the first socialist state in history both by the current weakness of the communists, especially in Italy and in other imperialist countries.

As regards the former Soviet countries, the residual elements of socialism are a concrete legacy of the first world wave of the proletarian revolution which, beyond ideological desires and speculations, make those countries structurally (according to productive forces and production relations) and super-structurally (according to social relations, conceptions, feelings and other aspects) different both from the colonial and semi-colonial countries both from the imperialist countries that today make up the International Community (IC) of US, Zionist and European imperialist groups and in some cases opposed to the latter.

That part of the world population – which in the first half of the last century, under the pressure of the USSR lead by the CPSU of Lenin and Stalin, started the building of socialism – still resists although weakened and understanding its struggle allows us to better understand the events that we see unfolding in the world today, among these the US-NATO war against the Russian Federation in Ukraine which began even before 2014, the "Al-Aqsa Flood" operation of the Palestinian resistance launched on October 7, 2023 and still ongoing against the genocide pursued for years by the Zionist state of Israel, the encirclement of the People's Republic of China by the USA and its allies in the Asia-Pacific region, the de-dollarization and decadence of the political and economic hegemony of the US imperialist groups in world, the expansion of the BRICS, etc.

What is the situation in Belarus regarding the three pillars of socialism, i.e. the main characteristics of the transition society from capitalism to communism?

First pillar (dictatorship of the proletariat): among the three it is the one made weakest. In Belarus the communist party exists and operates but it does not have the role of ideological, political and cultural guide that it had in Soviet society. However, some state structures are to some extent influenced by the communist party and in present-day Belarus the state apparatus plays part of the role that the CPSU played in the USSR as a leading and orienting force in various areas of social life: local councils and administrations, the Belarusian People's Congress (political consultative body), state committees such as the one for economic planning and foreign trade, the domestic and foreign intelligence services, the state publishing house Belarus Segodnaya and others. One of the legacies of the Soviet period is the recent establishment of an armed "people's militia", law-based from July 2023, which is currently voluntary and supports the police, army and other national security forces in protecting public and private property, in the fight against terrorism and in other tasks: this institution also acts as a people’s intelligence service.

Compared to the class nature of the state and the communist party, the conception of the "state of the whole people" and the "party of the whole people" is strong in the Communist Party of Belarus (CPB), a legacy of the conception of the modern revisionists of the CPSU. The CPB participates at all levels in the elections, conforming to the mixed electoral system of independent and party candidates that has established itself in Belarus.

The bourgeoisie in power (deriving mainly from those leaders of the Communist Party, the state, the Public Administration or other social institutions who in the Soviet era were supporters of bourgeois management methods) is pushed from below - that is, by the attachment of the popular masses to the Soviet institutions – and from the outside, that is, from the development of the acute and terminal stage of the general crisis of capitalism and from the aggression of the imperialist groups through sanctions, creeping coups and other measures, to clash both with the local comprador bourgeoisie (subservient to the International Community) both with the imperialist bourgeoisie.

Second pillar (economic activity managed by public authorities on the basis of a plan developed to satisfy the needs of the population, the defence of the country and relations of solidarity, cooperation and exchange with other countries). It is the strongest among the three, despite typical aspects of the second stage of the first socialist countries (pointed out in Manifesto Program of the (new)Italian Communist Party, chapter 1.7.5., pages 90-93):

- (as regards the ownership of the means and conditions of production) direct relationships between production units based on the buying and selling of commodities (goods and services) and decrease, but not suppression, of the social role of voluntary work;

- (as regards relations between men and women at work) exaltation of professionalism at the expense of the political and ideological orientation of managers, even if this orientation keeps its relevance in the relationship with the central administration and the workers of the individual company;

- (as regards the distribution of the product among individuals) main role attributed to individual economic incentives to increase labour productivity compared to moral mobilization.

Centralized planning (regular adoption of five-year plans that combine central and local direction in national socio-economic development) continues, coexisting with market mechanisms in the framework of the so-called “socialist market economy”. Starting from 1994 – the year of the first electoral victory of the current president Aleksandr Lukashenko and the start of the "market socialist" economic course which reversed the privatization approach of the previous three years – Belarus decreased in some fields (automotive sector, for example) and stopped in others (war industry, telecommunications, chemical industry) the economic raids of the IC, allying itself more closely with the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China and, with the help of these two countries, is circumventing the economic, commercial and financial sanctions applied against it by the IC. The relationships of solidarity, cooperation and exchange with Latin American countries (Cuba and Venezuela first and foremost), African countries (Angola, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, South Africa, Mozambique) and Asian countries (Vietnam, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Laos, Iran, Syria, Mongolia) are also important.

The Belarusian economic system is based on two types of ownership: state and private.

1. state: includes state-owned companies and joint-stock companies in which the state holds the majority. It is the predominant type of ownership in the country's economy: approximately 70-75% of the overall economic activity is in the hands of the state and its local branches (regional, provincial, district/city), through companies that are financially autonomous but with a management appointed by the central or local administration (but always subject to government supervision). Agriculture (characterized by highly mechanized state farms and production facilities closely linked to the processing industry), the chemical industry (potassium), automotive (tractors and buses), components (electronics), metallurgical (iron and steel) industries), textiles, building materials (concrete) and mining constitute the main economic sectors of the country and are all state-run, together with the "research and development" sector (the state manages and leads the technical-scientific training of young people starting from middle school).

These companies work mainly according to the "useful or useless" criterion and not according to the "profit or not profit" criterion of capitalist companies. Thanks to these companies, the government ensures that almost all the active population has a job and tries to best balance the production of means of production and consumer goods, avoiding the problems of supply of consumer goods that frequently occurred in the USSR led by Khrushchev, Brezhnev and Gorbachev.

The five-year plans define strategic production for the country's security in the agricultural, industrial, research and development fields (which includes the training of technicians and their sending to Latin America, Asia and Africa).

The government organizes production (what to produce, how, in how much time and for whom), setting the minimum quantity of goods and services necessary for the country's internal needs and international cooperation agreements.

2. private: includes a. collective companies (commercial companies, cooperatives such as kolkhozes, small and medium-sized industrial associations, joint-stock companies, activities set up by social and religious organisations), b. individual companies (activities set up by artisans, small and medium-sized farmers, entirely private companies where the state generally does not interfere except in exceptional cases), c. companies fully or partly financed by foreign capital. The full financing of foreign capital implies that the state does not invest money, but authorizes and supervises the activity of these companies, evaluating for each one, according to its own criteria, whether or not it brings economic advantages to the country. Partial financing of foreign capital, on the other hand, involves the state investing a certain amount, participating with the foreign investor in the economic benefits, which it redistributes according to its own criteria through services, concessions and incentives. In mixed companies with foreign capital (largely Chinese or Russian), the state plays the role of shareholder, supervisor, coordinator, depending on the case, and considers factors such as the profitability of the companies, their role for national economic development, etc. Overall, private property constitutes approximately 25-30% of the national economy.

There are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) both state-owned and privately owned: in 2019 there were around 110.000 SMEs and they employed almost 1.2 million workers. In Belarus, companies with between 100 and 250 employees are classified as "medium", companies with between 16 and 100 employees as "small", and companies with an average number of employees equal to or less than 15 as "micro". The government has issued a series of laws and regulations relating to SMEs to assist them, establishing funds to support their budgets and grant loans, creating SME incubators, organizing mutual aid associations, providing information and technical support.


On the role of the Communist Party of Belarus

The CPB is a relatively small party. It currently has around 6.000 members and a parliamentary representation of 24 deputies (House of Representatives + Council of the Republic) out of a total of 174. In the parliamentary elections of 25 February 2024, the CPB obtained 7 seats in the House of Representatives (out of a total of 110), down from the 11 seats in the 2019 elections. The Belaya Rus party (created in March 2023 to support the candidacy of president Alexander Lukashenko) and the independents obtained the majority of seats, 51 and 40 respectively; the Republican Party of Labor and Justice and the Liberal Democratic Party of Belarus obtained 8 and 4 seats respectively. 5,053,113 people voted (turnout of 73,09%, down about 4% compared to the 2019 parliamentary elections) out of a total of 6,913,550 entitled to vote.

Ideologically, the party is very close to the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and fully supports the political course set for the country by President Lukashenko, former member of the CPSU and the only one to vote against the dissolution of the USSR in 1991 during the last session of the Belarusian Supreme Soviet. Within the international COCM, the CPB's reference point is the Chinese Communist Party; part of the ideological training of CPB members is based on The Governance of China, a collection of Xi Jinping's writings and speeches from the period 2014-2020.

It is a party where the legacy of the modern revisionists of the CPSU is still predominant and Maoism is officially absent from its elaboration. Consequently, it did not draw up a comprehensive assessment of the experience of the USSR and the activity of the CPSU.

The CPB clearly stands 1. in defence of the institutions, history and achievements of the USSR, for the conservation or development of which it fights in every area in which it is present and 2. in favour of the states resisting the aggressions of the International Community of US, Zionist and EU imperialist groups.

Finally, the CPB considers the Russian Federation as a more backward country than Belarus in the struggle for socialism and the struggle of the Russian communists as an important part of a more general struggle including the entire former Soviet area. From this conception it follows the structuring of the coordination of the communist parties of the former Soviet area called "Communist Party of the Soviet Union", conceived as an instrument for the building of socialism in this area.


Inflation is contained: it reached a maximum of 4% in 2023, despite the sanctions imposed by the IC on Belarus.

The same applies to unemployment (0,1%, or 4,600 unemployed out of an active population of 4,9 million individuals – data from National Statistical Committee of Belarus, 2023), which is countered by the state administration in various ways: training courses (for both state and private jobs) and public investments for the creation of SMEs, low unemployment benefits and obligation to regularly participate in ''involuntary work'', payment of a ''parasite tax'' in order to promote full employment of those who have the ability to work.

The average retirement age is 58 for women and 63 for men; the retirement pension must not be less than 25% of the average wage. This generally applies to both urban and rural workers, both of whom benefit from the same universal public welfare system. As of 1 January 2020 (the year of the latest official data available), there were 2,6 million pensioners out of a population of 9,4 million.

The essential services for the population (electricity, gas, water supply, sewage maintenance, garbage disposal, housing, transport) are provided by the state at prices affordable for workers and the rest of the population and are mostly subsidized.

According to what two scholars from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Yan Li and Enfu Cheng, say in their December 2020 essay Market socialism in Belarus: an alternative to the Chinese socialist market economy (originally published in the Chinese-language magazine English World Review of Political Economy in December 2020, translated into Italian by the M-48 organization in December 2021 and available at the link www.m-48.it/2021/12/socialismo-di-mercato-in-bielorussia/), ''In Belarus the level of education, medical care and housing security is high. Access to health care and public education is universal. As a rule, however, the cost of medicines is borne by the population but the medicines are mainly produced in Belarus. In recent years, a small number of medical services have also become fee-based. Education is compulsory and is equally accessible to urban and rural residents from nursery to high school [there are a total of 55 facilities including universities, conservatories and academies, of which 45 are state-run and 10 are private]. The population only bears the cost of books and the maintenance of some educational facilities. 50% of higher education is at public expense, that is, it is entirely paid for by the state.(1)

1. The remaining 50% of spending is divided between, on the one hand, state support through scholarships for brilliant students and, on the other, the financing of national and foreign private institutions (with limitations for non-governmental organizations based in the USA and EU countries).


On the role of the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus

The Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus (FTUB) has 4 million members out of an active population of 4,9 million.

The union is present in all large companies, is organized in department and company collectives and participates with its delegates in the boards of directors (of both state and private companies).

The FTUB's task is first and second level bargaining (national collective agreements and contracts signed in individual territories and companies) and monitoring its application. The Belarusian contracts provide for three years of paid maternity leave, a pay scale, economic and employment guarantees against company closures, and the union's ability to promote technical training, medical-preventive, cultural, sporting and recreational activities in the company.

Every three months the union organizes a meeting with the company management to verify the application of the contract and, when there are violations, requests the intervention of the state (competent ministries, State Property Committee, etc.).

In exchange for this system, the FTUB undertakes not to promote strikes and to educate workers to contribute, at all levels, in an orderly and efficient way to production.

In the 2020 presidential elections (tainted by a US-led coup attempt), the FTUB mobilized over 9,000 workers as observers at almost all polling stations and appealed to workers and the rest of the population to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, to mobilize and organize in their respective fields of activity, preventing local supporters of the International Community of US, Zionist and European imperialist groups from overthrowing President Lukashenko's government with a Ukrainian Euromajdan-style coup (2004 and 2014).


In the early years of independence [i.e. after the dissolution of the USSR], the death rate was higher than the birth rate, but the situation was reversed in 2006. To encourage birthrates, the government provides free housing [not for sale] to those who have three or more children.

Law enforcement in Belarus gives the impression of being a polite and almost totally corruption-free police force, which reflects the integrity of the government.

Street advertising and the black market are rare in the city and the infrastructure is of good quality, especially the roads.

The population pays particular attention to sport. Most villages have hockey fields and local teams to play the sport at a national level. Society appears to be in a stable condition, there are low crime rates, a fair and clean government and a relatively small urban-rural disparity.''

Third pillar (society's resources are unreservedly dedicated to promote the participation of the popular masses in specifically human activities from which the dominant classes have excluded them): after the second pillar, it is the one that has remained strongest and is embodied by the presence of mass with an essential role in society, starting from the trade unions in companies and youth organizations (political, student, cultural, recreational, sport).

They cooperate with each other to solve local problems of various kinds and contribute to state administration projects to improve the overall well-being of the population, especially 1. in the field of physical and sports training and culture, for which every urban and rural inhabited centre must have a freely accessible gym and library, 2. in civil aid following natural disasters, 3. in support of the elderly.

"Civic-patriotic education" campaigns are frequent in the country, relating to the history of Belarus of the last thirty years and of the Soviet Union, aimed in particular at young people – starting from primary school children – and at workers and frequently coordinated with historical and social research institutes of the Russian Federation.

At the centre of these political campaigns are the building of a world history's critical vision, security and social stability and the collective memory of the Great Patriotic War (as the Second World War is called in the former Soviet countries), aimed at building a population aware of its role in the world and of a "human community with a shared future". On this last aspect, the overall vision of the Belarusian authorities is close to that of the Chinese authorities.

Simone B.