Mr. Mikhail Gorbachev tried to provide a new dynamism to the Soviet Communist Party through Glasnost and Perestroika but failed and USSR disintegrated along with the downfall of regimes in East Europe. Communism, in various shades, exists now in the People’s Republic of China, North Korea, Vietnam and Cuba.
Dissent emerged in China in May-June 1989 when the students revolted and the authorities had to curb the rising movement against the leadership with a firm hand. There is no news of any similar movement of dissent in North Korea, Vietnam and Cuba. China has opened its gates to multinationals whilst pursuing partially the liberalization, privatization and globalization; it can have access to superior and intricate technologies available at the disposal of foreign multinationals. North Korean situation is not clear altering Supreme Leader Kim II Sung’s death. Vietnam has become a member of the ASEAN. With the disappearance of Communism in Eastern Europe and collapse of the Soviet Union, the Communist movement in the African continent also suffered a severe setback, though the Communist Party of South Africa celebrated its 80th anniversary in August 2001.
The Soviet influence disappeared from Angola, Mozambique. Tanzania and a few other countries. Communism has, however, survived in India. The Indian communists disintegrated into three independent units – Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Communist Party of India (Marxist – Leninist). They succeeded in forming governments in W. Bengal, Tripura and Kerala.
In the elections held in May 1996, the Communists were returned to power in these three states. For the first time since independence, the United Front government led by Mr. Deve Gowda became dependent on the support extended by CPI (M) from the outside. The CPI even joined the ranks of the government. Communists in India, however, had a setback, though not very serious, in Feb- March 98 parliamentary elections. Performance of the Leftist parties improved dramatically in the May 2004 elections.
They won a total of about 60 seats, the largest chunk so far. They helped forming the UPA by lending support to the Congress along with a few other regional parties including RJD, DMK and J.D. (U). The Leftists insist on their agenda being included in the Common Minimum Programme.
Support to UPA, nevertheless, was from outside and they declined to join the government constrained in taking bold economic measures lest the Leftists raise a voice of dissent. The Indo-U.S. nuclear deal of July 2005 between President Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been rejected outright by the Leftists.
They have been threatening to withdraw their support if the deal is pushed through. Understandably the Communists do not appear comfortable with a pro-US slant of the government. At one stage the deal was put at the backburner; the Congress put the survival of the government higher than the nuclear deal. However, the fact remains that the deal will help India in acquiring a new window to the nuclear technology and the vital fuel supplies through cooperation with the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The Congress defeat in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh has for some time pushed back the urgency of the Deal. The communists suffered an ignominious defeat in the May 2009 general elections; they were decimated in W.
Bengal by the banolwagon led by Mamta Bannerjee’s TMC. She is now likely to capture power in the next assembly elections. The Marxists now admit their failures in providing good administration to the people. (DICM) is also losing its relevance elsewhere in the country.
Communism has not been completely defeated in Russia. It can raise its head anytime as a sizeable section still hankers after it. In the June, 1996 Russian elections, the Communist candidate Zyuganov polled about 32% votes, nearly missing restoration of Communism in Russia. The Communists in Russia had retained their position during the Dec. 99 parliamentary elections. The Russians are now nostalgic about the Communist period with nil inflation and strict law and order.