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A Short History of the Party (of Greens)

The movement for the creation of a Green Party (DSPZ) was born in 1988 at the founding conference of the Social-Ecological Union, when a fraction of the Greens became aware of the necessity for the politicization of the environmental movement. Then, in a separate caucus of the conference, representatives of the Samara Union of Greens and analagous organizations from Khmelnitsky and Briansk first unified with the goal of the creation of a Green Party. In April 1989 at the conference, "Economics, Ecology, and Politics" in Kuibishev (Samara), despite the strong resistance of the local powers, DSPZ announced its existence. The Green Party of West Germany served as the prototype for the to-be-created organization, in that the founding principles were taken from the works of A. Gorts, Petra Kelly, M. Bukchina, U. Ditfurt, I. Illich, and other western theorists of eco-socialism and eco-anarchism.

The publishing arm of the DSPZ became the independent journal, "Third Way," published at that time by the Samara Union of Greens. The publication of a four-column, party newspaper was planned in Khmelnitsky, but all that was done was the layout of the first issue.

The groundwork of the movement was concluded in the summer with the creation of local organizations (Samara, Moscow, Khmelitsky, Briansk, Smolensk, St. Petersburg, and others). A few coordinating meetings took place.

In August 1989 the Samara Union of Greens and the Ecological-Political Club "Alternativa" organized a mass, radical action against the opening in Chapaevsk of the first factory in the USSR for the destruction of chemical weapons. The action took place under the flag of the DSPZ (a yellow sunflower on a green background) and ended with the complete victory of the environmentalists and local population. According to American experts, the Greens anticipated the castastrophe, which would make Chernoybl look like a Sunday picnic.

In September the Movement participated in the two-sided seminar on the problems of atomic energy (The Green Party of West Germany-CPSU); at the seminar new connections were made with German Greens, including with the editors of the journal "Atom." The concrete result of these meetings was the opening of a Moscow bureau of the journal, where the correspondents were members of the DSPZ.

The next stage of the development of the Movement--in December 1989--took place at two conferences of the Social-Ecological Union, where one of the caucuses was a conference of the DSPZ. In this period new people joined the movement holding various positions. The steering committee, developing its conception of the Green Party, was required to resolve the issue on interaction with people having a different platform. However, this problem was not solved and was sharply raised at the Congress.

The Green Party was declared at the Founding Congress in Moscow on March 24-25, 1990, however, the conclusions of the general conceptions and the acceptance of the principles were postponed until the first Congress of the Party, which took place June 9-10 of the same year in Samara. The participants of the Congress split in two fractions. One of them supported the resolutions, accepted in the March Congress and assigned itself the goal of creating the Green Party, constructed according to Western standards. Another group was orientated on the creation of an organzation with a citizen, confederate character.

In the summer of 1990 the Green Party participated in the action, organized by Anarchists, against the development of the Balakovo Atomic Energy Station, which was sustained for 2 months and ended successfully.

The Second Congress was planned in the fall of the same year in Orienburg. However, the Orienburg organization, which included active members of the CPSU (Commuinist Party of the Soviet Union) was not able to cope with the organization and quickly fell apart.

The Congress took place May 9-11, 1991 in the protest camp against the construction of the atomic heating station in Nizhni Novgorod; the action was organized jointly by the Anarchists and Greens. Considering the realities, taking place in between the Congresses, when the local organizations were losing their operational connections and came to the idea of organizing regional, self-sufficient parties, the Congress decided to rename the Green Party the League of Green Parties. The charter and political program of the LGP were passed and also a few resolutions. The Congress decided to postpone the election of the members of leadership of the League until its third Congress. The coordinating functions were delegated to the representative of the Green Party of the Nizhegorodsky Region, the editor of the journal "Third Way," Sergei Fomichov.

The inter-regional character of the League was affirmed and negative attitudes were expressed towards the disunification connected with the iniative to create a Russian Green Party. The League of Green Parties did not recommend its members to contract with ecological organizations of nationalistic-patriotic orientation.

Not long before the Congress, a serious schism took place in the Moscow chapter. After the resignation of one of the founders and idealogues of the Party, Vadim Damier, and the creator of an alternative group, the remaining fraction of the Moscow chapter turned out to be under the influence of the recent arrival to the party, Aleksander Shubin. Shubin in Nizhni Novgorod, together with a fraction of the delegates, abandoned the Congress, but in the end of May became one of the founders of the Russian Green Party. The new party held a conference in Leningrad only two weeks after the Congress of the League.

A series of schisms and the rising of still one more party organization possibly served as the reason for the slight decline of activeness in the League of Green Parties during the summer. In all, a few members of the League participated in the traditional radical action of the Greens and Anarchists (this time one took place in Zaporozhne and like always ended with a victory on the part of the protest camp).

The third Congress of the LGP took place in Lipetsk October 26-28, 1991. Around 40 people arrived from 26 cities of Russia and the Ukraine. A few were present as observers. The main agenda at the Congress was dedicated to the discussion of theoretical questions. The speech of Vadim Damier effectively expressed the ideas of an alternative society, bearing the ideas of ecological anarchism. A series of organizational questions were decided--corrections in the charter, three co-chairs of the League were chosen (Tamara Bulat from Odessa, Sergei Fomichov from Dzerzhinsk, Aleksander Fyodorov from Lipetsk) and a coordinating council of 12 people.

After the Congress the League of Greens consisted of 28 organizations (close to 3500 members and supporters) from Russia, the Ukraine, and Uzbekistan, and also from Bashkir, Chuvash, Tataria, and Karalpaki.

A big part of the work of the League is carried out on location under the aegis of of regional parties. The most active of them: Democratic Green Party (Chelyabinsk), Green Party of Prekamia, Green Party of Lipetsk, Green Party of Nizhegorodsy Region, Green Party of Chuvash, Tambov Green Party...

LGP participated in the organization and work of a few major conferences, facilitated a radical, ecological action in Lipetsk in July-August 1992, where they managed to stop the construction of a joint Russian-Swedish enterprise "Viking-Raps." The League regularly publishes the bulletin, "Green Page," in the journal "Third Way."

A few organizations of the League simultaneously are members of the Russian Greens Party, while preferring to see the reconciliation of the two parallel organizations. LEP more than once came forward with the initiative of unification, however the leadership of the Russian Green Party answered negatively the last proposal of the League, rejecting part of the proposal, not answering on the remaining and withdrawing from proposed meetings.

Because of this situation, not one member from the parties' coalitions so far has been able to register their charter in the Ministry of Justice and receive official status.

written by Lika Galkina and Sergei Fomichov

translated by Jennifer Adibi