Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), State Duma Deputy
Zyuganov was born on June 26, 1944, in the village of Mymrino, Oryol region, into a family of rural teachers. He is Russian.
In 1961-1962, Zyuganov worked as a teacher in a rural secondary school.
In 1962, Zyuganov enrolled into the Department of Physics and Mathematics of Oryol Pedagogical Institute. Between 1963 and 1966, Zyuganov served in NBC military intelligence units in Byelorussia, Germany and the Chelyabinsk region. After demobilization, he continued studying at the institute and graduated in 1969.
In 1969-1970, Zyuganov taught at the Department of Physics and Mathematics of Oryol Pedagogical Institute. In 1978-1981, he studied at the CPSU CC Academy of Social Sciences where he took an external post-graduate degree. In 1980, he defended his Candidate's thesis titled "The Basic Principles of Planning the Development of Socialist Urban Way of Life (Based on Major Cities)." In April 1995, he defended his doctoral dissertation titled "The Main Trends of Social and Political Development in Russia and Its Mechanisms in the 1980-1990s." He is the author of about 50 articles on history and politics published in various newspapers and journals.
He joined the CPSU in 1966.
In 1967, Zyuganov began his Komsomol career. He worked as first secretary of a district, and then a city, Komsomol committee. In 1972-1974, Zyuganov was first secretary of the Oryol regional Komsomol committee. In 1974-1983, he worked as secretary, and then as second secretary, of the Oryol CPSU city committee and was in charge of the department of propaganda at the Oryol CPSU regional committee. In 1981-1983, Zyuganov also taught at the Department of Philosophy of Oryol Pedagogical Institute.
In 1970-1978, Zyuganov was a people's deputy of the Oryol regional and city Soviets. He headed the regional Soviet's commission for the youth.
In 1983-1989, Zyuganov worked as an instructor at the CPSU CC Department of Propaganda (he oversaw Moscow, Moscow region, and the North Caucasus), as a planner, sector head and deputy department head.
In 1989-1990, he was deputy head of the CPSU CC Department of Ideology.
In 1990-1991, Zyuganov became popular among the members of the anti-reform opposition to Mikhail Gorbachev inside the Communist party after a number of his publications in the newspaper Sovetskaya Rossiya, the most notorious of which was "The Architector by the Ruins." It was directed against Aleksandr Yakovlev.
Following the establishment of the RSFSR Communist Party in June 1990, Zyuganov was elected its Central Committee Secretary, a Politburo member and Chairman of the RSFSR Communist Party Central Committee's Standing Commission for Humanitarian and Ideological Issues. At the Central Committee, he was in charge of ideological policy and interaction with public organizations and movements.
At Russian CC plenary meetings and party discussions, Zyuganov insisted on the removal of Gorbachev from the post of CPSU CC General Secretary.
In February 1991, he organized the conference "For Great and United Russia!" that set up the Coordinating Council of patriotic movements. In August 1992, it was reorganized into the Coordinating Council of the Popular Patriotic Forces of Russia. In January 1992, he became chairman of the Coordinating Council of the Popular Patriotic Forces of Russia.
In July 1991, Zyuganov, Aleksandr Prokhanov, Valentin Varennikov, Valentin Rasputin, Eduard Volodin, Boris Gromov and others issued a manifesto called "Appeal to the People" which he was "called... not without grounds... the chief ideologue of the GKChP," as he admitted in one of his interviews later, because "it turned out to be in consonance with the appeal to the Soviet people made by the GKChP members on August 19."
In the beginning of August, 1991, at the RSFSR CP CC plenary meeting first secretary Ivan Polozkov resigned. Zyuganov refused to ballot to that post in favour of Valentin Kuptsov, whose candidature was nominated by Politburo.
During the abortive coup attempt, Zyuganov was on a vacation in the North Caucasus and did not take part in the conspiracy.
In the fall of 1991, Zyuganov helped establish the Russian People's Union (ROS) headed by Sergei Baburin and in December of the same year he became a member of its Coordinating Council. He was also elected a member of the Coordinating Council of the Otchizna (Fatherland) movement (its Coordinating Council chairman was Russian people's deputy General Boris Tarasov) but kept a low profile in the movement. Although Zyuganov was not a people's deputy, he took an active part in the establishment of the parliament bloc Russian Unity.
In June 1992, Zyuganov was elected one of the four co-chairmen of the Duma of the Russian National Sobor (RNS). The other co-chairmen were Aleksandr Sterligov, Valentin Rasputin and Pyotr Romanov.
In October 1992, Zyuganov became a member of the organizing committee of the National Salvation Front. At its founding congress on October 24, 1992, Zyuganov was one of the four main speakers (the other three were Ilya Konstantinov, Sergei Baburin and Aleksandr Prokhanov). Later he became a member of the Political Council of the National Salvation Front and was elected one of its nine co-chairmen (later, the number of co-chairmen reached 17).
Zyuganov remained in the leadership of the National Salvation Front until the spring of 1994, when the Front turned from a broad-based opposition coalition into a group of support for one of its former leaders, Ilya Konstantinov.
After August 1991, Zyuganov was much closer to national patriots rather than to the communists. However, in December 1992, following a Constitutional Court ruling that lifted the ban on local Communist Party organizations, Zyuganov became a member of the Initiative Organizing Committee, led by Valentin Kuptsov, for the convocation of a restoration congress of the RSFSR Communist Party. At the second extraordinary congress of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), Zyuganov was elected, at the proposal of General Albert Makashov, chairman of the party's Central Executive Committee.
Although Zyuganov remained a co-chairman of the National Salvation Front until the spring of 1994, the CPRF did not join the Front and, despite active political cooperation, preferred to keep distance. At first, Zyuganov rejected the idea of creating the Union of Communist Parties (UCP-CPSU) led by Oleg Shenin, but later, in order to avoid confrontation in the party, persuaded the plenary meeting of the party's Central Executive Committee in May 1993 to adopt a compromise decision on the party's associative membership in the UCP-CPSU. Later, in April 1994, it became a full member of the UCP-CPSU).
Zyuganov described President Yeltsin's attempt to introduce a "special form of governing" in March 1993 as "a coup aimed at establishing dictatorship similar to unlimited autocratic power."
Zyuganov condemned the dissolution of the parliament by President Yeltsin in September 1993. The CPRF supporters helped defend the White House, but Zyuganov urged them to use only peaceful forms of resistance. Just a day before the bloodshed in Moscow, Zyuganov made two appearances on television to call on all sides to resist provocations and refrain from using force. During the state of emergency in Moscow, the activity of the CPRF was suspended, but soon after its end the party was legalized again. This enabled it to participate in the elections to the Federal Assembly.
On December 12, 1993, Zyuganov was elected deputy of the State Duma of the first convocation at the top of CPRF list. He was elected chairman of the CPRF Duma faction and became an ex-officio member of the Duma Council.
On September 16, 1994, Zyuganov participated in a congress of Russia's patriotic forces, "The Russian Frontier: From Kaliningrad to the Kurils," that was held in Kaliningrad. He signed a joint statement of the opposition leaders that called for the resignation of the government and an early presidential election.
At the third CPRF Congress in January 1995, Zyuganov was elected a member of the CPRF Central Committee and, on the last day of the congress, chairman of the CPRF Central Committee.
In the spring of 1995, together with Alexei Podberyozkin, RAU Corporation president, Zyuganov was put in charge of the Organizing Committee of the Spiritual Heritage movement, a national patriotic organization which declared the late philosopher Ivan Ilyin (emigre, anti-communist and monarchist) its ideologue. The movement's founding congress elected Zyuganov a member of its Council.
In July 1995, Zyuganov was elected member of the Council and the Political Executive Committee of the Union of Communist Parties (UCP-CPSU).
In 1995, Zyuganov led the CPRF election campaign which secured the party a record number of votes (22.3 percent) on December 17, 1995. Zyuganov was elected a deputy of the State Duma of the second convocation.
On January 15, 1996, the Central Electoral Commission registered a nomination group (which consisted mainly of the activists of the Spiritual Heritage movement) that nominated Zyuganov its presidential candidate. On February 15, Zyuganov's candidature was supported by the All-Russian CPRF Conference. At the end of February 1996, the nomination group that named Zyuganov its candidate became the first to submit the lists of signatures to the Central Electoral Commission that registered Zyuganov as an official candidate on March 4.
Within the CPRF, Zyuganov was the leader and one of the chief ideologues of the "popular patriotic" (from the point of view of orthodox critics - "national-reformist") trend which existed in the party along with pro-socialist democratic ("social reformist") and orthodox communist ("Lenin Position") trends.
Zyuganov describes his views as socialist and "genuinely democratic." At the same time, he does not oppose the term "national patriotic" (although he himself prefers to call them "popular patriotic").
Zyuganov calls for "reviving the state" and insists that in Russia "the state has a sacred meaning." He prefers to refer to the Soviet Union under Stalin as a "state of the leader, a state which corresponded, by its spiritual and moral type, to Russian popular monarchy." He describes the revolutionary events of the beginning of the century as "the most dramatic division by the principle of estate" which was inspired by external and internal enemies of Russia, the same enemies who organized "perestroika" at the end of the century. Zyuganov does not share the traditional Marxist-Leninist concept of classes and class struggle, at least with regard to Russia. In his book "Beyond the Horizon" that was published in 1995, Zyuganov defines "the historic process" not as the history of "class struggle" (as Marx and Lenin understood it), but as a "process of interaction, competition and change of... civilizations," a process that involved "ethnic groups that have always - from the ancient times - been the ...bearers, guardians and the main players on the stage of the world history." Describing 19th century, Zyuganov maintains that "...the spread of Jews, the influence of which is growing not just with every day but with every passing hour, has an increasingly growing impact on the outlook, culture and ideology of the Western world. The Jewish Diaspora, which has traditionally controlled the continent's financial life, is becoming some sort of the holder of the 'controlling interest' in the economic system of Western civilization as 'its own market' develops. The motives that they have been selected by 'the high authority' to govern the world, which are so characteristic of the Jews' religious beliefs, are beginning to produce a dramatic effect on Western minds... Under these conditions... Slavic civilization, represented by the Russian Empire, the last stronghold of resistance to Western hegemonism, is acquiring special importance."
Zyuganov believes that "the CIS is a conspiracy that should be undone." He favors a "gradual and voluntary restoration of the destroyed Union state".
Zyuganov opposes the economic reform conducted by the Russian leadership and the "poorly thought-out" liberalization of prices and the liquidation of collective farms. He calls for using "tested methods of economic and financial management and labor incentives irrespective of the form of ownership... such an economic construction that would provide for reasonable proportions of state, collective and private forms and where none of the forms would be ruled by decree." To resolve the current crisis, Zyuganov believes it necessary to regulate prices and adjust wages and salaries for inflation.
Although Zyuganov claims that human rights should not have supremacy over the rights of the state and nation, he believes that they are "mutually interdependent."
In August 1992 through August 1993, Zyuganov was a member of the editorial board of Aleksandr Prokhanov's newspaper Den. He regularly contributes articles to the newspaper Zavtra - which Prokhanov has been publishing instead of Den since 1994 - as well as to the CPRF newspaper Pravda Rossii, Sovetskaya Rossiya, Pravda and other periodicals. In 1992, the publishing house Paleya released a booklet called "Gennady Zyuganov" in the "The Life of Prominent Russians" series.
Zyuganov likes tennis and volleyball. He has first category in the mass sports rating in field-and-track athletics, military triathlon and volleyball.
His wife is an engineer at Moscow's Second Watch Plant. His son, born in 1968, has graduated from Moscow Bauman State Technical University. His daughter, born in 1974, is an adviser. He has a five-year-old grandson.