When State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin reprimanded a young Communist for failing to recognize a quote by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, he might have miscalculated.
During a snap visit to a youth forum in the Vladimir region on Thursday, Volodin was asked by a young Communist Party member why the United Russia party had won a disproportionate number of seats in September's parliamentary elections in the Saratov region.
Volodin, who ran on United Russia’s ticket, responded by asking the young politician whether he knew the quote: “A man can make mistakes, but the party cannot.” When the young communist failed to recognize the words, he was reprimanded.
“[How can] you represent a political party which does not only revere that man, but receives many votes thanks to him? This was said by Stalin,” state-run TASS cited Volodin as saying.
On Friday, however, the Communists struck back. In an online statement, the party said the statement “The party is never wrong” was actually made by Stalin’s nemesis Leon Trotsky at the 12th Communist Party Congress in 1924.
Stalin then reportedly replied: “That’s not true. The party is frequently wrong. Ilyich [Lenin] showed us how to teach the party to lead by learning from its own mistakes. If there would be no mistakes, the party would have nothing to learn.”
The Communists then used the opportunity to deal Volodin a personal blow, saying: “Even in 1924, Stalin said the party could be wrong. And you, Vyacheslav Viktorovich, are the perfect example!”
In May this year the Communist Party amended its charter to make it obligatory for all party members to study Leninist-Marxist thought. The party’s anti-corruption committee, meanwhile, has been named after Stalin.