Growing Pains: Russian Democracy and the Election of 1993

By Timothy J. Colton; Jerry F. Hough | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIX
Right and Left in the Hard Opposition

Evelyn Davidheiser

THE MOST startling result of the 1993 election was the victory of the right-wing Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) under the leadership of Vladimir Zhirinovskii. By midnight December 12, just two hours after the polls closed in Moscow, it was clear that the radical reformers had not produced the win expected. Instead the LDPR was in a strong first place in the party-list race. By the time the votes were counted, the LDPR had indeed won a plurality of the party-list votes, but in the overwhelming attention devoted to Zhirinovskii's victory, most ignored the equally important strength of the left opposition-the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) under Gennadii Zyuganov and the Agrarian Party of Russia under Mikhail Lapshin. These two parties had promised a postelection coalition from the beginning and together they came in a close second to the LDPR. More important, in the single-mandate races, the KPR F and Agrarian party did far better than the LDP R, winning nine and sixteen seats, respectively, to the LDPR's five seats. Both the spectacular showing of the LDPR and the very solid showing of the KPRF and Agrarian party point to a strong vote of opposition to Boris Yeltsin and the government, but the variation in the performances of the parties in the two types of races points to the more subtle ways in which Russia's emerging party system is being shaped. The distribution of seats across these three parties--and especially between the parties on the left and the LDPR on the right--was in

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