Growing Pains: Russian Democracy and the Election of 1993

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

leadership of the Russia's Choice bloc, may also have added to their appeal. Although they strongly supported development of the market, they avoided market radicalism. They called for destatization but also asserted that the government was obligated to provide social welfare programs and economic opportunity for the average citizen. This right-centrist political stance corresponded well to the general liberalism of the Moscow public but also acknowledged the growing popular expressions of dissatisfaction and concern over spreading poverty and the fate of the elderly, disabled, and young families.


Conclusion

The contextual analysis has sought to explain the victory of radical and moderate reformists in the capital as the outcome of a specific path of political change. Although the goal of the analysis has been to elucidate the factors that produced particular results, the factors thus identified can be used to examine other regions as well. Knowing why Moscow is liberal tells us quite a bit about why other regions are conservative or "red."

First and foremost, the study of Moscow highlights the importance of a city or region's economic profile and the accompanying social structure for the long-term character of its electoral politics. The world view, desires, and proto-organizations of the Moscow population, particularly its intelligentsia stratum, were the essential ingredients of the democratic movement. The democratic movement recruited reform-oriented candidates who competed successfully in elections. These new elites powerfully strengthened the movement, radicalized public discussion, undermined the position of the Communist party, protected liberal Moscow newspapers and journalists, and thus deepened the liberalism of the mass public. Deep public attachment to liberal values and reformist goals and candidates was a crucial determinant of reformist victories in the capital, not only in 1993 but also in the parliamentary elections of 1995 and the presidential elections of 1996.

In addition to social structure, the Moscow case illustrates the significance of the configuration of political actors and parties and the postcommunist power structure for regional election outcomes. The denouement of the postcommunist crisis inflicted serious damage on political parties, particularly those of the centrist and extreme opposition parties. By autumn 1993 the city executive and his bureaucracy, in alliance with the

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