How Russia Votes

How Russia Votes

How Russia Votes

How Russia Votes

Synopsis

In this ground-breaking study, Stephen White, Richard Rose, and Ian McAllister analyze the momentous sequence of elections held during the collapse of the Soviet Union and the creation of the Russian Federation. Declaring Russia a :quot;late entrant to the world of free elections:quot; that still lags behind its postcommunist neighbors, the authors trace the progress of democratization by examining data from the nationwide New Russia Barometer surveys.

Excerpt

Free elections are central to twentieth-century politics. in the first half of the century governors faced demands to give every man and woman the right to vote for competing parties so that the government of the day would be accountable to the people. in the most fortunate parts of Europe, such as Britain and Scandinavia, the evolution of free elections occurred so peacefully that they are regarded as normal. But in Central Europe and the Mediterranean, the progress to democratic government was interrupted by detours into dictatorship. the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 opened up a new era, introducing free elections to countries where they were abnormal because for two generations or more they had been one-party Communist states.

Novelty makes the 1996 election of Boris Yeltsin as Russian president an international event, but it also means that Russia is a very late entrant to the world of free elections. Under the tsars, government was by despotic rule, occasionally enlightened but more often not. Following the abolition of serfdom in 1861, elections were introduced to regional and town councils advising tsarist officials; only a propertied minority was eligible to vote. Following defeat in the Russo-Japanese War and an uprising in Russia, in 1905 a Duma (parliament) was created, but neither the method of election nor the powers of the Duma were democratic as that term is used today. Terence Emmons (1983, vii) concludes from a study of that election that "the old regime survived longer in Russia than in any other European state" and adds: "when the end came the outcome was not only uncommonly violent but radically different in character from that of other European countries."

The Russian Revolution of 1917 was followed by the rise of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which preached and practiced . . .

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