The Russian Parliamentary Elections of 1995: The Battle for the Duma

The Russian Parliamentary Elections of 1995: The Battle for the Duma

The Russian Parliamentary Elections of 1995: The Battle for the Duma

The Russian Parliamentary Elections of 1995: The Battle for the Duma

Synopsis

In its first modern parliamentary election campaign. Russia voted Communist. This definitive study of the December 1995 Duma elections. based on firsthand observation, interviews, and the unparalleled resources of the Open Media Research Institute in Prague, analyzes the Duma campaign from the adoption of the new electoral law through the tabulation of the final results.

The book examines

-- the rules of the game in Russia -- the electoral law;

-- Russia's complicated system of parliamentary representation;

-- why Russia has dozens of political parties and which appear to have some staying power;

-- the conduct of political campaigns, including platforms, electoral strategies, candidate appeals, and the role of money and the media;

-- demographic and regional characteristics of Russia, and which ones seem to be politically salient;

-- analysis of voting returns and comparisons with December 1993 results.

Excerpt

Russian voters went to the polls on 17 December 1995 to elect a new State Duma, the lower house of the country's legislature. The Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) emerged victorious, winning enough seats to name an expert in communist propaganda the new Duma speaker. The party's victory appeared to signal a remarkable swing in public opinion. Less than five years earlier, in the wake of the failed hard-line communist coup of August 1991, a triumphant Boris Yeltsin had banned all communist party activities on Russian territory. At that time, the reform policies of the newly elected Russian president commanded considerable popular support, while communism appeared to have been dealt a fatal blow.

But although a revitalized KPRF was able to best its opponents in December 1995, the electorate was deeply divided. Left-wing parties secured about one-third of the vote, pro-government and reformist parties just under one-third, and nationalists about one-fifth. Numerous tiny parties and electoral blocs joined the ballot, although they had little chance of mustering enough support to gain representation in the . . .

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