Growing Pains: Russian Democracy and the Election of 1993

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

CHAPTER ONE
Introduction The 1993 Election and the New Russian Politics

Timothy J. Colton

RUSSIA HAS thrown off the Communist dictatorship, but it has yet to recast itself as a well-rounded democracy. The post-Soviet Russian Federation is at best a protodemocratic mélange, mixing ingredients of representative government with generous portions of bossism, corruption, and anarchy.

This book presents a multidimensional study of a watershed in the evolution of that mixed polity. In that bottom-up selection of major officeholders is a riterion--some would say the irreducible criterion--of the presence of democracy, a contested election is a revealing occurrence in any society moving away from authoritarianism. The ballot of December 12, 1993, has the distinction of being the first general election in the new Russian state and the first to be waged on partisan lines in Russia since World War I. The leaders who instigated it, moreover, conceived of it architectonically, as an engineered founding election, molded if not monopolized from the top down, the results of which would set the country's path for years to come.

The 1993 election was a benchmark episode, as hindsight verifies, the junction between what has been dubbed the "First Russian Republic" that supplanted the dying Soviet regime in 19911 and what we might label a "Second Republic," whose underpinnings were to be upheld by Boris

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