Growing Pains: Russian Democracy and the Election of 1993

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

CHAPTER FOUR
Russia's Choice The Perils of Revolutionary Democracy

Michael McFaul

IN DECEMBER 1993, for the first time since the formation of Russia's anticommunist movement in the late 1980s, advocates of radical economic and political reform--represented in this election by the electoral bloc Russia's Choice--were rejected by Russia voters. The results shocked Russia's radical reformers. Although public opinion polls suggested that Russia's Choice might capture as high as 40 percent of the popular vote, this proreform and pro-Yeltsin electoral bloc won only 15.5 percent, well behind the 23 percent garnered by Vladimir Zhirinovskii's Liberal Democratic Party of Russia ( LDPR) and not much higher than the 12 percent won by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF). This dismal showing was especially surprising considering that President Boris Yeltsin--the leader and symbol of Russia's radical reform movement--had just won majority approval ratings for both his performance as president and his economic reform plan in a nationwide referendum held in April 1993, just eight months before the December parliamentary elections.

____________________
In addition to those people cited in the notes, I would like especially to thank Vladimir Bokser, Mikhail Schneider, and Ludmilla Stebenkova from Russia's Choice for providing me with daily interviews and updates on their campaigns and also allowing me to observe the day-to-day operations and activities of the campaign. In addition, I would like to thank Joshua Freeman, Sergei Markov, and Tanya Kovalenko for their assistance in preparing this chapter. None of the opinions expressed in this chapter should be attributed to anyone but the author.

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