Growing Pains: Russian Democracy and the Election of 1993

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

pendent won even though the challenge by a Yabloko candidate almost siphoned off enough of the reformist vote to allow Agrarian party member and well-known member of the irreconcilable opposition in the Russian Congress of Peoples' Deputies, Vladimir Isakov, to win. The less starkly ideological districts of medium-sized defense and industrial cities were usually won by well-known local notables either from government circles or, in the case of Pervoural'sk District 165, the economic sphere.

Ideology and social interests played a role by providing broad boundaries of acceptable candidates. Thus a staunchly conservative candidate was not going to have much luck in Yekaterinburg, and radical reformists were not going to do well in rural Artemov district. Candidates typically read these signals and did not run in ideologically unfriendly districts. After this general socioeconomic constraint, resources of name recognition and local organization determined the winners. This conveyed great advantage to the local political elite who tended to shun partisan identification and run as independents. Where these two determinants came into conflict-that is, where well-known candidates ran in inhospitable ideological districts such as Agrarian Party of Russia candidate Vladimir Isakov in Yekaterinburg-there was some uncertainty about outcome. In 1993 a reformist independent candidate managed to beat off Isakov's conservative challenge. However, in 1995 this trend was reversed, and well-known candidates managed to win in inhospitable districts. In conservative Artemovskii district a Yabloko candidate, a well-known deputy in the oblast duma, managed to capture the opposition stronghold with an energetic campaign in part because opposition candidates split their electorate.


Conclusion

The outcome of the 1993 elections in Sverdlovsk oblast was a result of environmental factors, the rules of the game, and individual actors' resources. The development of political forces in the region during perestroika produced a relatively favorable environment for Russia's Choice within the democratic camp. The reformist camp had been heavily oriented toward favorite son Yeltsin and naturally gravitated toward the bloc most closely associated with him, Russia's Choice, eclipsing the remaining reformist blocs.

Sverdlovsk oblast's socioeconomic environment also favored reformist blocs. Its highly urbanized population tended to be oriented more toward

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