Growing Pains: Russian Democracy and the Election of 1993

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

Nesterenko's success was clearly a function of poor krai-administration coordination in the Arsen'ev single-mandate district. Two competing PAKT candidates ran against each other in Arsen'ev. To complicate matters further, Nesterenko himself won campaign backing from Spassk Cement, the huge PAKT cement-producing enterprise that dominated the Spassk economy. In effect, three PAKT-supported candidates ran in Arsen'ev okrug. This suggests that competing interests within PAKT itself were largely responsible for the outcome of the race in this district.

In sum, although the reform coalition was successful in propelling its candidates to victory in the Ussuriisk and Vladivostok single-mandate races, it could not secure victory in Arsen'ev. Here, poor coordination within the reform camp coupled with Gurchenkov's poorly conceived campaign platform and coy response to reform-camp advances sealed the fate of the reform effort. Instead, an independent candidate squeezed past the post in split voting between krai-administration backed candidates.


Conclusion

In the wake of post-Soviet Russia's first general election, fears of a national polity dominated by the hugely successful ultra-rightist Liberal Democratic party were mitigated by the fact that in single-mandate districts, reform candidates carried the day. Across Russia, radical reformers won more seats in the State Duma than any other party, due to their strong showing in the districts. These results suggest that, at least at the level of individual candidates, support for reform in Russia was very much alive in December 1993.

This chapter's analysis suggests otherwise. Despite the strong showing for reform candidates in single-mandate districts, and even reform victory in one Federation Council race, support for reform remained weak in Primor'e. Reformers were weak on three counts. First, local party structures were severely fractured. This was in large part due to weak coordination between central and local party organizations, but also to the fact that local reform parties, and radical reform in particular, fixated on a local struggle with the krai administration. As a result, internal strife and competition rocked the reform camp. Indeed, although the Republican-Social Democrat alliance held, in principle, for the duration of the campaign, it collapsed

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