The Failure of Party Formation and the Future of Russian Democracy
Jerry F. Hough
THE ELECTION of 1993 is now a distant memory. The shock of the victory of Vladimir Zhirinovskii's Liberal Democratic Party of Russia in the party-list election and the defeat of Yegor Gaidar's Russia's Choice are now seen in perspective. Despite the fears of many, Zhirinovskii was not a candidate whose 8 percent support in the 1991 Russian presidential election and 22.9 percent support in the 1993 Duma election foreshadowed a Hitler-like breakthrough if economic conditions did not improve. The defeat of Yegor Gaidar proved to be much more a repudiation of him as a person and his specific policy than a repudiation of the prodemocratic, pro- market revolution.
Nevertheless, the 1993 election remains a highly important one for an understanding of Russia and the process of democratization. The recent literature on democratization has focused on events in Latin America and southern Europe in the 1970s and early 1980s. Yet democracy was first introduced in Latin America, southern Europe, and eastern Europe in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and frequently failed before finally--we hope--being established on firm grounds in the 1980s. Hence, as Alfred Stepan has argued, the recent literature does not actually analyze democratization but redemocratization .1