From Communist Predominance
to Multiparty System
Change in the Local Party System in Russia, 1986-1995
University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany
Editors' note: "Democratization" in post-Soviet Russia shows the process of upgrading of communities to more autonomous political actors. This process was particularly strong in the stage of liberalization and in the first transitory phases when the regime aimed at mobilization of the citizens in order to improve the efficiency of the inflexible planning economy as well as the legitimization of the political system. Still, many communities were not adequately equipped to make use of their new political prerogatives because residues of the Soviet centralist and authoritarian institutions and their corresponding attitudes were still dominant. They never learned to create their own structures of political articulation (e.g., by building local parties). Consequently, the first community elections took place in what may be called a "political vacuum," characterized by the lack of organized communal groupings with clearly defined ideological or programmatic positions. Given these conditions, there is ample room for communes and cities to function as testing grounds for a large variety of political groupings struggling for survival and political power.
Kropp argues that a consolidated party system will be difficult to achieve because the post-Soviet transformations will lead to new societal conflicts that will give rise to new future parties. Likewise, she observes the role of local parties has