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"Parliamentary" Parties


The principal of proportional representation, used to fill in half of the seats in the lower chamber, has helped to stimulate the development of interest-based or ideological parties within the Duma. After three parliamentary elections in the 1990s, the core of a multiparty system appeared to be consolidating. This core was comprised of four national parties: the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Yabloko, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, and the Union of Right Forces.  

Russia's main "parliamentary" parties

Communist Party

Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF)

Now recognizes the legitimacy of private property and free markets
Advocates a major role for the state in the economy
Exploits patriotic slogans, nationalistic proposals, and nostalgic conservatism
Commands the loyalty of the older, poorer, and more rural voters
Its leader, Gennady Zyuganov, has been a nationally recognized political figure for the last decade
Liberal-Democratic Party Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR)
Has an ill-defined and rapidly changing ideological orientation
Has a popular leader, Zhirinovsky
The core of Zhirinovsky's views are nationalistic and imperial
Yabloko Yabloko
Has a well-defined political niche of the "liberal opposition"
Has a core electorate of the not-so-well-off intelligentsia and white-collar workers of large and medium-sized cities
Has a national grassroots organization
Has a well-known leader, Yavlinsky
Union of Right Forces   Union of Right Forces
Is unabashedly liberal
Has young, wealthy, and urban electorate
Has only skeletal organizations outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg
Has strong financial resources
Its leaders include some of the best-known political figures: Gaidar, Nemtsov, Chubais, Khakamada

When compared to each other, these four parties share many attributes that can also be identified in parliamentary parties in other political systems. They are interest-based or ideological parties. All of them participated in previous Duma votes and have financial resources, brand names, and organizational capacities to take part in election campaigns. All of them have well-defined political orientations, loyal electorates, and notable leaders. All managed to establish disciplined factions in the Duma. Their levels of support have remained relatively stable: no new ideologically based party has managed to challenge these established parties for their political niches.

This core group of well-established parliamentary parties, however, has not dominated parliamentary elections and has not enjoyed monopolistic control over the internal affairs of the Duma as do many party systems in consolidated democracies. The results of the 1999 and 2003 parliamentary votes suggest that the party dominance over parliamentary elections and parliamentary representation may be declining, not increasing.

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