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Party System Characteristics


The main characteristics of Russia's party system appear to be the following: 

President Putin addressing the United Russia congress

  • Unstable system: few parties have a long history of competing in federal elections; election rules are habitually changed.

  • Russia does not have a ruling party in the full sense of the word because it does not have a "party government" or a "party president."

  • The party system is on the periphery of the political system as a whole. The president and the executive branch dominate politics. The State Duma is the only arena in which parties have succeeded in playing a central role.

  • The majority of parties are created not from "below" in the process of aggregation and articulation of social interests, but from "above", by groups of elite.

  • Parties are often created as one-off PR projects or election devices by ruling elites in order to protect their interests in the legislative bodies or to organize and mobilize pro-presidential elites.

  • Popular organization and participation remain weak. Many sections of Russian society have not yet completed the stage of defining and aggregating their social, group or class interests.

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