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Parliamentary Elections in RussiaA Quarter-Century of Multiparty Politics$
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Derek S. Hutcheson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266281

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266281.001.0001

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The party system

The party system

(p.87) 4 The party system
Parliamentary Elections in Russia

Derek S. Hutcheson

British Academy

It is contended in this chapter that Russia’s post-Soviet party system has gone through three phases – fragmentation (1993–c.2002), consolidation (2002–2009) and cartelisation (c.2009 onwards). The Yeltsin era witnessed the prevalence of many independent candidates and the proliferation of minor parties without any societal or institutional roots. One of Putin’s key aims on coming to power was to change that. Since the mid-2000s, the political system has been dominated by United Russia, the ‘party of power’ set up with Putin’s sponsorship. It has served as a partisan front for the executive, at the same time as acting as a ‘clearing house’ for the resolution of intra-elite conflict and resource distribution. Alongside it, three other parliamentary parties survived by acting alongside UR in a cartel-like arrangement. These four parties have continued to dominate the party system even after recent liberalisation of the rules on party registration. Many of the numerous new parties established before the 2016 election fizzled out and proved largely insignificant.

Keywords:   Russia, elections, parties, party system, cartel, Yeltsin, Putin

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