UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Russian Political Parties

The Party of Power158221353292366
United Russia221315238343
Unity or The Bear 73...
Fatherland-All Russia Party (OVR)68...
Our Home is Russia (NDR)7---...
A Just Russia3864 23
Right Cause--...
Nationalist Bloc1773405638
Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR)1736405639
Motherland-National Patriotic Union Bloc37--...
Left Opposition11351579242
Communist Party (KPRF)11351579242
Communist Party Russian Communists--0
Patriots of Russia--0
Right Opposition497--...
Union of Right Forces (SPS)293--...
Party Of The Great Patriotic--0
Party Of Renaissance Village--0
Party Of Growth--0
Labour Union--0
Civic Platform--0
Party Of Social Reform --0
Native Party --0
Russian Party Of Pensioners For Justice --0
Russian Ecological Party Green --0
NGO Party Of Future Parents--0
NGO Civil Force--0
NGO Revival Of Agricultural Russia--0

Unity and Fatherland-All Russia Party (OVR) merged to form United Russia

Aside from the Communist Party, a remnant of the Soviet era, Russia has had few political parties with national followings. In the immediate post-Soviet years, a wide variety of new parties espoused either some type of Western-style democratic and free-market reform or retaining a form of the strong central government inherited from Soviet times. Parliamentary elections of the 1990s generally fragmented and weakened the reform parties, although State Duma legislation in that period most often was the result of compromise. In that period, party configurations changed rapidly as groups merged and split.

Political parties historically have been weak. Although the law includes a number of measures to enlarge the role of political parties, particularly of established political groupings, it also gives the executive branch and prosecutor general broad powers to regulate, investigate, and close parties. Other provisions limit campaign spending, set specific campaign periods, establish conditions under which candidates can be removed from the ballot, and provide for restrictions on campaign materials. To register as a political party, the law requires groups to have at least 50,000 members with at least 500 representatives in half of the country's regions and no fewer than 250 members in the remaining regions, making it difficult for smaller parties to register.

Prospective presidential candidates from political parties that are not represented in the Duma must collect no less than two million signatures from supporters throughout the country to be registered to run for president. Independent candidates also are required to submit signatures to the CEC to be certified to run. A candidate is ineligible to run if more than 5 percent of signatures are found to be invalid by the Central Election Commission. Parties that are represented in the Duma can nominate a presidential candidate without having to collect and submit signatures.

After early 1990, when the Soviet constitution was amended to delete the provision that the CPSU was the "leading and guiding" force in the political system, many political groups began to operate more openly in Russia. The constitution of 1993 guarantees Russians' right to a multiparty system. Political party development has lagged, however, because many Russians associate parties with the repressiveness of the CPSU in the Soviet era. In the mid-1990s, most of Russia's parties were based on personal followings, had few formal members, and lacked broad geographical bases and coherent platforms. Prior to the legislative elections of 1993 and 1995, much shifting occurred as parties formed and abandoned coalitions, sometimes involving partners with which they had little in common politically. Even the KPRF, direct heir to the CPSU, waffled on many central economic and foreign policy issues in the 1996 presidential campaign. One observer noted that for most Russian voters, the two major sides in the 1996 election had no identification with broad national issues; they were simply the anti-Yeltsins and the anti-communists. Experts identified the lack of focused national party organizations as a key factor in the diffusion of political power to subnational jurisdictions in the mid-1990s.

By 2001, political pluralism and civic freedoms in Russia were under greater pressure than at any time since the Soviet era. A new law on political parties, passed by the State Duma in the fall, introduced restrictions on the role and structure of parties, limited the number of groups eligible to compete in elections, and gave the government authority over many aspects of party development that had previously been left to the electorate to decide. Early in the year, the former “party of power” Our Home Is Russia (NDR) formally dissolved, and most of its members joined the pro-presidential Unity Party. In the second half of the year, Unity effectively absorbed the Fatherland-All Russia bloc, once an independent force in the State Duma. Unity and the Communist Party, now Russia’s two largest and most powerful political groupings, have colluded to marginalize pro-democratic parties, chief among them Yabloko and the Union of Right Forces (SPS).

Russian opposition leaders from the Party of Progress and RPR-Parnas decided 17 April 2015 to run on a joint platform for the 2016 parliamentary elections. They hope to consolidate voters unhappy with Putin into one bloc. The opposition Party of Progress, led by anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny, and RPR-Parnas, co-founded by Mikhail Kasyanov and by murdered Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov, said in a joint statement that they were "ready to take responsibility for the future of the country."

A smaller right-wing party also announced they are joining the political alliance, with opposition leaders hoping for new partners. Previous attempts at uniting the opposition were unsuccessful, mostly because many Kremlin adversaries come from different parts of the political spectrum.

About one quarter of Russians support opposition viewpoints, Lev Gudkov from Levada sociological research center said. However, "their influence would be much bigger if it were a fair game," the expert added. "The Kremlin fully controls TV. Regular people simply don't know what the opposition is doing. Their capabilities and those of the Kremlin's propaganda are incomparable," Gudkov said.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 21-09-2016 20:01:53 ZULU