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Dossier : L'opposition politique en Russie. Enjeux et limites

The Communist Party of the Russian Federation : not Communist per se

Le Parti communiste de la Fédération de Russie  : non communiste en soi
Katlijn Malfliet
p. 37-63


Le parti communiste de la Fédération de Russie est appréhendé comme une force d’opposition que nous analysons ici. Nous avons plus particulièrement concentré notre analyse sur la façon dont le PCFR a adopté une technique de caméléon pour faciliter l’adaptation politique du régime au cadre postcommuniste – et, pour cette raison, il n’est pas un parti d’opposition au sens premier du terme. L’utilité du parti a décliné une fois que le régime est devenu autocratique, son avenir dépend toutefois de l’évolution du système politique russe.

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1This paper is inspired by some highly controversial issues in the field of comparative party politics. The exact formula of how to study party politics in a post-communist environment in a way that can lead to a better under-standing of what really is happening in transforming societies, polities and politics remains a complex and uneasy effort for those who claim to exercise the art of comparison.

2Paul Webb and Stephen White in Party Politics in New Democracies, for example, ask whether in so-called democratisation processes institutional factors prevail over those derived from regional context (Webb & White, 2007). Does political environment have a more significant impact on how parties develop or do parties grow according to some “universal” genetic programme ? And what conclusion can be derived from this as to the role of opposition parties in transforming countries ?

3In comparative perspective, the Russian case in the search for specific features of opposition parties leads to an even more troubling question : is Russia to be qualified as a democratic laggard comparable with some other post-communist countries of Eastern Europe, or is something of a different nature going on in Russian politics ?

4This contribution deals with the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) as a specific opposition party in post-Soviet Russia. Although “it is a common mistake to regard the CPRF as the direct continuation of the CPSU in Russia” (Hale, 2009, p. 85), the CPRF was nevertheless the most successful successor party during the first decade of development of party politics in the new post-communist and post-Soviet Russia, and afterwards, when Russia evolved into an autocratic model, the CPRF continued to serve as an opposition party that, this time, became explicitly loyal to the regime.

5Herbert Kitschelt and John Ishiyama provide a useful framework for further analysis of successor parties (Ishiyama, 1996 ; Kitschelt, 1989). For them the interaction between structural factors (the communist regime’s institutional and cultural legacies that structure the post-communist “political environment”) and political factors (the key actions of major political actors in the struggle for power both outside and within communist parties during transitions) are major drives in successor party development. Among the structural factors, it is the previous regime type which, according to these authors, has the most influence on the transition process and post-communist outcomes.

6What kind of “mutant” are we facing when trying to analyse the opposition role of the CPRF in post-communist Russia ? The Russian branch of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CP RSFSR) was founded on 19 June 1990, just before the breakdown of the Soviet Union. The initiative to form a Russian Communist Party was taken by conservatives in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (see further), as a reaction to the increasing nationalism in the other Union Republics of the USSR (especially the Baltic countries) and as a way of opposing Gorbachev’s radical reforms (Swain, 2010). Soon afterwards, together with the CPSU, the CP RSFSR was suspended and eventually banned by Yeltsin, as the President of Russia, during and after the August coup in 1991. Yeltsin also decided to confiscate its property. But in 1993 a Communist Party (CPRF) operating on the territory of the Newly Independent Russian State presented itself with success as a successor party to the CP RSFSR. At first sight it (the CPRF) started a new life after 1993 as a genuine political party with a mass membership, regional representations and a programmatic structure. In this way, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) descended from the short-lived Communist Party of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (Kuzio, 2008).

  • 1 Modelled on the template of the CPSU, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation was conceived a (...)

7But in a strange combination of vampire- and Frankenstein-like phenomena, this party surely did not find its origins in a “democracy from scratch” (Fish, 1995). First of all, as we discuss below, the CPRF developed on Russian territory from a particular section within the CPSU. Second, after a chaotic period of dazzling experience with party pluralism in the beginning of the 1990s, the CPRF was able to beat all competitor parties that claimed the (legal) successorship of the CPSU on Russian territory. Immediately after the ban of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, initiatives were taken in the former Union Republics of the Soviet Union as well as in the RSFSR to found new communist alternatives. Allison Swain describes in her recent PhD how within the Russian republic, in Yekaterinburg, the Russian Communist Workers’ Party was formed in November 1991 by a founding Congress of 500 delegates (of whom only 16 workers, although the party declared that it should have a working-class membership). In Zheleznodorozhnyi outside Moscow the Russian Party of Communists was established in December 1991 by the centrists of the Coordinating Council of the Marxist platform in the CPSU. Also in the autumn of 1991 the Socialist Workers’ Party was founded and in December of that same year in Saint Petersburg the All Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) held its founding Congress with delegates from across the former Soviet Union (Swain, 2010 ; Lentini, 1992, pp. 280-283). After a short period of “mushrooming” with these small and stillborn communist organisations, which all claimed CPSU-successorship, the CPRF consolidated its position as the true heir of the (good things of the) Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the former holder of a party monopoly in a communist political regime, that lasted 70 years in the Soviet Union.1

  • 2 Max Bader finds that party politics in the former Soviet Union is fundamentally different from part (...)

8This contribution argues that, in trying to explain the “opposition nature” of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), we should carefully look at the relation between party politics and regime types.2 According to Ishiyama, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, in its trajectory should be considered as an interaction of previous regime type, the founding process of a party during transition and the political environment a new party faces (Ishiyama, 1997).

  • 3 In this contribution we distinguish the term “regime” from “political system”. In this way we refer (...)

9Our hypothesis is that the CPRF, as a party that took part in an elite-dominated process of political change, should be looked at as a “mutant”, and “adaptor”, a “chameleon-like” actor serving as a facilitator for political transformation in a difficult period of leaving Marxism-Leninism and re-arranging the political system towards a “managed democracy”.3

10In this article we first discuss the development of the Russian Communist Party as closely related to the phenomenon of political transformation in a post-communist context. When using the term “regime adaptation”, we are not opting for a deterministic view of path dependency, nor do we go for an approach stressing the Communist Party’s agency role. Rather we tend to see the CP RSFSR/CPRF as facilitating adaptation of the political regime to the post-communist framework. The CPRF used a chameleon-like survival technique, which after all turned out first to be rather success-ful, but afterwards lost most of its usefulness when the autocratic features of the political regime regained their full strength.

11Second, we take a somewhat closer look at the electoral cycles in order to follow the CPRF in its electoral successes as an opposition party in a post-communist framework, as far as a much less hopeful story since the onset of the Putin period.

12In a third part we discuss the possible reasons why the Communist Party could survive (and be successful) without a transformation into a social-democratic party in the new political environment. Here we bring in the idea that in our view political culture indeed matters, and that it deeply influences the political regime as a changing and complex interrelation of formal and informal power channels.

13In the fourth part we propose a link between post-communist party politics, the opposition role of the CPRF and the “regime question”. Rather than claiming to bring the right answer to this question, we hope to trigger a discussion on this most important issue.

14Finally we develop some ideas on the future of the CPRF.

1. The CP RSFSR/CPRF and post-communist regime adaptation

15The first “critical junctures” (to borrow a term from historical institutionalism) that we can observe in the development of Russian post-communist politics, are the decisions of the 19th Party Conference (1988) and the 28th Party Congress (1990), in the framework of which the Communist Party of the Soviet Union decided to abandon its profile as a Vanguard Party, and to accept party pluralism as the political context underlying the electoral groundrules (Theen, 1988). In that period (1988-1990), the CPSU, after vehement internal discussions eventually decided to accept political pluralism, but kept to the conviction that it would become able to prove that it was not afraid of competing with other parties, and that it was capable of becoming successful in that newly created competitive political environment. This original aim thus can be described as “exploiting pluralism to subvert it”. Of course, at that moment divisions had increased within the Party and several platforms had been set up within the CPSU as a consequence of the opportunity structure created by the glasnost campaign, introduced by Secretary General Mikhail Gorbachev. The Democratic Platform was the first faction established in the Party since factions had been banned in the 1920s. At the end of 1989, eight different strands of opinion had been identified and “the CPSU could effectively be seen as a pluralist institution” (Swain, 2010). After the August coup in 1991, the United Front of Labour – UFL (Ob’’edinennyi front trudyashchikhsya), a conservative faction formed inside the CPSU, together with the Communist Initiative Movement – CIM (Kommunisticheskaya Initsiativa), a group which the UFL had helped to found, founded the Russian Communist Workers’ Party, a group to which many who later joined the CPRF belonged during the ban on party activity. In this way, one can draw a line from a particular section of the CPSU in Russia to the final development into a Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) (Ibidem).

16It is in any way remarkable that the CPSU thus “let the genie out of the bottle” (by accepting democratic rules for parties and elections) before allowing the creation of the Russian branch of the CPSU in June 1990. Except for the existence of a Bureau of the Central Committee for the RFSR in the CPSU from 1956 to 1966, there had been no Russian Communist party separate from the CPSU since 1925. It is well known that, in a rather problematic way, the CPSU was assumed to identify with the interests of the Party on the territory of the RSFSR (a special Russian branch of the Communist party was thus not deemed necessary). This remarkable institutional setting in the past can be qualified as a Soviet version of the centuries-old blurring between the state and the empire. The setting changed (but not the blurring between state and empire) in June 1990, when the CPSU “retrenched” to the CP RSFSR (founded within the CPSU as an anti-perestroika organisation), retaining, in a nontransparent way, its ambivalent reference to the status of state/empire.

17The second “critical juncture” in this metamorphosis of the Communist Party was the way in which the CPRF (the Communist Party of the Newly Independent Russian State) formally (following a legal path) became a successor party of the CPSU (the Communist Party of the Soviet Union) on the territory of the Russian state. The communists decided to contest the ban of the CPSU before the Constitutional Court and not in the streets.

18The decision of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation on the fate of the Communist Party (30 November 1992) was of crucial importance for the continuity of the Russian political regime : it did not do away with the Communist Party, but, in a delicate compromise, it created the conditions for the CPRF as a successor party to adapt itself to a new role in a different political regime context. There was a threat that such a litigation, where the Communist Party itself was put on trial, would turn into a new Nuremberg (Barry, 1995).The Chair of the Constitutional Court, judge Valerii Zorkin, promised to concentrate on “legal issues” and avoid turning the hearing into a political tribunal. In this way Zorkin managed to limit the potential for a trial of communism itself as a political regime, and of the CPSU’s “reign of terror” since 1917. Such was undoubtedly at that moment one of the main concerns of the leading political elite : how to do away with a Marxist-Leninist regime that had failed to achieve its aims and left society impoverished and destroyed ? Ironically, during the case concerning the Communist Party the communists used arguments of democracy and constitutionality against Yeltsin, and his decision to do away with the Communist Party (Feofanov, 1993, p. 624). In particular, they asked whether it was not undemocratic to ban a whole party, and to do this in an illegal way, because according to the then applicable legislation on political parties, only the court was entitled to ban a party ?

19The democratically-inclined parties to the same proceedings (in this Constitutional Court case both the claims of the communists and of their political opposition, although introduced separately, were brought together in one trial) used more political arguments : could the CPSU in any way be qualified as a party, as it only partially fulfilled the cardinal functions ascribed to a party such as interest aggregation and articulation, and providing a two-way link between civil society and the state ? Wasn’t the CPSU rather “a quasi-state organisation”, which had enmeshed itself in the state and dominated civil society, in this way performing many of the key administrative functions that in pluralist societies normally accrue to the non-partisan bureaucracy and the executive arm of the government ? (March, 2002)

  • 4 Primary Party Organisations were the basic units of the CPSU, situated in factories, government off (...)

20The argument that the Communist Party of the Soviet Union had developed into a surrogate for the state and that this could not be accepted within the new political context, was indeed accepted by the Russian Constitutional Court, but only where it applied to the ruling organs of the CPSU. The Court decided that these ruling organs should be liquidated while the Primary Party Organisations – (Pervichnye Partiinye Organizatsii) and other local party structures were recognised by the court decision as legitimate entities that could continue their activity.4

21This was a welcome decision. The Russian Constitutional Court as a matter of fact acted as a facilitator of political transformation. We can explain this in the following way. If we analyse the political transformation in post-communist and post-Soviet Russia as an elite-directed process of regime adaptation, this break with the past (and in particular with its most important historical actor, the Communist Party) was presumably an important policy issue for the elite, as it was looking for a new power basis : the elite needed that picture of “democracy from scratch”. But the Primary Party Organisations (PPOs), which represented the entrenchment of the CPSU at the local level, were allowed by the Constitutional Court to remain intact. The presidential ban on the local structures of the party was declared unconstitutional, which meant that the CPRF as a successor party retained its entrenchment on the local and regional level. This ruling of the Constitutional Court has brought the CP RSFSR/CPRF as successor parties of the CPSU into a position of comparative advantage, especially in comparison to the other communist parties that claimed successorship. By recognizing the PPOs as legitimate and legal, the Court made it possible for the CPRF to “adapt to post-Soviet political conditions while the party remained attached to constituencies and organisational forms, which might have no long-term viability in post-Soviet conditions” (Gill, 1988, p. 8).

22This decision of the Constitutional Court on the fate of the Communist Party also left clientelism and patronage at that local level untouched for a while during that difficult period of transition. Communist sympathisers remained in the state apparatus at all levels, as a consequence of this (partial) re-legalising of the party. The question of lustration as it was formulated in Central Europe thus could not be raised. The assignment of Party property was postponed : the communists did not immediately regain their property, but following the decision of the Constitutional Court, the regular courts had to decide about the ownership issue case by case. One positive result was certainly that this complex legalised procedure helped to avoid potential social unrest. In this sense the development of the CP RSFSR/CPRF is closely linked to the elite’s wish for regime continuity. The Russian Communist Party (CP RSFSR), for example, also helped to create the communist splinter parties in the early period of the new Russian state, and insisted from the outset that, should a united party be created, these parties had to return to it (Ibidem, p. 33).

2. Electoral cycles

23Let us take a look now at the successive Duma and Presidential elections, that took place in post-Soviet Russia. How can we qualify the Communist Party in its role as a political actor in this changing political context ? And how can we frame the electoral results of the Communist Party in a process of political regime transformation ?

24Understandably, electoral institutions have only relative importance in a country’s political development, especially where it concerns post-communist regimes. Warnings about the electoral “fallacy” should be taken seriously : “We must beware focusing on electoral institutions alone. Since this commits the electoral ‘fallacy’, saying little about how institutions are grounded in civil society or used by the political elite in a possibly authoritarian way” (March, 2002, p. 249). While avoiding the electoral “fallacy”, however, one should not ignore some relevance of elections to the process of political regime change. Electoral cycles matter. The CPRF slowly adapted to the post-communist electoral groundrules in order to play its role in the regime change/adaptation.

25During the electoral cycle of 1993-96 the Communist Party developed as a main electoral force.

Table 1

12 December 1993

12 December 1993

SMD : Single Mandate District

Source : Center for the Study of Public Policy – CSPP (2008), Results of Previous Elections to the Russian State Duma,–03.php

  • 5 In this contribution we do not analyse the regional and local aspects of party politics, and in par (...)

26In 1993 the CPRF attained the third place with 11.6 % of the party list vote and thirty two list seats. Along with the sixteen SMD (Single Mandate District) seats it became the third largest Duma fraction with 48 seats, which was a bit more than 10 % of the total in the Fifth Duma. Moser notes that such mixed plurality and proportional systems as then used for Russia’s Duma elections may favour parties with nation-wide recognition, a developed grassroots organisation and a network of well-known local candidates (Moser, 1998). This system suited the CPRF well. One can also observe during that period the gradual movement beyond a party of losers and pensioners into a broader electorate.5 Even in conditions of marked voter volatility, a core vote of 15-20 % was guaranteed, and thereby a strong showing in Duma contests. Because of the relatively small size of its faction in the Duma, on the one hand the party could avoid sharing responsibility with the regime, and could use the Duma as a tribune for non-constructive opposition. For example, it continually denied the legitimacy of the parliament in which it sat and of the new Constitution (which was nothing more than a discursive strategy, as the CPRF had participated in the Duma elections, recognising in this way its legitimacy and that of the new Constitution). On the other hand, its demands for more welfare spending and for a vote of non-confidence in the government (June 1995) were made in the full knowledge that these were unlikely to succeed (March, 2002, p. 178.).

27In 1995 the CPRF took advantage of Zhirinovsky’s demise, and re-emerged as the leading force of the anti-Yeltsin coalition. It gained a total of 157 seats. With 22.3 % of the party list vote and 99 list seats, the CPRF did much better than in 1993. The party also dominated the single-mandate races with 58 SMD-seats. It made impressive gains, winning almost a quarter of the popular vote and reclaiming its role as the leader of the opposition. The elections indeed gave the CPRF the legitimacy and respectability as a post-Soviet political force, while the radical communist groups atrophied.

Table 2

17 December 1995

17 December 1995

Source : CSPP (2008).

28The size of the CPRF’s representation in the sixth Duma (1995-1999) with its allies such as the Agrarian Party and Women of Russia (together 211 seats) came close to the parliamentary majority of 226. With this new strength, would the party promote compromise or conflict ?

29The bipolarity of the electorate between reform and antireform camps in that first period was masked by the mixed election system for the State Duma, where only half was formed by a proportional representation party list. Votes were spread among a large selection of candidates. Furthermore, the CPRF at that time could already use the organisational advantages of the Duma and the ability to broadcast its messages. The CPRF’s dominance of the opposition gave it little incentive to compromise with its smaller competitors. The re-emergence of the CPRF as the main opposition force allowed those in power to frame the 1996 presidential election as a referendum between “communism linked to the past” (Yeltsin was offered the opportunity to campaign against an old-style communist, CPRF leader Gennadii Zyuganov) and “anti-communism linked to the future”. “With the contest framed in this way, Yeltsin could assert that he was the only candidate capable of defeating the communist challenge” (McFaul, 1997).This again suited the regime well.

  • 6 The origin of CPRF financial means is unclear, see note 1.

30The overriding theme in the whole presidential election campaign in 1996 was the media-led attempt to terrify the population and to push them into uniting behind Yeltsin as the only choice against the spectre of communism. The campaign focused on all the repressive, extremist, Stalinist and stereotypical features of the communist record and portrayed a communist victory as a victory for instability and civil war (March, 2002, p. 183). The Yeltsin regime used the advantages of regime incumbency, especially financial and media resources. Backed by the oligarchs and having access to the state budget, the regime’s financial and media resources were much higher than those (although quite impressive as well) of the CPRF.6

31The presidential elections of 1996 turned out to be a referendum on communism : not simply a choice between two candidates, but between two regimes and two world-views. Yeltsin’s victory in the presidential elections of 1996 was a victory of anti-communism, as his campaign had polarised the vote into a choice between a communist past or an anti-communist future. The regime mainly distanced itself from its communist “period” ; it was not an unambiguous vote for democracy, liberalism and even less for “Europeanisation of Russian political culture”. The neopatrimonial game of gathering power and wealth went on, unhindered by any democratic rules. Russian regional elections have tended (even more than national elections) to be a competition between elites over resources rather than a struggle between ideologically based parties (Urban & Solovei, 1997, p. 172).

  • 7 The five charges: concluding the Belovezha accords, shelling the White House in 1993, unlashing the (...)

32The CPRF with its electoral strength of that moment, was nevertheless a weak opposition party which refused to “flex its muscles” in the Duma (1995-1999). Instead, it crossed the Rubicon into constructive behaviour, by accepting the electoral result, despite rumours about falsification, and not giving in to the radicals of the party, who were pressing for a vote of non-confidence. The CPRF became the defender of the interests of workers and state within the new political system. In the sixth Duma we see the CPRF proclaiming absolute opposition, while secretly negotiating with the executive and discretely allowing some of its deputies to break party ranks on a secret ballot (March, 2002, p. 238). Needing to demonstrate that it was not “collaborationist”, the CPRF supported a bill to impeach Yeltsin on five charges, a long-standing demand of the radicals within the party.7

33The CPRF party platform for the Duma elections of 1999 was even more declarative and ideologically eroded. The key slogan “Order in the country, prosperity at home”, was less revolutionary than the 1995 slogan : “Russia, labour, popular power, socialism”. Whereas the earlier platform explicitly promised the abolition of the presidency, renationalisation and the resurrection of the USSR, in 1999 the aims were more cautious : a reduction in presidential power and the creation of a Slavic Union. The program, which before was national-patriotic in inspiration, became more social-democratic in its profile. It talked about how to enforce property and investors’ rights, or how to defend small and medium-sized businesses and of a pragmatic acceptance of private property in a socially oriented socialist market economy. Remarkable was the party’s praise of Stalin, just before polling day, calling for strong party unity in an anti-Hitler coalition style.

Table 3

19 December 1999

19 December 1999

Source : CSPP (2008).

34Where it concerns the party lists, the CPRF did even better in 1999 than in 1995, with 24.3 % of the list votes and 67 seats, but in the districts it gathered only 46 seats, which brought the total for the CPRF to 113 seats. Afterwards Zyuganov, as the main challenger to Putin in the 2000 presidential elections, ended at quite a distance in those elections. The party’s weaker representation in the Duma and its weaker presidential challenge in 2000 were evidence of a relative loss of position. This drop in support has been due to the fact that the CPRF’s patriotism was adopted with success by Unity and later by United Russia. Moreover, other left-wing parties (the Socialist Party of Russia and the Russian Socialist Party), presumably with the help of the Kremlin, aimed at splitting the communist vote (Gel’man, Golosov & Meleshkina, 2005, p. 40.). But the CPRF preserved its status as the official opposition, its organisational coherence and a national and regional electoral presence (Petrov, 2000 ; Stoner-Weiss, 2000).

  • 8 A Party of Power is situated around the president and/or the prime minister without them necessaril (...)

35The 2003 Duma elections retained the mixed member system but saw the creation of an uneven playing field for new and established parties. The new Kremlin-backed legislation on political parties unduly benefited the CPRF in its competition with parties other than the “Party of Power” (Unity).8 With its strict criteria for legal party registration for new parties, party and electoral legislation was erecting barriers which only the CPRF and Edinstvo (Unity) could surmount.

36The Communist Party of the Russian Federation entered the eighth Duma in a fundamentally different situation. Putin commanded a Duma majority of over 200 seats, enough to push through economically reformist and moderately pro-western reforms, even if the communist/agro-industrial bloc opposed them. Putin supported the communists, but not in an unconditional way. His message was straight forward : either they became a modern, left-wing and docile opposition functioning as the other pole of the party system, or the communists would be consigned to history. Putin’s circle regarded communist ideology itself as obsolete.

Table 4

7 December 2003

7 December 2003

Source : CSPP (2008).

37While pro-Kremlin parties surged in 2003, the main opposition parties on both the left and the right faltered. On the left, the CPRF lost half of its party-list vote from 1999 (12.6 %), and managed only twelve victories in single-member districts. As a result, the CPRF faction in the Duma shrank by 61 seats, falling from 113 in 1999 to 52 in 2003. The message, spread during the election campaign, that the Communist Party accepted corporate money gave voters a reason to doubt their old party, but this time an alternative was presented : “Rodina” or “Motherland”, with some credible leaders, such as the popular leftist economist Sergei Glazev and the nationalist Duma Deputy Dmitrii Rogozin. Those two, once in the Duma, appeared not to be loyal enough to the Kremlin, and they were pushed out of the leadership of the party. The new leaders then merged Rodina with the Pensioners’ Party and a minor party, headed by Federation Council Speaker Sergei Mironov, a close Putin associate. Mironov became the leader of the party “Spravedlivaya Rossiya” (A Just Russia), another potential competitor for the Communist Party of the Russian Federation.

38The presidential elections of March 2004 lacked any challenging features. Putin’s re-election as a president became so certain after the over-whelming victory of United Russia, that no party leader who competed in the Duma elections ran as a presidential candidate in March 2004. No Zyuganov, Yavlinskii or Nemtsov. The CPRF put up Nikolai Kharitonov, a lesser known figure. He became a distant second with 13.7 %, while Putin won on the first ballot with 71 %.

  • 9 Similar to a Ruling Party, a Party of Power represents the interests of the authorities. The differ (...)

39“Edinstvo”, as a newly risen Party of Power was produced by a political system that was able to identify and respond clearly to popular demand.9

40Putin’s popularity was based on his ability to respond to public desire for an active, energetic and decisive crisis leader. Traditional parties were not necessary (any more) to reach the electorate. Using media and patronage resources the CPRF became integrated in the political elite as a sparring partner, useful instrumentally as a cheerleader for election victory.

41Putin started to speak openly about a two- or three-party system in which Edinstvo and the CPRF could play a key systemic role, with the liberals marginalised (Bozoki & Ishiyama, 2002, p 261). The initial deal with Edinstvo broke the taboo on public deals between the Kremlin and the political parties. The CPRF became a constructive opposition party, with more credibility, more finances, more media impact. The party was not considered as threatening for people any more.

42Changes in election and campaign law, and the appearance of Putin on the Party list, made it even more easy for United Russia at the 2007 Duma elections. The CPRF obtained 11.57 % of the popular vote, which translated into 57 seats. “A Just Russia”, the new party, created shortly before the elections, was strongly backed by the Kremlin as the second half of what was then envisioned as a two-party system. They received 7.74 % of the vote and 38 seats. Zhirinovsky’s party received 8.14 % of the vote and 40 seats.

Table 5

Final result of the Duma election, 2 December 2007

Final result of the Duma election, 2 December 2007

Source : CSPP (2009), Final result of the Duma election, 2 december 2007,

43As a consequence of this strategy, “A Just Russia” was one of the four parties that passed the 7 % threshold in the 2007 Duma elections. This (virtual) party has its roots in the Motherland Party, an alliance between the Kremlin and disgruntled CPRF allies, formed in 2003. The state media depicted the CPRF as losing touch with true socialist values by accepting corporate money, while those same media portrayed Motherland as a truer heir to communist ideals. By 2007, Yabloko and SPS were effectively eliminated from the Duma.

44In May 2007, Mironov proposed a merger between the CPRF and “A Just Russia” in order to create a new unified socialist party. Mironov invited all “honest socialists” to join the party. However, his proposal was rejected by Gennadii Zyuganov who claimed that “A Just Russia’’’s claim to be a leftist party was a charade.

45“A Just Russia” appears to be waiting in the wings to capture leftist votes, either as part of the Kremlin plan to eventually engineer a two-party system, or to capture votes should United Russia’s popularity decline. In the plan of the authorities of pairing United Russia with an extremely loyal opposition, the Communist Party does not seem to have a role left.

3. Survival without transformation ?

46After looking at the way in which the Communist Party distanced itself from the previous regime and played its role in the successive electoral cycles which marked the transition, we now turn to the question of how the Communist Party faces the new political environment. Did the Communist Party change its identity as a political actor during this long opposition cure ?

47By 1993 the CPRF emerged as a dominant political movement in Russia, but at the same time it managed to position itself in the landscape of political parties as the only true heir to the CPSU. That successorship, with all its complexities, proved to be more important than its re-emergence as a social democratic or nationalist party, a mutant phenomenon that we saw in many Central and East European countries. The question of why it was a communist party which became the dominant “successor party” instead of a social democratic or nationalist successor party as in many countries in East-Central Europe, is not an easy one to answer.

48The specific role for post-communist successor parties in general is known to consist in channelling economic protest into support for the regime, and in forming a “socialism of transition”, based on an “authentic” representation of interests rooted in a socialist value culture. In doing so these communist successor parties could correct the implicit “rightward” bias of transition to capitalist democracy, and thereby helped form a more nuanced and balanced pluralist political spectrum, giving representation to the most excluded elements (Mahr & Nagle, 1995, 405-407).

49In Russia, it was even more important for the regime to allow that kind of opposition role for a post-communist successor party. It could provide the regime with an undertone of continuity, that was necessary to pacify the liberal democratic stream of the regime’s preferences (Morlino, 2008).

50We can refer here to Georges Lavau’s “fonction tribunitienne” of communist parties, consisting in the fact that a communist party can offer a tribune to the people without a voice, and in this way, by allowing the excluded to express themselves, communist parties can serve as a security outlet to avoid conflict or a people’s revolution (Lavau, 1952). However, in a specific post-Soviet Russian context, other considerations, which are discussed below, are even more important in explaining this continuity.

  • 10 As Luke March rightly stresses, “communism in Russia possessed a far greater residual legitimacy th (...)

51That a communist party became the dominant successor party in Russia without having to change its communist profile, can be explained first of all by the fact that communism as it was introduced in Russia should be approached mainly as a Leninist adaptation to Marxism. Harold Berman wrote a wonderful book on this theme (Berman, 1963). According to Berman, Marxism-Leninism turned out to be a Russian version of the communist societal model, which means that some features of communist thinking and communist ideology were more accentuated : the sense of collectivity going back to the Russian cultural heritage of sobornost’, the idea of strong leadership inherited from Byzantine and Mongol leadership patterns connected to the connotation of democratic centralism, and the idea of unity in diversity, as the communist federation was considered as a healthy expression of narodnost’. Communism, or rather “really existing socialism”, especially in Russia, obtained a strong cultural and historical legitimacy. The Communist Party’s long tenure of power meant that the CPSU and communism itself were identified with the state and intertwined with the concept of nation”.10

52Second, as we have already mentioned, the Communist Party within the communist regime was turned into a surrogate for the state. This ambiguity between the Party and the state (in particular its regional entrenchment) did provide a comparative advantage for a successor party at the start of post-Soviet Russian politics, although the confusion between party and state as such had disappeared in the new political framework. This advantage was used by the CPRF in support of an Orwellian principle : in the “new” regime of a Russia born from the implosion of the Soviet Union, “all parties were equal, but some were more equal than others” : namely the “parties of power” and the “authorised opposition parties”. It was easy for the CPRF leadership to exploit its competitors’ weaknesses and to gain control. Most important for that comparative advantage was its regional entrenchment that was facilitated by the November 1992 (see above) decision of the Russian Constitutional Court (by leaving intact the PPOs and local networks as basic structures).

53The third feature that explains why the Communist Party could survive without the need to transform itself into a social-democratic or nationalist party, was a split ideology.

  • 11 For more details, see www.

54The 28th CPSU Congress in 1990 already showed a party split in many ideologies : liberal, social democratic, Stalinist and nationalist : they all made their appearance at that stage of political transition. At the Party’s Third Congress in January 1995 the party program was an eclectic mix of the least contentious elements in the various positions, which allowed adherents of most diverse positions to find at least something in it. No coherent vision shared by all members appeared (III s’’ezd Kommunisticheskoi Partii Rossiiskoi Federatsii, 1995, p. 27). The Fourth Congress in April 1997 saw an important tactical change : the description of the CPRF as a responsible and irreconcilable opposition, which significantly was only included in the resolutions and not in the programme itself (IV s’’ezd Kommunisticheskoi Partii Rossiiskoi Federatsii, 1997, p. 58-59). The Fifth Congress of May 1998 concentrated on party unity and the Sixth Congress (in September 1999 and January 2000) concentrated on ongoing election campaigns.11 Neither dealt with ideological issues. The Communist Party had accepted pluralism, multipartism and private property : to that extent it had changed. But the liberal philosophy that sustains these values was not endorsed by the Communist Party.

55In this sense, the CPRF’s self-proclaimed ideological innovations might be questioned. The espousal of the mixed economy, limited pluralism, constitutionalism and the rejection of militant atheism were changes which had already been initiated in Soviet ideology in the Gorbachev era. These concepts, closely related to a Westernising current, were soon considered a failure. New emphases came, which were closer to the Slavophile current : state patriotism was the most important. The CPSU, and afterwards the CP RSFSR/CPRF even opened themselves up to believers, who could join without restrictions. This radical change away from militant atheism and repression was announced by the initial Party Conferences. Afterwards the role of the church as connected to an interpretation of nationalism was accentuated.

56The CPRF thus itself created confusion about its communist nature. The adaptability of the CPRF was enormous. The initial evolution of the CPRF as successor party from a reformist and a hardline wing within the CPSU was important in that perspective. The reformist wing joined the process of state-organised privatisation after August 1991 and appropriated the majority of the CPSU’s organisational resources, but did so under the banner of democratic reform. The socialist banner was increasingly held by a hardline rump, which in 1990 founded the CP RSFSR. So in contrast to Hungary and Poland, the “hardline” wing was dominant in the early stages of the founding of the successor party and has remained dominant in the evolution of the Russian left until the years after 2000. There was no discussion on the organisational form the party should take : the party had to be a party built on Leninist organisational principles, but there were great difficulties in agreeing on a programme. Ideologically, it took on some features of a nationalist or even fascist party, at the same time with revolutionary and conservative features, and on the other hand it remained unclear whether the party might develop into a social democratic party. The only thing that was sure was the fact that it did not remain a traditional Marxist-Leninist communist party, and, even more importantly, that it could not take on the responsibility for the Soviet regime and its failures. But for the rest it did not rely on a comprehensive ideology shared by all party members : the crisis of its communist identity was created by the CPRF itself.

57The way in which the CPRF responded to problems of post-communism could not be qualified as a return to orthodox communism, nor as a wholehearted embrace of nationalism. Henry Hale noticed the paradox that “it was a decidedly non-communist idea (at least, according to Karl Marx), that enabled a little-known former CPSU official, Gennadii Zyuganov, to wind up as the heir. This idea was nationalism” (Hale, 2009, p. 85). But there was a highly confusing notion of “nation” (Flikke, 1999, p. 293). It was not pure ethnic nationalism, nor was it Soviet supra-ethnic nationalism. A renewed supra-ethnic community was the aim. “In a first step Russian national consciousness should revive, as an emotional community that could be mobilised and second a gradual and voluntary reconstruction of a larger union would be initiated through appeal to supra-ethnic historical ties, first through the Slavic core of Russia and Belarus, later to incorporate the majority of other states” (March, 2002, p. 105).

58In this perspective, special attention should be paid to the role of the CPRF’s leader : Gennadii Zyuganov. Zyuganov combined communism with national historical, cultural and spiritual values. There was a lot of mingling and blurring : did Zyuganov follow a “third road” or did Russian neo-communism evolve around autocracy, orthodoxy and nationality ? (V. Vujacic, 1996, p. 121 ; Molchanov, 1996, p. 72) Was the idea to cede ideological ground to the national patriots because of the discrediting of their own ideology and then form a new “union” of democracy, the Russian idea and socialism ?

59This eclectic blurring of communism, national patriotism and social democracy was perhaps the only way in which the party could maximise its ability to manoeuvre without losing part of its electorate.

60Zyuganov’s modern Russian idea included political-identitity values as gosudarstvennost’ (stateness) and spiritual-religious values of dukhovnost’ and sobornost’ (conciliarism). Zyuganov made orthodoxy central to Russian identity, and the key value of a revived USSR, based upon the core religious unity of the three Slavic nations. All these ideas around orthodoxy as the embodiment of the values that distinguish Russia from the West, and the conviction that they can mobilise and unify Slavs beyond their national borders are not new (Devlin, 1999, pp. 162-170 ; Slater, 1998), Zyuganov cited the slogan of the nineteenth-century Count Uvarov of “Orthodoxy, Autocracy and Nationality” as the “invariant” of Russian state development (Zyuganov, 1996, p. 22).

61Again in an eclectic way, Zyuganov referred to Lev Gumilev’s “ethnos” and Nikolai Danilevskii’s cultural-historical type, and reinforced his ideas on the inherently antagonistic nature of international relations by referring to Samuel Huntington’s clash of civilisations. The antithesis of Russian culture and history to that of the West was underscored by references to Halford Mackinder, Oswald Spengler and Arnold Toynbee. The idea that civilisations have their own sphere of influence and that avoidance of global conflict can only be maintained by a “balance of interests”, left Russia geopolitically to a self-sufficient role as hegemony in the Eurasian landmass, free from Western, and especially American influence. This approach, according to this geopolitical view, should however be complemented by the idea of Russia’s position in the heartland of Eurasia, which destined it to have a central role as geopolitical pivot in the region with whose culture and history it has most in common.

4. Party Politics, Opposition and Political Regime

  • 12 Neil Robinson as early as 1998 wrote an article on “Classifying Russia’s Party System” in which he (...)

62We can now return to our main question : how can we understand the Russian Communist party as an opposition party in a process of political system transformation ? Our previous comments stressed that western concepts on political parties cannot readily travel to Russian settings.12 To understand the Russian party system, one has to study aspects that are more pertinent to party politics in Russia, first of all the authoritarian political context and the elite-driven nature of party politics, phenomena that in their turn should be framed in a context of regime adaptation. This approach, contextualised in the framework of regime adaptation, brings other insights into the dynamics of Russian party politics (Fish, 1993).

63Our main question then becomes : “How should we qualify what happened politically to Russia since perestroika : was it a regime change (from communist to “democratic”or “authoritarian”), or was it a regime adaptation (from Marxist-Leninist trappings to democratic trappings of the same Russian regime) ?”. Is it a process of slow and tormented democratisation that took place in Russia, or did the elite-driven process intend from the beginning to effect a political modernisation of the Russian state/empire identity ? And finally : Can the Communist Party be qualified as an opposition party or should it rather be described as a facilitator of regime adaptation ?

64The reader will have understood that this contribution follows the reasoning that the development of Russian politics in the Post-Soviet environment can be approached mainly as regime adaptation, in the sense of a political modernisation of the Russian state/empire identity. The author claims that the CPRF is to be considered in that perspective as a “medium” that well served the Russian political elite, to facilitate regime adaptation.

65The approach from the perspective of regime adaptation makes it easier to explain some strange phenomena that we observed in the development of the Soviet and Russian Communist Party. Why did the Communist Party of the Soviet Union eventually (albeit under growing pressure from a majority within the Supreme Soviet of the USSR) accept democratic pluralism as ground rules ? How was the CPRF able, as a “newly founded party”, to become the real and only successor of the CPSU on Russian territory ? Why did the CPRF as sole communist organisation receive the Kremlin’s approval as an opposition party ? Why was it never able and willing to effectively take advantage of its electoral successes ? Why did the CPRF allow Putin to “steal” its programme, its electorate, and its political capital ? In order to answer these paradoxes, it is advisable to frame this question in a broader search for the peculiarities of the Russian political regime. The phenomenon of transition, or rather transformation of post-communist parties, should be understood as an evolving matrix of historical legacy, political culture and decisions of actors in a period of relative institutional and normative uncertainty (Bader, 2009).

  • 13 See for example Fish (1995).

66The term “regime”, as it is used in this contribution is – it has to be repeated –filled with a specific content. We are conscious of the fact that the term “regime” sometimes has a bad connotation, as it is often used to refer to totalitarian political systems, often dominated by the military. Others use the term “regime” just as a reference to a form of government.13 We use the term “regime” in an approach that rejects universalist metatheoretical approaches to comparative studies, and that goes resolutely for a relativist approach, digging for what is under the institutional, ideological and “politics” dimensions of party politics.

67The regime approach, as described above, is in line with what other authors have found to be most clarifying, when studying Russian politics. Richard Sakwa calls the “regime system” the “transitional political system that was the residuum of the authoritarian party-state and survived the incomplete democratic revolution” (Sakwa, 1997). The regime followed a path of co-optation, incorporation and neutralisation of political opposition through clientelist routines and networks, and remained largely supra-ideological. The co-optation of the opposition since the start of the Putin regime impeded parties from gaining mass character, forcing them into a cadre party system based on intra-elite negotiation rather than roots in civil society, further diluting the ideological opposition and coherent political discourse usually generated by political parties and programmes competing in the political arena” (March, 2002, p. 120).

68Sakwa also introduced the concept of “dual adaptation” : the party adapted simultaneously to the formal institutions of power (elections and parliament) and to the “regime system”, the informal clientelist “para-democratic processes” by which elite politics operated (Sakwa, 2002).

69Since 2000 the Russian Parliament was no longer an arena for confrontation between the president and the opposition, but an instrument for legislative endorsement of nearly any initiative that was offered by the President. An elite group took over, this time overtly (the process had already started during the Yeltsin period) from the sovereign people. The Medvedev presidency (starting in 2008) brought some deconcentration of power and shared responsibilities between the presidency and the cabinet, but the features of the post-Soviet “adapted” political regime did not change : a regime that legitimises itself with concepts of democracy and market, while its power system fundamentally contradicts the essence of those two notions.

  • 14 The concept of patrimonial party systems has been elaborated by Kitschelt and others in their book: (...)

70This process is characteristic of formerly patrimonial communist states.14 State patriotism, nationalism, unity and consensus provided a ground for rapprochement with the regime, at the expense of weakening the communists’ own arguments. The CPRF was not unambiguously communist, but it represented several “new” nationally specific post-Soviet socialisms and divergent ideological tendencies which included potentially social democratic, orthodox communist, Stalinist, nationalist and even fascist tendencies. Communist (Soviet) “political capital” was distributed unequally, and many of the advantages obtained by successor parties elsewhere accrued to the Russian “democratic” regime itself. Indeed it can be said that this “Russian regime in democratic clothes”, and not the CPRF, was the true “successor party to the CPSU, albeit its reformist wing” (March, 2002, p. 134).

71It was Putin’s form of governing which in Russia threatened political opposition per se. He manufactured a compliant majority through a mixture of cooptation (such as shown towards the CPRF), coercion (by initially marginalising Fatherland All Russia) and consent (by regularly consulting the heads of the Duma fractions). The best image illustrating this “nihilistic” approach to party politics in post-2000 Russia is the metaphor of a stable with horses, ready for racing. The story goes as follows “there is evidence that the Kremlin (that is the Russian President/Prime Minister and their close associates) continues to keep a stable of other parties “in reserve” that can be used either to attack true opposition parties or perhaps to one day replace United Russia if something goes wrong”. Probably that is why neither the President nor the Prime Minister unambiguously identify themselves with a party. Dmitri Medvedev became the first party nominee ever to win the Russian presidency, but he refused actually to become a member of the party (White, Sakwa & Hale, 2009, p. 97). Former President and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin similarly agreed to become “chairman” of United Russia in 2008, but declared that even this did not mean that he would actually be a “party member”. The fact that this lack of formal membership does not fundamentally change the political settings tells us something about Russia’s political regime, which is deeply influenced by informal institutions. Some have asked, “how strong can a party be, if its own top patrons will not fully commit themselves to it ?” (Hale, 2009, pp. 81-82). The Kremlin is worried that its enormous manoeuvre room would be limited by a strong party with its own political rationality.

In conclusion : Future development for the CPRF

72Literaturnaya Gazeta described the Communist Party of the Russian Federation as early as in March 1994 as “not only the largest but also the most structured party, having inherited from the CPSU a considerable basis of personnel and finance. It has revived national-communist ideology, is one of the strongest factions in the Duma, and, according to some assessments, has good connections with elite groups” (Literaturnaya Gazeta, 1994). Afterwards, from 2000 on, the regime-dependency of the CPRF became increasingly obvious.

73However, in the field of regime qualification too, Russia constantly tends to confuse us. The most recent “plot thickening” that we have seen in the Kremlin’s strategy is a policy paper presented by the Kremlin-linked think-tank INSOR (Institute of Contemporary Development) on “21st Century Russia”, in which the authors advise rolling back all “undemocratic measures that have been taken during the presidential Putin-period : limitations on political parties, nomination of governors, …” (Institut Sovremennogo Razvitiya, 2010) These games of the Kremlin with the West should not blind us to the specific features of Russian politics, among which the most imposing is the autocratic character of the regime.

74We are inclined to conclude that the CPRF cannot be qualified as an opposition party in the real sense of the word, but more as a facilitator in regime adaptation. This implies that the future of the CPRF is contingent on the development of the Russian political regime. If the CPRF’s continuing reluctance to embrace social democracy reflected ambivalence about liberal democracy and the lack of a true democratic revolution in Russia, then the question becomes what its role and usefulness will be once it becomes clear that neither democratic revolution nor liberal democracy are the regime’s aims.

75Nevertheless the CPRF proudly presented itself as the only genuine political opposition party in Russia. It could refer to its party program, its strong attachment to a clearly defined electorate, a well-developed regional and national structure. But all this was only possible as the CPRF lived on the humus of the preserved strong “statist continuities”. The initial success of the CPRF (before 2000) should be seen as a partial rehabilitation of communism and a victory for conservatism, Soviet/Russian values and socialist welfarism rather than a preference for communism per se.

76After 2000, the political context became different. In their fear of social disorder and disruption to their political or economic interests, the regime and the communist opposition found each other in a decreasing commitment to open political competition. In the 2000 election the CPRF was admitted into power, in order to block more radical alternatives which might upset the elite status quo. This opposition was increasingly conducted behind closed doors, as the communists became merely one of the elite clans vying for the president’s attention.

77The CPRF leadership was very willing to become integrated in the Russian political system.

78An important question for the future remains : which party is going to answer the need for a social-democratic alternative ? How long will the Communist Party keep up ? Yabloko is not a competitor any more, but “A Just Russia” is all the more so. “A Just Russia” can indeed be considered as a spoiler party designed to crowd the space in one part of the ideological spectrum, by assuming a stated ideological position similar of that of the existing opposition party : the Communist Party. In this sense the elite-controlled development of the Communist Party can be considered as euthanasia, operated on a party that is considered by the elite to have no future any more.

79It is an irony, as Steven Rosefielde and Romana Hlouskova remark, that the disqualification of the Communist Party is today viewed as part of the undemocratic consolidation of Putin’s power. “One totalitarian system is simply replacing another”, these authors conclude (Rosefielde & Hlouskova, 2007). But it is not that simple, as we have tried to explain in this paper. Nevertheless, this process of keeping in mind the regime-specific features of Russian party politics cannot be considered as just a theoretical exercise. For us, in the West, the idea that Russia is on its way to democracy is a wrong and dangerous assumption.

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1 Modelled on the template of the CPSU, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation was conceived as a mass party, with Primary Party Organisations in 88 regions, up to a 159-member Central Committee representing divisional leaders, a ruling 17-person Presidium and a number of deputy chairmen below Party leader Zyuganov. Internally, it was organised on the principle of democratic centralism ( The CPRF’s financial support created much controversy. Officially it relied on membership contributions, but soon it appeared that the donations of sympathetic “red businessmen”, the material resources of the State Duma and perhaps even former CPSU funds played a role. For further information and analysis of these issues: Allison Swain (2010), The Development of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation 1993-2008, PhD Thesis at Glasgow University

2 Max Bader finds that party politics in the former Soviet Union is fundamentally different from party politics in Western democracies in many ways. He starts from the observation that the creation and operation of parties in the former Soviet Union is driven by elite actors (Bader, 2009).

3 In this contribution we distinguish the term “regime” from “political system”. In this way we refer to the complex problem of hybrid regimes, where performance is mainly dependent on informal institutions and rules within the political system. This led to such concepts as “managed democracy”. This form of “teleological democracy” blurs the difference between the tearing down of failed authoritarian political systems and the building of successful democratic ones (Colton & McFaul, 2003, p.15).

4 Primary Party Organisations were the basic units of the CPSU, situated in factories, government offices, schools and collective farms. In the beginning of the 1980’s there were 390,000 PPOs in the Soviet Union. For further reading, see Gill (1988).

5 In this contribution we do not analyse the regional and local aspects of party politics, and in particular those of the Communist Party, as this subject is treated by other authors in this volume.

6 The origin of CPRF financial means is unclear, see note 1.

7 The five charges: concluding the Belovezha accords, shelling the White House in 1993, unlashing the war in Chechnya, collapse of the Russian armed forces, and genocide against the people of Russia.

8 A Party of Power is situated around the president and/or the prime minister without them necessarily being the leader or even a member of that party. A Party of Power secures the parlementarian support for the president and/or the government, not along formal constitutional rules but as part of power politics (Oversloot & Verheul, 2000).

9 Similar to a Ruling Party, a Party of Power represents the interests of the authorities. The difference is that in the case of a Party of Power the decision-making nucleus remains outside the party. United Russia, for example, legitimises government decisions through its parliamentary faction.

10 As Luke March rightly stresses, “communism in Russia possessed a far greater residual legitimacy than elsewhere, because it was indigenous– this was where the first communist government was created in 1917” (March, 2002, p.16).

11 For more details, see www.

12 Neil Robinson as early as 1998 wrote an article on “Classifying Russia’s Party System” in which he brought up the problem of “relevance” of this scientific endeavour in a time of uncertainty” (Robinson, 1998, p.136).

13 See for example Fish (1995).

14 The concept of patrimonial party systems has been elaborated by Kitschelt and others in their book: Post-Communist Party Systems. Competition, Representation and Interparty Cooperation (Kitschelt, Mansfeldova, Markowski & Toka, 1999).

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Table des illustrations

Titre 12 December 1993
Crédits SMD : Single Mandate District
Fichier image/jpeg, 164k
Titre 17 December 1995
Crédits Source : CSPP (2008).
Fichier image/jpeg, 124k
Titre 19 December 1999
Crédits Source : CSPP (2008).
Fichier image/jpeg, 160k
Titre 7 December 2003
Crédits Source : CSPP (2008).
Fichier image/jpeg, 156k
Titre Final result of the Duma election, 2 December 2007
Crédits Source : CSPP (2009), Final result of the Duma election, 2 december 2007,
Fichier image/jpeg, 115k
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Katlijn Malfliet

Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute for International and European Policy, KULeuven (

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