Russia's Duma Elections: Why They Should Matter to the United States
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
Pagination or Media Count:
Russias legislative elections, scheduled for 17 December, have only limited legal significance, because most power is concentrated in the presidency. However, the elections will be viewed in Moscow as an indicator of the popular mood and will serve as a surrogate presidential primary. All indications are that the parliamentary election will not represent a fair sounding of the electorate. Virtually all participants in the election process will use the levers they control to manipulate the outcome from buying signatures, to obstructing competitors access to the media, to tampering with the vote count after the election. Government attempts to influence the outcome of the parliamentary elections probably will temper, but not neutralize, the anti-Government and anti-Yeltsin sentiment of the electorate. However, it is still too early to assess the likelihood of the Communistnationalist sweep predicted by reformists like Yegor Gaydar. If hardliners do particularly well in the December elections and use their enhanced position in the new Duma to publicly challenge Boris Yeltsin, this could set the stage for another legislativeexecutive crisis.
- Government and Political Science