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Jon H. Pammett and Joan DeBardeleben, "Citizen Orientations to Political Parties in Russia," Party Politics, 6 (July 2000), 373-384.

First Paragraph:
Because many analysts see political parties as a necessary component of a democratic polity (Epstein, 1967: 8), their emergence is generally considered a key component of democratization processes in the postcommunist countries. Yet there is much evidence to suggest that political parties, as we know them, are having trouble establishing themselves as credible institutions in the region. Russia is a case in point. While political parties and other electoral groupings have emerged in abundance, they may not form important reference points for citizens nor fulfill many of the functions commonly attributed to parties in the western literature. It is the purpose of this article to use Russian survey data to examine citizen attitudes toward political parties and to assess their likely importance in the democratization process.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1: Predictors of three measures of democratic commitment, Russia, 1995-6 (beta values)
Table 2: Russian party groupings: mean scores for party index, interest and importance of Duma elections, 1995-6

Last Paragraph:
Rather than emphasize the limited nature of public belief in political parties in Russia, we should consider that, in a sense, it is a wonder that there is as much feeling about the necessity and importance of parties as we have found. The time period has been very short and the dominant role of particular leaders has blunted the growth of party organizations in many cases. Yeltsin refused to form a political party himself, and did not even endorse parties formed by others. Opportunities for parties to perform their major functions of holding government accountable, affecting policy and distributing benefits have been extremely limited. Finally, the pervasive atmosphere of corruption and profiteering has involved a number of party leaders, shown up the powerlessness of others and generally made it difficult for the public to trust politicians. If some of these conditions are alleviated, the groundwork is laid for the creation of a viable and reasonably stable party system in Russia. This, in turn, may reinforce the prospects for the democratic viability of the new polity.