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Luke March, "Power and Opposition in the Former Soviet Union: The Communist Parties of Moldova and Russia," Party Politics, 12 (May, 2006), 341-365.

First Paragraph:
The impressive electoral comeback of the 'successor parties' - those postauthoritarian parties 'which inherited the preponderance of the former ruling parties' resources and personnel' (Ishiyama, 1999a) have produced an equally impressive literature. However, there have been several lacunae in these works to date. First, all have concentrated far more on East-Central Europe than the former Soviet bloc (Bozóki and Ishiyama, 2002a; Racz and Bukowski, 1999). Moreover, the main foci have been the 'social-democratic' successors, who are seen as more dynamic and successful than parties of a neo-communist hue, often viewed in contrast as 'notable failures of party transformation' (Grzyma•a-Busse, 1999, 2002). Certainly, there are increasing case studies of a limited number of individual parties (e.g. Curry and Urban, 2003; Ishiyama, 1996; March, 2001; Sakwa, 1996, 1998a; Urban and Solovei, 1997), and some which put such cases in comparative context (Ishiyama, 1999b; March, 2002). However, no writer has sought to provide a generalizable explanation for the continuing significance of many relatively 'unreconstructed' successor parties in former Soviet states such as Ukraine, Belarus and Latvia, which have proved surprisingly resilient given that their historical obsolescence has been long predicted.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Neo-communist election performance
Table 2. Party membership

Last Paragraph:
Such findings suggest some modification to existing approaches to understanding the persistence of the neo-communist left in the FSU and beyond. We might expect legacies to play a greater role in the evolution of successor parties that both demonstrate some organizational continuity with the Soviet past and openly claim 'succession' to it than in any other type of party. However, even though the success of such parties is significantly aided by patrimonialism and how it has impacted on the early stages of transition, it is increasingly a product of the conversion of legacies into contemporary political capital, institutional incentives, political agency and purely contingent events rather than a mere residuum of the past. Given this, we might well expect the predictive ability of both legacy and formative moment approaches to diminish over both space and time: post-communist parties which claim a greater break from the past, or which have contested several post-communist elections, would rely still less on the benefits of legacy than such ostensibly historically well-endowed parties. Moreover, this analysis of the divergent ideological paths and electoral success of two supposedly 'unreconstructed' parties means that they should be seen less as the passive recipients of a beneficent past than active participants in an uncertain present.