Return to: Search Page or to: Table of Contents Vol. 17, Issue 5

Alexander S. Perepechko, Craig ZumBrunnen, and Vladimir A. Kolossov, "Organization and institutionalization of Russia's political parties in 1905-1917 and 1993-2007: Similarities and differences from two occidentalist periods," Party Politics, 17 (September, 2011), 581-609. [Available at http://ppq.sagepub.com/content/vol17/issue5/ ]

First paragraph:
The role of post-Soviet civil society in political party formation has been weak. Ironically, despite the tumultuous regional economic and demographic changes of the past century, evidence exists that the attachment of votes to families of political parties in the regions has been stable (Perepechko et al., 2006). Nonetheless, between post- Soviet parliamentary elections major parties appear and disappear suddenly and often. How can this be? As instruments of participation and political mobilization, parties play a critical role in the creation of citizen-elite bonds through competitive elections. To achieve this, there needs to be a certain continuity in party organizations structured by the tasks of winning elections or maintaining power (Monroe, 2001) and these organizational structures need to be available to voters from one election to the next. Russia's political party formation and party development generally do not follow this rule. Do political party origin and organizational development matter? Really, what types of party organization or structure succeed from the perspectives of electoral stability and continuous participation in national parliamentary elections?

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Major political parties in Russia's national legislative elections (percentage of votes)
Table 2. Organizational classification of and number of elections won by major parties in Russia
Table 3. Party organization and successful institutionalization: logit analysis [b^(odds ratio)]*
Table 4. Party organization and failed institutionalization: logit analysis [b-(odds ratio)]*

Last Paragraph:
Features of a party's organization clearly appear to influence the institutionalization of pre-Soviet and post-Soviet political parties. Space has not allowed for a more detailed discussion here, but our investigation adds further confirmation to the theoretical and empirical findings of, for example, Badie (2000), Colton (2003), Duverger (1976), Easter (2007), Golosov (2003), Hale (2006), Hanson (2003), Hutcheson (2003), Kitschelt et al. (1999), McFaul (1998), Michels (1968), Panebianco (1988), Rose et al. (2001) and the works of other scholars cited previously in this article. The theories of these scholars discussed in the overview of party formation have been empirically revealed using a new organizational classification of major parties in pre-Soviet and post-Soviet Russia and advanced statistical techniques. The type of democracy in Russia's nearest future to a significant extent depends on the type of party system (multiparty system or two-party system) and the type of party organization. The difference between pre-Soviet and post-Soviet patterns and paradigms must not mask one important result revealed in this study. The organizational structure of Bolsheviks by the end of the period of 1905-17 was a Pandora's box; opening up this box led to 74 years of totalitarianism. The political party organizational structures of United Russia, CPRF and LDPR, by the end of the period of 1993-2007, do not ensure that the ghost of neo-totalitarianism is not present in Russia. At this time, there is clearly a strong possibility that some observers (such as Huntington, 1997; Zakaria, 2008) may well be correct that Russia will turn into a so-called 'Eastern' or 'illiberal' democracy without an organized opposition.

Last updated August 2011