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Ekaterina Levintova, "Being the opposition in contemporary Russia: The Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) among social-democratic, Marxist-Leninist and nationalist-socialist discourses," Party Politics, 18 (September 2012), 727-747. [Available at http://ppq.sagepub.com/content/vol18/issue5/ ]

First paragraph:
The comparative literature on the development of functional party systems is well established. Beginning with Michels (1968) and later Duverger (1964) and Lijphart (1984, 1994), many political scientists expounded upon the themes of parties' historic transformation from extra-parliamentary to parliamentary ones and from street radicalism to participation in the organized and predictable contests for political control over government among various factions of the political elites. However, given the fairly short duration of the post-transition period, the transformation of the former ruling parties in the post-communist context is a relatively unexplored topic

Figures and Tables:
Figure 1. Evolution of three main elements of KPRF's public discourse.
Figure 2. Evolution of three main elements of KPRF's public discourse.
Figure 3. Evolution of Marxist--Leninist, Nationalist--Socialist and social-democratic types in KPRF's public discourse (internal documents)
Figure 4. Evolution of Marxist--Leninist, Nationalist--Socialist and social-democratic elements in the KPRF public discourse
Figure 5. Evolution of Marxist--Leninist, Nationalist--Socialist and social-democratic types in KPRF's party ideology (internal documents)
Figure 6. Evolution of Marxist--Leninist, Nationalist--Socialist and social-democratic elements in the KPRF public discourse
Figure 7. Disaggregation of KPRF's social democratic discourse.

Last Paragraph:
This tension (or synergy) between externalist/internalist explanations for the decline of nationalist elements of KPRF's discourse likewise supports both theoretical schools. On the one hand, the decline of this type of discourse might be a consequence of Putin adopting statist nationalism, which, in turn, narrowed the discursive field (not to mention electoral niche) for the nationalistic opposition. On the other hand, the sustained internal attack on Ziuganov's nationalist position might also be a probable cause behind the decline of the KPRF's nationalist discourse. The changes in the internal party structures, culture, membership, leadership and ideological discourse are thus evolutionary and in response to changing external conditions. In the Russian case the two explanations are not mutually exclusive.

Last updated August 2012