Book Chapter

Russian Election Watch, January 26, 1996

RUSSIAN ELECTION WATCH
January 26, 1996

To help track significant developments affecting Russian elections, the Strengthening
Democratic Institutions Project offers a simplified summary of recent political events, including
"betting charts." Individual''s estimates of the likelihood of Russian election and their results
are presented as numerical estimated probabilities not because anyone entertains illusions about
precision, but to make the estimators state their bets as clearly as possible.

I. Results of Duma Election on December 17, 1995

(source: ITAR-TASS 12/26/95)





Party List %



Party List Total



Single Member District Total



Total Seats in New Duma



Seats in 1993 Duma

Communists


22.31%



100



58



158



45

Our Home is Russia
9.89%
44
10
54
n/a
LDPR (Zhir.)
11.06%
50
1
51
64
Yabloko
6.93%
31
14
45
25
Agrarians
3.78%
0
20
20
55
Russia''s Choice
3.9%
0
9
9
76
Power to the People (Ryzhkov)
2.1%
0
9
9
n/a
KRO (Lebed)
4.29%
0
5
5
n/a
Women of Russia
4.6%
0
3
3
23
S. Federov''s Party
4.01%
0
1
1
n/a
Comm. Working for USSR
4.52%
0
3
3
n/a
Independent Candidates
n/a
n/a
77
77
65
I. Comments on Results of Elections

- COMMUNISTS: To no one''s surprise, the Communists were the top vote-getters
in the Duma election. However, the party''s strong showing in the regions was
unanticipated. Unlike the other parties, the CP-RF rejected a paid television campaign
and instead concentrated on regional organization and mailings. The message promoted
by the Communists promised better times for those in anguish. To their credit, the CP-
RF identified key issues and mobilized their supporters - pensioners and those hurt by
the economic transition - to go to the polls. At a press conference following the victory,
party leader GENNADY ZYUGANOV claimed that with such support, "The government
cannot continue with the old policies." He called for the resignation of key reform
ministers, which subsequently occurred. He also promised an end to radical reform and
to raise tariff rates, social spending, and state subsidies. (NYT 12/21, Financial Times
(FT) 12/19,21)

- LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF RUSSIA: Prior to the election,
VLADIMIR ZHIRINOVSKY''s faction was all but written off by both Russian and
Western pundits in favor of the more sophisticated nationalism of GENERAL
ALEXANDER LEBED''s KRO. However, LDPR proved its endurance by placing
second on the party list voting. Most of the party''s support is for Zhirinovsky alone.
As in 1993, the party fared miserably in the district races, winning only one seat. Thus,
the party is not well organized locally, but can run an effective centralized campaign.
The sexy LDPR political commercials will be remembered long after the campaign.
Party member MIKHAIL GUTSERIEV will serve as Deputy Duma Speaker. (various
sources)

- OUR HOME OF RUSSIA (NDR): Nine out of ten voters cast their ballots
against the governing party. Despite a slick campaign and efforts to recruit regional
governors to support the government''s party, NDR fared poorly in the regions, carrying
only Moscow. Attempting to put a positive spin on the outcome, Prime Minister
VICTOR CHERNOMYRDIN stated his party did well for only having seven months
to prepare. The Communists, he claimed, had worked over 70 years for this election.
(omri 12/29)
In the new Duma, NDR campaign manager SERGEI BELAYEV, will lead the
party faction. Six members from the party''s federal list, including the prime minister
and #2 actor/director NIKITA MIKHALKOV chose not to leave their current positions
to join the Duma. The First Deputy Speaker will be NDR member ALEXANDER
SHOKHIN. Chernomyrdin claims that Yabloko is the faction closest ideologically to
NDR, but all factions have qualified individuals. (omri 12/28,29, 1/19)

- YABLOKO: GRIGORY YAVLINSKY''S Yabloko bloc is the only reform bloc to
enter the Duma. Not only did the party do well in the list voting, but it also gained more
regional representation than in 1993. The party is most ideologically similar to Our
Home is Russia, but thus far has refused to cooperate with NDR in the new Duma.
Instead, the party supported a Communist Duma speaker apparently in order to receive
several key Duma committee chairmenships. Yabloko will keep the Budget and
International Affairs committees. When some independently elected reformers sought
to join the faction, party member VYACHESLAV IGRUNOV announced the bloc would
consider additional members, but stressed it would not sacrifice party discipline.
(Nezavisimaya Gazeta 1/6)

- CONGRESS OF RUSSIAN COMMUNITIES (KRO): The biggest surprise
of the election was the failure of KRO to clear the 5% hurdle and replace Zhirinovsky''s
LDPR as the leading nationalist party. Party co-leader GENERAL ALEXANDER
LEBED, elected in Tula, was one of five KRO members elected from the regions. KRO
was one the only voices claiming fraud in the election, but its accusations have not
resonated. Many have offered explanations for KRO''s poor showing. The New York
Times claimed party leader YURI SKOKOV held Lebed back for fear of his own power
being usurped. Skokov, on the other hand, says his party was late in organizing, had a
poor regional structure, and was inefficient at distributing propaganda. Skokov refused
to blame the party leadership for KRO''s difficulties. (Washington Post 12/21, NYT
12/21, Nezavisimaya Gazeta 1/12)

- RUSSIA''S DEMOCRATIC CHOICE: YEGOR GAIDAR''S party failed to
clear the 5% hurdle. Although it will have 9 representatives from the districts including
human rights advocate SERGEI KOVALEV and former Duma Defense Committee
Chairman SERGEI YUSHENKOV, Gaidar himself will not be in the parliament. In an
interview in Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Gaidar said his party failed to clear the 5% hurdle
because 2.5 million reform voters split their votes between 10 reform blocs. For this
reason, Gaidar will not seek the presidency and advocates the reformers to coalesce
around one candidate. He hopes his party can help Yabloko and Our Home is Russia
reconcile. He warned that the Communists would not bring a new totalitarian regime
because they were too entreched in the current system, but they would be able to deal
a heavy blow to fragile democratic structures. (omri 12/21, Nezavisimaya Gazeta 1/5)

- COMMUNISTS-WORKING RUSSIA-FOR THE SOVIET UNION:
VIKTOR ANPILOV''S unreformed Communist party won a surprising 4.52% of the list
vote. Although not enough to gain entry into the Duma, the strong showing of a Stalinist
party concerned many observers. Anpilov has given mixed signals on whether he will
seek the presidency. Should he run, he will take voters away from CP-RF leader
GENNADY ZYUGANOV. (various sources)

- ADDITIONAL BLOCS: In addition to the four parties that cleared the 5% hurdle,
three more factions of independent deputies were registered during the first week of the
new Duma. In order for a Duma faction to be registered it needs to have 35 members.
The Agrarian faction, led by NIKOLAI KHARITONOV, registered with 35 members;
Popular Power, led by former Soviet Prime Minister NIKOLAI RYZHKOV, has 37
members; and Russia''s Regions led by RAZMAN ABDULATIPOV and ARTUR
CHILINGAROV, has 42 deputies. The Agrarian faction and Popular Power are
expected to vote with the Communists, while Russia''s Regions will be an independent
centrist bloc. A group of independent reformers attempted to organize a bloc, but could
not accumulate 35 deputies. (omri 1/5,1/17, Obshchaya Gazeta 1/11-17, Nezavisimaya
Gazeta 1/6, 1/10)

- BALANCE OF POWER IN NEW DUMA: Adding up the ideologically
similar groups in the new Duma, the Communists/left will have 221, the reformers 59,
the government 55, the nationalists 51, and the centrists 42 (all numbers approximate).
In the 1993 Duma, reformers had 143, centrists had 103, Communists had 100, and
nationalists 88. If one adds the opposition (Communist/left-nationalists) deputies together
they have increased from 188 in 1993 to 272 in 1996.

II. Related Election Issues

- PROFILE OF DEPUTIES: The Duma has 157 former deputies and 15 former
members of the Federation Council. There are 46 women, down from 58 in 1993. 29%
of the Duma deputies are from Moscow. The average age of a Duma deputy is 47. 219
have previous legislative experience; 52 have executive branch experience. 154 come
from branches of industry, while 30 were activists in social organizations, and 29 were
artisans. (omri 1/17)

- VOTER TURNOUT: A high voter turnout surprised most experts. Approximately
65 million voters voted in the parliamentary elections, nearly two-thirds of the 107
million registered electorate. (This far surpassed American turnouts which were 54%
in the 1992 presidential elections and 38.7% in the 1994 Congressional elections.)
Voters often had to wait for hours sometimes in blizzard conditions to vote. (various
sources)

- WERE THE ELECTIONS FREE AND FAIR? Consensus judgement of
Russian and international observers found the elections free and fair. The OSCE sent
114 observers who noted only isolated, minor violations of open and proxy voting. Only
KRO and Derzhava (ALEXANDER RUTSKOI''S party) alleged fraud, while others
likely to get into parliament, such as Russia''s Democratic Choice and Women of Russia,
accepted the results.
Although voting was fair, the electoral process had some questionable practices.
Massive signature fraud is widely assumed to have taken place during the registration
process. The murky world of party and campaign finance was so fraudulent that no one
addressed the issue when discussing the fairness of elections. Finally, the vote counting
process was slow, prompting some parties to allege tampering. In general, however,
observers declared these elections more honest than the 1993 elections. (Washington
Post 12/21, Boston Globe 12/22, OSCE Press Release 12/18)

- RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT REACTION TO PARLIAMENTARY
ELECTIONS: Immediately following the elections, Russian President YELTSIN
stated, "We have no reason for concern or to regard this election as a tragedy...The
majority of the new Duma consists of parties that will follow the policy of
democratization and observance of human rights and personal freedoms that Russian has
started and will not give up." Both he and Prime Minister CHERNOMYRDIN
promised no changes in cabinet personnel or policies, but in the ensuing month, three key
reformers were forced out: Foreign Minister ANDREI KOZYREV, Chief of Staff
SERGEI FILATOV, and First Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy ANATOLY
CHUBAIS. Yeltsin has also embarked on a harder line in the Chechnya crisis
incorporating more nationalist stances in his response. (FT 12/21, omri 1/2, various news
sources)

- US GOVERNMENT REACTION TO PARLIAMENTARY
ELECTIONS: State Department spokesman NICK BURNS stated, "There''s a sense
of calm and perspective about these elections." The Communists gains equal
Zhirinovsky''s loss, so there is no real change in the opposition size. A third of the
Duma approve of reform; a third disapprove; and the remainder are in the middle.
(note: Opposition [nationalist and Communist] numbers actually increased in the Duma
from 188 to around 272.) In downplaying the results of the election, the US government
sought to minimize the extent to which the outcome reputiated current policies and would
prevent US-Russia policy from moving forward. In doing so, however, the government
risks misleading itself. (NYT 12/19)

- COMMUNISTS GAIN SPEAKERSHIP OF NEW DUMA: GENNADY
SELEZNEV was elected Speaker of the Duma on January 18 with the backing of the
Communists, Agrarians, and People''s Power blocs. SELEZNEV, 48, is a former editor
of Pravda, and served as Deputy Speaker in the previous Duma. He is considered a
member of the moderate wing of the CP-RF, however his selection has caused some
controversy. Izvestiya claimed the new speaker would not be an independent voice, but
a mouthpiece for the CP-RF. Indeed, he refused to follow the informal tradition of
resigning from the party upon assuming the speakership. SELEZNEV claimed his first
order of business will be to address the 500 pieces of legislation left from the last Duma.
(omri 1/18,19, NYT 1/19, Izvestiya 1/19)
The Deputy Speakers will be ALEXANDER SHOKHIN (First Deputy Speaker-
NDR), SVETLANA GORYACHEVA (CP-RF), MIKHAIL GUTSERIEV (LDPR),
ARTUR CHILINGAROV (RUSSIA''S REGIONS), and SERGEI BABURIN
(PEOPLE''S POWER). (omri 1/19)

III. Estimated Probabilities of Presidential Elections in June

A. Individual Likelihood Change From Last Week

Graham Allison 50%
Sergei Grigoriev 60% +10%
John Lloyd
Matthew Lantz 55% +10%

B. Events Affecting Likelihood of Elections in June

- YELTSIN HEALTH WATCH: YELTSIN was discharged from the sanitorium
on December 17; he returned to work on December 27. The recovering president
claimed he would not overly exert himself, but he did travel to France for the Mitterand
funeral and has had a heavy hand in the Chechen hostage crisis this month. (FT 12/17)

- ELECTION PRELIMINARIES: The deadline for registration with the Central
Election Commission is April 15. A candidate must submit their tax returns for the two
years prior to the election along with one million signatures with no more than 70,000
from any one region. The election is scheduled for June 16. If no candidate gets more
than 50% of the vote, then a second round will occur with the two candidates that
received the most votes in the first round. (omri 1/3)

- PRECEDENCE: The successful conduct of the December parliamentary elections
will increase pressure to hold the June 16 presidential elections. Most victorious parties
have already begun preparations for a presidential campaign by organizing workers and
nominating candidates. The elections of December 1995 proves that Russia is capable
of conducting successful elections. The Financial Times editorialized the successfully
completed election "is another step on the path to normalcy." (FT 12/19)

IV. If June Presidential Elections, What Outcome?

A. Individuals Estimates

% chance of winning the presidency

Graham Allison Matthew Lantz Sergei Grigoriev Moscow Times Oddsmakers

Yeltsin 22% Zyuganov 33% Yeltsin 30% Yeltsin 40%
Yavlinsky 20% Yeltsin 30% Chernomyrdin30% Chernomyrdin33%
Zyuganov 15% Chernomyrdin25% Zyuganov 25% Zyuganov 29%
Lebed 10% Yavlinsky 15% Lebed 25% Yavlinsky 20%
Chernomyrdin10% Zhirinovsky 15% Yavlinsky 15% Lebed 13%
Zhirinovsky 5% Lebed 12% Zhininovsky 10% No Election 13%
Zhirinovsky 10%
Dark Horse 6%

B. Recent Events Affecting Outcome of Presidential Elections

- THE COMMUNISTS DEBATE WHO TO NOMINATE FOR
PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Although Communist Party leader GENNADY
ZYUGANOV certainly remains the most likely candidate, others within the party also
are seeking the nomination. AMAN TULEEV, number three on the party list, and
governor of Kemerovo, VIKTOR ANPILOV, leader of the Stalinist Communists -
Working Russia - for the Soviet Union which gained 4.52% of the list vote in December,
and PETR ROMANOV, a popular factory director from Krasnoyarsk all are forming
organizing committees. People''s Power leader NIKOLAI RYZHKOV does not intend
to run unless a groundswell of popular backing emerges in support of his candidacy.
Sevodnya predicts that more than one Communist candidate will run in the first round of
the election. (omri 12/29, 1/4, Nezavisimaya Gazeta 1/10, Sevodnya 1/18)

- YELTSIN BEGINS TO ORGANIZE FOR PRESIDENTIAL
CAMPAIGN: President YELTSIN has promised to announce his decision on a
presidential reelection campaign in February, however, he has begun to organize a
campaign headquarters, prompting speculation that he will seek reelection. First Deputy
Prime Minister OLEG SOSKOVETS will run the office with recently dismissed Chief
of Staff SERGEI FILATOV and Moscow mayor YURI LUZHKOV as his deputies.
Soskovets is expected to appeal to industrial interests; Filatov will attract intellegensia
and liberal support; and Luzhkov will deliver Moscow. Assessing the Our Home
Campaign in December, Soskovets called it "weak and (we) must learn from their
mistakes in the presidential campaign." One Moscow newspaper speculated that Yeltsin
was waiting until February to assess the strength and aptitude of NDR in the parliament,
to keep CHERNOMYRDIN out of the running, and to make it easier to postpone the
elections if needed. (FT 12/23, omri 12/26, 1/6, 1/22, Moskovsky Novosti 1/1-14)

- DEFECTIONS IN REFORMIST CAMP FROM YELTSIN''S SIDE:
Following the dismissals of key reform-oriented aides, ANDREI KOZYREV, SERGEI
FILATOV, and ANATOLY CHUBAIS and the recent events in Pervomaiskoye have
led other reformers to voluntarily abandon the Russian president. Duma member and
moral leader SERGEI KOVALEV announced his resignation as chairman of Russia''s
Human Rights Commission and as a member of YELTSIN''s advisory council. Former
Prime Minister YEGOR GAIDAR and inflential Izvestiya columnist OTTO LATSIS,
often a voice of the democracy movement, also resigned from the advisory council.
(Boston Globe 1/24)

- ZHIRINOVSKY IS NOMINATED BY LDPR FOR PRESIDENT:
Trying to capitalize on his strong showing in the Duma elections, LDPR party leader
VLADIMIR ZHIRINOVSKY has accepted the nomination of his party for president.
At the party congress, Zhirinovsky recommended that Yeltsin should napalm Chechen
villages and warned if Yeltsin failed to do this, Zhirinovsky as president would. He then
fell to his knees to apologize for allowing the Russian people to become "the most
humiliated nation on the planet." Prior to the congress, Zhirinovsky stated, "I fear that
(Yeltsin''s) announcement in February will be about his regular vacation or his regular
course of treatment...for this reason only ZYUGANOV and Zhirinovsky will remain as
serious presidential candidates." (FT 1/11, NYT 12/20)

- LEBED STILL IN RACE, DESPITE DECEMBER SET BACK: As early
as December 28, GENERAL ALEXANDER LEBED announced he would seek Russia''s
presidency. At the time he offered to work with the victorious Communist Party,
however, the CP-RF has been slow to respond to the General''s offer. In early January,
KRO officially nominated Lebed as their presidential candidate. Nevertheless, without
a party in the Duma, Lebed will have difficulty establishing a large political base.
Within the Duma, Lebed has called for a new National Security Committee with
subcommittees on defense, intelligence, geo-politics, miliary-industrial issues,
nationalities, and regions. He also threatened to use force against any former Soviet
republic that joined Nato. As for the economy, LEBED seeks Russia''s own way of
development, not the stagnation of advanced socialism nor the degradation of advanced
capitalism. (omri 12/29,1/12, NYT 12/29, Nezavisimaya Gazeta 1/13, Obshchaya Gazeta
1/11-17, Monitor 1/16)

V. Polling Results For Elections

A. Presidential Polls:

- The Public Opinion Fund released a poll cited in Moskovsky Novosti in its January 14-
21 issue.

1. "If the (presidential) election were next Sunday, which of the listed politicians
would you vote for?"

Lebed 14.9%
Zyuganov 14.2%
Yavlinsky 13.6%
Chernomyrdin 12.5%

2. "If those reaching the final round were _______ and ________, who will you
vote for?

Candidates Results Turnout

Zyuganov & Lebed: Zyg. 42.1% Lebed 57.9% 49%
Lebed & Yavlinsky Lebed 47.25% Yavlinsky 52.75% 49%
Lebed & Chernomyrdin Lebed 65.4% Cherno. 34.6% 52.8%
Zyuganov & Yavlinsky Zyg. 42.5% Yavlinsky 54.5% 51%
Chernomyrdin & Yavlinsky Cherno. 39.1% Yavlinsky 60.9% 44.3%

- The Indedpendent Analytical Center released a poll of St. Petersburg residents cited
in Nezavisimaya Gazeta on January 12:

" Whom would the people of St. Petersburg like to hear a New Year''s greeting from?"

1. Yeltsin 31.1%
2. Yavlinsky 25.3%
3. Gaidar 15.4%
4. Chernomyrdin 14.3%
5. Zyuganov 7.9%
6. S. Fedorov 5.8%
7. Zhirinovsky 3.5%
8. Sobchak 3.3%
9. Lebed 2.7%
10. Gorbachev 2.6%

- Russia Review (Moscow Times) reported on 1/15 the odds at local Moscow betting
houses on the next Russian president.

Yeltsin 5-2 (40%)
Chernomyrdin 3-1 (33%)
Zyuganov 7-2 (29%)
Yavlinsky 8-1 (13%)
No Election 8-1 (13%)
Zhirinovsky 10-1 (10%)
Gaidar 15-1 ( 6%)
Dark Horse 15-1 ( 6%)
Rybkin 25-1 ( 4%)

- The All Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion releases a poll on the likely
presidential candidates cited in The Boston Globe on 12/21:

Zhirinovsky 6%
Zyuganov 6%
Yeltsin 2%
Undecided 48%

B. Other Polls:

- The All Russia Center for the Study of Public Opinion released a poll on the popularity
of ideological slogans reproted in Obshchaya Gazeta in its Jan. 18-24 issue:

1. Law and Order 20.2%
2. Stability 16.0%
3. Decent Living 9.9%
4. Strong Country 7.4%
5. Revival of Russia 7.2%
6. Wealth, Prosperity 5.7%
7. Equality, Justice 5.1%
8. Social Security 4.0%
9. Durable Family 2.1%
10. Freedom 1.9%
11. Saving the Fatherland 1.9%
12. Communism 1.3%
13. Entering Modern World 1.2%
14. Orthodoxy 1.1%
15. Hard to Say 14.7%

Responses varied by regions: rural dwellers preferred "strong country"; individuals in
small towns sought "prosperity"; those in large cities wanted "social security"; and
Muscovites valued "freedom" highest.

- OMRI reported on 1/5 Nezavisimaya Gazeta''s top 100 most influential politicians:

1. Yeltsin (unchanged)
2. Chernomyrdin (unchanged)
3. Zyuganov (up from 5th)
4. Yavlinsky (up from 9th)
6. Zhirinovsky (up from 20)
17. Lebed (down from 10)
36. Skokov (down from 13)

For more information on this publication: Please contact the Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: SDI Staff. “Russian Election Watch, January 26, 1996.” .