Political Opposition in Russia:
a Vanishing Species?
Cand. Sci. (Pol. Sci.), Prof., Faculty of Political Sciences and Sociology, European University at St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg, Russia, firstname.lastname@example.org
In the article, reasons are analyzed, of the defeat sustained during the 2003 to 2004 electoral cycle by all political forces that had been claiming, to this or that extent, the role of opposition to the political regime or to the political course pursued by the President and by the government. According to the author’s conclusion, this defeat was caused not so much by situational factors related to the popularity of the country’s President, to the organizational weakness of opposition parties, or to any particular characteristics of the election campaign, as, rather, by the character of the current political regime, above all by the impact of institutional factors unfavourable for the opposition, as well as by the after-effects of the elites’ consolidation on the basis of the “imposed consensus” principle. Under these circumstances, the author argues, any strategies of the opposition forces turned inefficient and were leading either to marginalization, or to co-optation to the ruling group with no substantial political consequences. The author relates eventual fair chances for the appearance and success of new opposition, to prospects of a next split of elites with, at that, the “zero sum game” principle to be given up when solving intra-elite conflicts.
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