Right-wing parties in turmoil

Russian right-wing political parties have been in a turmoil after the former leaders of rightist political party SPS (Union of Rightist Forces) resigned and accepted personal responsibility for losing Parliamentary elections.
Interim chairman for SPS was appointed, but this man – Oleg Permyakov - is obviously a temporary figure, the public is not familiar with this politician. Another rightist party – Yabloko and its leader Grigory Yavlinsky – started falling into oblivion as well.

Former SPS leader Irina Khakamada who gained the fourth position at the presidential elections, made the call to establish new democratic party on the remains of the democratic movement. This idea is reasonable because the niche on the rightist flank should be filled. Russia bears long-standing traditions of collectivism and leftist patriotic outlook, but nevertheless rightist parties have small number of supporters. There are some political forces willing to occupy the rightist niche, but they are not analyzing the political situation, moreover, in the years of reforms no attempt has been made to properly apply right-wing ideas to Russian reality.

The key problem the rightist parties are facing is how to operate under the current political conditions in Russia. Some of them headed by Anatoly Chubais are inclined to close cooperation with the authorities and have the belief that the authorities are implementing their most audacious ideas. Others, such as Irina Khakamada, say the Kremlin is violating their civil and political rights, is attacking press freedom and the embryo of the civil society in Russia.

Proponents of both the ideas are at a loss. Anatoly Chubais tried to call pro-presidential United Russia party “the sister party” for SPS, promoted the idea of liberal empire, and this did not help SPS to be elected for the Parliament. United Russia Party is enjoying the support of the President and seems to have no need of other uninvited companions. On the other hand, it is hard for SPS to criticize President Putin provided that 75 percent of SPS supporters approve the policy of Vladimir Putin. Russian President is popular and criticizing him produces no result.

There are proponents of so-called “third way” for Russian rightist parties. They agree with Anatoly Chubais in terms of supporting the authorities, but they reject the former SPS leaders because they “compromised themselves”. One can find manifestos of these people in the Internet. Probably some force willing to try the idea of “democratic revenge” is backing them. Political scientists intending to “sell” the old product in news package may also be the idea initiators.

The former leaders, such as Anatoly Chubais are unlikely to give up the rightist idea to somebody else. Mr. Chubais is still promoting the idea of liberal empire, and sees no grounds for concern in Russia – reforms are in progress, rightist policy is being conducted. The statements of this sort look superficial. Anatoly Chubais is avoiding the main issue – attitude to President Putin and his policy.

The main purpose of any party is coming to power. However, in contemporary Russia no party is holding post in the government, even the pro-presidential United Russia. With no chance of gaining power, a party will inevitably die, and new rightists do not take this fact into account. Even holding some seats in the Parliament, the political party is powerless, it just discusses the decisions made by the executive branch of power. In this case, do voters need such a party?

Alexander Kosterev

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Author`s name Evgeniya Petrova