Agrarian Party of Russia

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The Agrarian Party of Russia (APR) was established on February 26, 1993, on the initiative of the parliamentary fraction Agrarian Union, the Agrarian Union of Russia, the profsoyuz (trade union) of workers of the agro-industrial complex, and the All-Russian Congress of Kolkhozes. Its chair was Mikhail Lapshin, elected a couple weeks earlier as the vice-chair of the restored Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF). In the 1993 elections, the APR list, headed by the leader of the Agrarian fraction Mikhail Lapshin, profsoyuz leader Alexander Davydov, and vice-premier Alexander Zaveryukha, received 4.3 million votes (8.0%, fifth place) and twenty-one mandates in the federal district; sixteen candidates won in single-man-date districts. In 1995 the Agrarians entered the elections with a similar makeup, but a significant portion of the left-wing electorate consolidated around the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, and as a result, the Agrarians' list only won 2.6 million votes (3.8%). In the single-mandate districts, the agrarians brought forth twenty candidates; this allowed them to form their own delegate group, with the addition of delegates from the CPRF dedicated to this task. In the 1999 elections, the APR leadership split over the issue of bloc formation. The majority, with chair Lapshin in the lead, joined the bloc Fatherland-All Russia (OVR); the others, including the leader of the parliamentary fraction Nikolai Kharintonov, went on the CPRF list. As a result of OVR's low results, Lapshin's supporters were unsuccessful in forming their group, and the communists with single-mandate candidates created the Agro-Industrial Group with Kharitonov at the head.

In the regional elections, the APR entered in coalition with the CPRF, and had several serious victories to its credit, including the election of APR leader Lapshin as head of the small Republic of Altai, and head of the Agrarian Union Vasily Starodubtsev as governor in the industrial Tula Oblast (twice).

At the time of registration in May 2002, the APR declared 42,000 members and fifty-five regional branches. While lacking potential as a self-sufficient entity, the APR was quite attractive to the Communist Party, and to the "ruling party," by virtue of the provincial infrastructure, the popularity of the name, and the influence on the rural electorate, traditionally sympathetic toward the left.

On the threshold of the 2003 elections, a struggle for control of the APR arose between the leftist Kharitonovtsy (Kharitonov was the head of the Agro-Industrial Union) and the pro-government Gordeyevtsy (Alexei Gordeyev was the leader of the Russian Agrarian Movement, founded in 2002), both sides trying to put an end to Lapshin's extended leadership.

See also: communist party of the russian federation


McFaul, Michael. (2001). Russia's Unfinished Revolution: Political Change from Gorbachev to Putin. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

McFaul, Michael, and Markov, Sergei. (1993). The Troubled Birth of Russian Democracy: Parties, Personalities, and Programs. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press.

Reddaway, Peter, and Glinski, Dmitri. (2001). The Tragedy of Russia's Reforms: Market Bolshevism against Democracy. Washington, DC: U.S. Institute of Peace Press.

Nikolai Petrov