Congress of Russian Communities

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CONGRESS OF RUSSIAN COMMUNITIES

The Congress of Russian Communities (Kongress Russkikh Obshchin, or KRO), an offshoot of the Union for the Rebirth of Russia, was founded in 1993 by Dmitry Rogozin as the International Congress of Russian Communities for the representation of Russian and Russian-speaking residents of the "nearby foreign lands." It brought together Russian communities and sociopolitical organizations in the national republics of the Russian Federation and in the former republics of the USSR. In the fall of 1994 the Russian KRO was founded for participation in state Duma elections. Later, in January 1995, the electoral bloc of the KRO was renamed the sociopolitical movement Congress of Russian Communities. Yuri Skokov was elected chair of the National Council. A former secretary of the Security Council (19921993), he had once been close to Yeltsin, but fell out with him later. Dmitry Rogozin was elected chair of the Executive Committee. KRO leaders included such famous figures as Stanislav Govorukhin, Yegor Stroyev, Nikita Moiseyev, Viktor Ilyukhin, Sergei Glaziev, and Konstantin Zatulin.

In the 1995 Duma elections, the KRO, enticing the disgraced and highly popular general Alexander Lebed into the second place on its list of candidates (Skokov was first, and Glaziev third), won 3 million votes and almost reached the required threshold to gain a seat (4.3 percent). The KRO program, a mix of statism and patriotic values, impressed many, but its figurehead was not a brave general, rather an unknown apparatchik. Of the ninety candidates proposed by the KRO in single-mandate districts, only five were elected into the Duma, including Lebed and three candidates of Chelyabinsk Oblast, where the KRO collaborated with the Movement for the Rebirth of the Urals and the former governor Petr Sumin. Later, in 1997, Rogozin, now the sole head of the KRO, entered the Duma by-elections with the slogan "We are Russians! God is with us!" His platform included "the fusion of immemorial Russian values with the attainment of advanced technology"; "a federal, lawful, democratic government"; and a "highly effective and socially oriented market economy." At the beginning of the 1999 Duma electoral campaigns, along with a few little-known political movements, the KRO constituted the organizational basis for Yuri Luzhkov's Fatherland movement. As the latter gained influence, the KRO and its leader were edged out of key positions, and they left Fatherland in the summer of 1999. As a result, the KRO entered the elections along with the movement of Yuri Boldyrev and suffered a fiasco, winning only 400,000 votes (0.6 percent). Rogozin was reelected by his majority district, entered the progovernment People's Deputy group, and headed the Duma committee on international affairs.

An extraordinary session of the KRO elected Glaziev chair; he was at the time cochair of the National Patriotic Front of Russia (NPSR). It was announced that the KRO would not participate in upcoming Duma elections, so as not to promote the "further division" of patriotic forces, but was willing to "act as an organizer of a patriotic coalition."

See also: lebed, alexander ivanovich

bibliography

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

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, D.C.: U.S. Institute of Peace Press.

Nikolai Petrov

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Congress of Russian Communities

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Congress of Russian Communities