People's Party of Free Russia

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The People's Party of "Free Russia" (Narodnaya Partiya "Svobodnaya Rossiya," or NPSR) has its origins in the democratic wing of the Communist Party, which formed in July 1991 into the Democratic Party of Communists of Russia (DPKR) as part of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). Serving as its base was the group Communists for Democracy in the Congress of People's Deputies of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) (the leader was Alexander Rutskoi, elected Russia's vice president in June 1991), and the Democratic Movement of Communists (Vasily Lipitsky's group). After the August 1991 putsch and the dissolution of the CPSU, the DPKR in its first congress was renamed the People's Party of "Free Russia," and was headed by Rutskoi and Lipitsky. It flourished from 1991 to 1993, when it was considered a potential ruling party. Moving in March 1992 into constructive opposition to the course of the Boris Yeltsin-Yegor Gaidar administration, the NPSR reached an agreement with the Democratic Party of Russia, on the basis of which the bloc Civic Union was formed.

In the 1993 conflict between Yeltsin and the delegates, Rutskoi sided with the latter and landed in prison after the attack on the White House. After his amnesty in May 1994, the party changed its name again, this time to the Russian Social-Democratic People's Party (RSDNP). Its main goals were the creation of conditions for free and thorough development of the citizens of Russia; elevation of their welfare; guarantee of citizens' rights and freedoms; and establishment of a civic society, a social-market economy, and a lawful government. Leaders had different ideas for the party's development: Rutskoi called upon the delegates to participate in the creation of the social-patriotic movement Power, whereas Lipitsky supported the idea of transforming the RSDNP into a social-democratic party of the Western European variety. In March 1995, the split became fact in congress, after which both sides essentially ceased existing. Rutskoi's group began working in the social-patriotic movement Power, and Lipitsky's in the Russian Social-Democratic Union.

In the 1995 elections, Lipitsky's supporters participated in the bloc Social-Democrats (0.13% of the vote), and Power pushed forward its federal list, on account of which a new split occurred in the leadership of the movement, and a number of politicians left it. The new list of Power with Rutskoi at the head received 1.8 million votes (2.6%), while in Rutskoi's homeland, Kursk, it received more than 30 percent. In 1996, Power was unable to collect the required number of signatures for its presidential candidate Rutskoi, and it joined with the bloc of popular-patriotic forces headed by Gennady Zyuganov. Soon afterward, Rutskoi was elected first as cochair of the Popular-Patriotic Union of Russia, and then, with its support, governor of Kursk Oblast. He resigned as chair of Power and fell into conflict with the NPSR and Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF). In 1998, Power, under the chairmanship of Konstantin Zatulin, entered the movement Fatherland of Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov, and on the very eve of elections it split yet again and disappeared from the political scene.

See also: communist party of the soviet union; democratic party; rutskoi, alexander vladimirovich; zyuganov, gennady andreyevich.


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, DC: U.S. Institute of Peace Press.

Nikolai Petrov

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People's Party of Free Russia

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