Russia's Democratic Choice

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Russia's Democratic Choice (Demokratichesky Vybor Rossii, or DVR) was a party with a liberal-democratic orientation, in favor of deeper market restructuring combined with minimal government involvement and feasible social programs. It was formed in the spring of 1994 out of the Duma fraction of the reformist pro-government bloc that was known as "Russia's Choice." The voters' list of the latter, led by Vice-Premier Yegor Gaidar, defender of rights Sergei Kovalev, and Minister of Social Security Ella Pamfilova, received 8.3 million votes (15.5%, second place), and forty Duma seats. Moreover, twenty-four candidates were elected in single-mandate districts, allowing them to form the largest fraction, amounting to seventy-six delegates. The political ambitions of numerous "Russia's Choice" leaders, disagreement over the Chechnya war, and the party's and fraction's loss of status and power led to the loss of many members, and at the end of the term only fifty-two delegates remained.

Russia's Democratic Choice entered the 1995 elections with an array of smaller, democratically oriented parties, in the bloc "Russia's Democratic Choice-United Democrats." Of the first three names on the list, Gaidar and Kovalev remained, but the actress Lidia Fedoseyeva Shushkina replaced Ella Pamfilova, who had established her own nominal bloc. The 1993 campaign slogan "Freedom, property, lawfulness" was exchanged for "Peace, welfare, justice." However, without administrative resources, and with the splintering of the democratic electorate among several electoral associations, the bloc collapsed, winning only 2.7 million votes (3.9%). Nine delegates from single-mandate districts constituted an unregistered delegate group, working with Yabloko. The DVR governmental positions were temporarily weakened, but with the arrival of Anatoly Chubais, first as leader of Boris Yeltsin's election campaign in 1996, then in the presidential administration and government, they were strengthened again. The Institute of Transitional Economy, founded by Yegor Gaidar after his exit from government in 1992 and closely aligned with the government's economic branch, played an integral role in DVR policy formation and training. In the 1999 elections, the party enjoyed success as part of the bloc "Union of Right Forces," (SPS), which Gaidar co-chaired. In May 2001, on the threshold of new elections, the SPS became a party with its own membership, at which point the DVR dissolved, along with other "forces of the right."

See also: chubais, anatoly borisovich; gaidar, yegor timurovich; kovalev, sergei adamovich; union of right forces; yabloko; yeltsin, boris nikoleyevich


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McFaul, Michael; Petrov, Nikolai; and Ryabov, Andrei, eds. (1999). Primer on Russia's 1999 Duma Elections. Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

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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Russia's Democratic Choice

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