RUSSIAN PARTIES STILL IN CRISIS AFTER 2003 ELECTION

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MOSCOW, May 20 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian political parties have not overcome the crisis created by the 2003 parliamentary election. Their future depends on the Kremlin almost completely, says the survey of the Center for Political Technologies on the current situation of Russia's political organizations, Vremya Novostei, a political daily, reported.

The Center experts state that the failure to discuss Russia's path of development pushed the parties to the political background. The political organizations are mostly fighting for the weakening legislative power, which is diminishing their social support base.

The parties do not have charismatic leaders and have nothing to say to the electorate and the old party leaders are exhausted since there is nobody to replace them. The party life, experts conclude, has deteriorated from the struggle for survival to simple PR projects.

The typical feature of Russian parties is the domination of leaders from the party lists. The so-called imperative mandate (the loss of deputy status in case of transition to another faction), which the State Duma plans to introduce, will only strengthen the deputies' dependence on the party mechanism, said Boris Makarenko, deputy director of the Center.

Analysts regard the chances of United Russia's rivals are negligible. According to them, United Russia is using the status of the party of power to preserve domination on the political scene. Besides, the current state policy on party development is to create as many obstacles to new parties as possible.

The possibility of integration on the right wing is questionable, but the liberal parties will hardly win seats in the next Duma single-handed, say the authors of the survey. The Kremlin could take a dual stand in the 2007 election campaign, suggesting building parties according to its rules, or choose to curtail its involvement. However, both possibilities will eventually help develop the party system, the experts claim.

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