February 25, 1994

February 25, 1994 | FYI on

Balance of Power in the Russian Duma Tilts Against Reforms

(Archived document, may contain errors)

February 25, 1994

BALANCE OF POWER IN THE RUSSIAN DUMA TILTS AGAINST REFORMS

Arlel Cohen, Ph.l) Salvatorl Fellow in Russian and Eurasian Studies and James Cox III Research Assistant

Russiatoday is in the midst of a transfer of power from the reform-minded politicians, such as former Deputy Premier Yegor Gaidar and Finance Minister Boris Fedorov, to "red directors" and Soviet-style apparatchiks like Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, First Vice Premier Oleg Sosk- ovets and Vice Premier in charge of Agriculture Alexander Zaveriukha. Reform-minded politicians and experts are leaving the government in large numbers, anticipating an inflation rate of 50 percent per month by this autumn. The strong showing in the December election of ultra-nationalist and communist parties gives a hint to how far this transfer of power can go if democratic reform fails. The following is a breakdown by party affiliation of the 444 seats in the State Durna, the lower house of parliament, plus a list of committees and their recently appointed chairmen. The largest number of committee appointments went to the two parties representing opposite ends of the politi- cal spectrum-the reformist Russia's Choice and the ultra-nationalist Liberal Democrats. Russia's Choice ended up controlling the defense, health, and communications committees, while the Liberal Democrats chair the coninfittees on geopolitics, ecology, natural resources, labor, and industry. Other powerful committees were captured by communists, their allies, and so-called centrists, who wish to slow reform: economic policy, agriculture, judicial reform, and internal security. Also included is an analysis of a series of votes taken by the Duma during its first session (Janu- ary I 1- 12, 1994), which indicates the degree to which the different political parties and blocs are re- formist or anti-reformist. This breakdown was prepared by analysts in Russia's Choice, a reformist bloc of parties led by Gaidar.

About the Author

Ariel Cohen, Ph.D. Visiting Fellow in Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Policy in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign and National Security Policy, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, at The Heritage Foundation
Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign and National Security Policy