The most recent manifestation of this kind of centrist policy was the forming of a right centrist (V. Chernomyrdin) and a left centrist (I. Rybkin) blocs intended to save the post -1993 political system new shocks. Observers' esteems concerning these coalitions are very reserved. But experts agree that V. Chernomyrdin's centrist group, called Our Home in Russia, promises stability, economic competence and support for the powers that be. But with the public mood swinging violently against current economic policies (even though they are showing signs of success), such a platform looks like an obvious vote-loser. Staking on power elites or on the ideology of social democracy, which seems very abstract for the greater part of Russians, may be very unattractive for the electors. More than that, the initiative to form these blocs emanating from the President have already made is difficult for their leaders to find political allies. The ideology of conservatism and centrism is to some extent linked to the problem of restoring monarchical regime in Russia. The possibility of restoring monarchy has for a long time been discussed in mass media. Public opinion polls show that 18% of adults came out for the restoration of monarchical rule in Russia.
This 18% may be divided into two age groups: 16 through 24, 45 and 54. The second group includes mostly managers of state-run and private enterprises, entrepreneurs, and farmers. Probably, it is connected with the fact that there is still in Russia great 'demand for order', while monarchy in regarded as on of the alternatives of making real order in the country. However it is to be noted that 'monarchical moods' are not manifested explicitly. Republican rule may well satisfy popular demand for a charismatic leader (so openly expressed during the crisis of 1991.) At the same time, desire of order inside the country associated by the majority of Russian citizens with a 'strong hand' does not necessarily imply the association of this hand with a certain person. It is more probable that potential voters who would like to have monarchy restored will in the end support these parties, movement or blocs that will stand by conservative, protestive principles in their programs and concrete actions. During the last four years the federal center began pursuing a policy of shifting the resolution of great many political and social problems to regional governments. Only global questions must remain in the competence of federal authorities. It means that public official politics gives local governments one of the key rules. So, local governments are now one of the new political niches worth mentioning.
This nice is aimed at by the Russian Zemstvo movement (the RZM) and regional administrations. The party of Russian unity and Concord is also trying to win over this niche. However, regardless of its self-identification, the PRUC turns out to be not a 'party of regions', but a party of 'local self-rule' because its representatives in the 1993 Duma started from the very beginning lobbying a local government bill. Various official declarations concerning local government emphasize the non-political character of the future local government. The RZM together with regional leaders publicly deny any involvement with political activity or consider it to be out of time at present. At the same time one of the characteristic fractures of Russia in transition is that administrative state structures carry out many explicitly political tasks forming thus a semi-autonomous 'part of power.' Local government is more and more expressly acting as a different (from the federal government) branch of power, pretending to specific functions and specific rights reinforcing its independence from the center. The best example of these processes is an attempt to regional leaders at the expansion of their powers by direct political action , which took place in September-October 1993. The possibility of such attitude toward the center is explained by special responsibility of regional leaders for the state of regional economics. As today there are two sources of executive power (on the federal level and on the level of subjects of federation), in case of true political calculation various groups writing 'a political organization - a statesman - regional elites' have considerable chances of staking claim to a part of power. At the present moment politicians related to social political organizations and having important weight and images of statesmen are looking for reliable regional support. Many of them are trying not only to reinforce their ranks with new members, but also to gain support on the part of regional administrative, political, and management elites. The representatives of the latter find such contacts very advantageous in as much as the importance of the center is very great today. A kind of a variant of such a group (organization - man - elites) is being implemented by the PRUC. It is important to note that the role of 'regions' supervisor' gives it control over the whole system of local government, which may bring some political capital in the future. Experts say that political partnership with regional authorities is more realistic than partnership with local industrial and financial elites. The PRUC in particular should conclude that at a certain amount its regional interests may clash with the interests of the Democratic choice of Russia and this Yabloko (apple) counting on the representatives of regional big business. A powerful and specific factor of the present situation is the counteractive effort of the center that is trying to impede the development of local governments as it may be able to deprive central and regional authorities of their levels of power.
Political organizations uniting business circles suffered a total defeat in both election campaigns. In 1993, none of business political movements could form its own electoral list and only of all Business Unions taking part in the elections succeeded in obtaining several mandates by means of someone else's electoral list. The process of banking and trading capital merger is on the whole complete in Russia for today. This calls forth numerous attempts at creating a 'party of capital' because political legalization is needed for new social stratum.
It is characteristic and specific for modern Russia that business structures on the level of executive or legislative power, but that the representatives of business itself enter election campaigns. On the other hand, the ideas of pragmatism, market economy and free enterprise do not enjoy any real support among the electors. It may be supposed that the main cause for business unions' failures in both elections is the suspicious attitude of voters toward businessmen as political figures. Such a situation does not seem strange taking into account the pauperision of the majority of Russians and the enrichment of the few who want to lay their claims to power. However, businessmen's efforts to get into politics without any intermediaries continue up to the present moment, which is caused by the following factors. On the one hand, in spire of obvious progress in the development of Russia's multipartisan system, it is not yet completely formed, which makes the political spectrum of the society excessively volatile. It has many empty niches, among which the conservative niche that is filled in the whole world by business unions. At the same time business structures tend to overestimate their political possibilities and their popularity with the electorate. On the other hand, many purely economic problems today cannot be done with without enlisting the services of authorities and without lobbying on the federal level the interests of separate firms and enterprises.
The stirring up of businessmen's political activity is manifested today in the attempts at creating new political structures. The principal political unions of businessmen are the Russian union of Manufacturers and Entrepreneurs (the RUME), the all-Russian union "Renewal" (the ARUR), the Russian Party of Social Progress, the 'Realists' club, 'People's alliance', the 'Russian Civil union' (the RCU.) The Russian union of Manufacturers and Entrepreneurs is a basis for two business structures. In 1993 the Civil union that was formed within the RUME, won a bit more than 1% of voters, but all in all more than twenty candidates related to the RUME were both elected to both chambers of parliament. Later, the RUME began collaborating with the Party of Social Progress and tried to revive the Civil union. Experts say that these actions are very unlikely to have any important consequences in the future, in as much as the Party of Social Progress is a provincial party that does not have sufficient weight. Also it is not to be forgotten that the main leaders of 'People's Alliance' (O. Rumyantsev, A. Vladislavlev, N. Genchav, I. Glaziev and others), in spite of their personal 'brightness' are public figures, can work efficiently only on the individual basis. Besides all the attempts to attract the members of the 'New Regional Policy' Duma faction to the moment were a failure.
The Party of Economic Freedom that had about 60 regional sanctions before the 1993 defeat is now taking a back seat in Russia's politics. This is proved by the fact that numerous outstanding representatives of the PEJ left it. However, it reminded of its existence at the beginning of 1995 presenting its new economic program that contained various referrals concerning a step-by-step economic reform. This program says that 'the state should remain economically neutral', refuse the monopoly of any kinds of economic activity, break down the barriers on the way of foreign investment in Russia's economy.
There are among the notable business structures headed by well-known politicians several organizations that, unlike these mentioned above, did not play any independent role in politics until recently. For example, the Federation of Russian Manufacturers (the FRM) headed by Y. Shokov is hardly notable on the political background although its leader is often associated with Russia's war industry. Experts consider that the FRM does not have great many resources, intellectual as well, to start serious political work and get an independent role in modern Russia's politics. The situation may radically change owing to the collaboration of Y. Shokov and the FRM with the congress of Russian Communists and A. Lebed. Obstacles may arise due to the personal ambitions of these leaders and their propensity to authoritarian methods.
The all-Russian association 'Entrepreneurs for a new Russia' (the AENR) get right mandates in DUMA during the 1993 elections, which outnumbered any other business union. This happened in spite of the fact that many of the AENR organizers left it on the threshold of the election campaign. After the elections the executive committee of the AENR was left by political experts and numerous regional sections. The cause for this occurrence is in the inability of K. Zatulin, head of the AENR, to work in partnership with others and his desire of autocratic power. Close collaboration of the AENR with the Party of Russian Unity and Concord that became apparent in February 1994 and was soon broken off, which happened after the Presidium of the federal Soviet of the PRUC removed Mr. Zatulin from the post of a Duma function secretary and suggested that the latter leave it.
The 'Round Table of Russian Business' today numbers over 70 collective members, among which are the association of Russian Banks, association of Russian managers, association of Russian Manufacturers and Entrepreneurs, the all-Russian association of Privatized and Private Enterprises, the Confederation of Russia's Business Unions, the League of Woman-Managers and Entrepreneurs, the League of Christian Entrepreneurs, the League of Russia's co-operators and Entrepreneurs, the International Association of Trading Companies, the Society of Russian merchants and manufacturers, the union of Russian manufacturers and Entrepreneurs and others. The 'Round Table of Russian Business' is the most representative and legitimate union for entrepreneurs the has unified many structures left over after the breakdown of the AENP. The principal objective of the 'Round Table' is the coordination of interests of various business groups and the distribution of portfolios in lobbyist structures. The activity of this kind, the absence of a definite structure, and the numerousness of very different entrepreneurial groups united it in, makes it rather improbable that the 'Round Table' will turn into a real political party in the future. All in all it may be said that political activity of Russian structures and separate businessmen in politics can be summed up in the following main points. First, it's active lobbying in the corridors of power itself. Second, it is direct participation in the work of power structures (on federal and local levels) or in the work of consulting centers attending to these power structures. Third, it is the forming of political organizations aspiring to the expression of interests of businessmen as a class. Fourth, it is the usage of various parties, movement, blocs for the purpose of business circles.
Each of the above mentioned aspects of political activity acquire urgency in accordance with the political situation in the country, which is determined first of all by the period of time left before parliamentary elections. On the whole it is to be noted that all political niches will be distributed among various parties in the nearest future. Then the main political work of parties, movements, and political unions will be concentrated on the elaboration of such planks of pre-election platforms that could answer the needs of the majority of Russians, regardless of their political, ideological, partisan and political linkings.
The forming of parties in modern Russia has a specific feature that consists in the fact that Russia's multi-party system is now at the end of the first stage of development and is about to enter the second stage - the final shaping of political systems in general and of the multi-party system in particular. Unlike western democracies, the development of modern Russia's multi-party system proceeded in absolutely unique conditions in the course of a very short period of time allowed for the organizational and ideological shaping of political parties and movements.
In less than a decade Russia has produced forces able to create merely out of nothing not only protoparties, but to form strong political organizations and unions that could carry out serious and consistent political work. Another point emphasizing the originality of Russia's political situation is alike obvious. It is the essential part played by the state in the forming of a multi-party system. The first stage was marked by the Soviet State permitting, according to the proclaimed ideas of pluralism, the appearance of various protopartisan groups and associations, although the ideas propounded by the latter were, as a rule, very critical.
The State tolerated this kind of opposition because it presented no real danger and created a favorable background, which gave the leaders of the country a possibility to look more democratic and freedom-loving in the eyes of Soviet and Western public opinions. The collapse of the Soviet Union demonstrated that, first, general party opposition to the regime was not so harmless as it seemed to be and second, that new democratic power that succeeded in Russia, inherited the same problems in relations with the forming of political parties.
After the Russian federation became a sovereign state may of the anticommunist party slogans that were the basis of ideological and organizational work for the greater part of appearing political organizations lost their urgency. A quick shift of political platforms was reduced, which led to the disappearance of numerous parties and to the transformation of those who were lucky to change, and so, to survive. From this very moment party programs began arriving greater constructiveness and party leaders started cooperating with executive power in order to contribute to the reforming of Russia according to the interests of the majority of Russians.