LDPR (political party)
|Seats in the State Duma|
|Seats in the Regional Parliaments|
|Politics of Russia
The LDPR (Russian: ЛДПР), formerly the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (Russian: Либерально-Демократическая Партия России – Liberal'no-Demokraticheskaya Partiya Rossii), is a far-right political party in Russia. Since its founding in 1991, it has been led by the charismatic and controversial figure Vladimir Zhirinovsky. Opposing both communism and the "wild" capitalism of the 1990s, the party scored a major success in the 1993 Russian Duma elections, receiving a plurality of votes. In the elections in 2007, the party received 8.14% of the vote, giving it 40 of the 450 seats in the State Duma. In the most recent 2011 elections, they increased their percentage to 11.4%. The party's brand and organization are centered around the personality of its leader Zhirinovsky.
Despite the party's name, it is frequently described as "neither liberal nor democratic." While the party describes itself as centrist and reformist, it is usually regarded as far-right and is identified with Russian ultranationalism, fiscally left national-populism and authoritarian conservatism. Its ideology is based primarily on Zhirinovsky's ideas of "imperial reconquest" (a "renewed Russian Empire") and authoritarian vision of a 'Greater Russia.'"
After the XXV Congress (December 2012), Liberal Democratic Party of Russia is no longer the full name of the party. The new full name of the party is Political party LDPR (Russian: Политическая партия ЛДПР). Liberal Democratic Party of Russia is now the historical name of the party.
An effectively multi-party system emerged in Soviet Union in the late 1980s in wake of the Gorbachev reforms. A formal law for this purpose was introduced in October 1990. In April 1991, the Liberal Democratic Party of the Soviet Union (LDPSS) became the second officially registered party in the country. According to former CPSU Politburo member Alexander Nikolaevich Yakovlev, the new party was a joint project of CPSU leadership and the KGB. He described how KGB director Vladimir Kryuchkov presented the project of the puppet party at a meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev and informed him about his selection of leaders and the mechanism of funding. Former KGB General Philipp Bobkov described the organization as "Zubatov's pseudo-party under KGB control that directs interests and sentiments of certain social groups". The outspoken leader of the party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, an effective media performer, gained 8% of votes during the 1991 Presidential elections. He also supported the August 1991 coup attempt. In 1992, the LDPSS broke apart into its regional offsprings and the LDPR was created as its successor in Russia.
1993 Duma elections
In the 1993 Duma elections, the pro-reform party supporting President Boris Yeltsin, Russia's Choice, received only 15% of the vote, and the new Communist Party of the Russian Federation only 12.4%. Liberal Democratic Party of Russia emerged as the winner with 22.9% of the popular vote. In effect, the Russian population was divided to those who supported Boris Yeltsin's reforms and to those who did not. It is regarded that the popularity of Zhirinovsky and his party arose from the electorate's dissatisfaction with Yeltsin, and their desire for a non-communist solution.
Zhirinovsky is credited with having successfully identified the problems of ordinary Russians, and offering simple remedies to solve them. For example, he has suggested that all leaders of organized crime should be shot, and all Chechens deported from Russia. Zhirinovsky also called for territorial expansion of Russia. Many of Zhirinovsky's views are highly controversial, and the LDPR's success in the early 1990s shocked observers both inside and outside Russia.
The Duma elected in 1993 was as interim solution, and its mandate expired in 1995. During the two years, Zhirinovsky's popularity waned, and his party's support was halved in the 1995 elections (11.2%). The Communists emerged as the winners, with 22.3% of the vote. In the 1999 elections, LDPR received 6.0% of the votes, and recovered in 2003 with a 11.5% ratio.
The Liberal Democratic Party of Russia aims for "a revival of Russia as a great power." It has opposed both communism and the "wild" capitalism that resulted from Russia's reforms. It favours a mixed economy with private ownership but with a strong management role reserved for the state. In foreign policy, the party places a strong emphasis on "civilizations." It has supported the restoration of Russia with its "natural borders" (which the party believes include Belarus, Ukraine and other former Soviet republics). It sees the unification of Russia and Belarus as a first step in the restoration. The LDPR regards the United States and the Western civilization as the main external threat to Russia. The party has harshly criticised the discrimination against ethnic Russians in the Baltic states and demanded that they should be given Russian citizenship and protected against discriminatory legislation.
Professor Henry E. Hale lists the party's main policy stands as nationalism and a focus in law and order. Although it often uses radical opposition rhetoric, the LDPR frequently votes for government proposals. This has led to speculation that the party receives funding from the Kremlin.
Structure and membership
The party is in alliance with several parties in the former Soviet republics, including Armenia, Belarus, Estonia and Ukraine. Its allies in Estonia support the rights of the Russian speaking minority.
- 1991 presidential elections – 8%
- 1993 Duma elections – 23%
- 1995 Duma elections – 11%
- 1996 presidential elections – 6%
- 1999 Duma elections – 5.98% (it contested them as the 'Zhirinovsky Bloc')
- 2000 presidential elections – 2.7%
- 2003 Duma elections – 12%
- 2004 presidential election (Zhirinovsky decided not to run, his first deputy Oleg Malyshkin ran instead) – 2%
- 2007 Duma elections – 8.8%
- 2008 presidential election – 9.35% 
- 2011 Duma elections – 12.5%
- 2012 presidential election – 6.2%
- List of Liberal Democratic Party of Russia deputies in the State Duma
- Liberal Democratic Party of Belarus
- Liberal Democratic Party of Pridnestrovie
- Miflaga Mitkademet Liberalit Demokratit
- White, Stephen (2005). "The Political Parties". In White, Gitelman, Sakwa. Developments in Russian Politics 6. Duke University Press. ISBN 0-8223-3522-0.
- Timothy Colton, Yeltsin: A Life (2011), p. 282; Donald J. Raleigh, Soviet Baby Boomers: An Oral History of Russia's Cold War Generation, p. 327; The troubled birth of Russian democracy: parties, personalities, and programs. p. 244.
- Russian Political Parties Directory (1999), p. 65.
- Peter H. Merkl and Leonard Weinberg, Right-wing extremism in the twenty-first century (2003). Psychology Press: p. x.
- Hans-Georg Betz, Radical right-wing populism in Western Europe (1994). Palgrave Macmillan: p. 23.
- Stephen E. Hanson, Post-Imperial Democracies: Ideology and Party Formation in Third Republic France, Weimar Germany, and Post-Soviet Russia (2011). Cambridge University Press.
- John B. Dunlop, The Rise of Russia and the Fall of the Soviet Empire (2011). Princeton University Press, p. 167.
- Alexander Nikolaevich Yakovlev Time of darkness, Moscow, 2003, ISBN 5-85646-097-9, page 574 (Russian: Яковлев А. Сумерки. Москва: Материк 2003 г.). The book provides an official copy of a document providing the initial party funding (3 million rubles) from the CPSU money
- Hale, Henry E. (2010). "Russia's political parties and their substitutes". In White, Stephen. Developments in Russian Politics 7. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-230-22449-0.
- McFaul, Michael; Stoner-Weiss, Kathryn (2010). "Elections and Voters". In White, Stephen. Developments in Russian Politics 7. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-230-22449-0.
- Election results in Russian
- Official Website (Russian)
- Political Program LDPR[dead link]
- Zhirinovsky's 2007 political manifesto (English) (Russian)
- Non-official Website (Russian)