Electoral geography of Russia
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The Red Belt or "Red Zone" (Красный пояс) was a group of Russian regions with a stable support for the Communist Party in local and federal elections. The term began to be used widely since the mid-1990s after winning a number of regions of the Communist opposition candidates. The "red zone" comprised predominantly agricultural areas of Central Russia, subsidized national republics of the North Caucasus, as well as a number of the southern regions of Siberia and the Far East. With the coming to power of Vladimir Putin and reduced support for the Communist Party, the "red belt" ceased to exist.
Reasons for Formation
In 1999, the regions of the "red zone ", according to the analyst Rostislav Turovsky, treated Smolensk, Bryansk, Kaluga, Orel, Kursk, Belgorod, Ryazan, Lipetsk, Tambov, Voronezh, Penza, Ulyanovsk, Saratov, Volgograd and Astrakhan region. In these areas, a high proportion of rural population with the appropriate mentality, voters increased inherent conservatism. However, the economic development of different regions, and they are not among the most depressed. Turov said strong support of the Communist Party in the North Caucasus (except Ingushetia). In the territories and regions of the North Caucasus, a predominantly Russian population of this support, in his opinion, due to the same reasons as in the rest of the "red zone". In the national republics (Karachay-Cherkessia, Dagestan and North Ossetia) support due to nostalgia for the Soviet era, when these poor areas remained ethno-political and socio- economic stability . In the Urals, and to the east of it Turovskii notes the strong pro-communist sentiment in regions such as Orenburg, Kurgan, Omsk, Novosibirsk, Chita Oblast and Altai Krai, as well as in agricultural and mostly Russian national composition (Altai Republic, Ust -Orda Buryat AO and the Jewish AO) .According to political scientist Alexander Kanev," in fact the so-called red zone of the 1990s was no more than a residual support for the former communist government. As soon as the new government is" well established " and returned to the familiar (a la Soviet ) rhetoric and behavior, it has become an electoral power base inherit the previous."