Liberal Democratic Party of Russia
|Parliamentary Leader||Vladimir Zhirinovsky|
|Preceded by||Liberal Democratic Party of the Soviet Union|
|Newspaper||For the Russian People|
|Youth wing||Youth Organization of LDPR|
|Political position||Right-wing to far-right|
|Slogan||"Freedom, Patriotism, Law"|
|Seats in the Federation Council|
6 / 170
|Seats in the State Duma|
39 / 450
15 / 85
|Seats in the Regional Parliaments|
236 / 3,928
The LDPR — Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (Russian: ЛДПР — Либерально-демократическая партия России), briefly, the LDPR or Liberal Democratic Party, is a socially conservative, nationalist and economically interventionist political party in Russia led by Vladimir Zhirinovsky since its founding in 1989.
Opposing both communism and neoliberal 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 2016, the party received 13.14% of the vote, giving it 39 of the 450 seats in the State Duma.
Despite the party's name, it is frequently described as "neither liberal nor democratic". The party has been described as fiscally statist within an ultranationalist authoritarian ideology. Its ideology is based primarily on Zhirinovsky's ideas of "imperial reconquest" (a "renewed Russian Empire") and on an authoritarian vision of a "Greater Russia".
An effectively multi-party system emerged in the Soviet Union in the late 1980s in wake of the Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms. A formal law for this purpose was introduced in October 1990. In April 1991, the Liberal Democratic Party of the Soviet Union (LDPSU) became the second officially registered political party in the country. According to former Politburo member Alexander Yakovlev, the new party was a joint project of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) leadership and the KGB. He described how KGB director Vladimir Kryuchkov presented the project of the puppet party at a meeting with 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 Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) was created as its successor in Russia.
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%. The LDPR emerged as the winner with 22.9% of the popular vote. In effect, the Russian population was divided to those who supported 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 presidential elections of 1996, the LDPR has nominated Vladimir Zhirinovsky as a candidate. Zhirinovsky gained 5.7% of the votes in the first round.
In 1999, the party participated in the elections as a "Bloc of Zhirinovsky" since the Central Election Commission initially refused to register in the election lists of LDPR, which received 6.0% of the votes. In the 3rd State Duma, Zhirinovsky took up the post of Vice Chairman and the post of the head of fraction occupied by his son Igor Lebedev.
In the presidential election of 2000, the party has again put forward Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who won 2.7% of votes.
In the parliamentary elections of 2003, the party won 11.5% of the votes and received 36 seats.
In the 2004 presidential election, the LDPR nominated Oleg Malyshkin. The party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky was hoping to take the post of Prime Minister in case of Malyshkin's victory on elections. In the end, Malyshkin scored 2% of votes, having lost the election.
In the 2008 presidential election, Zhirinovsky was re-nominated as a candidate and scored 9.4% of the vote.
In the parliamentary elections of 2011, the party scored 11.7% of the vote and won 56 seats. In the 6th State Duma, Vladimir Zhirinovsky returned to the post of head of the LDPR faction and his son Igor Lebedev has held the position of Vice Chairman of the State Duma.
In the presidential elections 2012, the party again put forward by Zhirinovsky, whose campaign slogan for 2012 was "Vote Zhirinovsky, or things will get worse". Proshka, a donkey owned by Zhirinovsky, became prominent during the presidential campaign when he was filmed in an election advertisement video. On the last episode of debates with Mikhail Prokhorov just before the elections, Zhirinovsky produced a scandal by calling those Russian celebrities which supported Prokhorov, including a pop-diva and a veteran of Russian pop scene Alla Pugacheva, "prostitutes" ("I thought you are an artful person, politician, cunning man, but you are just a clown and a psycho", replied Pugacheva. "I am what I am. And such is my charm", replied Zhirinovsky). As a result, Zhirinovsky gained 6.2% of the votes.
In the parliamentary elections in 2016, the party improved the result compared to the previous elections. The LDPR surpassed the center-left party A Just Russia, becoming the third largest party in the State Duma and in tight approaching the Communist Party, almost even with her result. The LDPR won 39 seats, gaining 13.1% (for comparison, the Communist Party won 13.3% of votes and 42 seats).
In 2015, Zhirinovsky expressed a desire to participate in the presidential elections in 2018. However, originally and in the past potential candidates from LDPR Zhirinovsky also called his son Igor Lebedev as well as close associates of Mikhail Degtyarev, Yaroslav Nilov and Alexei Didenko. After the parliamentary elections of 2016, Zhirinovsky said he would run himself. According to public opinion polls, Zhirinovsky is the second most popular candidate as over 10% of the electorate would vote for him, which is two times more than the Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, who has always taken second place in the elections.
The LDPR seeks "a revival of Russia as a great power". It opposes both the Communism of the Soviet Union and the neoliberal capitalism that resulted from Russia's reforms. It prefers 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 the 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, NATO and Western civilization as Russia's main external threats. 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. The LDPR is also against corruption and enlargement of the European Union, identifying as a Eurosceptic party, instead preferring pan-Slavism. The LDPR also identify as Russian imperialists both in their support for a restored Russian Empire and support for imperialism. 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's organization is almost entirely centered on its leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
|Election year||No. of
overall seats won
70 / 450
51 / 450
17 / 450
36 / 450
40 / 450
56 / 450
39 / 450
|Election year||No. of
|1991||6,211,007 (3rd)||8.0||Vladimir Zhirinovsky|
|1996||4,311,479 (5th)||5.8||Vladimir Zhirinovsky|
|2000||2,026,509 (5th)||2.7||Vladimir Zhirinovsky|
|2004||1,405,326 (5th)||2.0||Oleg Malyshkin|
|2008||6,988,510 (3rd)||9.5||Vladimir Zhirinovsky|
|2012||4,448,959 (4th)||6.2||Vladimir Zhirinovsky|
|2018||4,154,985 (3rd)||5.7||Vladimir Zhirinovsky|
- Liberal Democratic Party of Belarus
- Liberal Democratic Party of Pridnestrovie
- List of Liberal Democratic Party of Russia deputies in the State Duma
- Miflaga Mitkademet Liberalit Demokratit
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