Non-system opposition

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In modern Russian political terminology, the non-system opposition or non-systemic opposition (Russian: внесистемная оппозиция) are oppositional forces which operate outside of the official political establishment. Alternatively, the systemic opposition operates in the form of registered political parties.[1][2]

There are two major reasons of the existence of the non-system opposition. First, the Russian Law on Political Parties was setting a high threshold for a political party to be registered for the participation in elections, the highest hurdle being the requirement to have at least 45,000 members.[1] Second, a number of activists, such as Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Bukovsky are in principle against registration, saying that the registration itself is a de facto a "vassal oath of allegiance to the authorities".[2]

The emergence of the "non-system" political activities (and the introduction of the term) followed the 2003 Duma elections notable for the new extremely restrictive law about political parties. The period of 2004-2012 witnessed waves of mass political actions organized by the opposition movements. The spectrum of political views of the non-system opposition is extremely broad, and attempts to create "suprapolitical" associations, such as The Other Russia, eventually failed.[3][4]

The term "non-systemic opposition" does neither reflect ideological distance to the Ruling party nor non-acceptance of democratic institutions. The non-systemic opposition refers to opposition parties that are ‘excluded’ from the political system because they lack both a representation in the structures of state power and contacts with the ruling group. They predominantly use unconventional methods of political struggle, have limited resources, are particularly active on social networks, and enjoy little trust among citizens.[5]

In 2012 Ivan Tyutrin and Aleksandr Lukyanov of Solidarnost movement wrote that the nonsystem/system dichotomy, i.e., based on a formal criterion, became outdated; the real dichotomy should be whether a political force is non-conformist or conformist with respect to Putinist political system. Their arguments are: radicalization of some "systemic opposition", decreased importance of registration during non-election time, expected alleviation of hurdles for registration by Dmitri Medvedev's reforms, and efforts of the current establishment to introduce discord into opposition. [2]


  1. ^ a b Russian opposition: inside or outside the system?, Grigorii Golosov, September 1, 2011 (retrieved February 8, 2015)
  2. ^ a b c "Оппозиция: новая система координат", Иван Тютрин, Александр Лукьянов, February 24, 2012 (retrieved February 8, 2015)
  3. ^ Aglaya Bolshakova, "Несистемно-бессистемная оппозиция", Osobaya Bukva, November 24, 2011 (retrieved September 27, 2016)
  4. ^ "О тех, с кем и про кого говорил по телефону Немцов"
  5. ^ Ivan Bol’shakov, "The nonsystemic opposition", Russian Politics and Law, 50: 3, May–June 2012, pp. 82–92

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