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Yeltsin And Russian History Essay

1095 words - 4 pages

There would be no more elections for three years, until the Parliamentary elections of 1999. With the 1998 Russian Financial Crisis and given his old age, it was time for Yeltsin to go. His health had been an issue for years, but he had not been ready to name a successor. Prior to the election, Yeltsin fired his entire cabinet and two prime ministers, eventually landing on Vladimir Putin, who was relatively unknown at the time. After Putin swiftly shut down the Chechen terrorist attack and proclaimed that “Russian Army will chase down the terrorists”, his popularity exploded. In just one year he went from a 2% to 56% approval rate. Yeltsin promptly named Putin as his successor. [Treisman 02/24/14] This election cycle saw the rise of two new major Parties of Power, Unity (Putin’s Party) and Fatherland All Russia. Once again, thanks to continued economic struggles, the Communist Party won 25% of the seats. Unity came in 2nd, and Fatherland came in 3rd. Yabloko and LDP were not major parties in this cycle. Soon after the election, Yeltsin resigned from the Presidency at the end of 1999, making Putin president and calling for an election in three months’ time. [Treisman 02/24/14] In the 2000 President election, Putin beat Zyuganov by a large margin—53% to 30%, thanks largely to Putin’s recent popularity and his incumbency advantage. Yavlinsky and Zhirinovsky were non-factors in this election, coming in a distant 3rd and 4th. Putin’s quick response to the Second Chechen War showed him as a fearless leader that the Russian people respected and trusted to lead the nation into the new century.
By 2003, Putin and Unity had become the strongest political force in the short history of Russia’s political system. Thanks to three years of a rapidly improving economy and standard of living, as well as Putin’s continued success with suppressing Chechen separatists, Unity won the 2003 Parliamentary Election in a landslide, winning nearly half of the seats in the Duma. With most Russians now on board for continued economic reform, the Communist Party saw its Duma delegation decrease to just 12% of the seats. Zhirinovsky (LDP) and Rodina (Motherland), a new party that combined socialist and nationalist views, each won 8% of the seats. These were the only 4 parties to hold a significant number of seats in the Duma. [Treisman 02/24/14] In the 2004 Presidential Election, Putin won with an overwhelming 71.9% of the popular vote. By this point, Putin had established himself as Russia’s unopposed leader. The Communists, led by Nikolay Kharitonov, managed to only gain 13.8% of the popular vote. Russia’s prosperous economy and Putin’s effective shutdown of violent nationalistic movements abroad made him an ever-popular leader among the Russian people. [Treisman 02/24/14]
The 2007 Parliamentary Elections brought similar results, as Unity continued its dominance of the political spectrum. Unity won 70% of the seats in the Duma, the largest majority that the Duma had...

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