by Gordon M. Hahn
As noted in a previous brief, the murder of Boris Nemtsov seems to have sparked an effort to realize his initiative to form a broad united democratic front, in particular for the 2016 Duma elections (http://gordonhahn.com/2015/03/18/nemtsovs-legacy-a-united-russian-democratic-opposition/).
Almost all of Russia’s democratic parties and leaders have now agreed to such a front which would require coordination so that parties do not run competing candidates in single-mandate districts, seats from which will make up 50 percent of the Duma’s 450 seats. Only the Yabloko party remains outside this agreement, but there are signals from both sides that talks may begin on including Yabloko in the coalition (http://www.mk.ru/politics/2015/04/03/oppoziciya-vystupit-edinym-frontom-v-borbe-za-mandaty-v-gosdume.html).
Historically, ever since the late 1990s, Yabloko has preferred to go it alone. It has refused to take seats in the government since Putin’s arrival to power and it has eschewed alliances with other democratic parties, being very critical of those democrats who carried out the economic reforms and privatization during the 1990s and who play leading roles in many of the other democratic parties in Russia today.
Gordon M. Hahn is an Analyst and Advisory Board Member of the Geostrategic Forecasting Corporation, Chicago, Illinois; Senior Researcher, Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS), Akribis Group, San Jose, California Analyst/Consultant, Russia Other Points of View – Russia Media Watch; and Senior Researcher and Adjunct Professor, MonTREP, Monterey, California. Dr Hahn is author of three well-received books, Russia’s Revolution From Above (Transaction, 2002), Russia’s Islamic Threat (Yale University Press, 2007), which was named an outstanding title of 2007 by Choice magazine, and The ‘Caucasus Emirate’ Mujahedin: Global Jihadism in Russia’s North Caucasus and Beyond (McFarland Publishers, 2014). He also has authored hundreds of articles in scholarly journals and other publications on Russian, Eurasian and international politics and wrote, edited and published the Islam, Islamism, and Politics in Eurasia Report at CSIS from 2010-2013. Dr. Hahn has been a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (2011-2013) and a Visiting Scholar at both the Hoover Institution and the Kennan Institute.