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#8 - JRL 7004
No. 1
January 4, 2003
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]

Sergei MARKOV, director of the Institute of Political Studies (Russian Academy of Sciences), predicts that the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) is going to win parliamentary elections in December 2003.

Talking to a Trud correspondent, Markov noted that the inertial scenario of the Russian political situation's development pre-supposed a stable social situation that would enable the United Russia party to obtain the majority of all State Duma seats. However, this scenario may fail to come true. This can be explained by several factors.

The political elite has failed in its efforts to establish a normal party of power, Markov stressed. Meanwhile United Russia isn't a very attractive-looking organization in this respect, he added. The United Russia party has so far failed to suggest any clear-cut election campaign concept.

Markov, who has connections in the Kremlin's corridors of power, considers this to be the party's main mistake. Second, an effective and comprehensive economic growth policy hasn't been drafted either. Moreover, economic growth rates tend to subside at a time when United Russia says that it's responsible for all nationwide developments.

The Government is almost completely controlled by big-league oligarchic monopolies, Markov believes. At the same time, small businesses and medium-size companies lack any favorable conditions for their development, he added.

The political science expert draws attention to the fact that nationwide strikes are now picking up momentum. These strikes are being caused by persisting wage arrears, the crisis of the housing and municipal-utilities reform, as well as by those unpredictable consequences of the projected power industry reform and corrupt local authorities. In the obtaining situation, the KPRF has better chances of winning parliamentary elections because it can unite all protest-minded and opposition voters.

Transcript by Pavel ANOKHIN.

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