Reform and Anti-Reform Trends in Russian Politics in 1996-1997
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Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian domestic politics have been characterized by two trends- reform and anti-reform. Every new wave of both reforms and anti-reform could be explained by the creation of new either pro-or anti-reform centers of gravity in the government, or in the social-economic sphere. These two general trends could be observed in 1996-97 period. The 1995 elections the Duma, led to the domination of this body by the forces that were opposing the reformists. Therefore, the 1996 presidential election was not an easy victory for the relatively pro-reform Boris Yeltsin. When he got reelected, Yeltsin seriously devoted himself to the task of bringing the reforms back to the top of the political agenda, which led to several reshuffles within the government. However, these attempts were hindered when the government found itself facing a relentless opposition in the Duma, and was itself paralyzed by several internal crises. The general trend that could be observed throughout the period is that the anti-reform interval is usually followed by Yeltsin reshuffling the government, bringing the reformers back in. Today, we are witnessing another wave of reform manifested by the creation of a new government under the Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin. It is crucial to recognize the two trends of Russian politics today, partly because the internal developments usually manifest in Russia's attitude toward the West. It is especially important now on the eve of the 1999 Duma elections and the 2000 presidential election.