Russia's 1996 Presidential Election

Russia's 1996 Presidential Election

The End of Polarized Politics

Author: Michael McFaul
ISBN: 978-0-8179-9502-7
Publication Date: 7/15/1997
Pages: 169

How did Boris Yeltsin—judged by most analysts and politicians the obvious underdog going into the 1996 Russian presidential election—emerge as the clear winner? Was Yeltsin's landslide reelection as free and fair as it appears?

This volume reveals the reasons behind Yeltsin's victory and examines its impact on the future of electoral politics in post-soviet Russia.

In June 1996, for the first time in thousand years, Russian citizens were given the chance to select their head of state in a democratic election. Michael McFaul analyzes three major factors that combine to explain why Boris Yeltsin's victory, should have been expected, discusses the reasons behind Yeltsin's victory, and examines its impact on electoral politics in post-Soviet Russia.

How could Yeltsin possibly avoid defeat without falsifying the results or postponing the election entirely?

Michael McFaul analyzes three major factors that combine to explain why Yeltsin's victory should have been expected, namely, the

- "revolutionary" nature of the electorate's choices

- polarizing and consolidating effects of the presidential election itself

- superior, modern campaign strategy of Boris Yeltsin

In addition to the analysis, McFaul offers possible scenarios for Russia's next presidential election, as well as the potential future of democratic consolidation in Russia.

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Michael McFaul

Michael A. McFaul is the Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution as well as a professor of political science, director and senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. He also currently works as a news analyst for NBC. His areas of expertise include international relations, Russian politics, comparative democratization, and American foreign policy. From January 2012 to February 2014, he served as the US ambassador to the Russian Federation. Before becoming ambassador, he served for three years as a special assistant to the president and senior director for Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council.

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