Compromise Amidst Political Conflict: The Origins of Russia's Mixed-Member System

Robert G. Moser, Frank C. Thames

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The introduction of a mixed-member majoritarian (MMM) electoral system in Russia came in the midst of a violent struggle between President Boris Yeltsin and a communist and nationalist opposition, after which Yeltsin was left to construct a new electoral system and a new constitutional order unopposed. Explains the development and maintenance of the MMM system in Russia as a compromise between competing intraparty and interparty goals, first within the small circle drafting the executive decree in 1993, and then between competing institutions in the struggle over the electoral law in 1995. The designers of the presidential decree that implemented the system saw a mixed-member system as being able to promote the formation of national parties while maintaining regional representation, and despite the preponderance of power that Yeltsin held throughout this process, the system was not crafted exclusively for the interests of a particular party or ideological camp. It is argued that the system that eventually emerged was a product of competing goals, uncertainty over future electoral outcomes, and compromise between competing institutions. The chapter proceeds as follows: the first section briefly examines the historical background of elections in Russia and provides an overview of the MMM system adopted in 1993; the second describes the process surrounding Yeltsin's executive decree establishing the electoral system for the 1993 election; the third looks at the adoption of the electoral law in 1995; the final section draws some conclusions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMixed-Member Electoral Systems
Subtitle of host publicationThe Best of Both Worlds?
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191600241
ISBN (Print)0199240795, 9780199257683
StatePublished - Nov 1 2003


  • Communism
  • Electoral history
  • Electoral law
  • Electoral reform
  • Electoral systems
  • Mixed-member electoral systems
  • Mixed-member majoritarian systems
  • National parties
  • Regional representation
  • Russia
  • Yeltsin


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