Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science


Peter J. Potichnyj




This thesis investigates the emerging political party system in Russia, from the beginnings of pluralism in 1986 through 1992. It does so in the context of the theoretical and methodological implications of the literature on transitions to democracy, and with reference to literature on political party systems. This thesis examines the beginnings of independent group activity, the groups' formation into movements and blocs and their participation in elections, and their evolution into proto-parties as the USSR collapsed and the Russian state gained independence and its own identity.

The literature on transitions to democracy is agency-oriented, in that it places an emphasis on political parties in the transition process. While it is unclear at this point in time whether Russia is indeed undergoing a transition to democracy, proto-parties in Russia have played - and will continue to play - a key role in the transformation of Russia from Communism to post-Communism. The future shape and structure of the Russian multi-party system is, however, difficult to predict, because of the nascent and immature nature of the system in the time period this paper examines.

McMaster University Library

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