Available in Russian
Author: Andrey Vershinin
Keywords: electoral system; party structure; party systems; political parties; registration of political parties; the freedom of associations
The article examines the issue of exercising the freedom of association in political parties in Russia in a comparative analysis with the leading democratic countries of the world. Modern democracies cannot be imagined without political parties, which are the representors of the interests of their voters in legislative bodies and local government bodies. The development of civil society and the entire political system in the country depends on how the freedom of association in political parties and the access of parties to participate in elections is realized. The development of legislation on political parties in the Russian Federation proceeded unevenly. In the first years after the adoption of the Constitution the legislative body did not introduce strict requirements for parties. The adoption of a special federal law on political parties in 2001 became a turning point in the development of the party system. The author identifies two large blocks of restrictions on the creation of parties. The first is legislative restrictions, the second is the restrictions that arise from the unfair activities of legislative and law enforcement agencies. In this work, legislative restrictions are compared with restrictions in other democracies, as well as based on legal positions developed by the European Court of Human Rights. The author comes to the opinion that some restrictions on the creation of parties are not necessary now, in the meantime they significantly narrow the possibilities of party creation and political competition. First, we are talking about a ban on the creation of regional parties. The Constitutional Court in its legal positions indicated that this restriction is temporary and will be lifted over time. Within the framework of this work, the author will give suggestions on changing the approach to the creation of political parties in Russia, which should affect the emergence of new strong parties at different levels of public authority. The author believes that a system of “controlled multiparty system” has developed in Russia, which is implemented both in changing the legislation on political parties based on the interests of the “party in power” and the practice of the registration body, which prevents the formation of new parties claiming to redistribute the existing distribution of forces. Based on the analysis of the legislation on political parties, law enforcement practice, decisions of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, the ECHR and the legislation of foreign countries, the author proposes approaches to reforming the existing party system, which include small cosmetic changes and large-scale changes in approaches to the creation of parties.
About the author: Andrey Vershinin – Chief Legal Advisor, Legal Support Centre for Expert Assessments and Research, Institute for Applied Political Studies, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia.
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