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Between Loyalty and Opposition. The Communist Party of Russia and the Growing Intra-Party Cleavage

Bondarenko, O. (2023). Between Loyalty and Opposition. The Communist Party of Russia and the Growing Intra-Party Cleavage. Communist and Post-Communist Studies, 56(4), pp. 143-165. doi: 10.1525/cpcs.2023.1996780


The article analyzes intra-party dynamics and the transformation of the role of the Communist party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) within the Russian political system. Although the party is considered to be a member of the so-called ‘loyal’ opposition, the increasing volatility of the party system and growing political instability have implications for future relations between the KPRF and the regime. The article argues that despite the organizational strength and demonstrated loyalty to the regime, the party is currently affected by the problem of ‘dual commitment’, epitomized by a growing center-regions cleavage and ideological incoherence. These two vectors of internal divide are shaped by the context emerging from different intra-system trends and by demographic trends affecting the interaction between the leadership and the rank-and-file of the KPRF. While in the wake of some surprising results from the 2021 legislative elections the party seems still committed to demonstrating loyalty to the regime, in the long run the growing intra-party cleavage is likely to affect the role of the KPRF within the party system, opening a new window of opportunity for opposition politics in Russian regions.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: KPRF, dual commitment, center-regions, intra-party cleavage, Russia
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
H Social Sciences > HX Socialism. Communism. Anarchism
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > International Politics
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