Russian opposition leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky who founded the Liberal Democratic Party of the Soviet Union (now the LDPR), the second legally registered political party in Soviet history, has repeated calls for Russia to move to a simplified two-party democracy which would feature a large Conservative Party and large Social Democratic Party.
Zhirinovsky’s views have remained incredibly consistent over the years. His LDPR continues to call for a democratic reunification of Russian peoples living in post-Soviet states (Crimean re-unification has been an example of such a policy in action), advocates for a Russian geo-strategy that favours a pro-Asian and Eurasian trajectory, favours a mixed economic system that combines state managing of large companies with a less bureaucratic market economic for small and medium sized businesses, is notoriously anti-communist in terms of Leninist ideology and has called for a redrawing of the internal Russian map to reflect the Guberniyas (governorates) of pre-1917 Russia rather than the model of republics and oblasts instated by the USSR which is still largely reflected in the federative model of modern Russia.
Zhirinovsky has recently argued that the current democratic system of Russia is overly cumbersome with four main parties and several smaller parties. Zhirinovsky has pointed to the US and western Europe as examples of countries that lecture Russia on diversifying its democracy while in reality, the elections in the west are more often than not, two horse races between main parties of the left and right.
Remarking on Donald Trump’s election victory, Zhirinovsky said that by the 2024 Russian Presidential elections, things will be more similar to a straight forward left-right race whose outcome will likely be as tight as the 2016 US election.
Today Zhirinovsky has said the following,
“Only two powerful parties can save the country from stagnation and allow a constant, stable situation”.
RT further reports on his proposal in the following way,
“To achieve this, the LDPR proposes that United Russia rename itself the ‘Conservative Party,’ and all opposition parties, including those without parliamentary representation, unite into a single ‘Social Democratic Party of Russia.”
Realistically, this would mean that the governing United Russia party (generally described as centrist) would combine with Zhirinovsky’s LDPR (generally described as centre-right or populist) to form a broad based Conservative Party of Russia.
Likewise, the leading left wing parties including the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and the Fair Russia (centre left) party would form a left-wing Social Democratic Party of Russia.
Alternatively, existing parties could run as part of a broader left versus right coalition as is the case in many world democracies.
The idea would be to make Russian elections both more stable and more clear cut.
Due to Zhirinovsky’s advanced age, some have begun worrying that the LDPR might be increasingly perceived as a party too heavily reliant on its scholarly and charismatic leader. Because of this Zhirinovsky has handed over some of his duties to his deputies while still being fully active in authoring party policy documents as well as his current Presidential campaign (his 6th Presidential race over all). By aggregating the traditional LDPR vote with that of United Russia, Zhirinovsky might be able to insure that his long political legacy continues to receive support for decades to come.
In last years’s Duma elections, Zhirinovsky’s party finished in a strong third place, while Zhirinovsky stated that his party will soon take over from the Communists as the second most powerful party in Russia.
Zhirinovsky has always focused a great deal on foreign affairs and in particular, Russia’s geo-strategic orientation. With America engaging in what many call a ‘new Cold War’, much of Zhirinovsky’s ideas have been vindicated by recent events, thus catapulting his population to levels last seen in the 1990s. That being said, the LDPR has always been a consistently popular party among the Russian electorate.