15 Sep. 2021 12:22 Uhr
The vote on the State Duma in Russia is scheduled for September 17-19. But what do the parties stand for and what do they promise? RT provides an overview. Today is the turn of the Liberal Democratic Party.
Who are the Liberal Democrats?
Despite its name, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) is a right-wing populist faction that was founded in 1989 as the Liberal Democratic Party of the Soviet Union and existed until the dissolution of the USSR. It was founded by Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a hot-headed politician who continues to lead the party to this day. Despite its name, the party has little in common with European liberal democratic values. Instead, it takes views that are more similar to those of the ultra-nationalists and oppose both modern neoliberal capitalism and Soviet-style communism.
How did the Liberal Democrats fare in the last election?
In 2016, the LDPR’s share of the vote was 13.14 percent, putting it in third place behind United Russia and the Communist Party. The result was an improvement over 2011, when the party finished fourth with 11.67 percent.
However, since 2016 the LDPR has seen some success. In 2018, for example, she won the governor’s posts in the Khabarovsk and Vladimir regions and prevailed against the ruling United Russia party.
What outcome can the Liberal Democrats expect in 2021? Who is supporting them?
As in 2016, most experts assume that the LDPR will again take third place behind the two most popular parties. As with most other Russian parties, support for the LDPR depends on the region. The party is particularly popular in the Far East of the country. Especially in Khabarovsk, where the now imprisoned former governor Sergei Furgal won with almost 70 percent of the vote in 2018.
What does the party stand for?
The LDPR is a far-right party. Zhirinovsky is neither a liberal nor a great democrat. Many of the group’s ideas can be described as ultra-nationalist and socially conservative. In 2018 and 2019 a “World Congress of Peace Forces” organized by the LDPR took place in Moscow. Representatives of various right-wing extremist organizations from several countries took part, including the National Democratic Party of Germany, the Polish group Falanga, the Scandinavian resistance movement Nordiska motståndsrörelsen and Britain First. According to a statement by the LDPR, the conference should be seen as the first step “on the way to saving mankind from thermonuclear war, on the way to peace”.
The party’s politics are focused almost entirely on Shirinovsky’s views. Domestically, the LDPR supports populist ideas such as increasing pensions and the minimum wage, while at the same time pushing through a tax increase for the super-rich. The party wants to “protect traditional family values” and uphold “traditional religions of Russia” including Christianity.
Their foreign policy views are somewhat more controversial. The party wants to return all former territories of the Soviet Union under the control of Moscow. It also wants to dissolve NATO and create a European army without the participation of the United States.
Although not in the official manifesto, Zhirinovsky also takes other views, such as the restoration of the monarchy and the name change of the country to the Russian Empire. He has also threatened to “shoot or hang” his political opponents.
What else do you need to know?
Although the LDPR is part of the systemic opposition – that is, it is often loyal to the Kremlin – it has grappled with the rulers on several occasions. Last year, the aforementioned governor of Khabarovsk, Sergei Furgal, was arrested and taken to Moscow, where he is currently charged with a murder more than 15 years ago. Instead of the arrested Furgal, Vladimir Putin appointed the LDPR politician Mikhail Degtyaryov as the incumbent governor.
Shortly afterwards, large protests took place in Khabarovsk, with thousands of people taking to the streets for several consecutive weekends. Many locals were furious that federal authorities removed their elected representative and replaced him with a Moscow-based MP with no local experience.
more on the subject – The apple doesn’t fall far from the horse: Zhirinovsky comes to the election rally with Troika