Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Russia’s Systemic Opposition Parties Could Play Key Mediating Role in Post-Putin Transition, Bederson Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Apr. 20 – Many are now writing off the systemic opposition parties as moribund and irrelevant (, but Poland’s experience in the 1980s suggests that they could play a key role in the post-Putin transition from authoritarianism to democracy, according to Vsevolod Bederson.

            The Perm political scientist says that in such a transition, mediators are necessary and that the systemic opposition in Poland played that role and its counterparts in Russia now very easily could (

            Bederson points out that in communist Poland, the regime controlled the top echelons of the systemic opposition parties but that below that level there were many members of those groups who were far more opposed to the regime than their party bosses and thus ready to mediate between the old regime and the forces of a new democracy.

            For these systemic parties to play that role, he says, they must maintain contacts with the real opposition, have some but not large political weight, have structures and people in the regions, and not aspire to take control themselves. The KPRF and some of the other systemic parties have at least some of these features.

            And thus it is possible that they could play the role the Catholic parties did in Poland and that Muslim radical groups in the Middle East did. Writing them off in advance is thus a mistake, although looking to them provides no guarantee that they or those who seek to use them will be successful, Bederson concludes.

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