This article explores the problems facing opposition political parties in Russia. In order to conceptualize the conditions in which opposition parties operate and which determine the strategies they adopt, the concept of dominant party systems is used as an analytical framework. Ideological flexibility, access to administrative resources, and the ability to mobilize key socio-economic groups (key factors in the maintenance of one-party domination) are all features associated with Russia's 'dominant' party, United Russia. It is argued that, whilst Russia is not a dominant party system along the lines of those which existed in Mexico and Japan, there are sufficient commonalities with such systems, in terms of the problems facing opposition political parties as to make comparison a useful exercise. The optimum strategies for opposition parties in dominant party systems (activist recruitment, ideological positioning and coalition-building) are identified and it is argued that these are all areas which Russian opposition parties need to address if they are to successfully challenge the regime and the 'party of power', United Russia.
- political parties
- dominant party