Explaining Transitional Representation: The Rise and Fall of Women of Russia.

Regina Smyth, William T. Bianco, Christopher Kam, Itai Sened

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 1993, the Women of Russia (WR) party won unexpected vote support Russia's first multi-party competitive elections. Just two years later, the party lost almost half of its vote share and fell below the five percent electoral threshold. As a result, the party splintered and although it gained ballot access in 1999 it managed to secure less than two percent of the national vote. Since that time, no women's party has competed in national parliamentary elections. Conventional wisdom argues that the WR was ineffective in the national parliament, the State Duma and therefore alienated voters. Using a new technology to analyze legislative decision-making, we argue that WR's irrelevance in legislative decision-making was more a function of party system structure than poor leadership or lack of political strategy. The argument presented in the paper not only has implications for the evolution of transitional representation in Russia but also for a more general theory of which parties survive founding elections to occupy permanent places in the party systems of a new democracies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-162
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of East European & Asian Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • DECISION making
  • POLITICAL organizations
  • POLITICAL parties
  • POLITICAL systems
  • PRACTICAL politics
  • SOCIAL conditions of women
  • WOMEN -- Russia


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