Union of Right Forces

Union of Right Forces
   Political party. Known in Russian as Soiuz Pravykh Sil, the SPS was a center-right reformist party established at the end of the 1990s. The party was co-founded by a group of well-known economic liberals, many from the Yeltsin administration, including Irina Hakamada, Boris Nemtsov, Anatoly Chubais, Yegor Gaydar, and Sergey Kiriyenko. It also brought together a number of small, liberal parties including the Right Cause, the New Force, Konstantin Titov’s Voice of Russia, and Russia’s Democratic Choice. The party platform was dedicated to fostering liberal values, expanding citizen participation in government, eliminating censorship of the press, and instituting Western-style economic reforms.
   During the 1999 legislative elections, the SPS won a respectable 8.6 percent of the vote and gained 32 seats in the State Duma. While the SPS supported the candidacy of Vladimir Putin in the 2000 presidential election, Nemtsov soon emerged as a vocal critic of the new president’s authoritarian policies. In the 2003 parliamentary elections, the SPS narrowly failed to reach the required 5 percent threshold to obtain seats in the Duma. Nemtsov subsequently stepped down, admitting that his dispute with other party members over whether to take a more accommodating line toward the Kremlin had caused the poor showing. The party’s next leader was Nikita Belykh, who, after leaving the party, was appointed governor of Kirov Oblast by Putin. Belykh was responsible for a 2005 deal with Grigory Yavlinsky that allied the SPS and Yabloko together in coalition to contest the Moscow City Duma elections, where the Yabloko-United Democrats were able to win seats alongside United Russia and the Communist Party of the Russian Federation.
   Though there were discussions of a merger with Yabloko, these collapsed by the end of 2006. The party’s last leader was Leonid Goizman. The party was dissolved on 1 October 2008. At its height, the party commanded 35,000 members and had a presence in nearly all of Russia’s regions. Many of the party faithful are expected to gravitate to the newly proposed Independent Democratic Party of Russia under the leadership of Aleksandr Lebedev and Mikhail Gorbachev.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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