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Published March 2002 | Submitted
Journal Article Open

Are the Communists Dying Out in Russia?


Many predicted that the strength of the Communist Party in Russia would wane as the elderly pensioners who disproportionately supported the party died off. Contrary to this prediction, the findings of our analysis indicate that voters who reached retirement age during the past decade were even more supportive of the communists than the cohort of pensioners who preceded them. We believe this occurred because it was workers approaching retirement, not pensioners per se, who were disproportionately injured by the transition to a more market-oriented economy. Like pensioners they lost savings, but in many cases they also lost their jobs. They also had little opportunity to learn the new skills that the Russian economy increasingly calls for. There is as yet no indication that the communists have begun to die out.

Additional Information

© 2002 The Regents of the University of California. Published by Elsevier Ltd. A previous version of this paper was presented at the Conference on Initial Conditions and the Transition Economy in Russia: the Weight of the Past in Comparative Perspective, The University of Houston, April 2001. The research it reports was supported by a grant to the California Institute of Technology by the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research. We would like to thank Sergei Beriozkin, Jim Gibson, Paul Gregory, Carol Leonard, Tom Remington, Peter Ordeshook, and Steve Smith for their comments and criticisms.

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