Russia's regions will shape the next parliament and its relationship with the Kremlin. Moscow can no longer afford to ignore the opinion of the local electorates or the views of the powerful regional governors, some of whom wield tremendous influence over voters. For a guide to the regional picture, click the key regions on the map:
President Yeltsin was born in this region, and he is held in
great esteem by the local electorate.
Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Boris Yeltsin was
a communist governor of the industrial region of
Yekaterinburg and people there remember him as a
dynamic and charismatic leader. This local rapport and a
better-than-average economic situation have been the
principal reasons why pro-Yeltsin parties consistently win
most of the votes here. Neither the Communists nor the Liberal Democrats of
Vladimir Zhirinovsky have ever done well here.
However, a number of
areas in the region are in a desperate economic state,
including the important city of Cheliabinsk, which is a big
centre for military research and production. The
agricultural areas of the Urals are in deep depression,
and lack of federal investment has severely affected
local infrastructure. In such circumstances the Communist Party inevitably has widespread appeal.