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:
The coal-mining region of Western Siberia has
contributed a great deal to the continuing popularity of
the communists in Russia. Ironically, it was here in early
1990, that Boris Yeltsin received the overwhelming
support that helped him to power. Later, however, the
region turned into a battleground between the local coal
miners and the government in Moscow.
As a result of poor investment in the industry and
Moscow's disastrous record on public sector payments
which caused massive wage arrears, the region became
a political hotspot. With the coal industry in neglect, the
local electorate turned to the communists for what they
thought was a safe alternative to the Yeltsin
administration. The governor of Kemerovo region, Aman
Touleev, is one of Russia's most prominent politicians,
and has been a staunch supporter of the communists.
In the December election the leading parties in the region were Unity and the Communist Party.