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Russian Elections 1999
The elections are as much a contest between personalities, and the power blocs they control, as a conventional electoral race between parties. Click the names on the right for an at-a-glance guide to the key figures and political groupings.
FATHERLAND-ALL-RUSSIA
UNITY
UNION OF RIGHT-WING FORCES
YABLOKO
OUR HOME IS RUSSIA
THE COMMUNIST PARTY
Boris YELTSIN
Yury LUZHKOV
Yevgeny PRIMAKOV
Vladimir PUTIN
Grigory YAVLINSKY
Gennady ZYUGANOV
Aleksander LEBED
Vladimir
ZHIRINOVSKY

Unity



Unity
Unity was formed three months before the December parliamentary election, on the Kremlin's initiative, in order to ensure support in the new Duma for the Yeltsin government and its successor. "I make no secret of the fact that we wish to put a pro-government faction in the Duma," the bloc's leader, Sergey Shoygu, said during the election campaign.

Unity exceeded all expectations, coming only a small distance behind the first-placed Communist Party. Its success is widely seen as a vote of confidence in Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his decisive action against Chechen rebels. Mr Putin is not a member of Unity, but gave it his full backing.

Mr Shoygu, aged 44, is the government's longest-serving minister, and a Yeltsin loyalist. He is responsible for dealing with emergencies, and kept a low profile until the parliamentary election. During the campaign he was regularly shown on television directing Russian efforts to provide aid for Chechen refugees, and to restore normality to Chechen villages in Russian-occupied areas.

Mr Shoygu has said he has no ambition to move higher than his current position in government.