ON THIS DAY    27 March      Graphics version >>   BBC News >>
Search ON THIS DAY by date   
  Go back one day Go forward one day

Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
1989: Millions of Russians go to the polls

Millions of Russian voters have gone to the polls, with early results suggesting that a number of Communist candidates have been rejected by the electorate.

The Soviet parliamentary election was the first opportunity citizens ever had of casting their ballots for any but the official Communist Party candidates.

Election data available so far shows a net gain to unofficial candidates in the voting for 1,500 seats in the new Congress of People's Deputies.

Some Communist Party officials have failed to gain election and despite the absence as yet of many provincial results, there appears to be a swing against the party establishment.

These included five members of the central committee and one Politburo member.

President Mikhail Gorbachev has urged Russian newspaper and broadcasting editors "not to dramatise" the results, according to the official Tass news agency.


"A victory for glasnost and perestroika"

Foreign ministry spokesman Gennady Gerasimov

Soviet foreign ministry spokesman Gennady Gerasimov described the results as a "victory for glasnost and perestroika".

Government newspaper Izvestia welcomed early results and referred to a new era of "the dictatorship of democracy".

In a predicted landslide, Boris Yeltsin has been elected as a representative to the CPD, which was established by Mr Gorbachev.

Mr Yeltsin won in the all-Moscow constituency against the official party candidate with 89% of the vote.

The biggest majority of all in the polls was won by Telman Gdlyan, a senior prosecutor who exposed a notorious corruption case in Uzbekistan in 1988, with 86.4% of the vote.

The next biggest majority in the polls went to Valentin Dikul, once a famous trapeze artist, with 72%.

Among other elected representatives are retired ice hockey champion Anatoly Firsov, who was seeking to improve health and sports facilities.

Tass described the defeat of one regional Communist party chief in Uzbekistan in Central Asia as a "vote of no confidence".

In the Ukraine, five regional party chiefs were rejected by the voters. Among others who failed to secure their seats were the party chief in Minsk, capital of the western republic of Byelorussia.

It is reported that a Central Committee inquest is under way into the election results.

Mr Gorbachev was reported as saying that economic problems, including the budget deficit and shortages of food and consumer goods, were reasons why the authorities were criticised during the election.

One Muscovite said: "There's been nothing like this for 72 years ... and for all that time it's been nothing but blood, blood, blood."

In Context
The 1989 election saw many senior Community Party officials defeated.

This was seen as revolutionary at the time because internal critics of the Soviet regime were able to receive a hearing and to get themselves elected.

According to the Soviet government newspaper Izvestia, turnout in most regions stood at between 80% and 85%, which was not as high as official figures for previous elections.


Search ON THIS DAY by date   
  Go back one day Go forward one day

Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
^^ Back to top |