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During my stay at NIAS I worked primarily on four chapters of a forthcoming monograph, Founding Elections in Russia, Vladimir Gel’man and Grigorii V. Golosov (eds). The titles of the chapters I wrote are: The Origins of Contemporary Russian Political Parties: 1987-1993; Political Parties in the 1993-96 Elections; Political Parties and Independent Candidates in Single-member Constituencies (with I. Shevchenko); and The Impact of Russia’s Electoral System upon the Competitive Strategies of Political Actors (with N. Iargomskaia). I also edited three chapters written by other contributors. The book is part of a series on founding elections in Eastern Europe initiated by the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung. It will be published in English by Verlag edition sigma (Berlin) by the end of 1999. We are also planning to translate the volume and find a way to publish it in Russian. TRIS was a unique opportunity for a mid-career scholar, like myself. Most other programmes are available primarily to younger scholars. Meanwhile, the deteriorating conditions in Russia (and, I would guess, in many other post-Soviet republics) place the scholars of older generations into an especially difficult situation. They have to deal with a variety of problems from the falling living standards combined with the low societal esteem of scholarship in general, to, since recently, various ideological pressures and hostilities. For these reasons, many of them eventually abandon their professions, which obviously threatens the very existence of scholarship in Russia. I believe that TRIS, even though it is relatively small in scale, makes an important contribution to reversing this dangerous trend.
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