This article seeks to explain why Boris Yeltsin was able to win I996 Russian presidential election despite prolonged economic crisis and the war in Chechnya. The paper advances the argument which emphasizes Yeltsin's ability to recreate political and social alliances which were crucial to his previous electoral successes, on the one hand, and poor electoral strategy and political beliefs of Yeltsin's main challenger, the head of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation Gennady Zyuganov, on the other. In particular, the paper highlights Yeltsin's campaign strategy of turning the election into a referendum on communism rather on his own record and the success of his two candidates only strategy. The paper also argues that Zyuganov communist-nationalist, rather than social-democratic, world view determined his electoral strategy and played a major role in his electoral defeat.

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