In the fall of 1994, Harvard University's Strengthening Democratic Institutions Project (SDI), based at the Kennedy School of Government, began a Russian Party-Building and Campaigning Program as part of its research on Russian democratization. This program was designed to assist leaders of Russian political parties in their efforts to strengthen the Russian party system and in their preparations for elections. Led by SDI Research Associate Matthew Lantz and SDI Senior Research Associate Sergei Grigoriev, the program brought to the Boston area a number of Russian politicians and campaign consultants from various factions to discuss parties, elections, and campaigns with their American counterparts and to observe first-hand the American election process leading up to the US presidential election.
SDI also produced (in Russian) The Party-Building and Campaigning Handbook which summarized Western party-building and campaign experiences and was distributed to all major political parties in the Duma prior to the December 17, 1995 Duma election. Moreover, as part of Harvard's Executive Program for Members of the State Duma, SDI provided a series of classes on political parties, elections, and campaigns to representatives from each of the factions in the Duma. This volume, The Russian Election Compendium, is the culmination of the two years of SDI''s work on the Russian elections. It includes all Russian Election Watches from the Duma, presidential, and the gubernatorial elections; all of SDI's analytical emos assessing the elections and the state of Russian democracy; and all briefing material and summaries from both SDI conferences. Finally, it contains articles by SDI team members and press coverage of SDI activities involving the Russian elections.