- The term refers to a group of oblasts stretching across the European part of Russia that supported the Communist Party of the Russian Federation in the parliamentary elections of the 1990s and Gennady Zyuganov in the 1996 presidential election. Those regions demonstrating the greatest loyalty to the Communist Party of the Russian Federation included Bryansk, Oryol, Lipetsk, Penza, Tambov, and Ulyanovsk; Voronezh and Volgograd are often associated with this group as well. The Red Belt included impoverished cities and largely agrarian areas of Russia, which benefited little from the economic reforms of the Yeltsin era. The Red Belt was characterized by highly conservative local administrations that opposed changes to the country’s welfare system, foreign trade, and privatization. The term has fallen out of use in the new millennium as the Russian Federation has enjoyed the benefits of high oil and natural gas prices, a popular president, and a renewed position in the global community.
Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. Robert A. Saunders and Vlad Strukov. 2010.
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