The Conservative Party (Russ: Консервативная партия, Konservativnaya Partiya) also called KP, is one of the main Alaskan political parties and is the head of the Conservative Coalition. The Conservative Party is one of the oldest parties in Alaska, initially formed to protect the interests of the aristocracy and the nobility in the late 1920s as the Pacific War drew to a close. Its founder was Mischa Komarov, then the sitting Prime Minister.
A breakaway splinter of the Party was formed in 1937 by Vasily Poropek to become the Industrial Party, thus creating two right-wing parties - one that represented the interests of old money, another that represented the interests of "new money."
The Conservatives were usurped for power in 1939 by the defection of numerous Liberals, an independent party, to the Socialists, who governed until the 1944 Conservative coup in the Duma led by independent peer Yakov Sighovaryin, who formed the Center Party. The Conservatives, Centrists and Industrialists controlled the government for the next twenty years, and when Sighovaryin resigned in 1960 his party collapsed, leaving the Conservatives to take power with their Big Three of Kirill Osopek as Premier and Igor Golovko and Roman Rozalenko in various rotating Ministry posts. However, the early 1960s marked a period of social strife and national crisis in Alaska, with 1964 a particularly notable year due to the Good Friday Earthquake and then the assassination of the Tsar Alexander II followed by a constitutional crisis. Already sagging in popularity after hemorrhaging seats in the 1962 elections, the Conservatives entered 1965 in deep trouble.
When the Christian Party defected in 1965 and many Conservatives broke ranks against Osopek, the Conservatives fell from power for a sixteen month period until the 1966 elections, when they retook a slim majority. In 1969, they barely survived again, this time with Stanislav Mergeyev as leader, and they were finally ousted in 1973 by what was at the time the biggest landslide in Alaskan history, helped in no small part by the defection of the Moderate Party from their coalition to the left-wing group of parties led by Progress, Liberal and Socialist.
The 1970s were called "the wilderness years" as the Conservatives began to retool their policies to better appeal to middle class voters in the booming Alaskan Interior, becoming less reliant on old oligarchs in Aleksandrgrad, Sitka, Petropavlovsk and Feodorograd. Kialgory emerged by the late 1970s as the new Conservative power base, but as the 1979 election approached, the Conservatives were still far enough back in the polls that they would fail to seize power. However, Industrial leader Gennady Zaitsev and Conservative leader Evgeni Usinov offered Moderate leader Aleksey Valenko the Premiership and the post of Lead Government Party if he would form a coalition government with them. With 63 seats in the wake of the election, the Moderates defected to the center-right coalition and formed a new government to the shock of the Alaskan political establishment, placing the Conservatives back in power.
Under Valenko, numerous Conservatives such as Usinov, Mikhail Puzunov, Mikhail "Mischa" Kurylenko and Iosef Antonov served in the Cabinet, but they never had Lead Party status. The 1980s saw moderate economic growth but continued stagnation in coastal and western population centers, most notably Aleksandrgrad, and was full of a variety of major corruption scandals. In late 1988, Valenko resigned under pressure from his own party and from public opinion despite not being implicated in any scandals. In a political putsch, the Conservatives, with Industrial and Christian backing, seized power in the Duma and appointed Iosef Antonov, then party leader, to Premier despite the Moderates having held Lead Government Party status for nine years. The move alieanted many Moderates, which would come back to haunt the Conservatives in less than four years.
The Antonov government was even more unpopular than Valenko in his final years and his refusal to stage early elections - decreeing that he would not call an election until it was constitutionall mandated to do so - led to riots in the streets, government shutdowns, emergency temporary dissolutions of the Duma, and government control seizures by Tsar Alexander III. Eventually, it led to the catastrophic riots and economic crises of 1991, which was termed a "Revolution" by many in the press, and the Tsar abdicated due to his own unpopularity for seizing government control. With a tougher Tsar demanding an election, Antonov finally called the election in January 1992 and lost heavily to Boris Molotov, Liberal Party leader, and his coalition of left-wing allies, including the Moderates and Christians who at the time were in the government.
The Conservatives were relegated to minority party status in the 1990s along with their Industrial allies, unable to protest against the 1994 Constitutional reforms and barely having a seat at the table. Nevertheless, many Conservative leaders were pleased to see market reforms under the Liberal government instead of the mass nationalizations they had long feared under the left. In the late 1990s, reformer Vladimir Putin - a former KGB and Treasury agent - began building political capital for a run at the Premiership in 2002. Putin defeated Molotov and instituted numerous free market and pension reforms in his first term, and unusually for a party long tied to the oil industry, began promoting renewable energy for domestic consumption. The 2006 election returned the Conservatives to power within their coalition in a plurality government, only three seats short of an absolute majority, although sympathetic Moderates often voted along with Putin's agenda. Despite strong GDP growth in Alaska during the late 2000s, the Conservatives were unable to hold power in the 2010 election due partially to the growing popularity of the Moderate-led Center Coalition, and due also to a remarkably poor campaign operation.