Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 141

The electoral bloc All Russia (Vsya Rossiya) held the founding conference of its Moscow regional coordinating council in the Russian capital on July 20. Among the participants were St. Petersburg Governor Vladimir Yakovlev, Oleg Morozov (who heads the Russian Regions faction in the State Duma) and two top officials representing Fatherland (Otechestvo), the electoral bloc founded by Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov–Artur Chilingarov and Georgy Boos, the former tax minister (Russian agencies, July 20; Vremya MN, July 21).

The presence of Chilingarov and Boos at the conference suggests that efforts to merge the movement with Luzhkov’s Fatherland have not ceased, despite the Kremlin’s reported efforts to squelch them. Chilingarov said he was certain that the two blocs would enter the campaign for December’s parliamentary elections together. The elections will officially get underway next month when President Boris Yeltsin signs a decree to that effect. For his part, Boos said that the two blocs had already reached an agreement to unite for the elections.

It is by no means clear, however, that the merger of All Russia and Fatherland is a done deal. Morozov said that the two blocs had only agreed to coordinate their lists of candidates for the 225 State Duma seats representing single-mandate districts, but had thus far not agreed to present a united list of candidates for the 225 Duma seats set aside for parties and filled proportionally, according to the vote results (Vremya MN, July 21). Also of note about the All Russia conference was the absence of its de facto leader–Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev.

According to Russian press reports, Shaimiev has been the main target of Kremlin pressure aimed at preventing an alliance between All Russia and Fatherland. According to a report published yesterday, the Finance Ministry has urged the cancellation of a number of intergovernmental agreements between Moscow and Kazan, which could cost Tatarstan four billion rubles (more than US$160 million), while the Fuel and Energy Ministry has threatened to refuse Tatneft, Tatarstan’s largest oil company, an increase in its oil export quota (Argumenty i Fakty, No. 29, July 1999). Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin met with Shaimiev early on July 20, and at least one observer suggested yesterday that the premier also urged the Tatarstan president to eschew Luzhkov (Trud, July 21).