The enthusiasm with which top Kremlin officials have leapt onto the anti-NATO bandwagon in recent weeks can be attributed to their desire to keep retired gen. Aleksandr Lebed from winning the presidency, a leading Russian pollster claims. According to Aleksandr Oslon, general director of the Public Opinion Foundation (and a pollster for Boris Yeltsin’s reelection campaign), those speaking out against NATO hope to use the issue to unify Communists, nationalists, and the current government against Lebed. But Oslon also suggests that Russian society is no longer motivated by Soviet-style rhetoric of this type. Indeed, Oslon says his polling data indicate that average Russians are not especially concerned about NATO. That leads the pollster to conclude that Aleksandr Lebed, who has been more measured in his remarks about NATO than any other leading Russian politician, may be much more in tune with public opinion on this issue than are Yeltsin and his entourage. (The Washington Post, February 7, 9)
Russia, De Beers Find Compromise.