Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 123

In an address to a nationwide Moscow conference of the bloc "Russia is Our Home," which he chairs, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said that RIOH had "seriously overestimated" its preparedness for the upcoming elections to the Duma. He said that 40 of the bloc’s 261 candidates have withdrawn, and only "slightly over 60 percent" of RIOH’s candidates in single-mandate constituencies are still loyal to it. The defectors either joined other parties and blocs, or "took fright," or simply "failed to live up to the hopes pinned on them." RIOH expected too much from its advantages as a "party of power" and from the recruitment of star personalities, neglecting political and organizational work; and it has dedicated leaders in only 45 of Russia’s 89 regions, he said. During the campaign, Chernomyrdin said, he will focus on his government work rather than on electioneering. The conference appointed a campaign staff headed by RIOH vice-chairman and State Property Committee chairman Sergei Belyaev, who reportedly announced that in order to improve RIOH’s chances, the government will draw up programs to compensate depositors defrauded by private banks, and compensate the population for losses in the value of individual bank deposits stemming from inflation. Moreover, regional RIOH branch offices will supervise the payment of pension arrears by the government.