Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin says the pro-government "Russia is Our Home" movement (NDR) which he leads is to form a coalition with Vladimir Shumeiko’s "Reforms — New Policy" movement. (RTR, May 23) Another possible coalition partner, Chernomyrdin said, is the movement led by former presidential aide Sergei Filatov. The ultimate aim is to form the center-right political party whose failure thus far to materialize has left a big gap in the Russian political spectrum. "Russia is Our Home" recently marked its second anniversary and its parliamentary faction is active in the Russian Duma. But, although Chernomyrdin says NDR has an organization in "almost every region," the movement has not yet established a strong regional presence. "After the Communist Party of the Russian Federation," Chernomyrdin said, "we are second in everything." Chernomyrdin said this as if it is something to be proud of, but his words underlined how far NDR has to go in order to turn itself into a party of government. Shumeiko’s contacts will be useful here: Shumeiko built strong links with a number of powerful regional leaders during his two years (1993-95) as speaker of the upper house of the Russian parliament.
Shumeiko told a meeting of his movement earlier this week that he expects to sign the agreement with the ROH "within the next few days" and that the new coalition will be called the Union of Progressive Reformist Forces. (Interfax, May 26) Shumeiko said the coalition will put up common candidates in elections to the State Duma (not due until 1999) and a single candidate in the presidential elections (not due until 2000). The decision to set up the coalition now will fan speculation that the Kremlin is thinking of dissolving the present, Communist-dominated Duma and calling fresh parliamentary elections, perhaps under new electoral rules aimed at reducing the weight of opposition groups. (See preceding story)
Five Countries to Cooperate on Regional Security.