Chubais also seems set to increase his role in the political movement, Russia’s Democratic Choice (RDC), of which former premier Yegor Gaidar has until now been the figurehead. A congress of the RDC, held in Moscow last weekend, saw Chubais quietly taking over the reins from Gaidar. RDC has steadily lost influence since Gaidar left the government in 1994, and seemed for a time to be reconciled to allowing the centrist Russia is Our Home movement, under its leader Viktor Chernomyrdin, to carry the liberal flag. Since Chernomyrdin’s ouster from government in March, however, ROH has rapidly lost influence. Now some RDC members are saying the time has come for Russia’s Democratic Choice to reassert itself as leader of the center-right. They are under no illusions that Gaidar will be able to effect the movement’s revival and look instead to Chubais. He is reported to have tacitly agreed to take on the task. Some delegates to last weekend’s congress were even overheard speculating that, if the Russian economy were only to show some improvement, Chubais might be a credible presidential candidate for the elections of 2004. Others were skeptical that Chubais could ever appeal to Russian voters: They said the movement’s best hope was to find a charismatic figurehead behind whom Chubais would organize a liberal coalition. (Kommersant-Daily, June 16)
FACT-FINDING MISSION “VERIFIES” LOYALTY OF NORTH CAUCASUS REGIONS.