Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 157

Playing his cards close to his chest, Communist party Gennady Zyuganov has so far refrained from stating in other than very general terms what policies his group will pursue in the new Duma. Zyuganov told journalists his priority would to tackle the growth of consumer prices, crime and unemployment. "We are not dropping the question of stopping hostilities in Chechnya from the agenda," he added. Zyuganov revealed, however, that as early as 24 hours before voting began, his party had set up a timetable for consultations with other left-leaning and nationalist groups with the aim of establishing a "national-patriotic coalition" in the new Duma. He said he expected to be able to work with Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s Liberal Democratic Party, though he ruled out cooperating in Zhirinovsky’s ideas for administrative reform of the Russian Federation to eliminate the ethnically-based republics. Zyuganov said he hoped also to cooperate with members of the Women of Russia faction, even though one of its leaders, Yekaterina Lakhova, "pursued a pro-presidential course too explicitly." Nor did Zyuganov rule out the possibility of "a business agreement" with Yabloko. (In the past, both Yabloko and the communists have talked, for example, of the desirability of strengthening constitutional controls over the powers of the executive.) (4)

Foreign Minister Elected Duma Deputy, May Now Resign.