Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 19

The results of Chechnya’s elections are not yet in, but Viktor Ilyukhin, Yeltsin-foe and leading member of the Communist faction in the Russian parliament, has already denounced them as further proof of the government’s helplessness to prevent the collapse of the country. "The results of the Chechen elections must not be recognized. They are illegitimate because half of the population of Chechnya did not take part," Ilyukhin said yesterday. Chechnya’s new leaders will, he alleged, "soon start making territorial claims on other regions, and return to the path of war." (NTV, January 27)

Those Communists who have joined the Russian government were more cautious, however. CIS Affairs Minister Aman Tuleev refrained from expressing an opinion on the election, merely reiterating that Chechnya remains part of Russia. In Tuleev’s opinion, the "Tatar variant" would be suitable for Chechnya. (NTV, January 27) Duma Speaker and Communist party member Gennady Seleznev was even more circumspect. "Chechnya’s presidential elections will not push the republic into secession. The candidates’ talk about independence is mere campaign rhetoric," he said yesterday. (Interfax, January 27) The similarity between Seleznev’s remarks and those of Premier Chernomyrdin is striking. It underlines the fact that, as members of the Russian Communist Party grow closer to and even enter government, they adapt their policies and opinions accordingly. It also bears out predictions that the CPRF is splitting into social democratic and radical Marxist parties. Russian Television speculated on January 26 that moderate Communists may align with Aleksandr Lebed in his bid for presidential power.

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