As had been widely expected, preliminary results are reporting strong Communist gains in last Sunday’s election in Ukraine’s autonomous republic, Crimea. Communist candidates are estimated to have won 67 percent of the votes in the republic legislature, the Supreme Soviet. Crimean Communist party leader Leonid Hrach has jubilantly predicted a big shake-up in the republic government, including the ouster of Prime Minister Anatoly Franchuk, an ally (and relation by marriage) of Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma. (Ukrainian radio and television, March 30 and 31) The peninsula’s Crimean Tatar minority, half of whom were unable to vote in last Sunday’s election, have lost the guaranteed representation they previously enjoyed in the republic legislature. The election results are likely to put the autonomous republic back on a collision course with the central government in Kyiv. They may provoke Kyiv to launch a long-threatened reorganization to strip the Supreme Soviet of much of its power.
Kocharian Clear Winner in Presidential Runoff.