Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 86

Yesterday’s May Day festivities in Moscow turned into rival demonstrations between the two leading presidential contestants. Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov’s complaint to the crowd that "the media are in the president’s pocket" was borne out by Russian news reports, which appeared to overestimate the crowd that greeted President Boris Yeltsin and underestimate the number of pro-Communist demonstrators. Initial Russian news reports (cited yesterday by Monitor) put the size of the Communist demonstration at around 5,000. The Moscow police said 20,000 people attended the pro-Yeltsin rally and 15,000 the pro-Communist one. (Interfax, May 1) Later, Russian news agencies reversed the figures, saying that between 10,000 and 15,000 people had supported Yeltsin, and that 20,000 had turned out in support of Zyuganov.

But Western agencies said that about 10,000 took part the rally attended by Yeltsin, while as many as 50,000 took part in the pro-Communist rally, which UPI called "one of the largest crowds at a Russian political rally since the fall of the Soviet Union." (UPI, May 1) UPI also reported that Russia’s state-controlled ORT TV network showed footage of the crowd cheering Yeltsin, but ignored the larger Communist rally except for some brief shots of Zyuganov and extremist Communist leaders. (UPI, May 1)

Zyuganov Warns of Vote Rigging…