DEMOCRATS REMAIN AT ODDS ON PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE.
Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 41
Meanwhile, RussiaÕs ÒdemocratsÓ are as divided as ever. Anatoly Chubais managed last week to engineer talks between Yegor Gaidar and Grigory Yavlinsky over the possibility of uniting behind a single presidential candidate, but the only immediate results were pious phrases and an agreement to maintain contact. The two men are divided by personal rivalries and, while Yavlinsky insists that he intends to run, Gaidar refuses to support YavlinskyÕs candidacy. Instead, Gaidar restated his old hope that Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin or Nizhny Novgorod governor Boris Nemtsov will change their minds and agree to run. Gaidar also appeared this week to go back on his earlier vow not to support YeltsinÕs candidacy. He told a press conference Monday that the party he leads, RussiaÕs Democratic Choice, would be ready for dialogue with Yeltsin if the president made a serious effort to achieve peace in Chechnya and got rid of Òthe most odiousÓ members of his inner circle. By this, Gaidar said he meant the head of the Presidential Administration, Nikolai Yegorov, Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, and Federal Security Service director Mikhail Barsukov. Yeltsin seems unlikely to follow GaidarÕs advice, at least as far as Yegorov is concerned. Support for Yavlinsky, however, came over the weekend from what remains of the once powerful Democratic Russia movement. Meeting in Moscow, Democratic RussiaÕs leaders decided to support Yavlinsky in the event that Chernomyrdin and Nemtsov could not be persuaded to run and reaffirmed their refusal to support Yeltsin. Former Moscow mayor Gavriil Popov summed up the situation with the remark that Òthe desire to defend democracy is not enough to unite RussiaÕs democrats.Ó (7)
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