Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 16

Yegor Gaidar, who as acting prime minister launched economic reform in Russia in 1992, resigned yesterday from the Presidential Council in protest over Yeltsin’s handling of the Pervomaiskoye hostage crisis. (9) Because the Presidential Council has only scant advisory power, his resignation has only symbolic importance. More significant was his announcement that Russia’s Democratic Choice, the party led by Gaidar, will not support Yeltsin if he runs for re-election. His declaration indicates that Russia’s reformist parties, long weakened by infighting, will not support a single candidate in June. Most analysts have predicted that the second round of voting in the presidential election would take the form of a contest between a reformer and a communist. However, if democrats cannot agree on a single candidate, they may be eliminated in the first round and the second round will present Russian voters with a choice between a communist and an extreme nationalist candidate such as Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

French Foreign Minister Upbeat on Russian Reform.