Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 115

Estonian prime minister Tiit Vahi told the country on radio that it is too early to predict the outcome of Russia’s presidential runoff, as Yeltsin’s victory would depend ultimately on winning the support of those constituencies that had voted for Aleksandr Lebed, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, and Grigory Yavlinsky. Estonian foreign minister Siim Kallas suggested that Estonia’s relations with Russia would remain difficult, irrespective of whether Yeltsin or Zyuganov wins the runoff, because Tallinn has problems with both men. Kallas said that Estonia had lined up with the West in viewing Yeltsin as the more desirable option because his policies are known and there are "positive memories" connected with Yeltsin from the time of the 1991 pro-Communist putsch in the ex-USSR.

Latvia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement that cautiously welcomed the fact that a democratic presidential election had been held in Russia. It also expressed hopes for stability and reform in that country and called for "mutual confidence and cooperation" in bilateral relations. Latvian president Guntis Ulmanis said he was "surprised above all to see the democrat Grigory Yavlinsky receiving far fewer votes than the militarist candidate Aleksandr Lebed." The Latvian parliament’s foreign policy commission chairman, Indulis Berzins, expressed hope that Yeltsin would win the run-off and concern that "Yeltsin’s team may feel omnipotent and take every liberty after victory" in its policy toward the Baltic states. Berzins admitted to "a certain [Baltic] apprehension toward both candidates," but concluded that Yeltsin is ultimately preferable for the three Baltic states.

Lithuania’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement similar to Latvia’s. Lithuanian prime minister Mindaugas Stankevicius said that the reforms initiated by Yeltsin, if continued, "would represent a significant obstacle to Russia’s aggressive forces, but no security guarantee" to the Baltic states. (BNS, June 17)

Zyuganov Overwhelming Favorite of Russian Citizens Resident in Baltic States.