Valery Zubov, who is facing a strong challenge from retired General Aleksandr Lebed in the second round of the gubernatorial election in Krasnoyarsk Krai, has issued an impassioned appeal for additional federal funds to pay the region’s pensioners and wage arrears to defense sector workers. If the federal government does not supply the money, he threatened, Krasnoyarsk will refuse to pay its taxes. This is not an idle threat: Among Russia’s regions, Krasnoyarsk is the seventh largest taxpayer. (Radio Russia, May 3) Zubov said both that the federal government owes the region millions of rubles and that its failure to pay the money is fueling popular anger and creating support for Lebed’s campaign. Lebed looks very likely to win the second round of the election, due to be held on May 17.
Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznev was no less apocalyptic when he made a speech in Krasnoyarsk on May 1 comparing Lebed to the Chilean dictator Pinochet. Seleznev also claimed Lebed is being supported of the Kremlin. “Right now, they [Lebed and Yeltsin] are working on the Chile scenario,” Seleznev asserted. “Yeltsin has already made his choice: if not him, then Lebed. And if Lebed, then an emergency situation in Russia, the Pinochet scenario and a junta in power headed by [media tycoon Boris] Berezovsky.” (NTV, May 1)
BEREZOVSKY’S APPOINTMENT GETS MIXED RECEPTION.