Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 116

Retired General Aleksandr Lebed met journalists yesterday in Moscow’s President Hotel, the well-guarded former KGB hotel that is serving as Yeltsin’s campaign headquarters. Yeltsin aides were on hand — confirmation that Lebed, who has no organization of his own behind him, has been coopted by the presidential apparatus. Knowledgeable Moscow sources say Yeltsin’s alliance with Lebed was negotiated and agreed upon even before the first round of the election June 16. The plan gives Lebed not only a mandate to crack down on crime, the electorate’s number one concern, but also a new role as Yeltsin’s anointed successor. In the week preceding the first round, Lebed’s campaign received heavy coverage on state-run television and in the press. At the time, observers concluded that Lebed was being promoted because the Yeltsin team believed he would take votes from Zyuganov. In the last few days of the campaign, however, Lebed began to take votes from Yeltsin too, prompting the conclusion that the Yeltsin campaign had peaked two or three days too soon.

Yeltsin himself indicated that a deal had been struck with Lebed during the president’s final campaign appearance in Yekaterinburg June 14. Asked then whether he had a successor in mind, Yeltsin told journalists, "There is such a person, and I know him." (Itar-Tass, June 14) This was an unmistakable reference to Lebed’s campaign slogan, "There is such a person, and you know him" (which in turn was a play on Lenin’s slogan concerning the Bolsheviks, "There is such a party").

…While Communists See Him as Yeltsin’s Pawn.