Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 195

A series of surveys conducted by Moscow’s VCIOM polling agency between May and September showed that public confidence in Lebed rose during the summer and has since remained stable, whereas confidence in the other two leading political figures, President Yeltsin and Communist party leader Gennady Zyuganov, has fallen since the summer. A poll conducted in mid-September found that seven Russians out of ten approved of the way Lebed was doing his job as security chief, including his efforts to halt the war in Chechnya. Lebed’s support is highest among men and, in particular, security personnel. (U.S. Information Agency, Office of Research and Media Reaction, October 7)

At present, Lebed’s biggest handicap is his lack of institutional support. Pro-Lebed organizations are springing up, however. The Monitor’s correspondent in Saratov reports that a branch of Lebed’s "For Truth and Order" movement was set up in that Volga city on October 8. The initiative came from people who voted for Lebed in the presidential election; also represented were the Congress of Russian Communities, the Democratic Party of Russia, and one of Saratov’s Cossack organizations. Yabloko sent an observer. The new organization plans to support candidates in the local elections due to be held in Saratov Oblast in December.

Branches of "For Truth and Order" have also sprung up in a number of military training schools in Moscow and Moscow region. Several thousand officers are said to be involved. This could be used against Lebed since political agitation is illegal in the Russian military; the Justice Ministry is reportedly considering an investigation into the matter. (ORT, October 16)

Ouster of Lebed Casts Cloud over Chechnya Peace Process.