Communists and other leftist groups staged May Day rallies in most ex-Soviet republics. Most rallies denounced the national governments for introducing economic reforms, called for restoration of the USSR, and endorsed Communist Gennady Zyuganov for the Russian presidency. Attendance ranged from moderate to poor in most capitals; the strongest rallies were reported from Ukraine. In the Crimean capital, Simferopol, some 8,000 Communist sympathizers chanted slogans in favor of restoring the USSR and carried placards showing Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and Crimean Communist party leader Leonid Grach. Grach called on the rally "to change Ukraine’s political course and rebuild a single state on the territory of the former Soviet Union." He passed on greetings from Russian Communist party leader Gennady Zyuganov, which was welcomed with applause. Approximately 5,000 people attended a leftist rally in Kiev. An equal number participated in a Kiev rally of Rukh and other national-democratic organizations, which called for banning the Communist Party of Ukraine. (Interfax-Ukraine, May 1)
Some 4,000 rallied in Yerevan at the call of the Armenian Communist party, whose leader Sergei Badalyan is expected to challenge President Levon-Ter Petrosian in the upcoming presidential election. The two rival Communist parties of Georgia — one reformed, the other hard-line — held separate and poorly attended rallies in Tbilisi, while hard-line leader Pantelimon Georgadze joined Zyuganov in Moscow. Kazakhstan, whose government is currently considering banning the Communist party, instituted this year an official day of interethnic concord to replace the old-style May Day. (Itar-Tass, Interfax, Western agencies, May 1 & 2)
Reports were not immediately available from Russian-populated cities in northeastern Estonia and Transdniester, where Communist influence remains important. Except for such pockets, and notably Crimea, yesterday’s May Day events tended to indicate that residual Communist strength in most former Soviet countries is modest and receding.
Belarusian President Challenged on Three Fronts.