last year hinted darkly at some kind of coup that would topple the government by February 22, 1998. Last week, appearing at a rally with Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, he revised that prediction to "April or May."

If neither presidential appointments nor armed uprising will bring the Communists back, there are still elections. But can they win? The newspaper Russky telegraf reported last week that Communist Party strategists have no illusions about the electability of party leader Gennady Zyuganov, who like Prime Minister Chernomyrdin inhabits a charisma-free zone. The unnamed strategists are said to be working on a plan in which Zyuganov would run in the first round of the next presidential election and would then withdraw in favor of Moscow Mayor